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1000 PLAYWRIGHT INTERVIEWS

1000 Playwright Interviews The first interview I posted was on June 3, 2009.  It was Jimmy Comtois.  I decided I would start interview...

Feb 12, 2019

I Interview Playwrights Part 1025: Asher Wyndham





Asher Wyndham

Hometown: “Hometown”? “The town where you grew up?”? I was born in a village called Grafton in Ontario, Canada. Or: “The town where I spend most of your time?”? If that, see Current Town.

Current Town: Minneapolis, MN.

Q:  What are you working on now?

A: I’m working on my multi-volume work SOME AMERICANS: SOME MONOLOGUES. Each volume has about 2-3 hours worth of monologues, each ranging from 5 to 25 minutes, each volume with common themes.

They are not intended for audition, but I have cuts available for audition.

A director can choose which monologues to produce and choose the order.

I’m revising Volume 1 so I can send it out to publishers. This volume has six monologues.

I’m writing more monologues for Volume 2 (about bad/tough jobs). Right now it has eleven monologues.

Volume 3 consists of monologues for women.

While not working on that larger project, I write monologues for adults that don’t belong to those volumes. Also monologues for kids and teens (SOME KIDS: SOME MONOLOGUES) intended for classroom use and competition.

You can check out these monologues my New Play Exchange page or my website www.robotwriter.co.

Q:  You are kind of a genius at making friends and making waves on the New Play Exchange. How do you do it and how can other playwrights emulate you?

A:  Thanks!

Here is a short list with some suggestions, many of which deal with how to make friends and “waves” on NPX, some are just best practices:

1. Read/recommend plays by your friends.

2. R/R plays recommended by your friends.

3. R/R plays by playwrights that you admire.

4. R/R plays by playwrights you have met at conferences.

5. R/R plays by playwrights whose work was staged read or developed in your city.

6. Recommend plays that you saw immediately after watching it. You can do this on the bus ride or Uber home.

7. R/R play that you’ve found on lists such as The Kilroys’ List, Steppenwolf’s The Mix List, etc. Many of them are on NPX.

8. Meet playwrights and ask, “Are you on NPX?” If so, read each other's work.

9. R/R local playwrights.

10. R/R plays by playwrights you don’t know! NPX for a few weeks has a recommended list of plays or a randomly chosen play.

11. Recommend NPX to your writing group. And when their plays are up on the site, read and recommend them.

12. R/R plays by people that complain on Facebook that no is reading their plays.

13. After recommending several plays choose your top ten and list them on Facebook and Twitter. I usually do this after reading 100 plays. You could recommend works by length and genre.

14. If a play is WOW recommend it, tweet it, post it, talk about it in the theatre lobby, tell an actor, tell a producer, tell a director, etc.

15. Read every day or maybe a few times a week: there are short plays that you can read on the bus, before going to bed, while the eggs are boiling.

16. Don't over complicate your tags. These tags are words that the theatre artists such an artistic director searches for. Mention only subjects.

17. Upload blind drafts. These are for play opps. Some theatres will only read blind drafts. (This will take time. I haven’t done this to every play yet.

18. Provide your NPX link to every email you send out to a theatre professional.

19. Add your NPX address to your resume.

20. Mention NPX on your website if you have one.

21. Mention length and genre in synopsis of play.

22. I don’t recommend samples, only full-scripts.

23. If something awesome has come from NPX such as a reading or production, share the love on Facebook and Twitter. You can mention @NewPlayX in your Tweet.

24. Participate in reading challenges. Join Nelson Diaz-Marcano's NPX Challenge group on Facebook.

25. Start a reading challenge with NPX friends.

26. Add your NPX address to your business card.

27. R/R plays written by young playwrights -- playwrights under 20.

28. R/R plays written by LGBTQnb2s+ playwrights.

29. R/R plays written by playwrights of color.

30. R/R plays written by American indigenous/Native American playwrights. Remember you’re on stole, colonized land.

31. R/R plays written by playwrights with disability.

32. R/R plays written by playwrights that challenge the status quo, that play with structure, that have transgressive ideas, etc. R/R problematic plays, plays that are challenging in some way. Study these plays, learn from them.

33. R/R plays written by member playwrights that are sad. Make their day!

34. If a student of a MFA program for playwriting: recommend NPX to your playwriting teacher, encourage your classmates to join /subscribe to NPX, and R/R their plays.

