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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...

Oct 11, 2018

I Interview Playwrights Part 1003: Lily Houghton

Lily Houghton

Hometown: Manhattan, New York City

Current Town: Brooklyn, New York City (I know... what a big move!)

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  I'm super scattered right now... but the main thing I am working on is a second draft of a commission from Seattle Rep! Oh also I wrote a short play about two girls putting together an Ikea mattress the other day. So I guess that too?

But the main thing I'm working on is making sure everyone votes on November 6th! It's also my birthday, so you gotta!

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 one is a weird one because I spent most of my childhood in rehearsal rooms, which I'm sure shaped me as a writer in many ways, but the moment that comes to mind actually has nothing to do with that at all. 

When I was in fifth grade I had a paralyzing fear of people being mad at me. I had just been diagnosed with OCD, though I had no clue what that meant, all I knew is that I was on a horrible quest to make sure everyone in my classroom liked me. One day it got so bad that I interrupted class by going around to individual students and bluntly asking them if they were mad at me. If any one of them would say yes I would immediately fake sick and insist on going to the school's nurse, who was now a friend of mine. Instead of sending me to my favorite nurse like usual, my parents were called and asked to pick me up. I remember the teacher telling my mother that "I made up stories in my head." For the life of me I can't remember my mother's reaction, but I do know it was the first time I ever considered writing the stories in my head down.

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

A:  My dad used to tell me his dream theater audience would be whoever was in a subway car at any given time. I carry this dream on.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  I just tried to make a list but here is the thing... I was really lucky enough to grow up in the rooms with some incredible writers. I think it would be foolish of me to not acknowledge every single one of them. So I would say my theatrical heroes are all the Signature Theatre Company writers, actors, directors, employees, and interns that all helped raise me.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Sorry I don't mean to be sappy but... any play that after I walk out I immediately think "wow, I wish my dad could have seen this."

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

A:  Oh man, I feel so unqualified for this but here are some things that have saved me: always sit in the back row of the audience so you can hide, write down things in your IPhone notes (or actual notebook I guess) everyday, spy on people in the subway, know that opening nights are really weird and it's okay to feel really out of place, coffee, sometimes surrounding yourself with people who have nothing to do with theater at all (maybe don't date actors?), and living with a eighteen year old cat.

Q:  Plugs, please: 

A:  I'm working on a scripted podcast right now that should be out this year, it's gonna be badass! Also come to Serials at the Flea Theater every month and check out all the fun things we do at EST!

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