Closet Land

Institute History

  • 1990 January Screenwriters Lab


Closet Land explores both political interrogation and the abuse of a people by their state.

The setting is a small room where the Man, the state’s interrogator, confronts his victim, the Woman—an author of children’s fiction. The Woman has ostensibly been brought in for her short story, “Closet Land,” which deals with the escapist fantasies of a small child locked in her mother’s closet. The state has chosen to interpret his harmless piece of fiction as political propaganda. Thus begins the Woman’s ninety-minute odyssey of pain and humiliation.

Ironically, the process of political interrogation forces the Woman—a political ingenue—to a state of heightened political and personal awareness. To fight the Man, she is forced to literally dig deep into her ‘closet’ of childhood fears and terrors and bring to light crimes and aggressions she has schooled herself to forget. She realizes that eternal vigilance and self-awareness is the price that must be paid for freedom—not just on a superficial political level, but also in terms of one’s life and most intimate thoughts. Since the purpose of political torture is the annihilation of the individual, the only weapon that such an individual has at his/her disposal lies in reclaiming the integrity of his/her mind.

By linking large-scale political violence to a very private, individual act of abuse, Closet Land encompasses the home and the world, speaking out against torture and aggression in both spheres.


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