35. If you have graduated from a playwriting program: recommend NPX to your former playwriting teacher, encourage that teacher to subscribe their students to NPX. R/R their plays.

36. Mention NPX to actors of all levels, especially those who complain that there are no good plays to read.

37. Mention NPX to actors looking for killer audition monologues for classroom exercises and actual auditions.

38. Mention NPX to directors looking for good plays to read and direct for a theatre’s season, a college program, for a fringe festival.

39. Mention NPX to artistic directors looking for good plays to read and add to their season.

40. If you are part of a selecting committee for a season, not just a playwright: consider choosing all your plays from NPX instead of through online or mail submissions.

41. Mention NPX to elementary, middle-school, high-school and college/graduate school teachers that specialize in TYA theatre.

42. If you’re also a dramaturg attending a dramaturg conference, mention NPX.

43. If you’re a playwright attending a national conference, mention NPX, bring up the website, share your page, your recommendations.

44. Give someone the gift of a NPX membership for their birthday.

45. Give someone the gift of a NPX membership for Christmas/December holiday gift.

46. Give someone the gift of a NPX membership for Valentine’s Day.

47. Encourage college teachers of dramatic literature, acting, and directing to add NPX as a resource to their syllabus. The teachers can search for plays on NPX and reach out to the playwright and ask them if students can use their work.

48. Send an email to a playwriting friend and mention how much you love NPX and encourage them to join.

49. If you work for a publisher or know someone that does, mention NPX.

50. If you work for a magazine (print or online) that publishes plays or know someone that does, mention NPX.

51. Mention NPX to playwrights living outside the United States.

52. If someone recommends your play(s), send them a thank-you message. You can find ‘Contact’ on their membership page.

53. PM/Email a playwriting friend a play that you finished reading and recommended. I do this quite often - and it usually results in the play receiving not just a read and recommendation by that playwright -- other several playwrights do so.

54. Spend an entire month reading a playwright’s work. And recommend what you like.

55. Fill up the NPX page with recommendations for plays written by a single playwright. Playwrights Franky Gonzalez and Matthew Weaver do this quite often.

56. If you learn that a friend’s play was a semi-finalist or a finalist and not a winner, read the play. If you like it, recommend it. And then celebrate the play on social media.

57. Add your recommendations or top 10 lists to a blog/page on your theatre website.

58. If you have an Amazon page for your published works, add your NPX address.

59. If a playwright you know has a play that was randomly chosen as the play of the day, let them know on social media. You can PM them, but why not tell the entire world!?

60. Wake up early, enjoy a big breakfast and a short play from NPX.

61. Before going to bed, read a short play from NPX.

62. Get a group of playwriting/theatre friends that are members on NPX to join you in a coffee shop. Read a ton of short NPX plays and recommend the ones you like.

63. Know someone who loves reading? Recommend that they get a reader’s membership on NPX.

64. Like NPX’s page on Facebook.

65. Follow NPX on Twitter.

66. If you’re attending a play reading and notice the play is on NPX, stand up, mention in the feedback session that the play is on “New Play Exchange” and tell everyone that you’re going to leave an awesome recommendation. Hopefully other NPX members in the audience will do the same. Those that are not members will ask you about NPX--let them know.

67. Encourage playwrights whose play is being staged read to mention in the introduction and/or playbill that the play is on NPX. If you’re the playwright, think about doing this.

68. Encourage a playwright whose play is being workshopped and produced as a workshop production to mention NPX in the playbill. If you’re the playwright, think about doing this.

69. If you know a translator, let them know about NPX.

70. Upload your monologues from your plays so actors can use them for audition pieces.

71. Upload a collection of your monologues from your plays and/or stand-alone monologues so actors can use them for audition pieces.

72. Include a few NPX recommendations of your play after the title page in a submission.

73. If allowed, include a few NPX recommendations of your play in the body of the email or any letter that you send as a submission.

74. Consider collaborating with playwrights in your city and doing a staged reading of NPX plays by local playwrights at your local library, bookstore, or theatre. You can choose plays based on themes. Invite professionals, especially those that are not members of NPX.

75. Make sure to include Character Information for all parts, includings ages, race/ethnicity, gender, and description.


Q:  If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?

A:  One thing!?!

That more theatres were open to producing monologues and solos plays. So many opportunities state ‘no monologues’ or ‘no one-person shows please!’ and ‘Asher $%#! stop sending us your monologues!’ So given this I get produced a few times in a year. I think the monologue is probably the most underrated and disliked forms of theatre. Maybe it’s challenging for an actor? Maybe some theatres think a monologue is just storytelling, so kind of anti-theatrical?

