Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I Interview Playwrights Part 409: Anu Yadav



photo by Walter Dallas

Anu Yadav

Hometown: Cedar Rapids, IA

Current Town: Washington, DC

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  I'm working on a solo play called Meena's Dream. I'm performing a work-in-progress of it at Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center December 3 & 4, 2011 as part of a showcase of solo plays being developed by 5 other artists in the University of Maryland's MFA in Performance program.

It follows the journey of an 8 year-old Hindu Indian American girl named Meena. Every night she has the same dream. Lord Krishna is pleading with her to help him battle the Worry Machine and thereby save the earth from destruction. It's a fantastical tale, weaving in and out of Meena's everyday world, a child's attempt to cope with things in her real life that she can't control. But it's also about a vulnerable God who must realize he needs help and learns from a young child's courage.

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 Iowa, I thought I was invisible. I saw my world as divided into roughly two categories, 'Indian' (which, to me, meant regular people) and 'American' (which meant white people). I saw 'Americans' as these strange people with strange ways I just didn't understand. Indian people were home to me, people who didn't look at me funny, or go uncomfortably silent when I entered a room. I remember going to a white neighborhood family's house, and as soon as it was dinnertime, my friend told me I had to leave, since they weren't expecting me. It shocked me, because it was assumed in my family and community that guests were always welcome at the dinner table. In fact they were encouraged to stay. I automatically attributed it to some aspect of American culture I would never understand. I think experiencing this kind of 'unbelonging' really shaped my desire and commitment to theater that represents voices that aren't listened to, but should be -- working class people, women, young people, people of color and varying ability.

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

A: I would drastically reduce the cost of living, and in doing so, dramatically change the economy of theater. Housing prices drop, and suddenly rehearsal space is easier to secure, as well as performance venues. If people didn't need to work so much, then we could have more time to actually create together, get to know each other through artistic collaboration, and use art as a set of creative processes to help solve many thorny problems. It could help open up the field for who gets to write, produce and perform theater work. There would be more time for relationships across a lot of divides to occur and wonderful things could happen like improv on every street corner. Theater is very segregated as an art form in the sense of who sees theater (not very many people), and who gets to afford to create and produce it, and how. I think a lot of that is driven by the history of patronage -- the economy of theater. Artists historically had patrons, and created work based on what their patrons wanted to fund. That's a very limited audience to serve. That hasn't really changed much, as far as grant funding replacing the patron of yesterday. It's the reality, and yes, it's more complicated than the black and white portrait I'm laying out. But funding massively shapes the limits of what can happen creatively -- how long people can work together, who, content, etc. Most artists I know today have more than one job, don't have healthcare, and just struggle to survive economically. Yet at the same time, artists are held up as the darlings of cultural development in newly gentrifying areas, to attract economic investment. It's a set up in a way. If I could change cost of living, art would thrive in an entirely different way. Of course, there are a lot of other things I'd like to change after that, but that's where I'd start.

Q: Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A: Mala Hashmi, Chen Alon, Marty Pottenger, Dael Orlandersmith, Jana Natya Manch Theatre Company, Appalshop, Living Stage Theatre Company.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Theater about people whose voices are not represented on the stage. Theater that shatters stereotypes by creating indepth characters I can empathize with, root for, and who are flawed too. Because after all, stereotyping is simply lack of character development. Theater that doesn't leave me feeling hopeless about humanity, but infuses beauty, life and an authentic sense of hope, while not shying away from the hardship.

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

A:  Just write, write write. Value every idea you have, and carry a notepad (or smartphone) around with you to jot down any seemingly random bits of story throughout the day. It can be like an 'Ideas Vessel' that you can look to when you feel stuck in a particular piece you're working on. And don't wait for people to take you seriously. Produce your own stuff if you need to, assemble your team and play! People will notice you the more you value your own creativity and share it.

Q:  Plugs:

A:  If you are in DC Dec 3 & 4 come to the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and see my solo work-in-progress.  On Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/events/128524267253323/

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Interview Artistic Directors Part 2: Mimi O'Donnell


Mimi O'Donnell

Hometown: Philadelphia

Current Town: Manhattan

Q:  Tell me about LAByrinth.

A:  Labyrinth is a diverse group of actors, playwrights, directors and designers. As an ensemble we support and push each other to test our artistic limits. As an organization we have been producing ground breaking new plays for 20 years. Personally it has been my artistic home. I came into the company as a costume designer but have been given opportunities to direct readings, workshops and a full production. Now I'm one of the co artistic directors with Stephen Adly Guirgis and Yul Vazquez. I credit Lab for giving me the space to take risks that I would not have been able to do on my own. There are many members with this similar unique experience.

Q:  How do you create your season?

A:  Our season comes from the plays we read at our annual Summer Intensive. We head upstate for 2 weeks and read up to 40 plays with our company and invited guests. Members weigh in with their thoughts on the plays. The artistic directors create a season based on the company's feedback and what is right for the organization at that time both financially and artistically.

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

A:  When I was 10 years old I had a paper route. I think it was the only legal way a 5th grader could make some cash. There wasn't much about it that I liked but my parents made it clear if I wanted something I had to earn it myself. In this case the money I made from delivering papers paid for my high school tuition, clothes and pretty much anything else I wanted. I wasn't happy about it as a kid but it was my first lesson on what working hard can accomplish. Doing theater or being an artist is hard work. I see it again and again the actors or writers who blow me away don't just wake up awesome they work incredibly hard. A small percent of what I have accomplished may be "talent" but the majority has been a lot of hard work.

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

A:  There isn't anything I would change. It's the best messiest, most unpredictable, flawed, beautiful thing.

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

A:  Any change that happens I hope is growth and movement forward. Labyrinth has the unique situation of having been together as a group of artists for a long time. So we are asking ourselves what it means to be this company now 20 years later and where are we headed. It's an exciting time.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  It's all really exciting. Everyone is risking something when a play is produced. I'm so grateful that we (meaning everyone not just Lab) keeps doing it. I saw "Follies" a few weeks ago and Bernadette Peters hits a note in her final song that just killed me. The following week I was at "Cino Nights" that Rising Phoenix presents at the Seventh Street Small Stage hearing a new play by Megan Mostyn Brown the actors basically performing in your lap and I was just thrilled to be there.

Q:  What do you aspire to in your work?

A:  To knock your socks off and have you keep coming back for more!

Q:  What advice do you have for theater artists wishing to work at your theater?

A:  Come by introduce yourself and hang out.

I Interview Playwrights Part 408: Sherry Kramer


Sherry Kramer

Hometown: Springfield, MO. Queen City of the Ozarks. Buckle of the Bible Belt.

Current Town: Dorset, VT and NYC

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  A Thing of Beauty and the Fat Faculty Member and Redemption.

