SQUATTERS written, directed, and featuring Joshua Crone enjoyed international success as a play in Germany and London and a film version was made of the latter. Now it comes to America for the very first time in this limited run at NY’s NuBox Theatre 754 Ninth Ave. (Fourth Floor) on Friday, September 28 @ 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, September 29 @ 3;00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday, September 30 @ 3:00 p.m.
Ground Zero, Late September 2001. After a few drinks in a downtown New York bar, a young man takes his date home to his “squat,” an empty flat in a high-rise building overlooking Ground Zero. Is this a one-night stand … or have they met before?
This darkly comic play by international filmmaker and stage artist, Joshua Crone, looks at the events surrounding 9/11 and the subsequent mass hysteria that swept across America and the world in the wake of the attacks.
911 was 17 years ago. Where are we now… and why.
Joshua Crone, busy readying this American premiere – and starring in it as well – gave us a some time to chat.
Joshua Crone with Dori Levit in the American premiere of Squatters
Tell Us About Yourself as an Artist
In a high school English class I volunteered to read the part of Willy Loman, and that decided my fate. My first play was staged in a basement in London, my second in a basement in Krakow. Others followed, in Krakow, Berlin, London. I went to film school in Lodz because I wanted to learn to tell stories visually. It’s a hard lesson for a writer. In Los Angeles I combined theater and film in two plays and directed my first feature. Then I came to New York.
What made you decide to write such a piece?
A need to break free of the past. I was in midtown Manhattan the morning of 9/11. The question “What does this mean?” became an obsession that drove me to study philosophy and, when that failed to supply answers, inspired me to write Squattersseven years later.
Tell us something about this or you that doesn’t appear in the press release?
The Berlin/London production came about because German director Lydia Ziemke needed someone to split a venue rental for a London staging of Dea Loher’s Land Without Words. Lydia had directed my short play In Other Words at the English Theatre Berlin, and we decided to collaborate.
How did the production do overseas? Germany, England? How did it feel to make it into a video for all posterity?
The show did well in both countries, though the runs were short. German audiences wanted to know what it meant and English audiences wanted to know what really happened. The video got me into film school, but I made it to preserve the moment. I still get chills watching English actors Alexander Hulme and Leah Harounoff play their American doppelgangers.
Let’s get to the elephant in the room; any backlash from doing a piece about 911?
Not yet, but then this is the New York premiere.
Did you feel a different level of responsibility in covering such a topic?
If by responsibility you mean avoiding offense, then no. If you mean approaching the topic with a sincere desire to explore the causes, implications and underlying psychology, then yes.
How has the world changed since 911 … in your opinion.
Paranoia now passes for common sense. Security trumps liberty. I could go on…
I’m working on A Farewell Tour, my second feature. It’s a film about the death of a Japanese-American tour guide, an estranged member of an ancient family of Noh actors.