Thursday, January 28, 2010
I Interview Playwrights Part 111: Andrea Stolowitz
Current Town: Portland
Q: Tell me about Memory Water that's up now in the Fertile Ground Festival.
A: Memory Water started out when the director Samantha asked me to do an adaptation of the folk tale La Llorona. After doing much research I decided in my version to tie her story to the historical figure of Cortes' translator Malinalli. Samantha was already working with Chisao Hata for the piece and the idea was to tell a new story with text, movement and image.
Q: What else are you working on?
A: About to start a new play--not sure about exact story yet but I intend to start working in earnest in Feb. when I go to Port Townsend. I have another play (TALES OF DOOMED LOVE) being included in a theater festival there at Key City Public theater and will go for a few extra days and treat it like a writing retreat. Then I have another week at Soapstone Residency to work some more.
Q: You are a Dramatists Guild Rep. What does that mean and what do your duties entail?
A: It means that I (and Steve Patterson my co-rep) try to provide guild services, support, and outreach to dramatists in Oregon. This basically means maintaining a list serve, creating a community, and answering legal questions. My personal campaign is to help playwrights, directors and other collaborators understand their rights and responsibilities. I am particularly interested in helping directors understand what is legal in terms of deconstructing text. Too many directors play "fast and loose" with a text without understanding the very real legal implications they face.
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 16 (in 1989) I decided to do a volunteer environmental work camp in Siberia. The wall had just come down, I had taken a few years of high school Russian, and there I was in Siberia.
I am always on a quest "to know".
Q: What kind of theater excites you?
A: I like Ann Bogart's (Siti company's) work a lot. I like how the visual and other theatrical elements tell the story along with the text.
Q: What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?
A: Write, seek out professionals you admire and work with and learn from them, and find your tribe.
Q: Plugs, please.