What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Emily Chadick Weiss and I am from Brooklyn, New York.
What are you working on at SPACE?
I am working on a Sloan commission called Silver. It’s about the 2008 Chinese Olympic gymnasts and the signs of determining age.
What, typically, are Sloan commissioned plays for?
The Alfred P. Sloan foundation gives grants to people who are writing plays that have a science element to them. So, mine has a biogerontologist, which is someone who studies the science of aging. It features a former American Olympic gymnast who’s obsessed with the Chinese gymnasts’ ages and she has to figure out the science that she needs to prove that they were underage during the Olympics.
Where do you get the bulk of your research?
I went to the 2008 Olympics, after taking Mandarin, because I felt like I needed to go and write this. I talked to a specialist about the information that different x-rays can give you—for example, a hand x-ray versus a foot x-ray. Puberty also plays a big part in what people’s bones look like, especially for a gymnast because they are pounding on their bones so often that sometimes things don’t show up like they would on a normal 13-year-old girl.
What’s coming up next for you?
I have a production scheduled for March at this new place called the Sheen Center, in Soho. My play is a commission called Good Dancer. It’s commission by this company that focuses on the disabled experience. They wanted to commission some playwrights to create some perspective on that issue because there’s not a lot of good material out there on the disabled experience.
If you could be any farm animal, which would you be and why?
I think I would be a sheep because they’re not as in danger of being eaten. Also, if I saw someone with a wool sweater, I would feel proud to have helped provide them with it.
Interviewed by Stella Gibson.