This October 12 through 22 Bright Young Theatre and Aenigma Theatre will be bringing playwright Scott Button’s play Viva to Havana Theatre as part of the 2017/2018 Theatre Wire Season. Scott is known for writing The Hunger Room (Staircase Theatre), Desire(e) (Pull Festival/Shift Festival), and the webseries Ben’s Vlog. Viva won the Best One-Act Play Award at the Theatre BC Playwriting Contest last year, and was shortlisted for the UK-based Theatre 503 Playwriting Award. He is passionate about writing complex and self-reliant female-identifying lead characters. Theatre Wire got a chance to talk to Scott about his process and inspiration for Viva.
Theatre Wire: Tell us about your script.
Scott Button: Viva follows two strangers, Alice and Graeme, whose lives become intertwined over the course of one night in Las Vegas. Alice comes to the city in a desperate attempt to secure an organ on the black market to save her dying brother. Graeme is partying with friends when he finds a photocard listing the services of a prostitute—and he becomes convinced the woman is his missing sister.
TW: What inspired you to write Viva?
SB: I took a trip with my husband to Las Vegas about four years ago. The place is dazzling—and not necessarily in a good way. It embodies waste and consumption on an incredible scale. The city’s very essence is steeped in greed and chauvinism. The lights, activity, and noise give the place a hyperkinetic feeling, while the desert setting makes everything feel a bit dead. Yet, despite all this, we had a really fun time! It was fascinating as an artist to be in a place I both hated and loved. I knew I had to write about it.
Tell us about the research you conducted when writing.
SB: I did some research into the black market organ trade, Las Vegas history, and some other character elements. And, of course, my trip to Vegas itself was informative.
TW: Is difficult is it to hand over your script to actors? Have you ever been shocked or surprised by something an actor has done?
SB: Not difficult at all. I’m a new playwright, I usually work with actors who are friends or past colleagues, so I know how capable they are. I’m rarely shocked, usually just pleased with what an actor offers. They often teach me more about the characters.
TW: What’s the best thing about being a playwright? What’s the worst?
SB: I love how challenging it is. It requires straddling two impulses: the generative, creative impulse, and the conserving, editing impulse. I like that.
On the other hand, it’s not easy to build opportunities where you can have enough writing time and the correct conditions to work in for the work to really shine. That part can be challenging.
TW: What other playwrights/writers inspire you?
SB: So many! Right now I look to many local theatre, film & TV artists who are making a go of it.
Viva is on October 12-22 at Havana Theatre, located at 1212 Commercial Drive. Buy your tickets now—and don’t forget, Viva is part of the Theatre Wire Subscription Series. If you purchase tickets to three or more shows, discounts will apply automatically and you’ll become a Theatre Wire Subscriber! Click here for more info on Subscriptions and to read about Subscriber Benefits.