Apr 5, 2013
I Interview Playwrights Part 569: Myra Slotnick
Hometown: Winthrop, MA.
Current Town: Provincetown, MA.
Q: Tell me about The Weight of Water.
A: The story takes place nine days after Hurricane Katrina, in the destroyed home of a woman by the name of Pearl Haynes, where two rescue workers try to remove her from the only home she has ever known for over forty years. As they come to realize, however, Pearl is the real force to be reckoned with here, and it just might end up being these two lost souls in need of rescuing. I wrote The Weight of Water as a very human impulse, to the visceral response that I had in seeing, witnessing, a class of people marginalizedand disregarded...or rather, discarded. I thought to myself, "this is the year 2005! What is happening here?! Why doesn't anybody go and help those poor people! They are dying!...dying. I could not reconcile what I saw happening, so I needed to express this in the only way I knew how. As it turns out, the characters had a thing or two to say about the story-line and tone of the play and, based on their many inadequacies, it is even pretty funny in places. Katrina is the backdrop of this play, but the story is quite character-driven, quite personal.
Q: What else are you working on?
A: If I tell you, I'll have to kill you:) I tend not to talk about my current works in progress, as I feel it diffuses the creative energy around it. I will say that it is set in Provincetown, in 1953.
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 was a very antisocial child who would rather hang out and play with a pack of wild neighborhood dogs, than humans.
Q: Who are or were your theatrical heroes?
A: It would be impossible, living in Provincetown, to not feel beholden to, or influenced by, Eugene O'Neill and Tennessee Williams. Arthur Miller, also. But the truth of heroes, to me, lies in the actor. Nothing inspires me more than great acting and, I could not tell you how this is done, exactly...only that when I experience someone great, I know it...I am transported, I am changed...I now understand something that I, previously, did not. And change is what great theatre is all about.
Q: What kind of theater excites you?
A: This is going to be a boring answer, but I love all kinds of theatre....musicals, plays, short one-acts, readings, improv. classics...you name it. If it is written well and executed well, there is almost no experience that theatre will allow that is not inspiring in some way.
Q: What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?
A: READ. Read lots of plays and books on the subject, also novels, poetry, anything you can get your hands on that inspires you. Write every day at the same time of day, no matter if it is even an hour, ...after a while, your subconscious will yearn for it and be ready. And pray. Pray that your characters tell you something that you don't already know. And let them write the play.
Q: Plugs, please:
A: I prefer the three-pronged.
Books by Adam