Naomi Iizuka2005

Naomi Iizuka's plays are built from salvaged parts. She fuses myths from Ovid with stories from homeless teens, interviews with stockyard workers with Appalachian ghost stories. Creating collisions between the past and present, she mixes lyric poetry with transcripts of real-life conversations. She slams together the epic and the mythic with the tiniest details of a single life, forging startling and unexpected connections between distant worlds. Whether she's writing about the lives of men and women living along the Ohio River or in villages in Cambodia, Iizuka seeks to translate the untranslatable, to travel to unfamiliar landscapes and revisit familiar landscapes with new eyes, to tell stories and, in the telling, to crack them open and tell the stories within the stories within the stories.

"How do you tell ancient stories in a new language? How do you conjure the voices of the dead? How do you remember? How do you make a sense of history? How do you make a sense of loss? Those are the questions that fuel my writing. In the last few years, I’ve been conducting interviews as part of my process so I can figure out how people really tell the stories of their lives, what they say and what they leave out, how they circle back and start again, the places where language breaks down. I feel like if I listen hard enough, I can apprehend something about history and human experience, some kind of larger, elusive truth."