Saturday, April 30, 2011

I Interview Playwrights Part 346: John Pollono

(photo from Small Engine Repair.  John is the guy on the right)

John Pollono

Hometown: Londonderry, New Hampshire

Current Town: Los Angeles

Q:  Tell me about Small Engine Repair.

A:  This is a 70 min one act play about three childhood friends in their thirties who reunite for a night of drinking, fighting and reminiscing. As the story goes on, you realize that there is a much deeper and darker motive for the reunion.

Q:  What else are you working on?

A:  I'm also working on a play called RULES OF SECONDS which takes place in Boston, MA in 1855. It's about dueling.

Q:  Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.

A:  Growing up in New England, I was surrounded by colorful people and natural storytellers. And the sharp and dark New England sense of humor really stuck. So I've always loved telling stories and exploring characters with a lot going on underneath. Another thing about New England is that nobody really talks openly about their feelings or deals with deep secrets. It's all subtext and it can be fascinating and frustrating. Somebody you've known for twenty years never told you he never met his real father or whatever. So being a writer, I've always enjoyed digging in and exploring truths that most people would just keep to themselves.

Q:  If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?

A:  Word of mouth would spread quicker and more people would go to it! Especially younger people who may not consider theater to be an exciting option for a night out.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  Martin McDonagh, Kenneth Lonergan, David Mamet, Tracy Letts, Arthur Miller, Langford Wilson.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  I love theater that is exciting and entertaining and really understands an audience and how to tap into the power of a live performance. I love theater that tells a story and has vivid characters that I get emotionally involved in. And I really appreciate and enjoy great, truthful, witty dialogue that flows and surprises.

Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?

A:  Get your play produced by any means necessary. Instead of writing play after play, get one in front of an audience. Even if it's just a reading. An audience will teach you more about writing than anyone else. Let them help you find your voice as a writer. And also take an acting class so you know how to write for actors.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  Small Engine Repair at Rogue Machine Theatre... I am playing the role of Frank Romanowski... show is currently kicking ass and just extended until June 5. Go to for tickets and showtimes.

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