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

A:  Well, I guess the time I was doing in high school doing Dramatic Interpretation is probably a slice of essential DNA about me as a writer and a person. I was on the debate team, and you went on buses to cities in your state and region to compete, it was sort of like Sex 101 for nerds, really, you stayed over night in hotels and learned all kinds of things. I was never a great debater because I tended to make my facts up and I’m not by nature a compelling liar, but you also could compete in Dramatic Interpretation, which was acting scenes and monologues. I actually won first place one year with a selection from Elie Wiesel’s NIGHT, that’s the kind of material that wins those sorts of competitions (I saved that trophy for years, lost it in the floods we had from Irene) but one year I decided to do comedy instead of drama, and I picked the scene from Othello where he strangles Desdemona. When you do interp, you play however many parts there are in a scene, so that meant I had to strangle myself. I thought this was hilarious. I also knew I had to do it absolutely straight, or it wouldn’t be funny. So I did it. As seriously as I could. A little 7 minute scene, and at the end of it I strangled myself. Then I did Othello’s lines, did a little bow, looked up at my judges: three theatre teachers from tiny towns in rural Missouri. You know that moment in The Producers (the film) when they look at the audience’s faces after Springtime for Hitler? And their mouths are all open down to their knees, they’re so horrified? That’s the way those three judges looked.

They say that shame is the most corrosive emotion there is. Most serial killers and psychopaths were brutally shamed when they were children, right? To this day I still feel like I want to go back in time and tell those judges, THIS IS FUNNY GODDAMN IT!! WHY DON’T YOU GET IT? But they didn’t. This

was maybe 1969 and they’d never seen anything like this. We take comedy like this for granted now. I was 15 years old, this was kind of the postmodern highlight of my career and it was not appreciated. I think I didn’t ever actually recover. I still see those three judges faces in my mind way too much in some way.

Q:  What can a student in your playwriting class expect?

A:  That depends on the student, and what has happened to them before they take one of my classes.

Most playwrights are always actively seeking a better way to understand how to make their plays better, so they’re generally open to whatever you want to teach them when they come to a workshop or class. But if they’ve been taught the conventional ways of understanding structure, they can expect a disorientating experience for a while, a kind of conceptual vertigo, when they study with me. I teach the perception shift, which is a whole systems, audience-centric way of looking at a play, and people who use the old paradigms to organize the way they think about a work of time-based art usually have a little trouble letting go of the old ways of seeing at first. The central idea in my classes is that the play takes place in the audience. When you look at a play through the lens of the audience’s experience of it, rather than applying some arbitrary model to it, it makes it possible to talk about Pinter or Beckett as easily as O’Neill. After we spend some time looking at a handful of plays, to see what we can learn about the way a play creates the unique laws of gravity that create its world, we have a better chance of knowing how to look at our own work.

It’s important to approach each play that my students write on its own terms, regardless of its style or urges. I like certain kinds of theatre, it’s true, more than others, but I am obsessed with the way that meaning is generated in every kind of play. I get an enormous amount of pleasure out of going on the treasure hunt to discover how a play shapes our experience, how it makes things matter. In my workshops, the only thing that I am really militant about is respect—not for me, but for the members of the workshop.

Every playwriting teacher has obsessions, of course, and their students get roped into them one way or another. My obsessions are visual metaphor—it’s how theatre is as purely and completely and essentially theatre as it can be--and the issue of choice and consequence. Nothing makes me more irritated than a big reveal at the end of a play that doesn’t cause a choice. So most of my students can expect to hear a lot about those things.

I teach graduate students at the Michener Center for Writers/MFA Playwriting program at UT Austin and the Iowa Playwrights Workshop on a randomly regular basis, and I teach undergraduates at Bennington College. Playwrights are pretty much my favorite people (other than poets, of course, but poets and playwrights are essentially the same except the playwrights are bigger gluttons for public punishment.) I’ve been exquisitely lucky in the writers I’ve had the honor to teach. I’m writing a book about playwriting (who hasn’t? who isn’t?) and I’ve designed it so my former students can collaborate with me on it. It’s a collaborative art form, after all.

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

A:  I’m so glad you asked. If someone would give me 2 million dollars, I’d develop a two year training program to change the critical conversation in the county. Here’s how I’d do it: I’d take a bunch of those amazing dramaturges our MFA programs are training--smart, articulate people who are passionate about the theatre, who love it and know so much about it—and I’d train them to be our theatre critics by putting them in close relationships with the truly magnificent critics—hey, there are some!—around the country, let them apprentice with them (think apprentice like in Star Wars, not Donald Trump) and see how the critics who love the theatre write about it with passion, intelligence and wisdom. I’d make the conversation about our art form local and national at the same time by putting put these critics, two and three to a city, all over the country. After three months in one city I’d move them to another city, and after two years these dramaturge/critics would have seen work not just in New York and one or two other places, but collectively would have a relationship with theatre everywhere. They would post their writing on a website that would be a place to go to join a conversation about theatre everywhere. Wouldn’t it be great if you could read 2 or 3 pieces of critical writing about a new play in Seattle by critics you have been following, people who are not interested in their “power” or the power of their paper to close a show or make it a hit, or in making/breaking theatres and writers, but in writing about how theatre becomes an essential part of the American experience. About how we can make theatre that matters to people, not just to other artists or to satisfy some insular/insulated assortment of ideas. I have lived in Austin, where the critical voices and the unconditional support for theatre by the press has made a place where amazing theatre happens, where no good work gets blown off, where theatre and theatre going is a part of people’s lives. If we could make that happen all over the country, we would be part of making theatre that would do what theatre is meant to do—to recall people to their higher selves.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  Robert LePage, whose productions can stop time. Theatre Complicete, whose productions can stop time. Tennesse Williams, master of the visual metaphor and, not, coincidentally, longing and regret. All the artists who made The Photographer, the production that changed my understanding of scale and sequence. Robert Crowley, for his gift of dramatic beauty and elegance.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Well, theatre is my drug of choice, and like any drug its attraction is that it makes the user feel beautiful and brave and capable of great things. A really great drug makes you think you’re never going to die. Theatre’s like that. It makes me feel capable of understanding other people and being understood. It connects me, makes me less afraid and less alone and gives me the courage and permission to practice compassion.

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

A:  Find your collaborators. Make theatre that matters to you wherever you are. Don’t make wrong choices for what you think are smart reasons, EVER. Don’t use an actor more than three times in a workshop situation unless you are willing to go to the mat for them when it comes time to cast them. Obey the three-block rule after you see a play. Avoid bitterness. It is the soul killer.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Interview Playwrights Part 407: Ian Walker


Ian Walker

photo by Ashley O'Brian

Hometown: North Hampton, MA

Current Town: San Francisco, CA.

