Featured Post

1000 PLAYWRIGHT INTERVIEWS

1000 Playwright Interviews The first interview I posted was on June 3, 2009.  It was Jimmy Comtois.  I decided I would start interview...

May 23, 2019

I Interview Playwrights Part 1038: Daniel Damiano





Daniel Damiano

Hometown: Point Pleasant, NJ

Current Town: Brooklyn, NY

Q:  Tell me about your play in the EST Marathon.

A:  The Lepers focuses on two recovering alcoholics at a diner in NYC, as they attempt to keep each other's spirits up at the onset of the new year, in January 2017.

Q:  What else are you working on now? 

A: I just finished a draft of a new full-length play called John Frederick Parker Leaves at Intermission, which centers on the man responsible for guarding President Lincoln the night that he was assassinated. I'm also in preparations for bringing my solo play, American Tranquility, to DC in July as part of the Capital Fringe Festival.

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

A: While I embrace the variety of work being done at all levels of the theatre, when it comes to the more established professional theatre companies, I feel that there should be more focus on quality work by playwrights (of any age and gender) who may not be established names in the professional theatre world. I find that many plays are done for their topicality and not as much for their quality, and also feel that older playwrights (who are not already well-known) deserve to have more opportunities, which I'm not really seeing, especially in New York City.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes? 

A:  Arthur Miller, Edward Albee, Tennessee Williams, John Cassavetes, August Wilson, Henrik Ibsen, Neil Simon, Anne Sexton (she was primarily a poet, of course, but I have found the depth of her work theatrically inspirational.)

Q:  What kind of theater excites you? 

A:   Anything that has some depth, be it dramatic, comedic, surreal, absurd, et al. I love all styles of theatre. I particularly like things that can sustain themselves to the end, and not tread water.

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

A:   Know that you cannot make a living writing plays. Know that as good as you may be, you may never win the contests, awards, fellowships or have an agent. Only do it if you are really passionate about storytelling via playwriting, and are not merely looking at it as a gateway to writing for TV. Write with the goal of your work being performed. Lastly, don't be satisfied with just having your work done by anyone; take pride in your work and encourage communication with your director.

Q:  Plugs, please: 

A:  My wife and I's little theatre company, fandango 4 Art House, will be bringing my solo-play, American Tranquility, to Washington, D.C. where it will run for 5 performances in July as part of the Capital Fringe Festival. The play focuses on the human divide in 21st Century America from the perspective of 4 very different Americans and focuses, in a very humorous, unsettling and moving way, on themes ranging from ageism, immigration, political extremism to societal disconnection. Tickets will be available in June at http://www.CapitalFringe.org.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Enter Your Email To Have New Blog Posts Sent To You

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Support The Blog
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing list to be invited to Adam's events
Email:
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Adam's Patreon

Books by Adam (Amazon)

May 22, 2019

Now Published!!







Kodachrome

Cast 5-16 (min 3F 2M)

Welcome to Colchester, a small town where everybody knows each other and the pace of life allows the pursuit of love to take up as much space as it needs. Our tour guide is Suzanne, the town photographer, who lets us peek into her neighbors’ lives to catch glimpses of romance in all its stages of development. A play about love, nostalgia, the seasons and how we learn to say goodbye.






Mercy

(3M, 1F)

Orville is trying to get on with his life after his wife was killed in a car accident. His father is mostly taking care of his still unnamed infant daughter while his boss at work is aggressively trying to comfort him. Everything changes when he sees the man responsible for his wife's death. Is someone in this much pain capable of forgiveness?






---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Enter Your Email To Have New Blog Posts Sent To You

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Support The Blog
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing list to be invited to Adam's events
Email:
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Adam's Patreon

Books by Adam (Amazon)

I Interview Playwrights Part 1037: Bob Clyman





Bob Clyman

Hometown: Bronx, NY

Current Town: North Caldwell, Nj

Q:  Tell me about To She Who Waits.

A:  It's about a mother-daughter relationship that may or may not have been damaged beyond repair. When the mother, Meg, left her husband, Jack, three years ago, she agreed to leave their 13-year-old daughter, Hannah, to stay with him briefly, while she found a job and a place for them to live. However, during those three years, Jack and their increasingly extreme religious community have kept her from seeing Hannah. Now that Jack has died, after making the church Hannah's legal guardian, Meg finally has a good lawyer, who is dedicated to fighting the church's encroachment on parental rights and convinces the judge to order 12 visits for Meg with Hannah. But to have any shot at getting custody, Meg will have to convince her now 16-year-old, openly hostile daughter, who adamantly believes that Meg abandoned her, to leave the only life she has known, her church family and the place they've been waiting, certain that God will come for them any day, in order to move to a secular world, where the only person she'll know is the mother who left her behind.

Q:  What else are you working on now?

A:  I've started writing a play about Doomsday Preppers. As with To She Who Waits and just about everything else I write, I get tremendous pleasure from taking on a subculture that baffles and troubles me, in the hope that I'll be able to understand its members better and write a play that even they would consider fair.

