TINA SATTER, It occurred to me as I read this transcript that it may make an excellent play. On the page, it was awe-inspiring. As a result of its interrogatory nature, it had coughs, stutters, weird cat-related digressions, and revelations. All of it was there.
Luis Hnath If my memory serves me correctly, there were no corners cut.
SATTER Nothing was shaved off the top.
HNATH It’s not exactly the transcript with mine. There’s enough content here to fill several days. So, in addition to cutting, reordering is an option. In order to convey a tale, I split up the words into small bits and then organise them in a way that makes sense to me.
COLLINS-HUGHES How long was Reality Winner’s interview with the FBI agents?
SATTER We don’t know for sure. The way we do it, it only takes about an hour and a half. So that’s the strange thing. According to the play’s ending quotation, [one of the agent characters] cut the recording at exactly five minutes and seventeen seconds into the show’s runtime.
COLLINS-HUGHES To get at unpleasant and enraging truths, you both employ a surrealist tone.
SATTER In the play, we constantly ask ourselves: “What am I, and then us, as a collective, imagining Reality to be feeling?” Imagine talking about monkeys and then being asked about a crime you’ve committed and attempting to avoid admitting that you did it. We felt that we had to always maintain the surrealness of her thoughts in that tension. It had the same filmic, surreal quality to it as you may have in your body when experiencing stress in the split second. We wanted to know: Is it possible for this to happen at this stage?
HNATH The physical technique is what makes your piece so distinct. You must have done some research into how F.B.I. agents secure a space physically, as I strongly suspected while watching it.
SATTER We didn’t do any research, that much I can say. I was curious to know what this script could accomplish for me. Once the cast had been selected and the three male agents, along with Emily as Reality, had gathered in a conference room, the issue arose: Should we? There are so many FBI idioms etched on our features. That’s not a secret to us. We, on the other hand, wished to experience what they were as actors.