What can we do to change this? Reach out to me!

Q:  Which theatre artists do you admire?

A:  Tony Kushner -- His work is unapologetically political, it’s difficult, large in scope. Even though I usually write one-acts, mostly monologues - his works remind me that a play is always political.

Suzan-Lori Parks - Her work reminds me that a degree of difficulty is a good thing for a play. And the language - it’s so performative! You got to read her plays with your whole body. I try to write, read, and revise my plays with my whole body. I play the space while revising a play. By space I mean by studio. My studio apartment.

Young Jean Lee - She reminds I should let myself write the weirdest, stupidest, worst play. And not to listen to that voice, that censor when starting the play.

The language of James Purdy, Harold Pinter, Tennessee Williams, Sheila Callaghan, Kushner and Parks have had a profound influence on me.

Lanford Wilson, who was a teacher of mine at the Edward Albee New Playwrights Workshop at the University of Houston, gave me some pointers.

Caryl Churchill. Every play is so different from the previous. She reminds me to try to do something new with each play in respects to language or structure.

I enjoy monologues by Donald Margulies, Dael Orlandersmith, Danny Hoch. I enjoy Nilaja Sun’s work.

I admire the work of my peers: Rachael Carnes, Matthew Weaver, Ricardo Soltero-Brown, Nelson Diaz-Marcano, and Emily Hageman, to name a few.

Tiffany Antone, a playwright who created Protest Plays Project - a project that asks playwrights to create plays focused on a variety of topics (voting, immigration) to foster dialog and inspire action and awareness in communities. You can find more about the project here: http://www.protestplays.org/

All my friends on New Play Exchange that are writingwritingwriting, submitting, and making connections with theatres.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Theater that I see --- I like theatre that doesn’t play it safe, theatre that is dangerous -- theatre that questions the status-quo, forces you to question your values/traditions/beliefs/ideologies/assumptions/ prejudices/biases -- theatre that f’s up your evening.

Theater that I make/want to make/dream about making --- Theatre artists, especially directors, that have answers to the following questions or attempt to answer through collaboration the following questions, along with the playwright. (I think some of these questions can be asked for a development process, not necessarily a workshop or full production. Some may argue that such collaborations below should not be part of the development and production process -- I disagree. I will keep this short because I could write an essay.)

How does a playwright collaborate with a director and prop designer?

How does a playwright collaborate with a director and lighting designer?

...media designer?

...fight choreographer?

...costume designer?

...make-up designer?

...the person in charge of making the video trailer?

...the person in charge of promotion?

What is the beginning, middle, and end to these collaborations?

Where does it happen in the schedule?

How can such intense collaborations influence new play development and production in college/graduate school theatre and beyond?

Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?

A:  See the the list above re: NPX.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  My work is available here: https://newplayexchange.org/users/3039/asher-wyndham

And excerpts here: www.robotwriter.co

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Feb 7, 2019

Stockholm Syndrome

Some Pull Quotes! Closes Feb 9.

"an outrageous farce of violence and lasciviousness"! --The New Orleans Advocate






“Stockholm Syndrome is a hilarious and captivating show, in the best way possible.” --Gambit Weekly



"In all its absurdity, the troupe has come up with an entirely new genre of theater - the interactive terrorist musical comedy. ...you'll get a hearty kick out of "Stockholm Syndrome." --Nola.com, The Times-Picayune



"But for all the talk about immersion, maybe the most important piece for an audience member to feel immersed in is thematic. And that’s what I enjoyed most about the show.

At the heart of Stockholm Syndrome is a group of characters who look at their lives at some point in the show and realize they’re not totally happy with how things are going. Worse yet, they don’t even understand how their lives got to this level of disappointment.

A server who sings about the dissatisfaction of every day being exactly the same as the last. A diner who doesn’t have her needs fulfilled by her husband. A manager whose dedication and loyalty frequently lead to letdowns and heartbreak. A woman who wants a man with more ambition. And a man who just wants a woman to go home and hold hands with.

This story is full of realizations of life-gone-astray, and that’s a realization most of us can relate to at at least one point or another." --Very Local



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Feb 6, 2019

I Interview Playwrights Part 1024: Jordan Jaffe






Jordan Jaffe

Hometown: Houston, Texas.

