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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...

Jan 20, 2017

I Interview Playwrights Part 908: Dennis Staroselsky

Dennis Staroselsky

Hometown: Brookline, MA

Current Town: Norwood, MA

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  Like everyone, just throwing a lot of stuff against the wall and hoping something sticks. Just finished 5 Minutes Alone, a two hander set in an alternative reality, where the loved ones of murder victims get to sentence the convicted—it's hilarious! Waiting to hear if I get a grant to fund a production of my play The Cuts, in Boston, at the same time I'm turning it into a pilot, also just finished potty training! My daughter ...I still have some work to get to her level.

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

A:  Tough question! The only one that sticks out, and it's only in retrospect that it seems applicable, is when I was a sophomore in high school. I was so obsessed with being liked by everyone, that I betrayed a lot of real friends by having a big mouth and easily gossiping about things that were told to me in confidence, and I just couldn't stop. Once I made new friends I'd do the same. By the end of the year a lot of people hated me—for good reason. I was in a production of Doctor Faustus, and there were posters all over the school with a drawing of me in it, one day I showed and noticed that I had been torn out of one, and then another, and another. I had been ripped out of every poster in school. It was a feeling of humiliation and loneliness that I had never experienced before. I think the influence of that day was the realization that all the energy I put into getting people to like me, just repulsed them... and hurt me. As an artist, I battle with creating work that is honest, and still hoping that everyone likes it, but I never create something with the impetus of impressing...maybe only my real friends.

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

A:  The audience. A lot of people talk about cultivating great artists, but what about audiences? If people in this country went to the theater a third of the amount they went to the movies...that would be something. We need to cultivate audiences.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  Bill Camp, Mark Rylance, Rory Kinnear, David Rabe and Adam Bock

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  The kind that isn't "Paint by numbers." Something that surprises me. Why Rabe and Bock resonate with me is they're ability to beautifully examine the mundane and uneventful, because those are the that moments make up the vast majority of our lives.Visiting Edna and A Life are amazing examples of that.

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

A:  Same advice I give myself. Your work isn't precious, you have permission to suck!

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  Laura Neil's Don't Give up the Ship at Fresh Ink. Boston. She's really good. Feb 10 -25 BCA Plaza Black Box

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