076: Putting horror on stage. YEAR OF THE MONKEY with playwright Mara Thomas.

YEAR OF THE MONKEY is part devised play, part surreal horror show centered on a squadron of warriors who use their feminine intuition, rage, rituals & nature power to wage war.  In this episode, playwright Mara Thomas examines the inspiration for YEAR OF THE MONKEY, horror as a genre for the stage, war in the jungle, hierarchy and feminine intuition on the battleground. We also dig into her long-distance collaboration with director, Caitlin Wells, and the artist residencies they attended together.

YEAR OF THE MONKEY,  a Delta Boys Theatre Company production that will be performed at The Tank NYC from June 13-22,  2019. So if you are up NYC way, then check it out for sure.

Art by Lauren Kerr


Mara Thomas is an actor, playwright, writer, musician and teaching artist based in Durham. For Artist Soapbox, she blogs monthly and co-facilitates workshops focused on creative accountability and functional feedback. A local musician for over 15 years,  Mara also makes noise in the punk groups Bandage and Cold Cream.


This episode is brought to you by the Soapboxers, the official patrons of the Artist Soapbox. If you like these episodes and want more, get on the Soapbox! This episode was recorded at Shadowbox Studio. Artist Soapbox theme music by Bart Matthews. Additional audio editing by Merrybelle Park Productions.

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Questions for Mara


“YEAR OF THE MONKEY is part devised play, part surreal horror show centered on a squadron of warriors who use their feminine intuition, rage, rituals & nature power to wage war.”

Anything else you’d add to that description?

Let’s start by talking about the inspiration to write this piece. Why did you feel moved to write this particular story/exploration/journey? Why is it important to you? What are the touchstones you used during the writing process?

What did you learn from YES TO NOTHING that has been helpful during this process?

Do women ‘war’ differently than men? Are you presenting an alternative to the patriarchy in YOM or interrogating it? Why use Vietnam as a point of research? What connections do you see between the women in YOM and our experience as civilians seemingly not at war?


During the process, you’ve been collaborating long-distance with Caitlin Wells a director formerly of Durham, who’s now living in NYC. The premiere production of  YEAR OF THE MONKEY• June 13-22 • The Tank NYC @ The Tank, Produced by Delta Boys Theatre Company

What has it been like to collaborate long-distance? Pros and cons? Let’s talk about the residencies at Drop Forge & Tool in Hudson, New York, and the Turkeyland Cove Foundation on Martha’s Vineyard to continue to develop YEAR OF THE MONKEY. What value did they provide for the two of you? How did you approach that time together?


Prior to this interview we discussed your commitment to “breaking down hierarchy in process and in product.” These are questions that you explore in the play — how is that commitment been reflected in the process of development?

Anything else?

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Artist Soapbox

Artist Soapbox is a platform for original scripted audio fiction and an opportunity for artists to discuss their creative work in their own voices. We do this through our interview podcast, our blog, live events, and original audio dramas.

Artist Soapbox is an anti-racist organization. We believe Black Lives Matter. In addition, as a podcast production company, ASBX has signed the Equality in Audio Pact on Broccoli Content.

Artist Soapbox is more than just a podcast.

We lead writers groups, accountability support, workshops, and events. We produce and create audio dramas too! Listen to the Master BuilderThe New Colossus Audio Drama, Jesus Pancake, Declaration of Love, Food for Thought, and ASBX Shorts. Stay tuned to hear about more projects written by the Soapbox Audio Collective Writers’ Group.

Audio Dramas

Jesus (1400 × 1400 px)-2

Jesus Pancake

Jesus Pancake is the newest scripted audio fiction series from Artist Soapbox. Nine episodes of zany dark comedy.


The New Colossus

The New Colossus Audio Drama is a totally unhinged dark comedy reboot of Anton Chekhov’s classic play, THE SEAGULL.


Master Builder

This audio drama was adapted from Tamara’s 2018 stage play produced by Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern and inspired by Henrick Ibsen’s classic, The Master Builder published in 1892.


Declaration of Love

Co-producers Aurelia Belfield and Tamara Kissane of Artist Soapbox commissioned eleven NC playwrights to craft short audio scenes based on the prompt “Declaration of Love.”


Food for Thought

Three pilot episodes of new scripted audio fiction series inspired by the prompt Food for Thought.


ASBX Shorts

ASBX Shorts are six short audio fiction pieces created and produced by North Carolina artists. Artist Soapbox Shorts were specifically contributed by the artists to aid in fundraising and to get everyone excited about Jesus Pancake, our new audio fiction series in development.

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