May 23, 2012
I Interview Playwrights Part 456: Wendy Dann
Hometown: Morrisville, NY
Current Town: Ithaca, NY
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I'm writing a play with music called The Liberator, a project I've been researching and writing for a few years now. Starting work with a composer soon. And revising everything else. As always.
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 grew up with two college professors as parents, and surrounded by eighteen acres of land...my parents were friends but never slept in the same bedroom my whole life...I don't think I ever put together what was going on until I was an adult, but I spent a lot of time in the woods playing make believe...turning rocks into horses and trees into gods...
Q: If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?
A: More people would go. Productions would all be great so people would come back.
Q: Who are or were your theatrical heroes?
A: I took a SITI workshop in grad school, so Anne Bogart. When I turned to her and said, "I feel like I need to think differently," she replied "No, you need to see and hear differently." That changed everything for me.
At the same time I was studying with Bob Moss, and learned a huge amount from his other directing proteges: people like Michael Mayer and Kevin Moriarty.
And from afar: George C. Wolfe, Tina Landau, Paula Vogel, Tony Kushner, Donald Margulies, Sarah Ruhl, Annie Baker, Tom Stoppard, Brian Friel.
Wishing they were still here: Harold Pinter. Samuel Beckett. Chekhov. Shakespeare.
Q: What kind of theater excites you?
A: Stories that feel so close to home I get embarrassed. They force me to reexamine my own choices, my own decisions, and how to move forward.
Q: What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?
A: Endurance. Sit down every day (jeez, Wendy, listen to that yourself)
Q: Plugs, please:
A: Check out our new theatre company:
And my ongoing project: