What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Chiara Atik and I’m from California. I live in New York now.
Where did you go to school?
NYU, for Playwriting.
What project have you been working on at SPACE?
I’ve been working on a webseries.
What is it about?
It’s called Transcendental Wild Oats and it takes place on a farm in the 1840s. It’s about a utopian society. It’s sort of like a commune, they’re sort of like the hipsters of the 19th century and it’s a very very very naturalistic comedy.
Have you ever done a webseries before?
How have you been spending your time at SPACE?
Well, because I’m writing something that takes place on a farm and something that’s sort of period—which believe it or not I had this idea before I came here and I in coming here had been told that it would probably be a good place to think about that. And I was going to work on another play while I was here and then Graeme pulled me aside and told me I should really use this opportunity to work on this project. So a lot of it has been sort of walking around and poking around. Walking around the fields and I volunteered for a day working on the farm. For a day…ha…for the morning. And looking around the house. And it’s been very interesting and thought-provoking and it’s been cool to not leave the property for a week.
Anything you didn’t know about farming that you learned on the farm?
Yeah, a lot. Lettuce season is in June. I mean I learned all about the history and the family, which is not at all what I’m writing about but that was still interesting.
How have you been spending your free time?
Oh! Well we played hide and go seek yesterday and I SMOKED everyone. It was so fun and so validating. And I made- I think like at least 80% of the people on this property take the Harry Potter “Which house are you in?” test.
And which one are you in?
I was Ravenclaw. But that was fulfilling because I really feel like I infiltrated to the point where I don’t even bring it up now but people are resentfully talking about it constantly and are like super resentful how that’s become like a major theme of our week here. It’s like suicide bombing people’s productivity.
What’s coming up next for you?
I wrote a play called Women, which is a mash-up of HBO’s Girls and Little Women that was in New york in the winter and was in LA earlier this year and is coming back to LA for an 8-week run.
Are you working on it?
Do you like going to see productions that you haven’t worked on?
Yes! Very much. It hasn’t happened to me a lot. But yes. I think there is probably a tipping point where it becomes a regular enough occurrence that you can be blasé about it. But I’m a little bit far away from that. So I think its super cool.
Where is your favorite place to work here on the farm?
I’ve been working from a chair, a solitary chair behind Kay Hall by the path that leads to the other chicken coop area. But that’s where I got my farmer’s tan, so I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody else.
Have you found that being here with Youngblood has been helpful to you?
NO. Haha. Actually, yeah…there was one morning where I sort of felt stuck because I felt there was something I should be working on versus what I wanted to be working on. And I went down to the lake where people were hanging out. Patrick Link and Anna Moench took me for a canoe ride, and it was like a little therapy session trip around the lake where I told what I was working on and why I was hesitant about it and all my anxieties about it and they just calmly listened to it and encouraged me to work on the other project. So that was kind of nice and then they took me to the dock and I went on my merry way.
If you were reincarnated as a farm animal what animal would you be and why?
I think I would like to be a sheep dog…very much. And I know that there are dogs here a lot. It just seems like fun. You know, you work hard for your food at the end of the day and you’re respected and a part of the team. And I like sheep. And I also like getting people to do things, so I think that would be sort of fun to be like: “Go left!” and then have a flock of sheep go left. This is going to make me sound like a psychopath!
Interviewed by Michael Calciano.