Jun 26, 2012
I Interview Playwrights Part 470: Micheline Auger
Hometown: Sacramento, CA.
Current Town: NYC
Q: Tell me about American River:
A: I wanted to write the Great American Love Story. It's also a grieving. And a comedy. It's a grievedy.
Q: What else are you working on now?
A: Right now I'm curating the Write Out Front Playwright Installation happening in the storefront of the Drama Book Shop August 13th - Sept. 4th. Some 70 playwrights will write new work in the storefront while the screen view of their computer will be projected on the wall behind them, visible to the street. People can engage, support and follow the playwrights via twitter, FB and the Write Out Front Website. They can go to their shows, follow their careers and when they win a Tony, Lily or Academy Award they can say I knew them when... Tina Howe called it "Inspired insanity!"
Q: Tell me about Theaterspeak.
A: I started Theaterspeak because I come from a small town and even though my family went to the theater and my dad and grandfather were writers, I didn't really view myself as a creative person even though I played the piano, danced and acted. Being a creative person or being in the theater wasn't really viewed as an option. In a way, I think it was viewed as being egotistical. Instead the M.O. was "most people are lucky not to hate their jobs and do what they love to do on the side" so get a job in human resources or something. I had also been told that it takes ten years to make it, so when I was acting or beginning writing, I didn't really put myself out there as much. So Theaterspeak is my attempt to reach out to artists who have beliefs that don't serve them and connect them with artists who are creating their own work, their own lives in inspiring ways. It's a way to build community, to encourage people to do what they want no matter what, to believe in themselves and to spark innovation and new creation. And it's also a big thank you to all the people (like you, Adam) who have shared information, resources and their talent.
Q: Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.
A: Um, well I talked to myself when I was a child. It was the way I reasoned things out so, in a way, I think that was the beginning of playwriting and finding creative modes to help navigate the world. I'd also stay in the car when my mom would go grocery shopping, and I'd find pieces of paper or loose change in the back seat and make them into characters and do little scenes between them. Then, in high school, my step-brother died, and I wrote a piece about it and performed it for my acting class. I didn't think I was a writer, I didn't think it was a solo show. It was just the human instinct of story telling with people in your community to create connection.
Q: If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?
A: I'm certainly not the first person to say this but I'd make it more affordable to produce and more affordable to see. I'd also increase the avenues from which we collect our playwrights and theater artists.
Q: Who are or were your theatrical heroes?
A: All the theater artists and companies that I saw growing up in Sacramento and LA doing their work despite the challenges internally and externally.
Q: What kind of theater excites you?
A: I have pretty eclectic tastes in things but ultimately I'd say theater that is inclusive and is trying to have a conversation with a wide audience.
Q: What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?
A: Keep trying whenever you fail. Embrace others.
Q: Plugs, please:
A: Come say hi to me and the Lesser American's who are producing my play American River at Theater for the New City July 12 - 22. You can get info and tix here: http://www.lesseramerica.com/box-office/
If you're a playwright who wants to participate in Write Out Front, you can get info and application here: http://theaterspeak.blogspot.com/p/write-out-front-playwright-happening.html.