|Review Fix chats with writer Andy Boyd, who discusses his new play, “The Trade Federation: Or, Let’s Explore Globalization Through the Star Wars Prequels.” |
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About the Production:
The Trade Federation is an allegorical comedy about Star Wars. It is also an agit-prop missile hurled at the mechanisms of global capital. Empowering the many and directly confronting a global model that benefits the few, this is a play for anyone who aspires to create change and who’s ever wanted to Strike Back at the Empire.
Review Fix: What was the inspiration for this project?
Andy Boyd: I was actually reading an article on the AV Club that basically was making fun of The Phantom Menace for delving into the economics of this fictional universe. I remember thinking, “huh, that actually sounds pretty interesting!” So the idea of doing something with the Star Wars prequels was planted then. I sort of carried that around in my head for a while, and was also reading a lot about the IMF in books like Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine. I was thinking about how the IMF is able to do really sinister things all around the world partially because they present themselves as this bland, technocratic organization. I realized that the Trade Federation is the same way. It’s actions set off the whole conflict of the first film, and yet nobody really remembers them. So then I decided to write a script about that idea. Arendt calls it “the banality of evil.”
Review Fix: Why do you think Star Wars has endured so long?
Boyd: They’re very good and fun films.
Review Fix: What is your creative process?
Boyd: I write a draft very quickly, then spend the next year or so suddenly realizing something about the script is terrible, and then rushing to my computer to fix it. This happens on the subway, while I’m trying to fall asleep, in political meetings. It’s a very inefficient and stressful process. I also do a ton of research. This play has a bibliography that’s like fifteen books deep.
Review Fix: What did you learn/are learning about yourself through this process?
Boyd: About myself? I guess I learned that it’s very satisfying when I can work on a project that exercises both the theoretical-intellectual side of my brain and the dumb jokes side.
Review Fix: What was the casting process like?
Boyd: We held auditions and then cast people we thought would be good in the play.
Review Fix: What are your ultimate goals for this piece for the future?
Boyd: We’re trying to figure out next steps for the play. We’d love to do another run. If this play becomes a big fringe hit and is revived at every tiny theatre in the country I won’t complain.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Boyd: I’m writing a play about southern radicalism in the Great Depression.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Boyd: Yeah, since you asked, I guess I’ll add that there are actually people living right now in the world who are every bit as evil as Darth Vader or Emperor Palpatine. We have the ability to prevent the vast majority of early deaths in the world, but we don’t do it because we instead prioritize making obscenely rich people even richer. One of my hopes in this play is to leverage the righteous fury we feel in a Star Wars film to encourage change in the real world. If you think you would be one of the resistance against Darth Vader, do it now! Knock on doors for progressive candidates. Join an organization like the Sunrise Movement, DSA, or Jewish Voices for Peace. Throw a brick through Rudy Giuliani’s window. There are so many ways to make the world a better place.