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 sort of an answer. Like a lot of kids who either become psychologists or playwrights (I became both), I found myself both deeply disturbed and endlessly fascinated by the impassioned conflicts that would suddenly arise among the people I knew growing up. When I hear people discussing a play, they often seem concerned with whether and how much the characters changed, clearly equating greater change with more successful drama. And I can see why they would think that. But coming from my own early awareness of conflict, I feel particularly interested in characters who do everything possible not to change, even when advantages of change are obvious, even to them.

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

A:  A living wage would be nice.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  I've always been drawn to British playwrights. While they obviously don't have a monopoly on this, so many of them seem undaunted by the challenge of dramatizing complex, layered subjects, whether philosophical or political, which they're able to handle with crisp, pointed economy while still managing to be funny as hell. Out of those writers, the few who are also highly theatrical and freakishly inventive, like Caryl Churchill, are the ones I usually go back to, when I need someone more inspiring than me to inspire me.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Plays in which I can't afford to stop paying attention for even a second, because every word counts. The kind of dramatic questions that fascinate me are usually ethical in nature and essentially unanswerable. For instance, what is it about good intentions that the road to hell always seems to be paved with them? If we need to make a decision, and the consequences of making the wrong one could be disastrous, how can we know we're making the right one, when we never have either enough information or time in which to make it. And if we're doomed to always be making our most important under these impossible conditions, how are we supposed to take comfort that we at least made them with a good heart and the best intentions once we've recognized our nearly boundless capacity for self-deception?

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

A:  It's very hard to get large cast plays produced these days. If you need to write a large cast play, because that's the only form your dramatic vision can satisfyingly take, then by all means, write large cast plays. But remind yourself from time to time that there are genuine pleasures in the art of compression and make every extra character you add to your new plays defend his or her right to exist.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A: To She Who Waits will be performed at Shetler Studios, Theatre 54 at 244 West 54th Street, 12th floor. It will run from Thursday, May 23 through Saturday, June 8. To buy tickets, go to www.brownpapertickets.com or call 800-838-3006.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Enter Your Email To Have New Blog Posts Sent To You

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Support The Blog
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing list to be invited to Adam's events
Email:
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Adam's Patreon

Books by Adam (Amazon)

May 21, 2019

I Interview Playwrights Part 1036: Mora V. Harris




Mora V. Harris

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA for the first nine years, Durham, NC after that.

Current Town: Pittsburgh, PA

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  I have a play in development called You Are What You, a comedy about a competitive eater who is trying to win an eating competition in order to afford her sister’s eating disorder rehab tuition. There’s a talking pot roast, farcical door-slamming, real food handed out to the audience, and five meaty (pun intended) roles for women. It’s being produced in Nashville this August, with the Garden Theatre Company.

I’m also writing Seasonal Affective Disorder (The Musical) which is a holiday musical intended for people who think the idea of going to a holiday musical sounds god awful.

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 was a very, very, shy child and had a lot of trouble socializing with other kids and would just sort of cling to the perimeter of the playground during recess. It got to the point where my exhausted teachers stopped attempting to get me to come out of my shell and just shrugged and said, “She’s an observer.”

At the same time, I’d unconsciously memorize sections of movies and recite them to myself when I was bored. So I’ve always been this weird mixture of obsessed with dialogue and talking, and much more comfortable with leaving it to other people to do. While I like to think I’ve metaphorically unclenched my fingers from the playground’s chain link fence as an adult, I’m now kind of proud of the “observer” thing because it’s what makes me a writer and what makes me sensitive to that feeling of being on the outside.

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

A:  Dream of dreams: All tickets would be free, and all artists would be paid fairly for their work.

I know that’s kind of two things. But they’re related because I think the class problem in theatre is pretty major, both in terms of the audiences attending and artists doing the creating.

I teach an arts criticism class to college freshman where I require them to go see a play and write about it, and for many of them it’s their first time in a theatre or seeing a play that’s not their high school’s annual musical. Many of them return saying they felt uncomfortable, that they didn’t wear the right thing, that they didn’t feel like the experience was intended for them. And that’s before we even get into whatever the play was about! Imagine how much those responses might change if theatre was something that had been easily accessed and free to them their whole lives. Imagine how much theatres might change if they provided that access. How might their season programming change?

In this theatrical utopia I’m describing, the plays produced would need to represent the economically diverse audience coming to the shows. This means paying artists enough to support themselves, so that more people can actually do this work. I know of a lot of theatres that work fairly hard towards at least one of these goals (lowering ticket prices or paying artists decently), but I wish more would work towards both.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  I’m pretty obsessed with Mary Chase who wrote Harvey, which I think is a perfect play, although it may not be super cutting edge of me to say. She really just wrote that play to be a fun evening of theater for people, but did it with such a fantastic love for the characters that it ends up being deeply human and profound years later, after the jokes have become dated and the hairstyles have changed. That’s always a good reminder for me when I catch myself trying to be deeply human and profound on purpose; it’s much better to shoot for writing funny characters that I love and hit the other stuff by accident.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  I have a deep love for my TV and my couch, so I think I’m actually a pretty tough sell when it comes to theatre! I really want to feel like “Yes, I had to get it together and put a bra on and come here and be in this room and experience this.”