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  I’m very single-minded in my work. I can’t focus on more than two worlds at a time: my daily life and a single creative universe. So I never work on more than one play at a time, and I never write when I’m involved in directing or acting. Right now, I’m gearing up to direct a production of Vigilance, a play I wrote 13 years ago. Directing is like the final re-write of a play for me—though I seldom change a line in rehearsal. The “writing” part is fleshing out the visual and emotional life behind the text. If I weren’t directing, though… I got nothing. Not a single play idea in my head. Which is a bit frightening. I believe that one day I’ll just simply be done, the rooms in the house will go dark, and that’s that. Let’s hope it’s not this year.

Q:  Tell me about 2nd Wind. What does being the playwright in residence entail?

A:  We’re small, lean, politically driven. For the past 20 years or so, 2nd Wind has produced 2 shows a year, plus the occasional reading series or festival show. We’re interested in small stories that resonate with larger social significance. As playwright in residence, I’m a company member, and I get to work with some great directors, actors, and designers as I create. They’ve produced 2 out of my last 4 world premieres, which is pretty great. There’s no guarantee, of course; I’ve got an unproduced play looking for a home right now….

Q:  How would you characterize the San Francisco theater scene?

A:  Hmm. It’s wonderfully vibrant with many different artists exploring different aspects and styles of the art. And it’s over-saturated. San Francisco is artist-rich (and entertainment-rich) in every category, which can make quite a din. It is by some counts the largest community of small theatre companies in the nation, which is something I wish we made a bigger deal of. Our major companies can compete, quality-wise, with NY and Chicago; but it is our “little theatre” diversity and energy that really stands out. Funders should take note; so should reviewers; so should NY and Chicago. One thing it’s missing (which draws playwrights & producers to NY), is the ability for a show to expand and continue its run when it does well. Here, our runs are for a relatively short, set duration, and great shows are often forgotten after a few months. We should take note of that.

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

A:  That’s kinda tough. We’re entirely created from our history, and childhood is a deep forest. Recently, though, I was reminded of an experience which shaped me. One long summer afternoon I went to my dad, a renowned composer, and complained that I was bored. He said—and I quote: “Only stupid people get bored.” And that was all. I think I was ten. It was brilliant on two counts: first, I never complained to him about being bored again. Second, he was, for the most part, right. I had my entire imagination to work with that afternoon. But he also taught me that when I thought something was boring, stupid, or nonsensical, that I was responsible for finding the worth in it. Like that long summer day. Like the mundane details that make up one’s life. Like art. I hope I find the courage to say that to my children.

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

A:  More city, state, and foundation funding for venues, contingent on lower rates for the organizations using them. If we could lower the cost of theatre rentals, we could lower the cost of tickets. More people of different economic levels would go. We might also encourage companies to be more adventuresome in their programming, possibly leading to more productions or bigger productions, providing more roles to actors, designers, and staff. With less on the financial line, our “discussions” might become more diverse, more representative of the whole community we serve. In the Bay Area, the city of San Jose subsidizes one of its venues, and it’s a huge boon for the theatre community there.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  For the past 20 years, Athol Fugard has been the first name on my lips. Still is. I have equally important heroes in other disciplines: Rene Magritte, for his ability to create visual-cognitive resonance; Beethoven, for the breath-taking beauty and power of his work; my brother, Gregory Walker (a violinist and composer), for his creative risk-taking and ability to balance art and life. They’ve all inspired me as a playwright.

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

A:  Normally I wouldn’t dream of answering that one until after I‘d pummeled the new playwright with questions for at least half an hour. At any given time, what one needs to hear is very individual. But one of my most important lessons was to make my own opportunities when doors were closed to me. If no one wants to produce your play, produce it yourself. Host your own staged readings. Self publish. One of the central struggles of any artist is to define oneself. As playwrights we’re only charged with creating art. How it gets done isn’t horribly important in the long run. Something I’m terrible at is being “professionally social.” Don’t be like me. Go to workshops, conferences, readings. More importantly, volunteer at theatres. Get to know how everything—especially on the creative side—works. We’re responsible for creating a world. It takes sets, lights, sound, and competent management to do that in theatre. Be competent in everything. Whoever picks up your script should be able to envision it in their own discipline.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  Did I forget to mention Second Wind’s production of Vigilance at The Phoenix Theatre in San Francisco (www.secondwindtheatre.com)? An uncooperative new-comer drives his neighbors down a path of mutual destruction, laying bare long-buried secrets in this richly imagined, award-winning drama. February 3rd – 25th, 2012.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I Interview Playwrights Part 406: Sean Abley


Sean Abley

Hometown: Helena, MT.

Current Town: Los Angeles (with mad love for Chicago)

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  Well, I really need to get back to the next draft of ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH, a book musical about the Afterlife, but rewrites are so daunting. So procrastination is pushing me toward finishing DRACULA IN WONDERLAND, which I'm writing on spec.

Q:  Tell me about Plays to Order. How did that come about? How does it work?

A:  I've always been interested in quality theater for high school kids, but until recently hadn't really written anything for that particular demographic. Then a couple summers ago I accidentally wrote a script that high school drama groups latched onto - DRACULA'S DAUGHTERS: A FAMILY COMEDY. That was written for a summer stock company, but after it was published high schools started producing it over and over again. I started poking around on the internet (and renewed my International Thespian Society membership) and found that the most common cry from drama teachers was for appropriate material, especially addressing cast size, male-to-female role ratios, and content. I'm a fast writer, so it struck me - Why not approach high schools to write something for them specifically? They get a World Premiere, and I get a first production of my script. Because I'd be writing on spec anyway, I keep the prices low - I figure the first production to work out the kinks is of value. So far drama teachers think the idea is great.

Q:  How has your TV writing influenced your playwriting and vice-versa?

A:  TV (and film) writing sent me back to playwriting! After a decade chasing opportunities, being incredibly underpaid for some of the gigs I was getting, and writing spec after spec that would never see the light of day, I was exhausted. An opportunity presented itself at exactly the right time and suddenly I was a playwright again. As I sat through rehearsals, I had this thought - "Oh, right, THIS is what it's like to actually see your work produced..." I'd certainly do more TV and film, but I'm really, really happy as a playwright.

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 wanted to be an actor from as far back as I can remember. I was (am) a huge horror movie fan as well, so at some point I started peppering my parents with the question, "If I were in an R-rated horror movie, would you let me go see it?" I asked them this question so many times my father finally put his foot down. "Until you go out and start acting, I don't want to hear about this any more." So I found out where my local community theater was, auditioned, and acted for another couple decades, through college and eventually starting my own theater in Chicago. I guess this is a long "Put up or shut up" story, but that's my basic philosophy. (I actually still do act occasionally, but writing is my focus.)

