This morning’s New York Post has an article about the British playwright Lucy Prebble, whose latest work, Enron, about the famed corporate symbol of Clinton-era greed, starts New York previews today. Judging from the article’s description (“like vaudeville — a financial circus humming with music, videos and velociraptors”), her play sounds pretty wild, and America’s theatrical cognoscenti look forward eagerly to reading what Media Blog’s favorite drama critic will say about it.
For all her success, though, the 29-year-old Ms. Prebble has a problem. The article begins:
Say what you will about Lucy Prebble, but please don’t call her, as one clueless writer did, “a pretty [Harold] Pinter.”
“Argghhh, I could have torn my eyes out when I read that!” she cries.
“So the most interesting thing about me is, what? That I can smile and wear a skirt?”
In other words, she was compared to one of the 20th century’s most highly regarded playwrights and told that she’s good-looking, and her reaction was to get spitting mad. I can’t believe I haven’t dated this woman.
Yet, to quote William Shakespeare (or, as I like to think of him, “a moustachioed Prebble”), the lady doth protest too much, methinks. About two-thirds of the way through the article, she and the author, Barbara Hoffman, start talking clothes, and it immediately turns into a pajama party:
She may think like a guy, but she sure doesn’t look like one. Making notes at rehearsal the other day, in a tight pink sweater, she could have been an extra in “Mad Men.”
“I basically have an old-fashioned shape — a big arse and a small waist,” she says. “It’s very ’40s and ’50s, and they have great vintage stores here. To get stuff from that era’s good — otherwise I find I can’t get things over my hips, or I can get it over my hips, but it’s too big at the waist.
“I love eating and drinking,” she continues. “What I like about my job is, I could put on 10 pounds and it doesn’t matter, because if the writing’s good, the writing’s good!”
So here’s some advice for Ms. Prebble: If you want to be judged strictly on your work, and insist that any discussion of your appearance is not just irrelevant but insulting, don’t go whining in interviews about the size of your can. Or, alternatively, lighten up a bit and embrace your womanly attributes as a vital part of what makes you so special. After all, you can’t spell “artiste” without “arse” and . . . well, I’ll let you figure it out.