Thursday, June 28, 2012

I Interview Playwrights Part 472: Lonnie Carter

Lonnie Carter

Hometown: Chicago

Current Town: Falls Village, Connecticut

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  Lots of new projects including a Tiger Woods play I wrote with a longtime friend, Mac Davis. If you Google Walter A. Davis, you'll see the kind of cat I hang around with for the last 50 years. It's called TRIM and features Howard Stern, Robin Quivers, Jack Nicklaus, Wendi Deng Murdoch, her hubby Rupie, Oprah, Joel Osteen, Elin Nordegren, Earl Woods to name a few luminaries. Did a staged reading last October at New Dramatists and we believe, as Mac puts it, that we've got lightning in a bottle. It's a What-If play, what if Tiger never went back to golf after Elin konked him with a 9 iron. Each of these folks has his/her reason for manipulating Tiger and he, becoming more and more Hamlettian, will have no part in it. O, did I mention that Marilyn Chambers plays a pivotal role? We've sent it everywhere. Anyone want to read it? Happy to send an ecopy.

But also, everywhere I turn, my play THE ROMANCE OF MAGNO RUBIO reappears. The original production by the Ma-Yi Theater Company directed by Loy Arcenas won eight (8) Obies in 2003 and has been done a lot across the country and abroad at festivals - Manila, Romania and soon Singapore. MAGNO THE MOVIE will soon be in production with me sharing screenwriting credit.

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

A:  Not a story, but an abiding memory. I recall collecting Jackie Robinson comic books. He was/is my hero. I wanted to be just like him.

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

A:  Fewer plays about dysfunctional families/neighbors shouting at each other. I'm reminded of that routine - Is it Monty Python, or does it go back to Peter Sellers and the Goon Show? Someone asks the man in the street what he thinks of all the violence and rape and incest in the media these days and he says, It's just awful. I get quite enough of that at home.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  Graham Greene whom we don't usually think of as a playwright, but his play THE POTTING SHED is terrific. And he's such a terrific writer across the board. Shirley Hazzard wrote a memoir GREEN ON CAPRI. And is she a writer as well! Jean Genet. I saw a production of THE MAIDS played by three men, which is the way Genet wanted it done. Produced by New Stage in Pittsfield Massachusetts. Unbelievably great and directed by my friend Tom Gruenewald. (I had to remind myself that I wasn't in the best theaters in Chicago, New York or London.) James Joyce and his play EXILES. Lorraine Hansberry and A RAISIN IN THE SUN. How about someone living? My Yale pals, David Epstein, Bob Auletta, Bob Montgomery. My Chicago budds, Doug Post, Charles Smith, Steve Carter, Gloria Bond Clunie and the Victory Gardens Ensemble and every New Dramatist and Playwrights' Center writer ever.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Refer to the above. More specifically, theater which I don't leave saying - I AREADY KNEW THAT!

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

A:  Go be a Mad Man/Woman.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  The Falls Village Marshmallow Company whose motto is NO ART, JUST FLUFF!  Betsy Howie, owner, operator, CEO, CFO, Chief Cook and Marshmallow Tray Washer.

Self-plugs? My column FIST BUMP, an etymologically-centric rant/riff/rap I'm getting around. THE ODYSSEY CYCLE, a jazz album by Russell Kaplan, about to come out on the theme of Homer's The Odyssey. I have a spoken word TIRESIAS ADVISES CASSIUS CLAY/MOHAMMED ALI over one of the numbers. Nitroglycerine.

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