Kitchen Sink Experiment(s)’ Playwright Colby Day Talks to Crashbox (and solves a math problem!)

Kitchen Sink Experiment(s)’ Playwright Colby Day Talks to Crashbox (and solves a math problem!)

Get to know Colby Day, the writer of our 2015 production, Kitchen Sink Experiment(s). His intimate, weirdly human new work plays on your big scary feelings by putting them (almost but not quite) literally under the microscope. Learn more about the inspiration for this brand new work, coming in Fall 2015, and visit to pledge your generous support.

What was the inspiration for this play?

I started writing this play with Crashbox in mind, when the company asked me to contribute something for your short play festival last summer. I listened to an episode of Snap Judgment (a great podcast, go listen) that mentioned an experiment conducted in I think it was the 50’s, where psychologists just followed a little boy around for a day to try to better understand people in their “natural habitats.” It was a crazy idea at the time, and the experiment kind of crashed and burned, but I was immediately excited by the idea of putting characters under that kind of magnifying glass. I also love writing things that are particularly challenging to me, so I wanted to write something that had very specific rules about how it could unfold, and sticking people together in a little kitchen felt like such a good powder keg of discomfort.

In the play, the scientist is chronicling everything that happens between Simone and Brian. Do you think of your writing in a similar way? Are you trying to record an accurate reflection of human behavior?

What I’m trying to do with my writing is reflect back to people some of their own feelings, generally the scarier, less comfortable ones, and tell them: “Hey, it’s cool. You aren’t a weirdo.” I tend to write worlds that are oddly heightened so that the normal, everyday human-ness of feelings can be a little easier to connect to. With this play in particular I think I was trying to write something very realistic to what people are like when they’re alone in their apartments – a lot of the time they’re talking off stage, or just doing the dishes. I don’t think we get to see enough of those weird little human things in art, which is a shame because I think those end up being such universal things we can grab onto in order to better understand one another.

In the spirit of scientific research, what is something you did today that you wouldn’t want recorded? 

Oh god. Um… I’m debating how candid to be. I have a serious problem lately with waking up and immediately getting on the internet. This morning I probably spent a solid two hours reading blogs before I even got out of bed. It’s a coping mechanism. I am on a really tight writing deadline and instead of dealing with my stress I just sit and watch movie trailers and then read articles about the movie trailers and then scroll through every social media platform I belong to (all of them) to see what my friends think about those movie trailers. It’s a nightmare. I just end up so much more stressed.

Describe your current mood on a scale of 1-3.

2. Definitely.

Have you ever participated in a science experiment?

No! I want to! I conducted experiments in physics in high school (most of which involved Slinkies) but I was hardly a research subject. I did consider applying for NASA’s experiment where they paid volunteers $18,000 to lie in bed for three months but decided I’d get way too anxious stuck in bed.

What do you hope the audience’s experience will be watching Kitchen Sink Experiment(s)?

I really hope it feels like you’re getting to eavesdrop on your neighbors. Almost like there’s a one-way mirror into your neighbor’s apartment and you get to just peek in through the glass for a while. I also hope audience members can walk away thinking or feeling or loving or hating it. Strong feelings are nice sometimes.

Right or left handed?


Heart rate? (You can estimate)

71 BPM

Tell us one secret about this play.

This play has the first sex scene I’ve ever written. And the second. I wrote them both during a family vacation and felt very uncomfortable.

A mad scientist is trying to kill you! You are in an air tight room (150cm X 275cm x 400cm) that is filling with water at a rate of 6.8 liters per second. Your trusty sidekick is running to save you from 800 kilometers away at an average speed of 35 kilometers per hour. Will he make it there in time to save you? Please show your work.