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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...

Sep 3, 2017

I Interview Playwrights Part 981: Emma Stanton

Emma Stanton

Hometown: Boston, MA.

Current Town: Chicago, IL

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  I'm working on a couple things right now. I'm developing a new play called June in the Parade that I developed at the Goodman last year through their Playwrights Unit. The play is about a family of women who all have various forms of mental health problems, and who call into question what is inherited and who they become as a result of their family. I'm also starting to work on an adaptation of some Karen Russell short stories with NYC Director Marina McClure and an ensemble of graduates from NYU and CalArts' MFA programs. Lastly, I'm beginning a new play which will be a kind of sister play to my play No Candy--which is about a group of Bosnian Muslim women who survived the Srebrenica genocide in the 90s and, years later, are struggling to confront what happened to them during the war.

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

A:  There's a couple of moments that come to mind from childhood that still resonate with me and (I think) informed who I am:
1) the image of my brother, as a little boy, eating a bowl of cereal while sitting in a tree
2) my grandfather suddenly launching into a story during Thanksgiving dinner about his love for Seagulls
3) watching a group of boys trying to kill ants with a magnifying glass and feeling like I couldn't stop them
4) singing the soundtrack of RENT to my pet fish, who were named Roger, Mimi, and Angel

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

A:  Pay your artists.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  Maria Irene Fornes, Chuck Mee, Pina Bausch, Mfoniso Udofia, Emily Morse, Bonnie Metzgar, Martine Kei Green-Rogers, Tarell McCraney, Mac Wellman

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  The kind I can't stop thinking about, where I have no words to describe what I just saw, and that puts me in direct harmony or conflict with who I am.

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

A:  It's a long and winding road.

Q:  When not writing on a computer, what's your go-to paper and writing
utensil? When on computer, what's your font?

A:  I'll write in a notebook (doesn't matter what kind) but the pen MATTERS (I use Pilot's Precise V5). I typically use a notebook to figure out problems of a play--which tend to be structural. I was on the train recently and tried to map out from memory the entire scene progression of a play and what happened in each scene. I did that over and over again for a couple of weeks. I can't remember if it worked, but I liked the process of it, and I liked getting away from the computer. Calibri is my font.

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