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.

Connect and Follow!

Artist Soapbox on social media:

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?

Artist Soapbox podcast is a listener supported podcast. If you listen, please support the podcast by sharing episodes with friends and contributing via our Patreon campaign.If you have feedback, questions, suggestions, please email artistsoapbox@gmail.com. FEEDBACK IS EVERYTHING TO ASBX.

Leave a Reply