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

A:  I was at a Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers (SSDC) recruitment meeting ages ago - I've had the fortune to direct quite a large percentage of my original scripts, which made me the one "double threat" in the room. The conversation turned to the piece of the royalties pie directors get when they stage an original work, and the tone took an adversarial turn at some point - directors vs. playwrights. I asked, "Don't you see this as a collaborative process with the playwright?" And every single person in that room, including Julianne Boyd (the President at the time) dismissively said, "No!" Theater is infinitely better than TV/film in this aspect, but I'd change the perception that writers are expendable, or irrelevant once the show goes into rehearsal.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  Sam Shepard - like all actors, I ended up with both SEVEN PLAYS and FOOL FOR LOVE AND OTHER PLAYS, two great collections. His work completely changed my idea of what a play could be. Charles Ludlum - THE COMPLETE PLAYS OF... is required reading. (I just realized he died at 44, one year younger than I am now.) Charles Busch - Love the "film on stage"genre, at which he excels. I wrote him a letter when I put up my production of REEFER MADNESS back in 1991 (beating the musical version by a good decade, thank you very much.) He was sweet enough to reply and give me some good advice. All three of these playwrights not only inspired me as a writer, but showed me you could find ways to stage your own work and be successful. I'm a big fan of DIY theater. And lastly, Josephine Forsberg, who created The Players Workshop of the Second City in Chicago. I learned to improvise there, which is basically writing without the paper. I wouldn't be the writer I am today without Jo.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Off Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, 99-Seat Equity Waiver - basically any play done in a small house, preferably where the first row of seats is on the same level as the stage.

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

A:  My first advice would be all that same advice you read over and over - writing is writing, make a deal with yourself to sit in front of the computer for X minutes each day, cut what you love, etc. But I think my real advice is more of an admonishment - If you've written a play, and it hasn't been on stage somewhere, you're either lazy or stupid. There are countless ways you can get your play up on its feet that don't involve waiting for a theater company to produce it, even if it's just a reading in a living room for friends, renting a theater for one night on an off night, etc. If you want your work produced, and no one is taking the bait, produce it yourself.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  Although I'm no longer an active ensemble member, the theater company I co-founded, The Factory Theater (http://www.thefactorytheater.com) in Chicago, is about to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Plays To Order is humming along (www.playstoorder.com). If you're gay and you like horror flicks, check out my "Gay of the Dead" blog on Fangoria.com - (http://fangoria.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=48&Itemid=162) And of course, my website - www.seanabley.com

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I Interview Playwrights Part 405: Emily Chadick Weiss


Emily Chadick Weiss

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY (Brooklyn Heights)

Current Town: Brooklyn, NY (Prospect Heights)

Q:  Tell me about your pilot.

A:  Many months ago, I thought, "I want to write TV and I want to write something for my talented actor friends so we can all eventually bask in glory together.” And so I wrote “The Share,” a half-hour comedy about too many roommates crammed into a Crown Heights apartment.

We filmed it in early October and it should be done with post-production come January 2012. It’s looking good! And I’m going to pat myself on the back for casting pretty good people. Also, the crew was dynamite, including our Director of Photography, Timothy Whitney, our Director Christina Roussos and our editor Tony Arkin. Matt Schatz wrote the theme song! I am living out my dreams!

We raised thousands on indiegogo – thank you contributors! And we’re hoping some entity like a network gives us funds to do it again and again and again.

The story:

Steven Boyer plays NATHAN, laid off from Lehman Brothers, still thinking about becoming a fireman or a dog walker or a real estate agent…

Lucy Devito plays MONA, a magician’s assistant who overcharges all of her roommates and wants Nathan.

William Jackson Harper plays LINCOLN, a frustrated artist who sleeps in the closet and wants to get with

JUSTINE, a Filipino actress always cast as the wrong race, played by Maureen Sebastian.

Katie Kreisler Black plays THEA, a lesbian entrepreneur with a webseries about how to stay fit while eating everything in sight. And those are just the roommates.

Julie Fitzpatrick plays MADELEINE, a lovely schoolteacher who can’t stand her students. Nathan can’t get enough of Madeleine but Scott Sowers plays FRITZ, Madeleine’s crunchy and self-righteous middle-aged fiancé. Robert Askins plays STU, Mona’s worthless brother who somehow manages to snag the ladies. And Megan Tusing plays AMY, Nathan’s consistently pissed-off ex-wife.

Also watch out for Lance Rubin as a hunky date, Eugene Oh as the guy at a bar and Jarlath Conroy as the bartender.

Q:  What else are you working on?

A:  I’m writing the next episode of “The Share” and polishing up my play, “The Relief” about a dysfunctional non-profit trying to save Pakistani flood victims.

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 would wake up early and make musicals with my Russian stacking dolls. I still do that but wake up a little later now.

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

A:  We must find a way to make more money in theatre, not millions, but not nothin’. When people say yes to non-paying work it hurts us all in the long run. If producers, theatres etc. rely on our desperation to see our work realized then we will always feel desperate for both artistic opportunities and day jobs. For “The Share” it was a real pain in the neck to raise money to pay everyone, but because we did, everyone was compensated for every day on set and the actors got a bit added to their SAG pension and health benefits. I really admire organizations that give at least a small stipend to their playwrights, actors, and directors so we don’t have to lose money if we want to get a drink after our show.

Also, as a member of Youngblood, the group for emerging playwrights under 30 at The Ensemble Studio Theatre, I must say I think the model of the Youngblood brunch is genius. You see 5 great new short plays while getting drunk and having brunch. I think theatre with food is a great combination and makes theatre digestible to theatre and non-theatre people alike. Pun intended.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  Amy Herzog, Richard Greenberg, Wendy Wasserstein, Stephen Sondheim, William Finn.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Stories with characters that feel true and funny and sad. An excellent play is more filling than an excellent meal.

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

A:  For playwrights just out of college and young playwrights:

Get some sort of job, even if it doesn’t pay much or it’s gross, just get the job and earn some money and don’t live with your parents for too long; you won’t feel sexy.

If you happen to obtain a job where you pretty much like most of the people around you, the pay is okay and you have a little time for writing, you are lucky! (I’ve had a whole bunch of jobs – from school admissions to working at a Chinese Bank. And now I have five jobs as a writer/producer, a Real Estate Agent, a babysitter, and I am about to start a job as a playwriting teacher. And sometimes I have time to shower!)

For playwrights starting out later in life:

Wow, you are brave and poetic. Keep being you.

About choosing to write plays as a career:

It can be painful but if it makes you feel alive, keep truckin’.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  “The Share” - half hour web pilot I wrote. Coming in January 2012! Until then, like The Facebook page “The Share” please.

The Occupy Wall Street Youngblood Brunch! Sunday December 4, 1pm. My play is called “The Brainstorms” and is about two girls contemplating spending their Friday night protesting, once they finish curling their hair.

“Hand to God” at The Ensemble Studio Theatre - good show, good performances, good theatre; a night well spent.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I Interview Playwrights Part 404: Charity Henson-Ballard



Charity Henson-Ballard

Hometown:

Tricky question for an Army kid. I was born in Columbia, South Carolina, but we moved away when I was just an infant. My family’s in Riverview, Florida now, but I’ve been in New York City the longest. Prior to New York, Germany was the place where I had lived the longest.

