1. What inspired you to write it?
Animals communicate. From Aesop’s Fables to Charlotte’s Web to Babe, the natural world has captivated writers. I write about animals in order to write more truthfully about humans. They long for a mate, family, sustenance, sex. Their behavior is the same as ours, just unvarnished.
2. How do you see the animals (fox, cougar and all) relate to human beings?
Since my short film, “Cat Bird Coyote,” animal activism has been a pet project of mine, starting with the idea of giving animals a voice. In the play, the animals talk. It was a natural extension. The bodega cat is like an immigrant who does a job to maintain her home and status. The birds are refugees of war. P-22, our local mountain lion, shuns his fame. He’s a lion who searches for his pride. And the firefly sets her ass on fire to find a mate. She’s basically on Tinder — except she eats him afterward.
3. What is the name of the 9/11 dog and what makes him relevant?
Bretagne was the last surviving search and rescue dog who worked at Ground Zero. They zip-lined her in to search for survivors. When none were found after weeks of searching, firefighters staged fake rescue missions to keep the dogs from growing despondent. They climbed into the wreckage and pretended to be discovered by the dogs. The dog character in the play, who I call Granddog, is Bretagne’s descendent. She lives in the shadow of her grandmother’s legend, but is very proud of her and retains her family’s work ethic. She says, “just like dogs, most people want to be good.”
4. What do you hope the audience will get from watching your show?
Animals operate from instinct, so they can’t do anything wrong. By presenting human dilemmas from the perspective of animals, these tales offer the audience an opportunity to experience each character outside habituated judgements of race, gender, age, or economic status. People can see and feel themselves in these stories. Greater empathy leads to less objectification and a more inclusive view of the world.
5. Where can people look you up?
The best way to stay in touch is to sign the mailing list at amyraasch.com. It’s a direct line of communication that goes both ways. I’m also on Twitter @amyraasch, Instagram @girlsgetcold, Facebook @amyraaschmusic.
6. What meaning do the animals you portray have for you?
I was adopted as a child. My family took in a stray.