Umbrella Talk with Daniel Karasik

It seems like I've known Daniel forever. You name an event in the Toronto independent theatre landscape and he's there. I get amazed when I see all he has accomplished at such a young age. Not a surprise since he's so damn talented. You can find him on twitter @TangoCo

A Little More About Daniel Karasik

Daniel Karasik is a writer, director, and actor. Most active as a playwright, he has developed and presented new drama at many of Canada’s leading theatres, including Tarragon Theatre, Factory Theatre, the Canadian Stage Company, Touchstone Theatre, and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. His plays have been seen in Toronto, New York, Vancouver, North Carolina, and regularly in translation in Germany. A recent grand prize winner of the CBC Literary Award for Fiction and Canadian Jewish Playwriting Award, he is the author of a new poetry collection, Hungry (Cormorant Books), and two books of plays: The Remarkable Flight of Marnie McPhee and The Crossing Guard and In Full Light (Playwrights Canada Press). He also helms the Toronto-based theatre company Tango Co., through which he has developed many of his plays, including The Biographer, running from May 2-19. See for more info.

What do you drink on opening night?
Nothing at all before the show, since I’m terrified that once the show starts I’ll have to pee. After I’m allowed to pee again, I’ll usually have a beer.

Who would direct the coolest production of one of your plays?
Alan Dilworth, who’s directing a breathtakingly cool production of my play The Biographer right now. Think Bergman fused with Fellini fused with the best of German theatre’s formal adventurousness and English theatre’s sensitivity to language. May 2-19!

What scares you? What can't you write about?
What doesn’t scare me! I do it all anyway, though. As far as writing goes, I prefer the terror of vulnerability to the tedium of concealing vulnerability. I guess that’s a way of saying I like to write about the stuff I think I couldn’t possibly write about. Lately I do, anyway.

What do you want to write about that you haven't yet?
I want to write about love and sex like Mary Gaitskill writes about love and sex. With that kind of insight, subtlety, surprise. This probably won’t and shouldn’t happen, since I’m not Mary Gaitskill. Still, it’s something to almost though not quite aspire to.

If someone was to write a play about your life, what genre would it be? (eg. comedy, tragedy, melodrama, horror)
Is “Woody Allen” a genre?

How do you deal with praise? With criticism?
Gratefully and skeptically. In both cases.

Where would you like your work to be produced?
The Tarragon Theatre in Toronto, the Royal Court Theatre and Bush Theatre in London, and the Atlantic Theatre Company and Public Theatre in New York.

Where do you write? Pen or keyboard?
I write in a corner of my bachelor apartment, sometimes in the corner of a coffee shop near my place, very occasionally in the corner of a more distant coffee shop. My main requirement, obviously, is a corner. Keyboard for narrative, usually. Sometimes pen for poetry.

What would you like academics to write about your work in 50 years?
I gather that Harold Bloom has called Beckett the most authentic writer of the last century. I like that a lot and don’t really know what it means. It’d be cool if critics many years from now would say the same of my work. I still wouldn’t know what it means, but I’m sure I’d enjoy it.

What inspires you?
Uncertainty. Craving.


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