Kristin Slaney is an elusive subway conductor: you will hear her voice, but you won't see her. Recently landing at Columbia University's playwright program in New York, the Fringe Fest veteran was here long enough to get L: A Fragmentation Subway Waltz on the tracks. In the able hands of director Keelin Jack, starring Lesley Smith as L, Slaney wrote the play this winter after spending time in Montreal.
"I have always been fascinated by the subway. It's this bizarre form of being thrown together with other people, but at the same time, it's like a separate form of society," she says of the play's setting on the Metro, as Dr. Eleanor Gerard-Goldman struggles with ideas of fragmentation, science and identity.
"I found the city fascinating, particularly the division between two languages. Part of this show is about someone who grows up in a divided home. One parent is French-Catholic; the other is Jewish and speaks only English. Neither of them wants their daughter to absorb more culture of the other parent."
The tendency for people to be pulled in opposite directions is manifested in the character of L. While she won't be able to attend the show, presented by Once Upon a Theatre Collective to which both Slaney and Smith belong, Slaney is confident in the skills of Smith and Jack to make all the stops.
"Keelin is the kind of director who takes every stage direction as a challenge, she is so sharp," says Slaney. "And I really love watching Lesley on stage. She has a great energy, she's excited to play. And she loves to be goofy and throw herself into the deep end. She really got what I was going for."