Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I Interview Playwrights Part 245: Christina Gorman
Hometown: Colts Neck, NJ
Current town: Westchester, NY
Q: What are you working on now?
A: The play is titled Orion Rising. It’s about a woman who becomes obsessed with a dilapidated store window display, convinced it depicts her recent near-drowning in the sea. All kinds of strange events start happening inside and outside the window display, causing the woman to start questioning what’s reality and what may be her insanity.
In its first draft, Orion Rising was this quasi-fairy tale of a play. Then my father died, and now the play has taken, perhaps not surprisingly, somewhat of a dark turn. It’s become very, well, personal—more personal than any other work of mine. But I have this quote from Craig Wright that I read everyday about writing to save your own life, about sharing your dreams, fears and obsessions. So, yeah, I’m going with it and we’ll see where it takes me.
Q: Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.
A: I was raised in central New Jersey, and every year for my birthday, my parents would bring me to see a Broadway show. (I saw The Tap Dance Kid. Oh yes I did.) This once-a-year business wasn’t near enough to satisfy me, but my mother would have none of it. As far as she was concerned, “the city” was this nearby yet faraway place where no decent parent allowed their innocent children venture alone. So I did what any self-respecting teen would do: I lied. I’d tell my mother I was going to a friend’s house for the day. Then I’d take the train into Penn Station, snag a ticket at the TKTS booth, see a matinee, and take the train back home.
Q: If you could change one thing about theatre, what would it be?
A: Paychecks, as in, will and/or wish them into existence.
Q: Who are or were your theatrical heroes.
A: Stoppard, Kushner, and Vogel, for starters.
Q: What kind of theatre excites you?
A: I love the kind of theatre that hits me in both the heart and the head. If I walk out of the theatre having been intellectually challenged and at the same time having been incredibly moved, I’m so wound up I don’t sleep the whole night. It’s the best kind of exhaustion there is.
Q: What advice do you have for playwrights starting out?
A: Unless you’re incredibly lucky or immensely talented (and often even if you’re immensely talented), this profession is a war of attrition. Be patient. Very very patient. Keep at it. Try to enjoy the small successes along the way. And for God’s sake, get out there and meet people. So much of this business is about relationships, and next to no one produces a play by a playwright they’ve never heard of or met.