Matthew Lopez and Kyle Soller’s The Inheritance Play Is Like Netflix Series
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Matthew Lopez and Kyle Soller’s The Inheritance Play Is Like Netflix Series

-“The Inheritance.”
Matthew, you wrote it. Kyle, you’re one of the stars of
this great play. I was there opening night.
-You were. -And do you remember?
We met each other. Do you remember?
-I did. I accosted you
after Part 1 ended. And, well, it was so
funny because — no spoilers — but, usually, people finish
the first part of the play in a bit of an emotional state. And I saw you,
and you were covered in tears and your eyes were all red. And I thought to myself,
“I can get anything out of this guy right now.” I can get a loan, a car,
anything I want. -He’s vulnerable
right now, yeah. -Very, very vulnerable. -It crushes! The end of the —
I should say that this play is actually two separate plays,
if you want to, right? -Yeah, two different plays. -I saw them both in
the same day for a total of — I think it was like
6 1/2 hours total. But you don’t have to do that.
-No, no, no. It’s — You can do whatever
you want. -Yeah, that’s very nice.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. You can just come and go
as you please. No, actually, well, the thing
is, is that it is one big play, but we also think of them
as two separate plays. They’re two
very different plays. And, so, you know, when people
see a 6-1/2-hour play, they think, “Oh, my God. I’m never going to get home.” And we like to
think of it as, actually, Season 1 of “The Inheritance” and Season 2 of
“The Inheritance.” -Okay, yeah. So it’s like binge-watching
on Netflix. -It’s exactly like that.
-Okay, perfect. -So you, like,
come watch Season 1, and if you like it, then you can
come back and watch Season 2. -Start your subscription
to Season 2. -Yeah, exactly. One of the things that happened
to us in London was that people would come see Part 1, and there would be
a Part 2 later that night. And after Part 1 was over,
there’d be a line at the box office of people
wanting to get tickets to Part 2 that night. So we are very confident that if
you just buy a ticket to Part 1, that we are not going
to have any trouble selling you tickets to Part 2. -Yeah, yeah. It is that great.
And the cast is that great. And you are fantastic. But, I mean,
you love every performance. Everyone — You kind of feel
like you get to know them by the first three hours. -Yeah, I’d never read
a play like it. It fully fleshed out characters that are completely
three-dimensional and hilarious and heart-breaking in
equal measure. -Oh, my gosh. It’s really laugh out loud,
like — But, I mean, also, I will say, in London,
by the way, you had a great run. “The Telegraph” called it “perhaps the most important
American play of the century.” [ Cheers and applause ]
That’s a quote forever. Forever, that’s a quote.
-I know. I’m so glad I got my mom that
job at “The Telegraph.” -Yeah, right? -“Mom, they got a job opening at
‘The Telegraph.'” -Really, really good idea of me.
-What is the play about? Can you set it up
at all without ruining it? -Yeah, absolutely. No, I can. So, well, the story —
So, it’s based on a novel called “Howards End”
by E.M. Forster, which is a novel that was
written in 1910. And, so, when I was a teenager,
there was a movie version of “Howards End” that came out with Anthony Hopkins
and Emma Thompson. And I heard about it.
And I was a teenager. And I asked my mom
to take me to see it. And she was like,
“‘Howards End’? Is this a porno that you’re
asking me to take you to see?” It’s got a weird name, right?
-And you’re like, “No, mom.” -Yeah, no, no. So, she took me to church first,
just in case. -Just in case it was?
-Just in case. And then we went to see
the movie. And the movie just absolutely
changed my little teenage life. And I read the book. And my mother is
a schoolteacher, so she brought me the book. And I just fell in love with it. And one of the things that I
realized later in life is that maybe —
I was like in my late 20s — is that E.M. Forster was gay
and closeted all his life. And he wrote about things that
were outside of his experience because he couldn’t write about
the own truths of his life. And so I thought,
“Well, you know what I’ll do? I’ll take my favorite novel and I’ll update it
to the present day. I’ll take all the characters —
there’s, like, straight people from different
social classes — and I will turn it into
a story about gay men from three different
generations.” And, really, what it’s about
for me is — what does it mean to be a
gay man in the 21st century, in the shadow of AIDS,
growing up watching this happen, and now being also of an age
where there are young, gay men younger than me? And, suddenly, people are
asking me for advice, and the way I did with
older people. So I poured it all
into this play. -Yeah, it’s just amazing,
every performance, but, man, you knock it out
of the park, buddy. Kyle, it’s so emotional
at the end. I didn’t come back to say hi
to you at the end ’cause I figured
you’d done enough for me. But do you feel —
When did you feel like, “Oh, this is powerful. Like, this is –” -As soon as I found out that
I was going to be playing Emma Thompson, basically. -Yeah. We all want to be
Emma Thompson, yeah. -I’ve peaked.
Like, my life’s changed. -But, I mean, you — I mean,
but do you look in the crowd and just go like, “Oh, my gosh.” ‘Cause, I mean,
everyone was just weeping, especially at the end of
the first play. -Yeah. Man, I’ve never, ever
been part of something that breaks the boundary between
audience and performers like this play does. And it doesn’t break it, but it just actually brings
us together, and there’s a
real communion that happens. And we can hear
the audience reactions, and they’re
very vocal throughout the entire performance
and they’re laughing and they’re gasping
and they’re weeping openly. And it’s
incredibly powerful, man. -I think the laughter —
You would speak for that, but I think it helps the play
because it kind of lets you let your guard down
for a little bit. -Yeah, well, you know,
I discovered — I mean — Well, listen,
I’m Puerto Rican. And, so, we know
two languages — hilarity and calamity, right? -Yeah.
-The only two languages we know. And so I was like, “Well, we’ll
just put that into this play.” And, you know, I knew that,
like, if I was going to tell this story —
And there’s some serious things that we talk about. We talk about loss and
we talk about what it means to inherit things
from a previous generation and leave it to the next. But I also knew that if
I was going to ask people to sit in an audience
for that long, I also needed
to make them laugh. -If there’s one message
that you think everyone should take away from this play,
what do you think it would be? -I mean, I’ve been asked to try
to describe the play in three words, which seems
really impossible. But the three words I always
land on are love, loss, and hope. It’s trying to bridge
generations together, regarding the past,
looking back on our mistakes, being honest about them, trying to heal and forge
a better future together. And, honestly, a play that is
about trying to be good and having love
for your fellow person. It’s exactly the kind of play we
need right now, in my opinion. -I agree.
[ Cheers and applause ] Do you agree? Same? -Yeah, I mean — Well,
first of all, thank you. That’s flattering. -You’re the one that won
all the awards. -Oh, stop. No, but I think that, you know,
for me, I could sum it up with a line that the character
of E.M. Forster, who’s in the play,
actually says, which is, “You have no idea
which lives you will touch and which ones you will save.” And I think that’s true
of so many lives and it’s true of people that we
lost to the epidemic in the ’80s and the ’90s and it’s true of the people
in our life — our children, our parents. It’s all a legacy. And I think that we ask people
to come to the theater and think about legacy
and think about what’s been left them
and what’s their responsibility to leave to the next generation? -Go check it out —
“The Inheritance.” Well-said.
Matthew Lopez, Kyle Soller. Go to see “The Inheritance,”
Part 1 or Part 2 — doesn’t matter. Go check them all out. Playing right now at
the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. It is awesome.


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