PLAYWRIGHT BOBBY KENISTON TALKS ABOUT “THE DARK TOWER”
Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS PLAY?
A: I have always been a fan of the poem, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came” by Robert Browning. The imagery is so vivid. When I did research about the origin of Roland and the Dark Tower (perhaps as a Maine boy, like Stephen King, I have a natural curiosity about all things Dark Tower!), I was fascinated to learn that the old nursery tale had some links to Arthurian legends, which I also love. It seemed natural for me to try to write a very “complete,” almost “ultimate” version of Roland at the Dark Tower.
Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PART OR LINE IN THE PLAY? WHY?
A: I would have to say that I love the scene with Oliver, a king to whom Roland is an advisor. He is so arrogant and unaware of his insensitivity, but yet so confident and in-charge. Of course, I also love the scenes with Nimue, better known as “The Lady of the Lake.”
Q: WHERE DID THE CHARACTERS COME FROM?
A: Many of the characters are directly from the old tale of Childe Roland. I have played with them a bit, of course. The Sisters at the Dark Tower are based on Thorton Wilder's playlet “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” though I added a sister, and gave them slightly different personalities. Characters such as Susannah, Cuthbert, Ellen, and Young Wart (who is a play on the young King Arthur from “The Once and Future King”), are from my imagination.
Q: WHAT DID YOU TRY TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS PLAY?
A: To write a definitive “Dark Tower” story, of course. However, I also wanted to address the issue of immortality--- is it worth it to be immortal? It's not an easy question, but the hero of this show has definitely come to crave the release after ages alive.
Q: DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD?
A: This is a challenging piece, but also very simple to stage. I believe it is a great opportunity to learn about deep character development, and playing with heightened language. This is a play that can be as visually arresting with creative lighting and a simple set, as it is (hopefully), emotionally arresting with its characters and dialogue.