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1000 Playwright Interviews The first interview I posted was on June 3, 2009.  It was Jimmy Comtois.  I decided I would start interview...

Nov 29, 2016

I Interview Playwrights Part 895: Greg DePaul

Greg DePaul

Hometown:  Hyattsville, MD

Current Town:  Springfield, NJ.

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  My full-length play, Death by Bunga Bunga, which was recently given a reading at The Collective. It's a dark comedy about screenwriters in L.A. who will do anything to get ahead. I lived in L.A. for years and wrote movies (Bride Wars, Saving Silverman), so I've been there.

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 18 I worked out in a sweaty, run-down boxing gym operated by a former middleweight contender named Adrian Davis. It's sort of a tradition in boxing that your first sparring partner is your coach. So one day Adrian got in the ring with me. I wasn't so bad, I cut his eye with the jab he taught me. He was amazing and peppered me with punches that all seemed to come outta nowhere. I felt like a mouse in cat's paws. When we were done my nose was a little crooked, the septum had been moved to one side. So he fixed it without even taking his gloves off. He just sorta held my head with one glove and performed sudden, minor surgery with the other, jerking my nose back into position. 

To me, that's emblematic of everything -- the people close to us, the ones who try to walk us through our trials and traumas, always do the most damage.

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

A:  Subject matter. There'd be fewer metaphors, more real people mightily struggling with problems. Also, we need more specificity of thought, more insight into how we really think and act. OK, that's more than one thing.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  Rabe, Baitz, Ludlam, Gionfriddo. Oh, and my characters. Considering what I put them through, they're heroes to tolerate me. If they leave me I'm lost.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Non-visual. It's about words. If I close my eyes during the show and there's still a play in my head, I'm excited. If I can still hear the play in my head after I leave the theater, I call my friends and rave about it.

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

A:  Write a lot and for years. That's what I'm doing. Honor the time-tested rules of drama, even if you're writing a sex farce set on Jupiter. The rules will beat you down and the rules will fix you up again, kinda like my old boxing coach.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  I just published a book on Focal Press called Bring the Funny: The Essential Guide for the Comedy Screenwriter. You can learn about me and my book at gregdepaul.com and bringthefunny.com. I co-manage a writers group in NYC called Stillwater (stillwaterwriters.com) and these are the best playwrights and screenwriters on the planet.

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