Sunday, February 01, 2015

I Interview Playwrights Part 717: Yasmine Lever


Yasmine Lever

Hometown: London, England.

Current Town: New York NY, London England

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I just workshopped my new play Land Of Broken Toys at The Flea last week so I am about to delve into the next draft. Also a short play I wrote Devil is being turned into a film. And I am completing my Young Adult novel Crush set in riots in contemporary London.

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 in a family with a ton of secrets where the public image was very different from what was going on behind closed doors. As a result I developed a rich fantasy life as well as a huge desire to express unspoken truths. I think both these traits are important for a writer. In terms of pinpointing a specific incident I think I would choose getting kicked out of home very young. Because none of my school friends shared this experience I think I felt a need to record my thoughts furiously in journals. Sadly I lost them all because I bounced around so many places.

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

A: Ticket prices. I divide my time fairly evenly between London and New York. In London ticket prices are so much cheaper, which means that there are younger audiences in many of the theaters. This obviously effects the range of plays that then get produced.

Q: Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A: Cindy Lou Johnson. Where did she go? She wrote The Person I Once Was, Brilliant Traces, and The Years. Then she seemed to disappear. I‘m also a huge fan of Tennessee Williams. Other plays that I have adored are Angels In America by Tony Kushner, Long Days Journey Into Night, Eugene O'Neill, That Face by Polly Stenham, Spur of The Moment Anya Rice.

Q: What kind of theater excites you? 

A:  Writers with a unique voice and a unique way of telling a story coupled with directors with a unique vision and an exciting way of staging the writer’s work, coupled with charismatic actors with intelligence and depth of feeling able to bring these tales fully alive in the moment. I’m easy to please clearly:)

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

A:  Trust yourself. Don’t listen to people who tell you how it has to be done. Learn the rules then break them for a reason if you need to and don’t listen to people who tell you that you can’t.

Q: Plugs, please: 

A:  I write a blog on Crazytown which now comes out on Fridays. And look out for a new series of plays called The Other Broadway. I think the first night will be some time in March.




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