Monday, March 15, 2010
I Interview Playwrights Part 131: Julie Marie Myatt
Julie Marie Myatt
I don't really have a hometown. My dad was in the Marine Corps, so I moved around the country growing up. The apartment I live in now is the longest I've ever lived in one space: 6 years.
Los Angeles. Los Feliz neighborhood. It's a great place to live.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I'm working on a new play commission for the Roundabout Theatre.
Q: Tell me about The Ted Schmitt Award and the play you won it with.
A: The Ted Schmitt Award is given by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle for what they considered an "outstanding new play." They kindly gave it to me for my play, THE HAPPY ONES that was commissioned by and premiered at South Coast Repertory in October.
Q: Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.
A: Hmm...let's see..I think rather than one story, I have a series of images...and the most common or clear image is me sitting in the back seat of the car with my sister, and my parents up front, and we are moving to some new place...we'd probably been to McDonalds for lunch (that was special then) and eaten it in the car, as my dad always had to stay on schedule...and the car was quiet. My sister would be reading something. My dad would be smoking. My mother would be cleaning up all our lunch trash we handed her...and I would be staring out the window...This quiet seemed to last for hours, as we all became good at creating our own private space in that car. I would never read or doing anything else but stare out my window. I'd watch every farm, every kid on a bike, every old woman on a porch, every dog or horse on the run, every road sign and tractor, every field of corn, every lake or mountain...I studied the landscape of this country, mile by mile...and I think that collection of images, has became the palette for my life as a writer.
Q: If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?
A: The price.
Q: What kind of theater excites you?
A: The kind of of theater that makes me forget where I am and opens up my chest. I want to be transformed by an emotional experience.
Q: What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?
A: Read everything. Not just plays. Read novels. Read a lot of poetry. The imagery and conservation of language in poetry, is wonderful for playwriting. And keep writing, no matter what. Trust your voice is worth being heard.