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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...

May 4, 2017

I Interview Playwrights Part 935: Haley Rice

Haley Rice

Hometown: Nashville, TN

Current Town: NYC

Q:  Tell me about LOU.

A: Lou is the story of Lou Salome who lived from 1861-1937. She was one of the first female philosophers and psychoanalysts, was a prolific writer and scholar of her time, influencing the work of Nietzsche, Rilke, and Freud, yet most people today have never heard of her. It was important to me to bring her story to life-- I think a lot of her struggles then are still very relevant now.

Q:  What else are you working on now? 

A:  I've got a few projects on the back burner, but LOU has been my main focus for the last few months.

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 going to the National Storytelling festival in Jonesborough, TN. I still have vivid memories of being 4 years old sitting in my dad's lap in these big circus tents for hours, listening to the storytellers from all over the world spin these tapestries that ignited my imagination. I think that's where I first felt the thirst for creating a world on stage and sharing a specific point of view with an audience.

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

A:  I'd love to make it easier for smaller theatre companies who support new art and artists to have better access to grants and funding.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?
A:  I grew up watching a lot of Rogers and Hammerstein musicals, and then in college was introduced to Threepenny Opera and the world of Weill/Brecht; however Jason Robert Brown will probably always be one of my favorite creators.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A: I love art that creates arguments-- or at least starts a conversation. I saw a couple shows of The Neofuturists and Erika Pheobus' Kiss It Make It Better. Or Broadway shows like Blackbird where there is room for doubt and discomfort. Even tv shows like Black Mirror that force us to look at actions we take everyday and why we do them-- these pieces don't solve our problems, just shed light on them, and it's up to us to talk about it. I love theatre like that.

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

A:  Anytime you are told to cut something and your first instinct is ABSOLUTELY NOT, that's usually a sign you should. Not 100 percent of the time, but I've found that more often than not that I hold on for personal reasons which do not serve the story. Don't kill your darlings every time, but taking a breath and making a painful cut usually makes way for much clearer storytelling.

Q:  Plugs, please.

A: My play LOU is being presented by Theatre 4the People at The Paradise Factory (64 East 4th Street between 2nd Avenue and Bowery) May 19-June 3. Visit www.theatre4thepeople.com for more info!

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