Five Questions for Lisa D’Amour

Name:  Lisa D’Amour
Title/Occupation:   Playwright and Interdisciplinary Artist
Organization/Company:  PearlDamour
URL:   Pearldamour.com

1. Where did you grow up and how did you end up where you are now?

Born in St. Paul while Dad was in grad school, moved to West Virginia could teach Philosophy, wound up in New Orleans by age 10 after my mom (a New Orleans native) literally made herself physically ill with her longing to be home.  Catholic Catholic Catholic in New Orleans.  Then Jackson, MS for college and realized not everyone was Catholic.  Hunter College for a year through a haphazardly run junior exchange program.  Though it took 12 more years and two other states for me to get here (NYC) this was when I met the people who got me writing…

2. Which performance, song, play, movie, painting or other work of art had the biggest influence on you and why?

So many, but I keep thinking about the afternoon I picked up Mac Wellman’s Murder of Crows from a pile of  books in the musty cataloging department of the Tulane Library where I was working after I graduated from college.  “My husband was of ordinary size and so was the house.”    I think that was the line that made me a writer.  Runner Up?  The album “Take it to the Street” by the Rebirth Brass Band.  Listen and find out why.

3. What skill, talent or attribute do you most wish you had and why?

Singing.  Oh I wish I could sing!   Like a glamorous songstress from the 30’s or even a music theater.   I want to belt them out.  I want vibrato.   I want people to gather around me at parties, and be the star of karaoke.  Instead I just have the memory of that awful time I tried to sing “I’m so Excited” by the Pointer Sisters at Cat’s Meow in New Orleans.  And it’s on video!4. What do you do to make a living? Describe a normal day.

Teaching and administrating my theater projects.  On a non-teaching day, its like:  2-3 hours of creative in the morning, a bazillion emails between 10 and noon (1/2 of them to Katie Pearl), then random tasks like buying plane tickets for collaborators or buying marshmallows for rehearsal (come see Terrible Things!) and usually meetings in the afternoon, of many varieties, today it will be at Creative Capital.  Evenings:  very often seeing a show.  Or on special occasions being led out to Flushing or some other outer borough by my husband on a foodie adventure.

5. Have you ever had to make a choice between work and art? What did you choose, why, and what was the outcome?

Hmm..I seem to have erased all memories of this dilemma…and I’m sure I’ve been there many times…however ever since the time I tried to teach at-risk 3rd graders while making my show SLABBER  (with Katie Pearl and Sxip Shirey sleeping on the floor of my NW Minneapolis apartment….ah the early days!)  I have always erred on the side of clearing my schedule for the art…even when the bank account looks like a barren lake….single focus…right effort…works best for me.

PS:  These answers are earnest, irony-free.  I can’t help it.  Will I be laughed out of downtown?
PPS:  Terrible Things opens Dec 4 at PS122.  There are ironies hiding amidst the quarks and bad break ups and the giant plastic cows.
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2 Responses to “Five Questions for Lisa D’Amour”
  1. Lisa is one of my favorite people! I’m so glad she’s interviewed here. I love the ‘ps’ – she’s so genuine.

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