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Interview With Linda Hartinian and Frier McCollister About Their Play Flow My Tears the Policeman Said

Interview With Linda Hartinian and Frier McCollister About Their Play Flow My Tears the Policeman Said

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Published by: Frank Bertrand on Aug 18, 2011
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01/17/2013

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Interview withLinda Hartinian & Frier McCollisterAbout Their Stage Play Flow My Tears The Policeman Said
Transcribed and edited byFrank C. Bertrand
 
Note:
Linda Hartinian is the author of the the stage play
Flow My Tears the Policeman Said 
based on the Philip K. Dick novel. The play was firstput on in New York by Mabou Mines in 1988. Linda was also a closefriend of PKD. Frank Bertrand transcribed this interview from a 1999 radiointerview with Linda and producer Frier McCollister.[source:
Cartoon Pleroma 
, KUCI, 88.9 FM, Irvine, California, May 3, 1999]
 
Robert Larson:
Welcome to
Cartoon Pleroma 
on KUCI, 88.9 FM in Irvine. Thisis Robert Larson on your Monday evening, May 3rd, 1999. What've we got linedup for you this evening? Well, I went and saw this play the other evening that justwas really really wonderful. And this is playing at the historic Ivy Sub Station inCulver City. It's called
Flow My Tears The Policeman Said 
. And it's adapted froma Philip K. Dick story. As we've discussed here in the past Philip K. Dick storiesmore often than not make you question nearly all assumptions about what is real.This stage version is definitely true to that form. So we've got lined up for you thisevening the producer, Frier McCollister, and on the line from New York, LindaHartinian, who adapted this story for the stage. We'll have them up for you in justa moment. First I'd like to remind you that the opinions expressed on thisprogram are not necessarily those of the KUCI staff or management, or the UCBoard of Regents. So, Frier, do we have you hooked up?
Frier McCollister:
Yes.
RL:
Welcome to the show.
FM:
Thank you Robert for having me.
RL:
You're quite welcome. And, Linda, we got you hooked up?
Linda Hartinian:
Yes sir.
RL:
Okay. Speak up just a tad.
LH:
Okay, how's this?
RL:
Yeah, that's better. And welcome to you.
LH:
Thank you.
RL:
And so, Frier you want to tell us a little bit about your background before weget into this?
FM:
Well, sure I'm an independent theatrical producer and manager based in LosAngeles right now. I've been out here for four years and came out here from NewYork where I had the privilege of working with the Mabou Mines TheaterCompany, a very well established avant garde company, with which Linda has along association. And her adaptation of the play that we are currently presentingwas originally adapted and presented by Mabou Mines, first in Boston and thenin New York. Linda can sort of give a little bit more background in terms of that
 
