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LAist Interview: Playwright Kyle T. Wilson, Writer of "Walking Into Traffic"

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Ever wonder how your local news anchor could read the horrifying details of the latest terrorist attack, natural disaster or political scandal without breaking down and screaming their head off? Playwright, Kyle T. Wilson did, and penned a very funny play in the process, “Walking Into Traffic.” Directed by Chris Covics who was recently named one of the top ten artists to watch in Los Angeles by L.A. Stage Magazine, “Walking into Traffic” is a humorous look at the media and the effect it has on our culture.

Kyle took some time to speak with LAist about this fast paced comedy that can be seen at the Unknown Theater and stars Unknown Theater ensemble members Ed Dyer, Todd Gallahan, Sasha Harris, Kyle Ingleman, Shelby Janes, Craig Johnson, Joe Nicchi, and Goreti da Silva.

What was the inspiration for "Walking Into Traffic"?
I guess the most specific inspiration would be last year's news cycle. The Israeli, Hezbollah, bombing campaign really impacted me for some reason. I listen to the radio everyday, that's where I get the bulk of my news. While listening I just had this idea of this woman breaking down while reading the news. It really is amazing me to how stoic and monotone newsreaders can be while reading such horrific news. From there I had to come up with who would be on the other end listening to this, and I came up with the Bart (played by Dyer) character

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Do you feel that Los Angeles is the perfect setting for this story?
Yes actually. I think Los Angeles is particularly interesting. You have traffic, the weather, bad cell phone reception. These are all things that are central to LA that frustrate these characters. These things plus living in LA in general allows ourselves to be held back from communicating and relating with other people. I think all cities have those predicaments, but I live in LA so I experience this first hand everyday. In particular, we have a bit about losing cell phone reception. Chris the director and I were having a phone conversation about the direction of the play and we were both consistently losing cell phone reception. Chris jokingly said, “This would make for a good bit for the play,” I say jokingly because that exact bit was already written into the play. One of the things that drives this play is the intersection of political and personal, and the ways people try to connect, and that’s what drives LA.