Trust, love, and believing with every fiber of your existence

Stout, CallanThe Pipeline reading premiere of Callan Stout’s Girl Becomes Bone is coming to the Bonfire Series on July 22, 7:30PM. In advance of the reading, we learned a bit more from Callan about the seeds of inspiration for this project (poetry and religious text) as well as what’s coming next (hint: it might involve ghosts and cats).

Learn more in our interview below and reserve your seat now for Girl Becomes Bone, July 22, 7:30PM, South Oxford Space (138 S. Oxford St., Brooklyn).

Pipeline Theatre Company: What do you want us to know about your play?

Callan Stout: This play is about religion. In the future. In outer space. But it’s not a sci-fi play. It’s a human play about the unknown. It’s also about trust, love and believing with every fiber of your existence.

PTC: When and where did you decide to start writing this play?

CS: This play actually started as an exercise in a class with Lynn Nottage. I realized this little seed of an idea could sprout into a full play after hearing the first and only scene aloud. I wrote these prayers that are supposed to be sung in a unison monotone, and my classmates made a go of it.

The weirdness of that sound and how different it made the theatrical experience even just around a table, inspired me to continue writing the idea.

In the play I use The Duino Elegies by Rainer Maria Rilke as the religious text of the future religion. It is a series of poems that I have returned to time and time again over the last fifteen years. Every time I read them I’m able to apply them to my life in that current moment and take something new away. I always felt that was how some people felt about the sacred texts of their own religion, as pieces of writing that could be reinterpreted through each stage of life. Additionally, the poems are both very specific and very open to interpretation, and I think that even if you don’t understand the exact language a reader takes away a feeling, an emotion, and an impression that is very accurately what the writer, Rainer Maria Rilke was talking about.

PTC: What excites you most about this project?

CS: This project excites me because it has given be the chance to dig deeply into themes and topics I know nothing about. It’s been an opportunity to discover something new and challenge myself. Religion has always been one of those mysterious realms of life that I’m both endlessly curious about and completely distanced from. This play gave me an excuse to broach that taboo topic with other people (instead of just reading about it) and really inquiry about other individual’s beliefs and practices.

PTC: In one sentence, tell us something strange that happens in your play.

CS: There’s a mummified body on stage. Let’s just leave it at that.

PTC: Are you working on anything else? What?

CS: I feel like I’m working on a million projects all at once. I’m starting to dive head first into the play that will be my thesis project for my MFA. I’m working on turning a short play into a short film, with the goal of shooting it this summer or fall. Fingers’ crossed. I’ve been revamping my website (shameless plug). And I’m amassing pages and pages of notes on finished plays that need rewrites, so I’m hoping to find time to go back and rip those old plays apart and put them back together.

PTC: Two truths and a lie, go:

CS: I purposefully give American tourists wrong directions when I’m in foreign countries.
I can tell you the stories of all the constellations in the Northern Hemisphere.
One of my forefathers was canonized as a Catholic Saint and is the perpetual king of Norway.

PTC: What’s next for you?

CS: I’ll be joining Fresh Ground Pepper on their summer retreat to start working on a new play that will be my thesis play for the MFA at Columbia University. It’s about a young woman from the Czech Republic who sells encyclopedias door to door. She’s trying to escape the trauma of her past, but it keeps following her and she keeps meeting people who need her help to confront the reality of their own trauma.

It’s also a ghost story.

And it might include cat videos.

About Girl Becomes Bone

by Callan Stout | directed by Jaki Bradley
Friday, July 22, 7:30PM
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It’s Quadrant 23’s turn to make the ultimate act of Faith. Someone must go to Earth and seek a path to Unity with the Void while self-mummifying. Three friend decide if their future is growing old or venturing into the stars. And one of them goes.