Q:  Tell me about your upcoming show with Rising Circle and Culture Project. When does it go up?

A: In March of next year, Rising Circle Theater Collective’s Refinery and Culture Project’s 2012 Women Center Stage Festival will be producing a workshop production of my play, Pete the Girl. I’m very excited about this collaboration and what information it will provide me about the magical world I’ve created for the play’s characters. The play focuses on the rise to power of a young African-American teenage softball prodigy, Petrice Kincaide, and her burgeoning relationship with Vera, an agoraphobic physicist who lives in her housing project. The play deals with many themes I’m curious about, specifically the politics of being a Black woman sports celebrity. The world of sports is quickly merging with the entertainment world and with this particular piece, I’ve tried tying together many elements that may not seem inherently connected initially, but when they are brought together, they reflect and refract off of one another to create something that (I believe) tells us about ourselves. Our society. But that all said, whether these random elements successfully interplay is something I’ll leave up to the audience. I wouldn’t dare do the audience’s work. I’m leaving it up to the person in the seat to decide whether they are watching a serious play about something ridiculous or a ridiculous play about something serious. Hopefully that question will lead to self-discovery for the individual watching the show.
Q:  What else are you working on?

A:  I’m currently developing a play called Tower In a Garden with Rising Circle and Casita Maria about environmental racism and public housing. The play weaves tenant testimonials, reports, new articles, scientific data and Biblical imagery.

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

A:  That we would return to discussing the issues addressed in a play rather than simply whether or not we liked a play, the acting, the set, etc.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  I’m excited by theater that sets out to educate me, not just entertain me. Theater that lingers in my psyche long after I’ve seen it. Theater that makes me Google something to see if it’s true. Something that makes me want to tell my co-worker that he or she has to see what I just saw. Something that makes me blog, that might actually implicate me as a member of American society. (I’m willing to risk it.) Add to that a theatrical experience that is beautiful, thoughtful, nuanced and responsible. Art that is a conversation between playwright, director, designer, actor and audience. A community experience. A community conversation.

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

A:  Be passionate about your work. Have conversations ABOUT your work. Have conversations IN your work. Find your artistic support system and be part of someone else’s support system. We help each other, remember?

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  Pete the Girl will be going up at the Living Theater March 27th through April 2nd, 2012. It’s being directed by WP alumna Donya Washington. The woman is amazing and I’m excited to work with her again.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I Interview Playwrights Part 403: Idris Goodwin



Idris Goodwin

Hometown – Current Town:  I am a true son of the Midwest, baby! Michigan, Illinois, Iowa all day

Q:  Tell me about your play coming up at Humana.

A:  How We Got On is a 1988 coming of age story about three teenagers who have just seen Yo! MTV Raps and want to become rappers. Only thing is that they live in the suburbs of the Midwest. The play’s form and structure is adapted from the DJ driven underground rap mixtapes (see Tony Touch, DJ Clue, DJ Kay Slay)that sustained me as a hip hop obsessed teenager. The play’s narrator scratches and blends scenes together as if they were records.

I worked on the play this past summer at the Oneill with a great crew.

It’s the first in series of what I call the Break Beat Plays.

Q:  What else are you working on?

A:  Joining forces with fellow playwright/ solo performers Sean Christopher Lewis and Megan Gogerty on The Teacher Show –an evening of pieces about our experiences in the classroom. We’ll be presenting at the very essential 2012 Revolutions Theater Festival in Albuquerque, NM and other venues across the country.

Working on the next Break Beat Play currently titled Street Team, which is a romance with raps set in 96, at the onset of the Puffy era.

I continue to travel the nation’s community colleges, youth centers, book stores, cafes and dive bars promoting These Are The Breaks my first collection of essays and poetry.

Working on a syllabus for a Hip Hop theater class I start teaching at Northwestern this winter

Toying around with a young adult fiction novella (we’ll see)

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  I wrote my very first “stage play” after reading True West so I gotta give it up to Sam Shepard - but listening to Richard Pryor taught me everything I need to know about the art of live performance.

Also, Chicago’s infamous Curious Theater Branch and Prop Thtr were an undeniable part of my genesis. They opened their doors to me when I was a pup so I could learn how to collaborate, fail and grow.

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

A:  I have a very broad definition of theater. For me theater is:

any sequence of calculated actions presented in real time to a live audience. Venue, content, context, length is irrelevant. So for me concerts, poetry slams, sporting events, rap battles, etc… all theater

(Ever notice in sports, a sequence of actions on the court or field are referred to as “a play.”)

I would love to see the blending of these different styles and approaches to live performance encouraged by the academic and theater making industry at large.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Every year there is an event in Chicago called Louder than a bomb, which is a teen poetry festival co founded by Def Poet/educator/author Kevin Coval. At the heart of the festival is a tournament style competition in which kids from all over the state form teams and battle it out with their original performance poems. I’m talking hundreds of teenagers from all sorts of ethnic, socio economic, racial, cultural backgrounds standing on stage spilling their guts about where they come from, who they be to thunderous applause. It has all the stuff of great drama – people’s desires, tragedies, comedies – and these are real kids – these are the sons and daughters of professors, fire fighters, single moms and dads, aldermen, immigrants – all listening to one another’s truth. But it’s the audience that’s truly special – the word diverse is an understatement – you see a room full of adults cheering for their kids, for other people’s kids, but most importantly listening and reliving in some way their own adolescence – you’d have to be dead not to be inspired. Its absolutely cynic proof. They made a documentary about it which has been cleaning up on the festival circuit and will premiere on Oprah’s new network on Jan.5 2012

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

A:  two things

1. Talent is the easy part, everyone is talented—the real skills to learn are rigor, discipline, strategy, attitude, and most of all, patience.

2. Never take someone’s advice just because they may be more “accomplished” than you – follow, feed and trust your instincts instead.

Q:   Plugs, please:

A:  As mentioned above, How We Got On has it’s premo at the 2012 Humana fest in March


My other play Blackademics chew the flan waiting for death and/or tenure….will premo at Chicago’s MPAACT in fall 2012

I work in a lot of different mediums: if you want to check out my spoken word, essays, music and other stuff drop by my website - www.Idrisgoodwin.com

Be on the look out for that Louder Than A Bomb Documentary

Friday, November 11, 2011

I Interview Playwrights Part 402: Hilary Bettis



Hilary Bettis


Hometown:  I've lived in seven different states so I never know how to answer this one. I suppose I can list them alphabetically:

California, Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina

The older I get, the more grateful I am to have lived in so many different places. They've all showed me such different perspectives of humanity in ways that forced me to question my own assumptions and prejudices at a young age.

Current Town:  Brooklyn, NY- Bushwick to be exact

Q:  Tell me about ALLIGATOR.

