John Moe
Moe's new play, Subterranean Homesick, debuts this week at Theater Schmeater.

Do you believe in God? "My brother-in-law, who's a devout Christian, says I could describe myself as an agnostic moralist, and most people would find that description palatable."

You mean, you don't know if God exists, but you think people should behave? "Yeah, I think people should behave. I don't know that God doesn't exist."

Why should people behave? "It just makes it so much easier for everybody. It makes things more pleasant."

Are "easy" and "pleasant" the highest possible values in life? "I don't get into ranking values, I think that's a fairly slippery slope. This is what I always imagined it would be like to get an M.F.A. in directing--you'd sit there and old men in tweed jackets would ask you these questions."

I'm not wearing tweed. "The world thanks you for that."

Are you familiar with Orson Welles' speech in The Third Man about how the Medicis' reign of terror resulted in the Italian Renaissance, while all the peace and love in Switzerland only produced the cuckoo clock? "Nope. I try not to read books and things."

It's a movie. "Exactly my point. I thought you were going to ask me about Tampa--there are a lot of references in the play to Tampa, Florida, which becomes synonymous with Hell."

Those references weren't included in the press release. "Uhh--maybe they didn't want to give that away...."

What's the worst job you've ever had? "Sorting mail at the Walla Walla post office at three in the morning. Although I also did a temp job with a company that leased and serviced vending machines, and that was right up there as well."

What was so awful about these jobs? "What it came down to was me. My downfall was always thinking, maybe I can make this fun. Of course, you can't always, and then you're crushing your own soul instead of allowing the company to do it for you--which is a perk they offer free of charge."

Interview by Bret Fetzer