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What is the play saying?
Geography does not define you, love does. At the end of the play, one of the women concludes [that] maybe we don’t live anywhere. Maybe we just live in our hearts, and that’s the opening we need to find. Right now we are clinging to identification based on space or ownership. And it’s deadly.
Will you ever write a play that has a male protagonist?
Yes. I feel ready.
Will you ever write a play depicting an abusive woman without also suggesting she’s the result of a patriarchal society?
I doubt it.
You cannot conceive of a simply wretched woman?
I cannot conceive of a simply wretched anybody — man or woman. I don’t think people are born wretched. We are all born with personalities, but how those personalities are sharpened or textured is completely dependent on our environment. We come with essential DNA, but how it develops, it’s like a play: You get the wrong director, that’s bad news.
On a totally different note, I know you’ve had uterine cancer. How are you doing?
Great. I’m two-and-a-half years clean. I have a book coming out in April, called “In the Body of the World,” that looks at how cancer and my time in the Congo really merged. The big revelation is that what happens in our body isn’t separate from the world. When you’ve been abused you completely separate yourself from your body. What cancer did was bring me undeniably into my body. I was pricked and poked and operated on. And it was actually the best experience of my life. I was urged into myself and found that all the pieces of myself and the world had to be rearranged in some fundamental way. I’ve been working in the Congo for the last few years. The story of the Congo is very much the story of the cancer. The book is about how it’s all interconnected.