production history. And I had the privilege of working with Mabou Mines as acompany manager in the late 80s and worked very closely with Lee Breuer,who's one of the founding members, both as a manager and as an assistantdirector. Came out here in 1994 and began following the work of a local theatercompany called the Evidence Room, which is the company that'spresenting
Flow My Tears 
in Los Angeles right now. And I had of course seenMabou Mines' production of
Flow My Tears 
in New York, in I believe it was 1988.I was very impressed with it and was very impressed from a producing point ofview with the fact that it sold extremely well and was very popular and had greatappeal among the fans of Philip K. Dick.Since arriving in Los Angeles and following the work of the Evidence Room andgetting to know the artistic director Bart DeLorenzo, I had gotten wind that Bartwas looking at
Flow My Tears 
as a possibility to present in an upcoming season,and talked to him about it and encouraged him in the idea and expressed mydesire to be involved with it. And this is the first production that I've worked withthe Evidence Room as producer. I am hoping to continue that association. Butthat's pretty much my background with the piece.
RL:
Okay, and Linda you want to give us a little of your background?
LH:
Well, I met Phil years ago when I was in my early twenties, before I went towork for Mabou Mines. And he was a wonderful person who meant an awful lotto me. So I was in my early twenties and I met Phil and we became friends. Ibecame friends with him and his wife Tessa. And then I went to work in NewYork and I met Mabou Mines and I started working with them. I wanted to getthem together and I wanted Phil to write a piece for Mabou Mines. Andunfortunately he died before he could do it. So my idea was to make a kind ofmemorial to him by doing the piece anyway, and doing the best that I could inadapting it myself. And that's what we did.
RL:
Well, we'll get into your relationship with Phil a little bit more in just a little bit.But first I want to talk about the play that's currently running now. Frier that'sgoing to be going on until May 16th?
FM:
That's correct. Runs through Sunday, May 16th. We're currently runningThursday through Sundays at eight o'clock and we're selling quite well, so if thelisteners are interested in coming they should make the reservations soon.
RL:
Okay, and the phone number for that?
FM:
Phone number for reservations is XXX-535-4996. Just tell us how manytickets you need and which day your interested in coming and we will return yourcall to confirm the reservations.
RL:
Frier I want to ask you, was there something in particular about thestory
Flow My Tears 
that really spoke to you, that made you want to produce thispiece?
FM:
Well, there's sort of a two-fold motive going on with me in that. And first of allis my interest, my very sincere interests in the writings of Philip K. Dick. I wasfamiliar with him and his writing, actually prior to learning that Mabou Mines hada production of
Flow My Tears 
. And then seeing their production and seeing howpopular it was, again from a producing point of view, really intrigued me, frankly,of the commercial viability of doing his work. But first and foremost I find his
 
writing particularly compelling and my interest honestly in his writing came lessout of any orientation toward science fiction writing for the most part as in myhappening to stumble on his personal story of the sort of religious visionaryexperiences that he had commencing in 1974. And the story of that episode andthe influence that it subsequently had on his writing compelled me to beginreading him.So when I learned that Mabou Mines had a production of this piece I becameparticularly intrigued with it. And then in seeing how popular it was I became veryinterested in the idea of the possibility of remounting it and had actuallydiscussed that, before actually coming out to Los Angeles, with Bill Raymondwho is the director of the piece in New York. That never transpired in New York,obviously, and then by coincidence I happened to become acquainted with theEvidence Room and Bart had expressed interest. So, but you asked mespecifically in terms of what it was about this piece. In general, again, it wasinformed by my interests in his writings as it was colored by my fascination withhis personal story. And then...
RL:
As Phil Dick in general...
FM:
As we began preparing in the very initial stages of pre-production for thisshow I began doing a little bit more research on
Flow My Tears 
specifically andhow it fit into Philip K. Dick's framework and sensibility of his own worksubsequent to what has become known as the February 3rd '74 episode. And infact it turns out that the book figured quite significantly in how he sought to makesense of his experience essentially. And, yeah, I can go into that a little bit more.But honestly as I began to learn a little bit more about sort of the significance ofthe novel to him it became that much more compelling and interesting to me aswe approached mounting the play.
RL:
So there was this in general real fascination with all of his work, but
Flow My Tears 
seemed to have a lot of things built into it that made it a very viable projectfor you.
FM:
Well, again, there was a bi-fold sort of motivation. And again it was, for me,principally informed by my fascination with the work and my own specificinterests in Philip K. Dick's writing which really stems from his own personalexperience, his series of visions that he experienced in 1974, which occurredactually one week following the publication of
Flow My Tears 
in 1974. And
Flow My Tears 
becomes sort of the initial text that begins the series of his later workthat all has to do with basically the content of his visions and his efforts at makingsense of them. And then, as I also indicated, from a producing point of view I wasparticularly interested in mounting this piece because it, number one, is the onlyauthorized dramatic adaptation of a Philip K. Dick piece. It is also obvious, as I just indicated a very significant work in his oeuvre and beyond that, from aproducing perspective, I felt that it was potentially a very popular piece. And infact that's proven to be the case.
RL:
Linda, you wrote this adaptation of
Flow My Tears 
several years ago andthere've been several different productions of it in different cities over the years.How did you come to actually write the adaptation?
LH:
Well, we just sat down and we started. What I tried to do, because I'm not

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