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Interview with Andrea Sloan Pink

Q: Is Les Hollywood Hillsultimately the story of an older artist, on his way out of life, giving a younger artist a profound gift?

A: Yes. The gift is kind of like receiving a sharp knife. It can be a tool for good, wielded as a surgeon wields a scalpel, or a tool of destruction.

Q: Ralph tells Juliette that "filmmakers have to look". Are there too many playwrights and filmmakers who don't look hard enough, who prove too cowardly when it comes to truth telling and storytelling?

A: I think we are all culpable of this. But filmmakers and playwrights have a special responsibility, a noble obligation if you will, to be the "lookers" for other humans. We are reporters, documentarians and observers of society. We have to use our ability to focus our lenses on what needs to be seen, and sometimes this is uncomfortable. As filmmakers, when we elect to work with the physical qualities of film it forces us to slow down and look more closely, sometimes frame-by-frame. When cutting film, holding it in our hands, looking at each frame, we see the world differently: composed, discreet, enlarged. We can all benefit from slowing down and looking more deeply. There is a lot of facile and glib art created in all forms. When I see it, I still have the habit of calling it "a waste of celluloid." For me, what is lasting is something that contains a nugget of truth. Denial doesn't make lasting art. I want to encourage the audience to look into their own lives, to face what is perhaps painful, frightening or grotesque. At times, when we closely examine troubling things, we can find beauty. Looking also exposes us to our humanity. We cannot look away and be fully alive.

Q: What would happen to Juliette if she never met Ralph? What would become of her?

A: I would like to think that Juliette would still arrive at the same place, but perhaps less efficiently. It might take her years, even decades, to realize on her own what Ralph helps her see. If Juliette never receives this gift from Ralph, she risks living her entire life as an undifferentiated being, never truly knowing her self or her world. I also wonder who Ralph would give this gift to if Juliette does not arrive at this time in his life. He has no children, no remaining protégé, so perhaps it's Juliette's good fortune to arrive at this moment.

Q: Like Juliette, you went to UCLA as an undergraduate to study film and television. Were there a lot of Juliettes around at that time? How did you differ from Juliette?

A: There were very few Juliettes around at the time. I was perhaps one of three women enrolled in my entering class of film school. The class size was tiny in any event, perhaps twenty students in all, but you certainly felt your otherness, so the feeling of being surrounded by men was a hallmark of my experience. I differ from Juliette in that I had to look from an earlier age. As a child during the late 1960s, I witnessed things that made me deeply uncomfortable. In 1967, when I was five, I attended a love-in at Elysian Park with my parents during which the police moved in, striking people with batons to break up the crowd. Graphic images early in life can be indelible. I've never liked the idea of looking, but these early events convinced me of the human necessity of seeing. I continue to be made uncomfortable in life, but I have come to accept my duty to report.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I have three major projects underway. The first is a book I am editing, The Poetry of Playwriting: Playwrights on Creating Breakthrough Theater. The book includes essays, exercises and excerpts from an amazing group of award-winning poets, librettists, and playwrights. It will be released in print in September 2014. Secondly, my husband Jonathan Pink and I are producing our first album together. It is a compilation of surf music by musicians from surf cultures around the world. It will be released in the spring of 2014 on our label, Pink Vinyl. Third, I am working on a full-length play,Horse Latitudes, that focuses on two guys who live together, Prince and Tom. Prince is a poet and Tom is a screenwriter and they are at the point in life where their paths are diverging. I've also worked a bit of UCLA film school lore into this play as the title directly references one of the earliest Jim Morrison poems, which the Doors recorded on their second album, Strange Days. Finally, I have a play, Warner Bros., included in The Best American Short Plays 2011-2012 published by Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. You can get it in hardback in bookstores now!

Catch Andrea Sloan Pink's Les Hollywood Hills August 17 @ 2pm, August 18 @ 7pm, August 24 @ 8pm and August 25 @ 2pm in the Moulton Center Studio Theatre at this year's OC-centric.

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