A:   I love dirty, grungy rock clubs. In another life I would totally be a musician! I wanted to take the raw, visceral energy of that world and mesh it with a story. Two and a half years later, and with the help of some amazing artists and organizations (Morgan Gould, an amazing and dedicated actors, New Georges, The Lark, EST, New River Dramatists, Carolina Coastal University, Great Plains Theatre Conference) I have a play. I'm currently working with an awesome indie rock musician on an original score. Below is a synopsis:

Emerald and her twin brother, Ty, are orphaned teenagers living in the backwoods of the Florida Everglades. For as long as they’ve been alive, they’ve made money by wrestling ‘gators in a roadside attraction, but their sideshow days are close to an end when a doe-eyed runaway, Lucy, shows up on their porch.

Ty is immediately weary of the stranger. With promises of unlimited whiskey, Emerald’s only weakness, Lucy burrows her way into the lives of the twins and the lives of the town. As Lucy’s desperation to win Emerald over intensifies, she will do whatever it takes to please her…even if it leads to murder. The only hope left rests on Emerald who must ultimately face the demon that haunts her every waking moment.

ALLIGATOR is a play that weaves together realism and surrealism, rock music and Seminole legends, sex and enemies, blood and whiskey, hope and murder. It is a play that asks the question: How do we truly love one another in the face of our deepest, darkest monsters?

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  DAKOTA ATOLL is a full-length play commissioned by EST/Alfred P. Sloan foundation. The play is a 1960s Western set on a cattle ranch near the Badlands during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It's full of cowboys, gunfights, horses, and a mysterious Lakota woman. But the play is really about honor and integrity in an increasingly modern and apathetic world.

I'm working on another full-length play commissioned by Carol Ostrow Productions

I'm also working on a feature film with some lovely producers- Mara Kassin and Christina Brucato.

In my free time, I've been learning violin for about two years. I really love it! It's sort of the perfect thing to do when I have writer's block and need to walk away from a scene.

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

A:  Everyone's childhood is hard and cruel and amazing and profound. No one wants to hear about my childhood any more than they want to watch paint dry. I think that borders on self-indulgence.

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

A: I'd love to see theater as a whole take more risks on unknown artists or unusual productions. I think audiences are hungry for diversity, and if theater is going to entice younger generations it has to evolve with a world bombarded with instant entertainment at every turn. This isn't to say that theater should be superficial or commercial for the sake of entertainment, but it should find new ways to stay relevant while giving audiences depth and new perspectives of humanity.

Q: Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  Chekhov, Shepard, Albee, Wasserstien, Pinter, Shakespeare, Odets, Inge, Wilder, Sarah Kane, Paula Vogel, Caryl Chruchill, Martin McDonagh and on and on...

Hitchcock, Kurosawa, Kubrick, Scorsese, Coen Brothers, Tarantino, Taymor, Jane Campion, Cormac McCarthy, Larry McMurtry, Murakami, Virginia Woolf, Maya Angelou, Joan Miro (while not technically theater, their work has greatly influenced my style of playwriting.)

And I've been blessed with some wonderful mentors: Romulus Linney, Gene Frankel, Adam Hirsch, Meir Ribalow, Jan Buttram, Susan Bernfield, James McLure, My Parents

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Something that hits me in the gut. Something that shows me the world from a new perspective. Something that lingers with me long after the production.

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

A:  "The first draft of anything is shit." Ernest Hemingway

I always remind myself of this quote because it gives me permission to throw caution to the wind and let my instincts run wild. You can always cut, change, rewrite, or burn anything later. But you never really know what is brewing in your guts until you let go of the steering wheel.

Q:  Anything else you want to share?

A:  My other life passion is horses. I've been riding my entire life- everything from barrel racing to hunters and jumpers- and I am a certified trainer. One of my first jobs was working as a riding instructor for disabled children. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Someday I want to move back to Colorado and have a big ranch full of horses and rescue animals, compete in a few local shows, and give riding lessons. There is no better smell in the world than a barn!

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  ALLIGATOR will be developed at the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference this summer.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Interview Artistic Directors Part 1: Marc Masterson




Marc Masterson

Hometown: Houston, TX, with stops in New York, Pittsburgh, and Louisville

Current Town: Huntington Beach, CA

Q: Tell me about South Coast Rep.

A:   A Dramatic History The 47-year Odyssey from Beachfront to Broadway


In 1964, "South Coast Repertory" was a band of untested former theatre students launching an artistic odyssey on little more than raw talent and enthusiasm. Led by David Emmes and Martin Benson, they had emerged from college into the crossfire of a revolution in American theatre. Young theatre artists were out to break Broadway's hold over America's stages by founding independent professional theatres. They called theirs a "resident theatre movement," and by the early 1960s it was taking root in cities across America.


Emmes and Benson had attended San Francisco State College, where two of its faculty — Jules Irving and Herbert Blau — also ran the Actor's Workshop, a model for resident theatre advocates. Having gone separate ways after graduation, and holding jobs in academia, the social services and the peripheries of entertainment, Emmes and Benson gathered a few San Francisco friends in summer 1963 to stage Arthur Schnitzler's La Ronde at the "Off-Broadway Theatre" in Long Beach. The chemistry worked. The theatre's board invited the troupe back to mount a series of plays the next summer.


They returned with The Hostage, Major Barbara and The Alchemist. The process of staging these three productions was transforming for the talented friends. The pressure they put themselves under to excel, and the creativity that emerged, marked the 1964 summer in Long Beach as a crucible. The band of hopefuls was fused into a company.


(Editor's Note:  It does not end there but I'm stopping there so you can hear more about Marc.  You can read the rest of the fascinating history of SCR here.)

Q:  How do you create your season? Or how have you created seasons in the past before coming to SCR?

A:  I look for work that inspires me and that reflects the variety and energy of the world I live in. Of course, there are also practical matters such as expense and physical requirements of a work that are kept in mind as a season comes together. But passion is essential and it can come from anywhere.

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

A:  When I was a kid I was part of a children's theatre program in Houston called Studio 7 run by Chris Wilson. The family of people that existed around that place and her leadership as the head of it inspired me to want to build a life in the theatre. I am still in touch with a number of people from that time and will be working with my friend Charlie Robinson in Jitney later this season.

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

A:  Everyone would make a living wage.

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

A:  We should always be changing and evolving.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Anything that is inherently theatrical.

Q:  What do you aspire to in your work?

A:  Integrity and inspiration.

Q:  Has your practice changed in the last ten years? Do you see changes in technology and culture changing how you work in the next ten years?*

A:  I have embraced the use of technology in my work. I believe that we are just at the beginning of affordable new tools opening up for use in our story telling- but believe also that they are only tools- theatre should remain a live expreience with actors at the center.

Q:  What advice do you have for theater artists wishing to work at your theater?

A:  The barricades are not nearly as high as you think. Take charge and communicate.


