Monday, March 14, 2011

About the interviews

Many times I thought I was going to stop doing these interviews.  The thing is, I'm not running out of playwrights.  There are scores of exciting, interesting and intelligent people writing plays right now.  I'm constantly overwhelmed by it and I continue to learn a lot.  So the series goes on.   But while we're at a stopping point,  (number 325, whooo!),  I wanted to take a minute to talk to you about something.

I have been working hard trying to interview a balance of playwrights.  It continues to be heavy on New York playwrights and there are probably still too many white people but I'm doing my best to show a snapshot of the playwriting world right now.  One thing that continues to be a challenge is keeping a 50/50 balance of men and women.  I felt like this is an important thing to do because there are an even number of men and women writing plays right now, but it's getting harder and harder for me to do this.  Let me tell you why.

Women are not getting back to me with their interviews in the same numbers men are.  I understand that playwrights are a busy people.  If you didn't get back to me this is not me chastising you.  It's just something I noticed.  Also, when people approach me to suggest playwrights to interview, I get two male playwright suggestions for every one woman. 

This is all to say that apocryphally I'm noticing women are not advocating for themselves as well as I wish they were and people of both sexes are not advocating for women as much as I wish they were.

If you want to tell me about some awesome playwright I haven't interviewed yet, by all means, please do.  I have a long list of names already but I can always add to it.  This is all I ask--try to give me two women for every one man you give me.  Just try.  And just in general, make a conscious effort to advocate for women.  Thanks.


calindrome said...

When I was Lit Manager for Red Bull Theater, I'd ask every female playwright I met to send me their work, and very few did. Like you, no judgment on my part, just an anecdotal observation.

I can suggest interviewing Hortense Gerardo of Boston; Kathleen Akerley of Washington, DC; Renee Calarco of Washington, DC; and Stephanie Walker of Chicago.

In NYC, Julienne Hairston is a beginning playwright who wrote an amazing first play, and Holly Hepp-Galvan is also in our MFA program at Hunter. (I know you've already interviewed Johnna.) I'll email you their contact info.

Thanks, Adam!

Ian Thal said...

I'm noticing women are not advocating for themselves as well as I wish they were and people of both sexes are not advocating for women as much as I wish they were.

The first is particularly interesting and probably a contributing cause for the second. In the arts, I've generally found that one isn't likely to advocate on behalf of a colleague who doesn't advocate on his or her behalf. The natural inclination is that with limited energies to advocate on a colleague's behalf, we want to put those energies behind somebody who really looks like they want the support.

Now somebody needs to ask: why is it that even with the general push for 50/50 representation, the individual playwrights aren't presenting themselves?

RVCBard said...

I'm a queer Black woman playwright, and I've been around for a while, and I would suggest you get in touch with Garlia Jones of The Cell Theatre as well.

Anonymous said...

Your intentions are honorable, Adam, and it's good to remain open to a wide diversity. But quotas for the sake of quotas aren't necessarily good. Who says there must be even representation?

If the world is telling you "these are the individuals who want to speak," listen to those voices.

RLewis said...

Seems that I recall something like this being a question at the start of this project. Looks like you're learning something that we all should know... whatever that is may still be yet to come. But I admire your effort, Adam, and look forward to learning from you. "A painting is never finished; it only stops in interesting places." - Barnett Neuman. Thx.

rachel said...

You know, I've observed similar things - and I confess I'm sometimes that woman.

I do advocate for myself in select circumstances, when I know it's/I'm a good fit, but I'm frankly a little less interested in a "get my name out there everywhere" kind of self-advocacy/marketing. And I think that's the case for a lot of women. And so far it's worked out fine for many of us, though everyone may not know our names!

I think the conversation's really interesting - I've been talking with other female playwrights lately about the pressure to operate within structures that reward more aggressive (some might say masculine or capitalist) behavior. I think the issue's really complex and deep-rooted, actually, not just about a lot of women being shy... so let the dialogue continue! It's a good one!

rachel said...

p.s. - Mallery Avidon, Jackie Sibblies, Margaret Namulyanga, Liz Ellison, Malgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk, Adara Meyer, Amanda Weir!

Kara said...

I appreciate all your efforts, Adam.
Here are a few more for your giant list: Mariana Carreño King, Marina Shron, and Cori Thomas.


Stan said...

It's "Adara Meyers."

Jane Miller said...

Well, in the interest of women advocating for themselves, I nominate myself! I'm not sure at what point you're looking for a playwright to be at when you interview them - but I'm early career playwright and not planning on stopping in this lifetime.

RLewis said...

