Robert O'Hara at the Drama Book Shop


Post by Anna Troiano.

 


Photo by Stephanie Wessels.


 

On Friday, February 10, 2017, avid readers and theatre-lovers who had braved the cold on their way to the Drama Book Shop, sat warming up in the cozy space below the store as they awaited the arrival of celebrated director and playwright Robert O’Hara, author of the recently published TCG title Barbecue / Bootycandy, a volume featuring two of O’Hara’s most popular works. He sat down with the Shop’s event coordinator, Steven McCasland, to discuss his particularly brash and memorable writing style.

 

“I grew up in Cinncinati – as a black, gay child. So in that situation, you're sort of pushed into boldness just by being alive,” he mused. The conversation was lively and delightfully casual as O’Hara cracked jokes about his mentor George C. Wolfe (“I stole everything from him.”) and divulged how he incorporates audiences’ perspective into his work – in that he never does:

 

“I think it’s about not caring about who is going to get it. The more individual your experience is, the more universal it is...I don't want to be limited by the audience's imagination.”

 

Photo by Craig Stekeur.

 

As it happens, TCG recently formed a book club among its staff members, meeting bi-monthly for a freewheeling, energetic discussion of TCG’s more recently published works. Bootycandy was the third play the book club members voted to read together (following Choir Boy, and the inaugural selection, John), gathering just two days before the event to drum up lots of pithy questions for the Q&A with O’Hara. A box of candy was, of course, distributed during the session – a laughingly inappropriate snack to those who have seen or read the daring play.

 

When the interview came to a close, the guests shuffled upstairs with O’Hara who signed books and continued discussing his writing with the individual enthusiasts who approached him. The intimate shop was a welcome repose in the disagreeable weather; the energy of the night and O’Hara’s vibrant humor was a comfort in a bitter February.

 


Photo by Stephanie Wessels.

 

From top to bottom: Steven McCasland and Robert O'Hara; Candy and Bootycandy; O'Hara.

 

 

 

Anna Troiano is the Marketing Associate for Theatre Communications Group. Since graduating from the University of Michigan, prior to joining the staff at TCG, she has spent her professional life working for nonprofit theatre companies such as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Signature Theatre Company (New York, NY), as well as the publishing house Wimbledon Publishing Company (London, UK). She spends her personal life taking long walks with her dog and freelance editing.

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