Thursday, June 22, 2017

I Interview Playwrights Part 955: Elyzabeth Wilder






Elyzabeth Wilder

Hometown: Mobile, Alabama

Current Town: Sewanee, TN

Q:  Tell me about your EST marathon play.

A:  Santa Doesn't Come to the Holiday Inn is about a two people who find themselves stuck in a hotel together in an attempt to create Christmas for their daughter despite their recent divorce.

Q:  What else are you working on now?

A:  I'm working on a new play about a photographer who goes in search of a former subject. It's a play about reinvention, the stories we tell, and the secrets we keep.

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 the South, so I was always surrounded by storytellers. Every day at 5 o'clock my great-grandmother, who was very much a proper Southern lady, would stop for Happy Hour. She drank bourbon and ate extra-sharp Cracker Barrel cheese and peanuts. I would sit with my grandmother and her sisters and listen as they all told stories. It was at their feet that I became a writer.

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

A:  I'd like to change the economics of the theatre. I'd like to see the cost of seeing theatre and producing theatre become more affordable, and therefore, more accessible. And I'd like to see theatre artists fairly compensated for their work so that they can afford to make theatre.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  I grew up reading O'Neill and Williams, because those were the only plays they had in our public library. They taught me a lot about storytelling and structure. Paula Vogel and Jose Rivera were the first to introduce me to the possibilities that exist in the theatre and challenged my imagination.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  I like theatre that takes me into worlds I'm unfamiliar with. I like the smaller, untold stories that somehow resonate in a larger context. When I leave the theatre, I like to feel like I've been on a journey.

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

A:  If you're going to write plays, then you need to read plays and see plays.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  This past year I turned 40, so I've been taking 40 people out to lunch: People who helped shape the first 40 years and people I hope will inspire the next 40. I've been writing about each lunch. People can follow along at www.40lunches.com and on Facebook at @40lunches.

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