Back when I was more interested in producing the work of others rather than my own, I started a list of writers. It's a lil' dated now, so some might not still be writing, but here's what I had at the time:

Julie Ann Boyd, Joan Micklin Silver, Rinne Groff, Emily Mann, Naomi Wallace, Maria Irene Fornes, Eve Ensler, Paula Cizmar, Anna Deveare Smith, Young Jean Lee, Sarah Ruehl, Erin Courtney, Kate Walat, Lear Debessonet, Christina Gorman, Katori Hall, Andrea Lepcio, Megan Mostyn-Brown, Molly Rice, Peggy Stafford, Saviana Stanescu, Joy Tomasko, Keli Garrett, Zakiyyah Alexander, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Cheri Magid, Cybele Pascal, Sonya Sobieski, Bridgette Wimberly, Sheila Callaghan, Madeleine George, Ann Marie Healy, Julia Jarcho, Karinne Keithley, Kristen Kosmas, Sally Oswald, Kate Ryan, Kelly Stuart, Alice Tuan, Anne Washburn, , Naomi Iizuka, Melanie Marnich, Lauren Yee, Sherry Kramer, Erin Bregman, Katori Hall, Liz Duffy Adams, Emily Chadick Weiss, Marsha Norman, Rebecca Gilman, Theresa Rebeck, Alexandra Cunningham, Caryl Churchill, Catherine Trieschmann, Johnna Adams, Suzan Lori Parks, Judy Juanita, Maria Rokas, Geetha Reddy, Ellen Lewis, Tina Howe, Wendy Wasserstein, Adrienne Kennedy, Beth Henley, Sarah Jones, Kate Robin, Dael Orlandersmith, Shelagh Delaney, Polly Teale, Adrienne Kennedy, Trista Baldwin, Kira Obolensky, Julia Jordan, Diana Son, Victoria Stewart, Joy Tomasko, Megan Mostyn-Brown, Winter Miller, Anne-Marie MacDonald, Judith Thompson, Sally Oswald, Deborah Stein, Tory Stewart, Kristen Newbaum, Christina Anderson, Paula Vogel, Johnna Adams, Laura Marks, Susan Ferrara, Brooke Berman, Elizabeth Heffron, Constance Congdon, Michole Biancosino, Lauren Gunderson, Laura Schellhardt, Kate Tarker, Christina Ham, Kathleen Akerley, Renee Calarco, Molly Rice, Vanda, Hortense Gerardo, Jeannette Farr, Stephanie Walker, Allison Moore, Migdalia Cruz, Jenny Schwartz, Ellen McLaughlin, Karen Wikberg, Rachel Hoeffel, Katherine Catmull, Monika Bustamante, Leah Ryan, Lisa Kron, Staceyann Chin, Nilija Sun, Ann Magnuson, Holly Hughes, Peggy Shaw, Shelly Mars, Jane Wagner, Christine Clifford, Heather Gold, Raquel Cion, Stacey Robinson, Abigail Gampel, Linda Mancini, Natalia de Campos, Sarah Kane, Cherrie Moraga, Eliza Anderson, Susan Hodara, Hannah Cowley, Susanna Centlivre, Hrosvitha, Elizabeth Inchbald, Joanna Baillie, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, Helene Cixous, Tanya Saracho, Betty Shamieh, Astrid Saalbach, Susan Merson, Ninna Tersman, EM Lewis, Jennifer Fawcett, Caridad Svich, Alice Childress, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Shirley Graham, Ana Caro, Lynne Alvarez, Lynne Nottage, Arlene Hutton, Moira Buffini, Carson Kreitzer, Callie Kimball, Crystal Skillman, Bekah Brunstetter, Amy Freed , Stefanie Zadravec, Deb Margolin, Margaret Edson, Wendy Weiner, Elyse Singer, Jenny Lyn Bader, Karen Malpede, Susan Bernfeild, Erin Cressida Wilson, Lillian Ann Slugocki, Stephanie Fleischman, Phyllis Nagy, Lynn Nottage, Kirsten Greenidge, Monica Raymond, Laura Henry, Lois Weaver, Carla Ching, Michi Barall, Mrinalini Kamath, Rehana Mirza, Patty Jang, Nora Chau, Nandita Shenoy, Suzanne Lee, Maureen Sebastian, Lydia Diamond, Trista Baldwin, Mia McCullough, Marisa Wegrzyn, Ruth McKee, Johnna Adams, Lauren Weedman, Sarah Treem, Tanya Barfield, Courtney Baron, Laura Maria Censabella, Cusi Cram, Lisa Dillman, Catherine Filloux, Sheri Wilner, Anna Ziegler, Sigrid Gilmer, Sibyl O'Malley, Jane Pickett, Vicki Grise, Elaine Avila, Andrea James, Tammy Anderson, Margaret Hollingsoworth, Andrea Hairston, Ginger Lazarus, Kirsten Greenidge, Christine Farrell, Maggie Bofill, Leslie Ayvazian, Jeanne Dorsey, Jessica Dickey,

Adam said...

Thanks everyone for the names. It would be great if I could get emails for these folks. adamszymkowicz at yahoo.

RLewis, that's quite a list. I think I've interviewed or approached at least a third of those people. I know it's a lot but do you have some of those emails?

Anonymous said...

Two playwright suggestions:
Dana Lynn Formby-
David Robinson-

Keep up the fantastic work!