*Thanks to Polly Carl for this question.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

I Interview Playwrights Part 401: Melisa Tien



Melisa Tien

Hometown:  Woodland Hills, CA

Current Town: New York, NY

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  A bunch of very different and exciting things: I'm co-creating (along with 6 other writers, 5 directors, and 4 producers; all from the current Women's Project Lab) a full-length play that will close out Women's Project's 2012-2012 season; I'm co-writing a play with 7 other playwrights about Jackson Heights at 3:00 in the morning, based on late night/early morning explorations in that most diverse of NYC 'hoods; I'm writing a play about a young woman who can rewind her life, but only within the last five minutes (potentially effecting do-overs in life); I'm starting research for a play about a women's soccer initiative in Cameroon that is changing how young Cameroonian women are seen and how they see themselves--I'm thinking of structuring the play like a soccer match, so it's a sporting event and theater event in one; all kinds of good stuff!

Q:  Tell me about your involvement in collaborative theater projects.

A:  To my mind, there are a few different things people are referring to when they use the word 'collaboration' to talk about theater. There's the inherent collaborative aspect of various people working together to put up a show, from the stage manager to the costume designer to the director. There's also a kind of collaboration that happens when you workshop an existing but not finished text, which involves actor input, director input, sometimes designer input; and they help to introduce new and helpful elements, or subtract extraneous elements, but by and large the playwright is the creator of the written text. There's also 'Collaboration' or 'devised work', wherein everyone who will potentially be involved in the final production, including actors and directors, are deeply involved in the inception, creation, reworking, and polishing of the play; this kind of creation often feels more like choreography (not because it's movement-based but because of the manner in which pieces are built on their feet). The first kind of collaboration happens no matter what. The second kind is what I'm doing with Jackson Heights project. The third kind is what I'm doing with Women's Project. They require different levels of involvement but they're all fun and they teach one to remove one's ego from making work.

Q:  Tell me about the Women's Project Playwright's Lab.

A:  I love the 2010-2012 lab; it's a bunch of smart, diverse, ambitious, big-hearted, sometimes self-doubting, often openly awesome, immensely creative women: Tea Alagic, Alexandra Collier, Liz English, Charity Henson-Ballard, Jessi D. Hill, Andrea Kuchlewska, Manda Martin, Dominique Morisseau, Kristen Palmer, Roberta Pereira, Sarah Rasmussen, Mia Rovegno, Nicole Watson, Stephanie Ybarra, Stefanie Zadravec, and me. The writers meet to share/discuss work, and the lab as a whole (producers, directors, writers) meet to share/discuss projects and learn ways to be more efficient/productive as an artist, via monthly workshops and guest speakers.

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 around ten, my brother and I used to get up at 5:30 in the morning and sneak into my mom's study and write stories. We'd sit on the shag-carpeted floor and put pencil to ruled paper until it was time to get ready for school. It was dark and cold, but it also felt like we were doing something secret and noteworthy.

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

A:  In this country it's hard to make theater without private backing (the government has other priorities). The good news is it seems like there are a lot of rich people who appreciate theater and want to donate their money to it. The issue, perhaps, is connecting those donors to theatermakers so that there is a more direct flow of funding to incipient theater projects--projects donors might not have heard of yet, but would gladly support. How can we connect these two? Is there an easier way to distribute money without having to go through a foundation/granting organization? How can theatermakers get the funding they need right away to get their projects off the ground? How can donors get a more real sense of the people and projects they are supporting? Is the answer direct patronage à la de Medici? I'd like to see ways in which rich people can easily connect to and give to poor theatermakers.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  María Irene Fornés. Adrienne Kennedy. Jyoti Mhapsekar. Chinese opera makers, old and new. Also, everyone who struggles to be heard as a theatermaker in New York City and elsewhere.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Lots of stuff. I like intellectual theater, emotionally wrenching theater, impressionistic theater, puppet theater, dance theater, straightforward straight-up realistic theater, brave, weird, quiet, deep, outrageous, hilarious, moving theater. People say this often and I agree--if the theater work is rigorously true to itself (whatever form it wants to take, whatever story it is trying to tell), then it'll be exciting.

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

A;  Try not to become bitter. Know that it takes a long time for most playwrights to get where they want to go. Make peace with the fact that you won't make money in theater (and find a different way to earn money if you need to). Exercise your writing and creative muscles. Do other things besides theater to inform your theater-making. Be open. Be generous. Try not to become bitter.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  I have a play called REFRAIN currently running at The Wild Project (November 3-19, Tuesdays-Saturdays @ 8:00 PM; Sundays @ 3:00 PM) / www.refraintheplay.com), directed by amazing collaborator Jessi D. Hill and two actors who are a joy to work with: Brooke Eddey and Marc Santa Maria.

Friday, November 04, 2011

400 Playwright Interviews (alphabetical)

Rob Ackerman
Liz Duffy Adams
Johnna Adams
Tony Adams 
David Adjmi
Keith Josef Adkins   
Derek Ahonen
Kathleen Akerley    
Zakiyyah Alexander
Luis Alfaro
Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro 
Lucy Alibar
Joshua Allen
Mando Alvarado 
Sofia Alvarez 
Christina Anderson  
Terence Anthony
David Anzuelo
Rob Askins
Alice Austen 
Elaine Avila   
Rachel Axler
Jenny Lyn Bader
Bianca Bagatourian   
Annie Baker
Trista Baldwin
David Bar Katz
Jennifer Barclay 
Courtney Baron
Abi Basch 
Mike Batistick 
Brian Bauman
Neena Beber

Nikole Beckwith 
Maria Alexandria Beech
Kari Bentley-Quinn 
Alan Berks
Brooke Berman
Susan Bernfield
Jay Bernzweig 
Mickey Birnbaum  
Barton Bishop
Martin Blank
Radha Blank
Lee Blessing
Jonathan Blitstein
Adam Bock
Jerrod Bogard
Emily Bohannon
Rachel Bonds
Margot Bordelon
Deron Bos
Hannah Bos
Leslie Bramm
Jami Brandli
George Brant
Tim Braun
Deborah Brevoort  
Delaney Britt Brewer
Jessica Brickman  
Erin Browne
Julia Brownell  
Bekah Brunstetter
Monica Byrne
Renee Calarco   
Sheila Callaghan
Darren Canady
Ruben Carbajal
Ed Cardona, Jr.
Jonathan Caren
Aaron Carter
James Carter 
David Caudle
Eugenie Chan 
Clay McLeod Chapman
Christopher Chen
Jason Chimonides  
Andrea Ciannavei
Eliza Clark
Alexis Clements
Paul Cohen 
Alexandra Collier
James Comtois
Joshua Conkel
Kara Lee Corthron
Kia Corthron  
Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas
Erin Courtney
Cusi Cram
Lisa D'Amour
Heidi Darchuk
Stacy Davidowitz
Philip Dawkins
Dylan Dawson
Gabriel Jason Dean
Vincent Delaney
Emily DeVoti
Kristoffer Diaz
Jessica Dickey
Dan Dietz
Lisa Dillman
Zayd Dohrn
Bathsheba Doran
Anton Dudley
Laura Eason
Fielding Edlow
Erik Ehn
Yussef El Guindi
Libby Emmons
Christine Evans 
Jennifer Fawcett 
Joshua Fardon
Catherine Filloux   
Kenny Finkle
Stephanie Fleischmann
Kate Fodor
Sam Forman 
Dana Lynn Formby 
 