Current Town: New York, NY

Q:  Tell me about Whirlwind.

A:  I would describe Whirlwind as an romantic comedy set against the backdrop of the inherent conflict that sometimes emerges between efforts to fight global warming and the need to protect wildlife. The humor of the play comes from awkward nature of the main characters and their difficulties interacting with each other as well as the precarious compromises they need to make in regard to our energy choices. And if you like bird puns, this is the show for you!

Q:  What else are you working on?

A:  I think Whirlwind would make a great movie. Just putting that out there into the universe. In addition to working on further plays in my energy series I'm also making a jump into the foreign policy arena with a play about royalty relations in the Middle East.

Q:  Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.

A:  My favorite place to play as a child was the long hallways of my mom's office at the James A. Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. It's funny looking back as an adult what a shaping experience it was for me as a child to literally grow up around a think-tank. I'm not saying you can learn about energy policy through osmosis or running around the square corridor on the third floor there, but being around that space, walking past pictures of Secretary Baker with Presidents and the world leaders who would visit the institute, and passing the piece of the Berlin Wall that stands in front of the building every day imbued me with a tremendous respect for our policymakers and the people who populate their inner circles and advise them.

Q:  If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?

A:  The theater community needs to think more seriously about the environment and sustainability.

On all of the productions I have produced (12 total, 10 in Texas, 2 in New York) each one obviously had a different set, different props, and we would buy things for each production, build the set, usually out of lumber, but then of course after the show we discard much of what cannot be used again. However, through all of this a terrible thought has seeped into my head as I was working on Whirlwind: Am I part of the problem? Deforestation is such a massive issue for birds and all sorts of creatures, so then exactly how many birds died so that I could have big fancy wooden sets for all my productions? I know this is an extreme line of thought, but somehow I can’t shake a feeling that all these years I’ve been destroying natural wildlife habitats for the sake of art.

As a theater artists I feel we have a growing responsibility to be a part of the solution when it comes to environmental issues, but in order to inspire change on greater level there are changes to our industry that should be considered. Our art needs to reflect changing attitudes toward environmental issues. To truly live green as an artist we need to create green. We need to think about our materials and off setting our usage of depleting resources just as much as a large corporation thinks about its C02 emissions. When that happens, perhaps real change can happen.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  David Mamet, Theresa Rebeck, Martin McDonagh, Leslye Headland, Beau Willimon, David Henry Hwang, Halley Feiffer, Paul Downs Colaizzo...I really could go on all day though!

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  I like plays that shine a light on the general absurdity of our existence. As humans we have a really high level of pretension when it comes to whatever culture or train of thought we subscribe to, and I love work that shreds the completely arbitrary nature of our self-beliefs and shows just how ridiculous we really all are.

Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?

A:  Write the plays you want to write. Fuck everything else.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  Whirlwind is running at the Wild Project in the East Village through Sunday February 10th!


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Feb 5, 2019

I Interview Playwrights Part 1023: Sanaz Toossi




Sanaz Toossi

Hometown: Irvine, California

Current Town: NYC & Southern California

Q:  Congrats on P73! What do you plan on working on during your fellowship?

A:  Thank you! I’m planning on finishing my commissions with the help of the wonderful people at P73.

Q:  Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.

A:  When I was five, I was completely enchanted with our Lysol air freshener. It was my favorite toy. It was this beautiful teal with little illustrations of gardenias on the can and it smelled so, so good. So one day, I sprayed it directly into my mouth.

Q:  If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?

A:  Okay, so this isn’t theater’s most pressing issue but it’s something I think about often so I’ll pretend your question was “if you could change something about theater": I wish we would expand the way we think about intelligence. Kindness is intelligence. Emotional honesty is intelligence. Intelligence is not only knowing the canon and knowing Aristotle. Intelligence is also knowing when there’s lying on the page.

Quiara Alegría Hudes’ piece in American Theatre Magazine a few months ago encapsulated this perfectly: "Remember how glorious that was—immersion in an experience you didn’t necessarily understand? Why do grownups cling to “getting it”? What a small, unadventurous parameter for experiencing art."

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  Heidi Schreck (for teaching me a lot about what honesty looks like in a play)
Mona Mansour (for her intelligence; for writing a Middle Eastern play and defining her own parameters of what that is supposed to look like)
Leila Buck (for being a badass)
Heather Raffo (for infusing immigrant stories with poetry and beauty)

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  I know this sounds weird but I’m really interested in theater that leaves you shaking in your seat. And not because you’re hungry or terrified. I went to a reading of FALLING DOWN THE STAIRS by Mona Mansour and Tala Manassah at the Atlantic last summer and something about it left me shaking. More of that.

Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?

A:  I am pretty fresh-on-the-scene so take this with a grain of salt, but I think you should put all your eggs in one basket: give your whole heart to one play. Be with that play for a long time. Make that play as close to yourself as you can, and make it really good so you can blast it out and feel okay about rejections. Don’t build a portfolio just yet. You have a whole career to build a body of work.

Plugs, please: I would really like to plug MAIA. Not only are they a great resource for MENASA artists, but they’re a fantastic resource for institutions that might want to engage with MENASA work but maybe don’t know how. Don’t be scared of Middle Eastern work!

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Feb 4, 2019

I Interview Playwrights Part 1022: Justin Maxwell



Justin Maxwell

Hometown: Niagara Falls

Current Town: New Orleans

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  Right now I’m working on two scripts and a bunch of small non-fiction projects.

Swandive Theatre in Minneapolis is set to stage my new show: THE CANOPIC JAR OF MY SINS: A MEDIEVAL MORALITY PLAY FOR LATTER DAY POSTMODERNISTS. I’m a little breathless about what they’re planning to do with it. I put the last few changes in and am just letting it cool off a bit before sending to the producer and director. The show follows the scientist Ralph Wiley (the inventor of plastic) who is forced to undergo a Stalinist show trial held on the vast island of plastic garbage in the Pacific Ocean. The trial is adjudicated by an angel, a dead bird, and Rodger Waters. Things get strange from there….

I’m mid-way through another full length play PALIMPSESTS OF AGRIPPINA MINOR. Agrippina was a Roman empress and directly related to the really gross emperors. She’s Caligula’s sister and Nero’s mom. I became fascinated with her, because her enemies wrote the history books, and I wanted to know who she really was. A palimpsest is a text that is bleached off the page and then written over. It’s a good metaphor for her life. She’s a lost classic. The play lets me explore what she must have been like. She must have been smart, brutal, lonely, charming, and terrified. She navigated the treacherous seas of imperial power, as her family members murdered, exiled, and intermarried one another. Simply surviving as long as she did merits acclaim, but she clearly rose to power and was de factor emperor for about six years—not coincidentally, the most stable years for her entire dynasty.

When I need a break from all the drama, I usually turn to prose. I’m an artist who works in language, so when I need an escape from scripts, I turn to other modes of writing, instead of acting or directing. In between drafts of scripts, I’m always working on a few short, non-fiction essays. The one currently on the top of the pile is about finding and following an abandoned road in rural Arkansas and the 70’s-era surrealist poet from the Ozarks, Frank Stanford.

Q:  Tell me about the program at the University of New Orleans. What can playwriting MFA students there expect?

A:  They should expect one hell of an adventure! The Creative Writing Workshop (CWW) is very rigorous with high academic and creative standards. It’s also very flexible; students can work across genres, and across campus. My playwriting students often enroll in a host of theatre courses and creative writing courses, but occasionally sneak into other disciplines. I can think of students who’ve done some coursework in history, music, and arts administration. I’m always amazed at the supportive and collegial culture we’ve built at UNO. It’s a culture that respects both individuals and aesthetics, which lets us all be sincere allies. There’s a great genialness in our MFA. We foster talent by building our students up instead of having two-bit infighting. Consequently, our students leave sounding more like themselves than like each other or like me.

I’m a big believer in writers getting a lot of cross-training and working in different genres, after all genre is really just another tool for crafting art. At the end of the day, the CWW makes good writers. It’s easy to brag about the place that pays me to talk about stuff I love, but the evidence is in the outcomes. Our students publish and produce at a high rate, and our grad students have outcomes that compare with much more prestigious programs. Plus, this is New Orleans, so when one needs a break from the solitude and labor of writing, there’s always a party to go to. Often six.

Q:  Tell me about the New Orleans theater scene.

