This past Thursday, September 7th at the Bing Theater at LACMA in Los Angeles, Film Independent held a screening of the first two episodes of One Mississippi’s second season.The event was presented by Audi and I definitely arrived in style, as the Audi car I was driven in was comfortable and very aesthetically pleasing.
One Mississippi includes Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno), award-winning playwright and TV writer Kate Robin (Six Feet Under) and hyphenate comedian Louis C.K. The half-hour Amazon comedy stars actress and comedian Tig Notaro. The curious, dry-witted, and tell-it-like-it-is Notaro—who co-created the show with Diablo Cody—blends in elements of her own life in this show, things that she talks about in her stand-up act and the documentary on her. In Mississippi, L.A. radio host Tig (Notaro) returns home to small town Mississippi after her mother dies and ends up staying. And in cruising through the fascinating contradictions of her home, with its confessional and conservative citizens, Tig discovers how much and how little she—and her former home—have changed.
The cast & show runner of the series, Tig Notaro, John Rothman, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Stephanie Allynne, Noah Harpster, Kate Robin, and Carly Jibson were present at the screening – and participated in a Q & A for the audience.
What was one of the hardest moments in creating the series?
TIG: “In the first season there is a moment when I had to leave my mother. I wrote about it in my book as well. The actual moment that you have to leave your mother’s dead body – I know for myself – it felt very unnatural. And I didn’t know how to physically walk away from her, I felt like I was abandoning her, and my brain just went to this place of what do I do? Do I take her with me? Okay I have to exhaust every possibility that’s so not going to happen and it helped me get to a reality that I could actually walk out of that room.”
What did you think of your character when you first read the script?
SHERYL: You used to say, “Wow I look forward to the series about people. About people who just happen to be black.” Now, I get to do this with Tig who is a woman who is gay, who just happens to be gay. And it’s like, “Wow see… I see progress. And I get to be a PART of the progress. And I get to say some stuff that is important for all people.
STEPHANIE: This was very interesting for me, because it’s myself and it’s not myself. I found it very challenging to sort of…find a character that’s myself and not myself but I will say, it is true for myself that I struggle with my own sexuality. I think it’s something I didn’t see before and I had never identified it in myself. I feel very thrilled that there’s a show in which there’s a character going, “Wait. I’m smart, liberal, open minded… how did I miss this in myself?” And to go, “Yeah, you missed it.” And to move forward with my life and it not be a big deal. And I go, “How the hell was that so hard?”
JOHN: All of the characters in their own way are moving forward in life which is great. Obviously to act the character. When the description of Bill which I read in the pilot – Kate says about to introduce Casey to her father, this is a man with a temperament between room temperature and sleep. When I read it, I thought, “Who the hell would think of me for this?!” And my wife said, “Acting! You’re an actor! Find that part of you.”
DIABLO: I was looking at what the stories could be and how I was understanding them, and I felt like sometimes there is an ecosystem of a family that is both comforting, but also can be restrictive in terms of each individuals understanding of truth of who they are because there is an agreement in the family that we do these rules and we support certain family mythologies. I saw the mother as a release valve. It was with her death that Tig could express all of these emotions – that’s why I wanted us to touch on these dark truths in and of itself. It isn’t until these difficult feelings and dark truths have a place to be expressed. To me it was direct progression with her loss and truth coming out.