Art At Home – 20 Questions with Polly Phokeev

For today’s #ArtAtHome exclusive, we get to hear from Beyond the Bard playwright Polly Phokeev!

What are you currently reading?
There are, at present, eight books on my bedside table. But the one I have to finish soonest, for book club, is The Doomed City by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky.

What inspires you to write?
Morally complicated characters, in life and in art.

Smarties or M &M’s?
I guess smarties? Honestly neither. I puked once in a car when I was five cause I ate too many M&M’s and now all candy-covered chocolates are cursed.

What’s your favourite sentence of all time?
I’ll interpret this as what’s a fave quote… “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

If you could have your work performed anywhere, where would it be?
In like a massive intricately designed mansion/warehouse/cityscape/farm/estate where audiences get to wander around, à la Punch Drunk shows.

What’s the last delicious thing you ate?
This amazing vegan kale caesar

Do you have any pets?
No, but my partner really wants a kitten so it’s just a matter of time.

Who is your favourite tv/film character?
Honestly, I just rewatched Disney’s Hercules and I think Meg is so deeply compelling, I want six spin-offs.

If you weren’t a playwright, what would you be?
Presuming I’d have had the education for this, an archaeologist. Maybe a historian?

What’s a positive aspect of self-isolation for you? Not having to make up excuses for skipping parties.

What’s a difficult aspect of self-isolation for you?
I do miss hugging my friends.

What’s your favourite cafe to work in?
Rooster, at any of their locations (King, Jarvis, Broadview)

Dogs or cats?
Both! I grew up with cats, but I know a lot of great dogs.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Write first, edit later.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
One of the ways I let off steam is extended piano improv sessions.

How do you take your coffee/tea?
Either black or with almond milk. Sometimes honey in the tea :)

What was your first job?
A children’s birthday party entertainer. It was an education in so many skills I have now. I was a princess, mascot, staff-shirt party leader, server, custodian, manager, driver, camp counsellor, often all in one day.

What fad or trend do you hope comes back?
I straight up don’t know how to answer this question. I have lived a life utterly oblivious to what is cool.

What are some small things or acts that make your day better?
Taking some time to myself before launching into work in the morning, just to read the news and have a coffee and step out onto the balcony and water the plants.

Who is your favourite Shakespearean character?
Today, I’m thinking about Desdemona, because imagine a sequel where she gets brought back to life by a necromantic warlock and has to try and piece together her trust in humanity as she embarks on a fraught
quest for vengeance?

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