A:  The New Orleans theater scene is very open and welcoming. When I moved here in 2012, I knew almost no one. I emailed every artistic director I could find with a Google search and introduced myself. I heard back from most of them in 48 hours. All of them in a week. By the end of the month, I met each of them, and Aimee Hayes at Southern Rep offered me a reading. The theatre scene, just like the city, will embrace you if you’re open to it. But there are struggles here. Mardi Gras provides a layer of joviality and performance that can spiritually nurture lots of theatre makers; however, it is also a vacuum that sucks up the community resources that would normally go to support the arts in most other cities. Of course, since Louisiana is a deep red state, the economy never quite works; there’s a lot of poverty, and almost no public funding for the arts. There’s nowhere else like New Orleans, but because the city is inside Louisiana, we often operate like the best beach on Lord of the Flies Island. That’s a shame because Louisiana is lush with resources and could have the highest quality of life in the country with a thorough legislative overhaul. For ambitious theatre makers with a strong DIY methodology, New Orleans can be a very fulfilling place. For people looking for conventional models and conventional funding, it can be very frustrating.

Politics aside, I’ve seen plenty of excellent theatre in New Orleans. One of the first shows I saw here, when I knew very little about the scene, was Goat in the Road’s Instant Misunderstanding. While applauding at the end of their show, I thought: I’ve seen worse things than this win an Obie! My concerns about moving here were assuaged. Years later, I had the good fortune to see Grounded at The Public and here at Southern Rep, and I found the local production far more visceral and evocative than the one in NYC. I had a similar experience with Airline Highway. In fact, I’ve only openly wept during three or four shows and probably stood up to applauded less than a dozen times in my entire life. The only show that ever made do both was Alleged Lesbian Activities, which originated here but has (I hope) quite the future ahead of it.

Q:  Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.

A:  As someone who started exploring memoir a few years ago, I’ll fight the impulse to give you a full-on essay here. However, there was an important moment that seems relevant. I was a senior in college, walking across campus and thinking about what to do after I graduated. I was a double major in English and philosophy. Writing was my passion, but I knew poetry wasn’t going to pay the bills. I thought about all kinds of careers to pursue. I thought about archeology since I liked discovery and exploration. I thought about law because I liked thinking and arguing. I thought about publishing since I was deeply into books. While weighing the pros and cons of every option I could think of, I realized I kept coming back to the same question: How much time will this profession give me to write? That question pointed me to grad school for creative writing and a path I’ve been on ever since. Sometime not long after that epiphany, I started asking myself another fundamental question: Will X make me a better or more successful writer? When I answer “yes,” I try and take action X. When I answer “no,” I try to avoid X. While such a question is a far-from-perfect system, it generally provides a good light to steer by.

Q:  If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?

A:  If I had a magic wand to weave, I’d change American theatre into a place that embraces risk and pushes aesthetic boundaries. Simultaneously, I’d make patrons and donors similarly engaged, motivated to see things that they have truly never seen before. In other words, I guess I would remove our cultural fear of the profound and let that societal change ripple through our artists and institutions.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  I suppose Ionesco and Mac Wellman really pulled me into theatre from the world of poetry, where I started. And since then I’ve been sustained by scions like Adrienne Kennedy and contemporaries like Sibyl Kempson.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  My favorite moment is walking out of the venue asking: What the hell was that? If I can put a show in an aesthetic box, I’m disinterested. My mind lights up when I have to process the unknown; encountering the unknown leads to something nearly divine. If one’s so inclined, almost any line from Martin Buber could probably go here as a witty little bon mot.

Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?

A:  Write for the love of writing. That love is all that can really sustain you on the road ahead. Then, don’t stop. Obviously, one should do all the basic professional things to get their work in front of an audience, but at the end of the day, if you don’t love the time at the desk, this path will never lead to deep joy. When I first got to grad school, the director of the program said something along the lines of: Thank you for dedicating your life to writing like a monk dedicates their life to religion. That comparison stuck with me. When I’m lost or unsure in life, I can look at what a monk would do, and if they’re doing something monk-ish, I should probable be doing something writerly.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  Gestalt Theater is producing AN OUTOPIA FOR PIGEONS in Riverside, CA. It opens on March 29th at The Box. http://www.gestalttheatreproject.com/current-production.html

Swandive Theatre is producing the world premiere of THE CANOPIC JAR OF MY SINS: A MEDIEVAL MORALITY PLAY FOR LATTER DAY POSTMODERNISTS in Minneapolis, MN. It opens in early October at The Crane Theatre. http://www.swandivetheatre.net/

The Tank and Clever Girl Productions are producing AN OUTOPIA FOR PIGEONS in NYC. It opens in October at The Tank Theatre.

One can buy a collection of my wild short plays here: https://www.amazon.com/Blinded-Horse-Dreams-Hippocampi-Other



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