Kevin R. Free
Matthew Freeman
Edith Freni
Patrick Gabridge 
Anne Garcia-Romero
Gary Garrison 
Madeleine George
Meg Gibson
Sean Gill
Sigrid Gilmer 
Peter Gil-Sheridan
Gina Gionfriddo
Kelley Girod 
Michael Golamco
Jessica Goldberg
Daniel Goldfarb
Jacqueline Goldfinger
Jeff Goode
Christina Gorman
Craig "muMs" Grant
Katharine Clark Gray
Elana Greenfield   
Kirsten Greenidge
David Grimm  
Jason Grote
Sarah Gubbins
Stephen Adly Guirgis
Lauren Gunderson
Laurel Haines 
Jennifer Haley
Ashlin Halfnight   
Christina Ham
Sarah Hammond
Rob Handel
Jordan Harrison
Leslye Headland
Ann Marie Healy
Julie Hebert 
Marielle Heller
Amy Herzog
Ian W. Hill  
Andrew Hinderaker
Cory Hinkle
Richard Martin Hirsch
Lucas Hnath
David Holstein
J. Holtham
Miranda Huba  
Quiara Alegria Hudes 
Les Hunter
Sam Hunter
Chisa Hutchinson
Arlene Hutton
Tom Jacobson  
Laura Jacqmin
Joshua James
Julia Jarcho
Kyle Jarrow
Rachel Jendrzejewski   
Karla Jennings
David Johnston
Daniel Alexander Jones  
Nick Jones
Julia Jordan
Rajiv Joseph
Aditi Brennan Kapil
Lila Rose Kaplan
Stephen Karam  
Jeremy Kareken 
Lally Katz
Lynne Kaufman
Daniel Keene 
 
Greg Keller
Sibyl Kempson
Jon Kern 
Anna Kerrigan
Kait Kerrigan
Boo Killebrew
Callie Kimball
Alessandro King 
Johnny Klein 
Krista Knight
 
Andrea Kuchlewska
Larry Kunofsky
Eric Lane 
Deborah Zoe Laufer 
J. C. Lee
Young Jean Lee
Dan LeFranc
Andrea Lepcio
Victor Lesniewski 
Steven Levenson
Barry Levey
Mark Harvey Levine  
Michael Lew
Alex Lewin  
EM Lewis
Sean Christopher Lewis
Jeff Lewonczyk
Kenneth Lin
Michael Lluberes
 
Matthew Lopez
Stacey Luftig
Kirk Lynn
Taylor Mac  
Mariah MacCarthy
Heather Lynn MacDonald 
Laura Lynn MacDonald
Maya Macdonald
Wendy MacLeod 
Cheri Magid
Jennifer Maisel
Martyna Majok  
Karen Malpede   
Kara Manning
Mona Mansour 
Warren Manzi 
Israela Margalit 
Ellen Margolis
Ruth Margraff
Sam Marks
Katie May
Oliver Mayer
Tarell Alvin McCraney
Mia McCullough  
Daniel McCoy 
Ruth McKee
Gabe McKinley  
Ellen McLaughlin 
James McManus
Charlotte Meehan
Carly Mensch
Molly Smith Metzler
Dennis Miles
Charlotte Miller 
Jane Miller  
Winter Miller
Lin-Manuel Miranda
Yusef Miller 
Rehana Mirza
Michael Mitnick
Anna Moench
Honor Molloy
Claire Moodey 
Alejandro Morales
Desi Moreno-Penson
Dominique Morisseau 
Hannah Moscovitch 
Itamar Moses
Gregory Moss
Megan Mostyn-Brown
Kate Mulley 
Paul Mullin
Julie Marie Myatt
Janine Nabers
Peter Sinn Nachtrieb
Brett Neveu
Don Nguyen   
Qui Nguyen
Don Nigro
Dan O'Brien
Matthew Paul Olmos 
Dominic Orlando
Rich Orloff
Marisela Treviño Orta
Sylvan Oswald  
Jamie Pachino
Kristen Palmer
Tira Palmquist

Kyoung H. Park
Peter Parnell
Julia Pascal
Steve Patterson
Daniel Pearle 
christopher oscar peña
Brian Polak 
Daria Polatin
John Pollono 
Chana Porter
Craig Pospisil
Jessica Provenz
Michael Puzzo
Brian Quirk  
Marco Ramirez
Adam Rapp
David West Read 
Theresa Rebeck
Amber Reed
Daniel Reitz
M.Z. Ribalow
Molly Rice
Mac Rogers
Joe Roland 
Elaine Romero
Lynn Rosen
Andrew Rosendorf
Kim Rosenstock
Sharyn Rothstein 
Kate E. Ryan
Kate Moira Ryan
Trav S.D.
Sarah Sander
Tanya Saracho
Heidi Schreck
August Schulenburg
Mark Schultz
Jenny Schwartz
Emily Schwend
Jordan Seavey
Christopher Shinn
Rachel Shukert
Jen Silverman
David Simpatico 
Blair Singer
Crystal Skillman
Mat Smart
Alena Smith
Tommy Smith
Ben Snyder
Sonya Sobieski  
Lisa Soland
Octavio Solis
E. Hunter Spreen 
Peggy Stafford 
Saviana Stanescu
Nick Starr
Deborah Stein
Jon Steinhagen
Victoria Stewart
Andrea Stolowitz
Lydia Stryk
Gwydion Suilebhan  
Gary Sunshine
Caridad Svich
Jeffrey Sweet
Adam Szymkowicz
Daniel Talbott
Jeff Talbott 
Kate Tarker 
Roland Tec 
Lucy Thurber
Paul Thureen
Josh Tobiessen
Catherine Trieschmann 
Dan Trujillo
Alice Tuan
Jon Tuttle
Ken Urban
Enrique Urueta
Karen Smith Vastola 
Francine Volpe
Kathryn Walat
Michael I. Walker 
Malachy Walsh
Kathleen Warnock
Anne Washburn
Marisa Wegrzyn
Anthony Weigh   
Ken Weitzman
Sharr White
David Wiener  
Claire Willett
Samuel Brett Williams
Beau Willimon
Pia Wilson
Gary Winter
Bess Wohl   
Stanton Wood
Craig Wright
Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig  
Deborah Yarchun
Lauren Yee
Steve Yockey
Kelly Younger
Stefanie Zadravec
Anna Ziegler