Monday, June 12, 2017

I Interview Playwrights Part 950: Jack Gilbert







Jack Gilbert

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Current Town: New York City

Q:  Tell me about your upcoming show.

A:  It's called Shelter. The Piece follows Izzy, presumably the last living person on Earth, living in an underground bunker with her robot pal iZak and a disembodied AI system named MOM. To pass the time and keep her sanity she puts on a radio show to no one. It's set on the day she's run out of food as she gears up to give her final broadcast. It's kind of like a dark, apocalyptic Pee-Wee's Playhouse

Q:  What else are you working on now?

A:  I've got a couple things coming up which is great and only mildly overwhelming. feast or famine. I just finished a sister piece to Shelter titled Severance; about six astronauts stranded in space after the world below ends, kind of a sci-fi Lord of the Flies. The Navigator Theater Company, a new group dedicated to producing "Sci-Fi Theater with a feminist edge" is putting that one up as a part of their Dark Matter Reading Series this month. I'm also drafting a musical about the sheep who didn't get to go on Noah's Ark. It's more lighthearted than it sounds.

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

A:  This is a hard question.

I've felt a substantial amount of existential dread from a young age. Writing has been one of the few things that's curbs that feeling. It's also really the only way I've ever been able to get my thoughts in order and make myself feel understood. It's always been easier to put things onto paper.

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

A:  Theater still has a long way to go with equal representation. Promoting things that are more gender, ethnically, sexually diverse is paramount to its future. Accessibility too, finding ways to make theater affordable and community driven. Supporting and cultivating local artists and fostering artists from a young age. Artists being paid a fair, living wage. This is more than one thing.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  New works. I love seeing and supporting new theater and getting to listen to what people are trying to say here and now and watch as things develop. I'm also a sucker for anything that plays with convention or explores the relationship between the audience and the performers. If it has magical elements to it as well then that's pretty much it for me.

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

A:  In so many ways I feel like I'm still starting out myself so I'll just pass along the best advice that was given to me which is: cultivate discipline. Motivation comes and goes and waiting for it to make an appearance leaves you at its mercy. Setting aside a period of time each day, the same time if possible, to just sit down and write - no matter how you're feeling or what's going on - has helped me grow so much. That and setting aside one day a week to focus on submissions. And reading! Read a lot.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  

Shelter - A Play After Our Climate Changes will be running at The American Theater Of Actors in NYC June 15th through the 24th. Tickets are available here!

Severance will be read as part of the Dark Matter Series with the Navigator Theater Company at the Access Theater in NYC on June 12th at 8PM. Tickets are available here!

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