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Getting to know Playwright Martyna Majok

From what seed did the idea for Ironbound grow?
Martyna Majok: I was reading Slavoj Žižek’s Violence and it made me think about the quiet systems at play in America. About the way that capitalism causes us to commodify people—about value, abusive relationships and how a life of poverty makes someone approach love.

What is your favorite part of the playmaking process, and why?
Martyna Majok: Workshops. Tom Stoppard likens outside perspectives on his plays to going through customs at the airport. The officer asks you to declare what you have in your luggage. you tell him. “A four character play about a lady at a bus stop in Jersey.” Then he goes rifling through your bags and finds all these things you didn’t realize you’d packed. Like capitalism and the contradictions of modern feminism in certain socioeconomic situations.

In Ironbound, the characters struggle with limited financial resources. What’s the first thing you’d do if you won the lottery?
Martyna Majok: How much’re we talkin’ here? Cuz I’ve got dreams for all kinds of budgets! First thing I’d do is put some aside for taxes cuz I know they’d be coming for me. Then I’d free up myself and my family, squash our debt— student loans and the credit card bills my single mother accumulated raising my sister and me. Get an apartment. Visit family in Poland. Buy the first round with ease. Ah! You said the first thing! But can’t I list them all?

You studied as an undergrad at the University of Chicago. What Chicago spot are you most Looking forward to visiting again?
Martyna Majok: That eight-mile walk from Hyde Park to Navy Pier along the lake. The sun on that endless water… the performing arts section at the Harold Washington Public Library. The people. The theater. All of it. In perfect, perfect summer. Chicago is magic. I. Can’t. Wait.

The Pyramid Challenge Play & Playwright in 55 Words

In one word what is your play about? Security
In two words where is your favorite place to write? Alone away.
In three words how vital are other people’s opinions when you are working on a piece? Very. Varies. Depends.
In four words what dreams do you have for the characters in your play?Reason to trust. Ease.
In five words who is your favorite writer, and why? Many. Humanity. Humor in darkness.
In six words describe what happened on your least favorite writing day. Nothing: survival-job fatigue damn fell asleep
In seven words describe what happened on your favorite writing day. Where’d the time fly hotdamn act one!
In eight words what did the first version of this play look like? No end, how do you conclude a cycle?
In nine words what is your play about? Woman considers what survival means after too damn much
In ten words in what future projects should we look out for you? Modern day chernobyl musical and more plays about poor people