What are the boundaries of intimacy? How well can we get to know each other, and how well should we get to know each other? With commentary by Kirk Lynn (playwright) and Anne Kauffman (director), get to know "Your Mother's Copy of the Kama Sutra."
Adam Greenfield: Where do you hail from? Kirk Lynn: I hail from Texas. I was born in San Antonio, and I’ve really spent most of my life in Texas. I went to school at the University of Texas (UT) in Austin, and in Austin at that time there was this huge performance explosion, everybody was making plays in bars and bank lobbies and abandoned warehouses, and the big grocery store in Austin would let people do plays down in their basement.
Members of the cast & creative team of Your Mother's Copy of the Kama Sutra answer some burning questions. We'll be updating this space over time, so check back for more!
Kirk Lynn, author of "Your Mother's Copy of the Kama Sutra," talks intimacy, sex, and family, and how all of those things influenced his writing of the play.
I’m a member of the writer’s cult that craves early mornings. 5:00 AM, 4:30 in my most maniacal phases. 4:00 is too early for me, but I only know because I tried.
Quiet. Solitude. Discipline. Darkness. Stubbornness. Stillness.
There are lots of ways to wake up. I love strong, French-press coffee, an ice cube in it so I don’t have to wait for it to cool. And I usually wake up my writing with some small project or exercise I can noodle around with in the first 5, 10, 15 minutes it takes to get my brain cooking. The Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard, who trained as a pianist, called these small projects ‘finger exercises.’
How honest are we about sex? The Kama Sutra of Vātsyāyana is a sacred Hindu text composed about eighteen hundred years ago. It was first published privately in English by an erotophile named Sir Richard Burton in 1883 and began to appear in pirated publications around the same time that Freud published The Interpretation of Dreams. When Burton died, his wife reportedly burned most of his private erotic literature collection. As the most recent translator of The Kama Sutra, Aditya N. D. Haksarhas, points out, most English-speakers only know this ancient text via marketed “Illustrated” publications that highlight the notorious descriptions of copulatory positions that actually comprise only about one twentieth of the original work. A fairer summary would characterize it as a broad survey of sexual and social relationships between men and women. I lay out this bit of world literary history for you to come clean about my own way into Kirk Lynn’s fascinating, insightful, and moving story of a man’s messy journey from marriage to fatherhood.
Perhaps the world’s most obscure guru of actor training, Stella Burden is among some circles the most legendary. The details of her biography are hazy and too weird to be true, but we do know that after decades of teaching in the States she expatriated to South America to found an academy in the jungle. Save for an enigmatic manual for acting students and a catalog of physically hazardous exercises, we’re left with mere fragments of “the other Stella” (as she was known) and her version of “The Method,” which she called “The Approach.”
When asked why it is so interesting to write about sex, playwright Wallace Shawn observed, “Sex is still shocking. Conflict is built into the theme of sex because people’s desires are often at cross-purposes.” Conflict, the very essence of drama, makes the stage an ideal space to explore and perform the myriad faces of human sexuality. By tracing the ways in which theater has treated sex, we can track some changing cultural views of sex through history.