Martyna Majok's Play Reflects Her View on the American Dream

Steve Adubato goes one-on-one with playwright, Martyna Majok, to discuss how her new play "Queens" at the Claire Tow Theater in Lincoln Center, reflects her immigrant experience and views on what the "American dream" means to herself and others.

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"We are pleased to welcome Martyna Majok, who is a playwright, and she has a new play called Queens. It's playing at the...? LCT3 Theater at Lincoln Center at the Claire Tow Theater. We are right here in Lincoln Center? Yeah yeah! [laughter] Who are you? And you, in fact, come from Poland? I do. Originally? Yeah. You settled in beautiful Kearny, New Jersey. That's right. Which I know well, because I'm from the next town over... That's right. Newark. We're friends, yes. Harrison is in between? Yeah yeah, it depends on where you are. Yeah. Yeah. Is it true there is a bar at every corner in Harrison? You don't know these things. I guess. Yeah, I mean listen, I was like, I mean, I mean no, right? Because I never went to bars when I was in... You did not? No. Describe the neighborhood you grew up in, in Kearny. It's k-e-a-r-n...? ...y. Y. Go ahead. Yeah yeah, no easy list, so a big like immigrant neighborhood, working class, everybody was from somewhere else, like a thing that I would notice is that while kids were learning to to walk, their parents were learning to speak English. That's right. Like a lot of other things. So yeah. Like a big... A melting pot? Yeah, yeah, everyone was from somewhere else, which was really, I think there's a lot of places that like well... there'll be one specific immigrant nationality in a place where it's like... That's right. ...this was everybody from everywhere so... Because my neighborhood in Newark was virtually all Italian, there was always one Irish kid. Yeah. [laughter] But it was, but you had a real true melting pot? Yeah. Describe the play. Queens is a three act, three hour play. I swear it's funny. About... I swear it's funny? [laughter] Like all my plays are like these like seemingly depressing sad stories like, it's like my friend calls them "hear me out plays." It's like I have to like tell you what it's about, because I say, "Hear me out! It's funny!" That's right. Like, "It's entertaining!" So it's... but this is funny? It's funny, yeah it's funny. Okay. It's funny, you know. Got it. You need humor, you need humor for like these... for political theater. Where does your humor come from? Deep sadness, and... [laughter] Stop! No, like... you, like... this is, I guess like a hard upbringing, I think it's like you... your... my perspective about what's funny like, it has to cost you something, like somebody... somebody's... what they find... what they find funny has to do with their experiences growing up. And so like, if your..."