An Interview with NYPR Playwright Cambria Denim

Who are some current playwrights we should know about?
Sarah Ruhl. In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play makes me kiss my fingers like an Italian chef. I’ve also been really into Lucas Hnath. I’d look out for my fellow young resident playwrights, as they are all talented and wonderful.

What are some of your artistic goals? Long or short term?
I’d like to not be *too* sweaty at the reading. As well as being a writer, I’m an actor – I studied at the Globe Theatre in London and the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, as well as getting a four year acting degree – and my dream is to be in a position to create a TV series that I’d write and act on, that features resilient, cool as hell women. Also, to adopt my own dog. Also, to get a Brita filter.

Who are your primary artistic influences at this moment?
Donald Glover, who is good at everything. Jane Goodall, because she is strong, gentle, human and animal. Rihanna, just in general. Also every woman who’s ever lived.

Did you listen to specific music while writing the play? If so, what was it?
I did! I always do. Lark and the Dark is inspired by a lot of animation, specifically Studio Ghibli, so for this one, I mostly listened to Miyazaki film scores.

What was the first play you ever wrote? What inspired you to write it?
I don’t remember specifically, but I can tell you that when I was young (first or second grade, maybe) I would write knockoffs of the musicals my school put on and would try to gently bully the neighbor boys on my cul de sac to be in them. You know, like a small tyrant. Did they have any interest in theatre or performing? They did not. Would they play Danny Zuko knockoff (Danny Zumko) to my Sandra Dee knockoff (Mandra “Mandy” Dee)? They would not.

What is one particularly inspiring thing you’ve learned/experienced in theater/writing? Either in a show/class/workshop/rehearsal/from another person?
I took an acting masterclass with Natalie Griffith Robichaux and Richard Robichaux and everything that came out of their mouths made my head explode. They had to scrape off bits of my brain from the black box we were in. They’d drop wisdom nuggets like “Worrying about the work is not the same as doing the work” and an entire room of theatre major twenty somethings would collapse and writhe on the floor screaming YAS like closeted twelve year olds seeing Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” VMA performance for the first time.

Also, PLUG – goddess among us Natalie Griffith Robichaux is directing one of my plays this July at the Zephyr Theatre (which I am also performing in!) and you should come see it! 🙂 More info on my website, www.cambriadenim.com. (Also a plug.)