Allison Page on Standing in Lines Sometimes and Eating Pizza Rolls Other Times
An interview with Allison Page from The Write Stuff series:
Allison Page is a writer/actor/playwright/Artistic Director of San Francisco sketch comedy company Killing My Lobster. She is originally from northern, rural Minnesota, has been in the Bay Area for eight years, and spent most of her early 20s as a hairstylist trimming mullets in a Walmart. Her writing has been featured in Women of Letters, Write Club SF, Shipwreck, The SF Olympians Festival, SF Theater Pub and others. Her published works include HILARITY, a full length drama about comedy, and an autobiographical piece in Airmail: Women of Letters from Penguin Australia. Her commissioned full length play KILGALLEN/JONES will have its world premiere in San Francisco at the EXIT Theatre in March of 2017. She is fascinated and terrified by politics. Occasionally she posts things on Medium @AllisonLynnPage.
When people ask what do you do, you tell them…?
If it’s someone I’m going to talk to for more than 10 minutes then I might list a bunch of things: writer/actor/Artistic Director of a sketch comedy company/playwright/director… but if it’s a cab driver I’ll be with for 5 minutes I might just mumble “…writer” and call it good.
What’s your biggest struggle—work or otherwise?
Tricking myself into being productive. If I didn’t trick myself into doing things I would sit on my couch staring at my tv, with my mouth open, watching Gordon Ramsay shows all day. There are so many Gordon Ramsay shows.
If someone said I want to do what you do, what advice would you have for them?
What I usually say is “Here are some fun ways to get started in your chosen field!” because I’m from Minnesota and I can’t help being helpful.
Do you consider yourself successful? Why?
Yes. I think a person’s view of success depends on their goals. My goal is to work at what I love and be happy with that each day, and I am. That’s not me settling for what I have, it’s sincerely what I want. Of course I’ll find other things to want here and there because new goals are good, but when it comes down to it I’m very happy with what I’m doing.
When you’re sad/grumpy/pissed off, what YouTube video makes you feel better?
George Constanza listening to his outgoing voicemail message. And the Rockwell Retro Encabulator video which never gets old.
I’m Norwegian, so mostly my favorite ancestors are based on their names, and I don’t know that much about them. I just love names. Hansina Mandebrekke Iversdotter. That is one person. So I guess she’s my favorite.
Who did you admire when you were 10 years old? What did you want to be?
The answer to both of those questions is The Genie from Aladdin.
Describe your week in the wilderness. It doesn’t have to be ideal.
My real week in the wilderness probably starts with me being stranded there due to some horrible accident or booby trap because I wouldn’t be there on purpose. Then there’s probably some napping. Then crying. Then napping. Then wandering. Then my cold lifeless body is found in a ravine.
Would you ever perform a striptease? Describe some of your moves. Feel free to set the mood.
Probably not but I did once pop out of a birthday cake to absolutely no fanfare. One of my more amusing mistakes. I get a little too excited about birthdays and sometimes I’m more excited than the person whose birthday it is. I don’t think there was any music, just twenty of his silent friends and me with two of my friends, all dressed as burlesque performers. Eventually we fell asleep with our fake eyelashes on. Even in the photos of that night you can kind of tell it’s a disaster.
How much money do you have in your checking account?
Slightly less than what I still owe in taxes from April. That sweet independent contractor life.
What’s wrong with society today?
It feels like the whole world is the space leading to the elevators in The Shining, and each morning we wake up to see them open and watch a wall of blood descend on us. So, ya know, whatever leads to that. Ghosts?
Are you using any medications? If so, which ones?
I didn’t take anything stronger than children’s tylenol until I was probably 25 and I still use medication very infrequently.
What is your fondest memory?
I have a terrible memory, so that’s kind of hard for me to answer.
How many times do you fall in love each day?
It used to be a lot. I was in love with everyone I saw in my early to mid 20s and that sort of slowly petered out in the last several years. I’m pretty glad that’s over. Now I just love people who actually love me. That’s easier.
What would you like to see happen in your lifetime?
Fewer people killing fewer people.
What is art? Is it necessary? Why?
That’s different for everybody, but it is necessary. Because otherwise we’re all just sort of gray masses standing in lines sometimes and eating pizza rolls other times.
What are you working on right now?
I’m writing a play about the current resurgence of true crime and murder as a cultural obsession, all wrapped up in the true story of a journalist from the 60s who thought she had solved the JFK assassination. It’s called KILGALLEN/JONES and it’s being produced in March of 2017 in San Francisco.
What kind of work would you like to do? Or: what kind of writing do you most admire?
I love books of essays. David Rakoff is a hero of mine. I’d love to be able to write a book of essays, but there’s always something with a more pressing deadline so I don’t get far before I have to switch over to something else.
If there were one thing about the Bay Area that you would change, what would it be?
Everything to do with money.
A night on the town: what does that mean to you?
If I’m going out it’s on a Tuesday or something, in an attempt to avoid crowds. I like Library Bar on Sutter. It’s not usually loud, I can write if I want to, and the food and drinks are tasty.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen?
I once saw a one man show with a guy wearing (I think) a Hillary Clinton mask. There was a pile of dirt in the middle of the stage. I have no idea what it meant, but afterward someone told me that he usually takes a dump on the dirt pile but didn’t do it that time because there were children in the audience. I’ll probably never know if that’s true.
What can you do with 50 words? 50 dollars?
Sometimes I can do more with 50 words than I can with 500. And with 50 dollars I can get a lot of iced coffee.
What are some of your favorite smells?
Coffee. Rubber. Flowerbomb (perfume that doesn’t really smell like flowers). Cinnamon. Clean laundry. Egregiously overpriced shampoo.
If you got an all expenses paid life experience of your choice, what would it be?
I want to go to what I assume is the weird little town in Norway my family came from, though I’d probably spend the whole time trying to avoid different kinds of pickled fish. I haven’t actually put much effort into looking stuff up about it so it might not be little or weird but I’d bet anything there’s pickled fish.