Jul 4, 2012
I Interview Playwrights Part 475: Megan Hart
Hometown: Highland Park, NJ
Current Town: New York, NY
Q: Tell me about This Is Fiction. Is it fiction?
A: This is Fiction is my first play, aside from a couple of 10 minute plays and a one act. So I feel a little funny answering your interview questions since I haven't yet fully grown into the title of playwright. Then again, does that ever happen?? Anyway, its a play I started writing quite a few years ago, mostly as a dare to myself to see if I could or would do it. I've written fiction for a long time, but had never tried to write a play and one particularly slow summer, I decided I would. About a hundred drafts later, nurtured by my amazingly supportive (and pushy) theater company, InViolet Rep, This is Fiction was produced (by InViolet) at the Cherry Lane Studio this past month. In the end, I hope it's a play about family, about the fictions we create about who we are and what our family is, and about what happens when your family and your art collide. As for the 'is it fiction' question, like any true narcissist, I'd say while some of the characters may resemble my relatives, really aren't they all just versions of me?
Q: What else are you working on now?
A: I'm working on a big crazy fiction piece that I've been developing as part of a group of wonderful playwrights and theater makers (and fiction writers): Bixby Elliot, Jennifer Bowen, and Paul Davis. I'm also working on a screenplay.
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 in first grade, my school made us all take a computer class, with those big square green-screened early PCs. The idea was to just start typing away and get comfortable with this new-fangled device. It wasn't a writing class--in fact I don't think anyone even read what we wrote. But after the first week, my teacher called my parents and said I spent the entire class contorted in my seat, brow furrowed, chin in hands, agonizing over where to begin, what to say, what story to tell, what words to use. It all felt so IMPORTANT. By the time I was ready to touch the keyboard, the class was over. I don't remember much from that age, but I clearly remember those classes. I'd say it explains my neuroses, the respect I have for putting down words on paper, and my general inability to sit still.
Q: If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?
A: There's a lot I would change about the business (Showcase contracts can be frustrating. Lets have fewer shows on broadway based on (bad) movies. Why can't artists afford to see other artists' work? Why don't our audiences look like the audiences in any midtown AMC on a Saturday night? More community based theater. More actors of all sizes. Cheaper rehearsal space.), But theater? I don't know. I think it's pretty great, especially because it's always changing whether we want it to or not.
Q: What kind of theater excites you?
A: Theater that makes me think, "I could never have made that!" "God, I wish I wrote that." or "I want to be in that." Really good acting excites me. Theater which is smart, not just clever. Theater which is clearly made with joy, heart, and sweat.
Q: What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?
A: The advice I keep giving myself: Stop apologizing. Keep writing.
Q: Plugs, please:
A: Check out my blog, www.mousebouche.blogspot.com! Check out my theater company, www.invioletrep.com! Check out my talented sister, www.rebeccahart.net! Check out this fantastic web series that features my amazing husband www.eastwillyb.com! Eat a sandwich at my cousins' cafe www.thecommonschelsea.com!