Monday, June 15, 2009

I Interview Playwrights Part 9: Zayd Dohrn

Zayd Dohrn

Hometown: New York

Current Town: New York (I left for a while. But we all come back eventually)

Q:  So tell me about the play you have going up at SPF this summer.

A:  It's a play called REBORNING, and it's about a young woman who sculpts incredibly life-like baby dolls. Like this (scroll down a bit) Or this. Yikes. So she develops a twisted relationship with an older woman who wants to commission a doll to replace a child she lost. It's a pretty dark play, obviously, but kind of a comedy too. And I'm excited about the SPF production - awesome director (Kip Fagan) and incredible cast (Greg Keller, Ally Sheedy, Katherine Waterston), so I'm sure they'll do something fun with it.

Q:  Your play Sick has been done a bunch. It seems like I keep seeing it on various seasons. Can you tell me what that play is about and about the development process of that play and then where it's been produced and will be produced?

A:  Sure, it's about a family of allergy-sufferers in New York who never leave their house because they're terrified of the outside world. Basically I was trying to do A Doll's House meets Safe (great Todd Haynes/Julianne Moore movie from the mid-90's) with a little Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Glass Menagerie thrown in. It had its first reading at Woolly Mammoth last year as part of the National New Play Network Showcase, and then several theaters in the Network decided to do it based on that reading. It subsequently had productions in Dallas, New Orleans, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, and this summer it's going to be up in the Berkshires.

Q:  How's Juilliard been?

A:  It was a lovely experience. I can't imagine a better place for playwrights to meet and write and hang out.

Q:  I met you at the 24 SEVEN Lab in New York. You want to talk about that at all?

A:  About meeting you? Changed my life.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Oh, I don't know. Maybe once or twice a year I'll see something that really blows me away. But there's a lot more bad stuff than good out there. I guess if it were easy everybody would know how to do it. If it were easy I would know how to do it better.

Q:  I know you have a family. (one kid? Two kids?) How do you balance your artistic and family life?

A:  Yeah, two kids (baby girls), and it's pretty crazy. But probably easier than if I had a real job. My wife and I are both writers, so we're home a lot. And the kids are inspiring, which helps.

Q:  What advice would you give to the young upstart playwright who happens upon this blog post?

A:  Am I too old now to be a young upstart playwright? I don't know, I might try to discourage the person, because writing plays is obviously not for everybody. But bad writers can't be discouraged, and good writers wouldn't listen to me anyway.


Q:  Will you give the link please for those folks who want to go see your SPF show?

A:  Absolutely: http://www.spfnyc.com/festival/show.cfm?id=80 Tickets are 10 bucks, and I'd love it if other writers could come check it out.

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