Hometown: Shoreview, MN
Current Town: New York City
Q: What are you working on now?
A: Rewrites, rewrites, rewrites. I have a play called Other People's Problems that I worked on at the 24/7 retreat. It had a reading in the city this past spring and I am currently doing rewrites on it as the director I've been working with and I want to do a week long workshop of the play in the fall. I also have a TV pilot I've been working on.
Q: I know you said you were heading to LA soon for a month or so to check out the TV/Film scene. How long have you been planning to do this? Do you think you might just start living there?
A: Oh sweet, sweet LA. Yeah, this past winter I was feeling the urge to really shake up my life so I'm taking the plunge, quitting my day job and heading west in the fall for three weeks to take meetings and try to sell my pilot. I have wanted to write for TV for awhile and have a tiny bit of experience as I developed and pitched a show at one of the cable networks a few years ago (it never got picked up). I'm not the biggest fan of LA, in part because I'm not really a palm tree and sunshine kinda gal and in part because I have driven once in the last twelve years. I wouldn't live in LA just to live there but I could learn to be a big fan of LA-LA land if I had a job doing what I love. I'm a little- well alotta freaked about my new plan but I figure sometimes it's good to take a chance. So cross your fingers kids that I get a writing job because momma doesn't have a plan B.
Q: Tell me about your day job and how you got into it.
A: I have two day jobs. I nanny a few days a week and I also write copy for Elle Magazine's website. I started nannying because aside from writing my only other marketable skill is taking care of children. The job at Elle I got through a friend. I had written fashion copy for a now defunct website called Girlshop. After Girlshop closed a friend knew someone who was hiring at Elle. She read my stuff and hired me without ever meeting me. When she did finally meet me at a party a few months later she was a little in shock that I was the person who was writing quizzes like "Is your Hair In or Out" and ninety tips for spring. Although I don't look the part I secretly have a deep love of fashion and totally know how to describe the cut and fabric of a piece of clothing because my mom made all our clothes until I was twelve. It's a super silly job, but I do have to say it teaches you how to write quickly without being precious because the turnover for a piece is usually twenty-four hours. And really, who can be precious when writing about how to get "fall hair with flair"?
Q: How did you get hooked up with LAByrinth? Did you start as an actor with them or as a writer?
A: A friend saw "In Arabia We'd All Be Kings" and thought I would dig what they were doing. So I applied for an internship in 2001 and got it. I was still an actor at the time but my first day as an intern one of the company members, Sal Inzerillo, was in the office and asked me if I wrote. For some reason I lied and said yes. He told me to bring him ten pages by the next day and he would read them. Sal upon first meeting can seem a little intimidating (he is very tall) and I am a total overachiever who can't resist a challenge so I went home and wrote a monologue and brought it to him. He liked it and passed it on to Melissa Ross, another company member, and the two of them guided me into making it a play. It eventually made it's way to the LAB summer intensive and that's pretty much how I became a playwright. A few years later I became a member. LAB has pretty much been my "grad school" for playwriting since I've never actually been to school for it. It's weird though, to think about the fact that my whole career started because of a lie...but I guess you have to start somewhere.
Q: You and I have the same agent. Don't you love Seth?
A: I adore him. I also adore his suits.
Q: What kind of theater excites you?
A: I like theater you can't shake after it's over. That could mean a play thats dialogue you keep quoting because it was super clever or funny or a play thats emotional life and characters hit you with such a ton of bricks you keep thinking about it for weeks after. If they have both, like Tracy Letts and Stephen Adly Guirgis's stuff, it's like the ultimate jackpot for me. I also get really excited about plays that break the mold of traditional play structure and take you on a wild ride like Sheila Callaghan's "That Pretty, Pretty".
Q: What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?
A: Hmmmm...I guess my top three would be:
1. Don't be afraid to show your work.
2. Cultivate a group of 2-3 people who understand you as a writer and who you can trust to give you unbiased feedback about your work.
3. Be okay with the fact that sometimes you have to fall out of love with a play and put it in a drawer for a year before you can fix it.
Q: Any plugs you'd like to plug?
A: Go see Michael Puzzo's "Lyric is Waiting" and Cusi Cram's "A Lifetime Burning". I think they both open the first week of August. They are both funny, sad, wonderful, beautiful plays that I am so excited are getting productions.