So that said, I love plays that have a real beating heart to them, where I feel physically connected to what is happening on stage. I think that’s something that when theatre does it well, it does it really well. I also love a great story, sharply drawn characters, and opportunities for designers to do their thing. And I really love efficiency in story-telling because then I’m that much closer to getting to go eat a snack.

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

A:  Write the plays you want to see and submit them like crazy, before you think they’re ready. Join the Dramatists Guild and Playwrights Center for help with that.

Be nice to actors and stage managers. Learn about what they do. If you think you’d be good at directing and producing, do it yourself.

Cultivate meaningful friendships with other writers and theater-makers, but also with people who participate in the world in other ways. There’s nothing like having to explain some theatre-related anxiety to your social worker friend to really put things in perspective.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  My play Space Girl was just published, and you can read and buy it here:
https://www.playscripts.com/play/3211

The Garden Theatre Company in Nashville, TN is producing my play, You Are What You, in August 2019. More info here: https://www.gardentheatrecompany.org/20192020-season




---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Enter Your Email To Have New Blog Posts Sent To You

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Support The Blog
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing list to be invited to Adam's events
Email:
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Adam's Patreon

Books by Adam (Amazon)

May 14, 2019

UPCOMING

PRODUCTIONS


The Wooden Heart
Production #1 of The Wooden Heart
Acadiana Repertory Theater
Lafayette, LA
Opens September 6, 2019.

KODACHROME

Production #9 of Kodachrome
Actors Bridge Ensemble
Nashville, TN
Opens July 12, 2019.

Marian or The True Tale of Robin Hood

Production #20 of Marian
On Stage Skåne
Malmö, Sweden
Opens June 7, 2019

Production #21of Marian
Spirit Gum Theatre Company
Winston Salem, NC
Opens October 11, 2019.


Production #35 of Clown Bar
Orlando Fringe
Breakthrough Theatre of Winter Park 
Winter Park, FL
Opens May 16, 2019.

Production #36 of Clown Bar
Padgett Productions
Prohibition Hall
Kansas City, MO
Opens July 5, 2019.

Production #37 of Clown Bar
Elon University
Elon, NC
Opens October 3, 2019.

Production #38 of Clown Bar
University of Wisconsin,
Stevens Point, WI.
Opens November 8, 2019.

Production #42 of HLF
Anchorage, AK
Opens Sept 19, 2019

Production #43 of HLF
Christopher Newport University
Newport News, VA.
Opens April 3, 2020.


Production #21 of Nerve
NYC, NY
Opens May 16, 2019.

Production #22 of Nerve
The Elephant British Pub
Adelaide, Australia
Opens June 5, 2019

Production #23 of Nerve
Bootstraps Comedy Theater
Dallas, TX
Opens July 12, 2019


Production #7 of Rare Birds
Unit 14 Theatre Company
Highland Park, IL.
Opens July 18, 2019.

a night of short plays

Production #33 of 7 Ways
Auburn Community Players
Fiskdale, MA
Opens July 12, 2019.

Production #34 of 7 Ways
Fountain Central Jr-Sr High
Veedersburg, IN
Opens November 22, 2019

Adventures of Super Margaret

Production #8 of Margaret
Duxbury High School
Duxbury, MA
Opens June 7, 2019.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Enter Your Email To Have New Blog Posts Sent To You

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Support The Blog
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing list to be invited to Adam's events
Email:
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Adam's Patreon

Books by Adam (Amazon)

Apr 11, 2019

I Interview Playwrights Part 1035: Chris Cragin-Day




Chris Cragin-Day

Current Town: Weehawken, NJ

Q: Tell me about The Rare Biosphere:

A:  The few months leading up to the 2016 presidential election I was teaching a class of college Freshman, about one third of whom happened to be first generation Americans--children of immigrants. One of them, her name is Stephanie, was particularly studious and all around bad ass. She told me the story of a relative that came home from school one day to discover that her parents had been deported. When she told me this story, I imagined Stephanie as this girl, and I wondered, how might a typical white suburban middle-class American male enter into this other American reality that is so different from the America that he's experienced? And what if, what's more, he cared about someone across the breach? How would all of that change him?

Q: What else are you working on now?

A:  I just finished the first draft of a play, OKC Bombing, about the trial of Timothy McVeigh. I was a senior in a high school in Oklahoma thirty minutes away from the Federal Murrah Building when McVeigh detonated the bomb that killed 168 people, many of whom where children. Looking back at the event in the present political climate, McVeigh's fear of government over-reach, especially in regard to stricter regulation of guns, resonates in a particular way, and I'm interested in that. I'm also working on a commission from River and Rail Theater, a musical called The Burn Vote, which I'm writing with Don and Lori Chaffer, about the single vote in Nashville, TN, that tipped the scales allowing for the ratification of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. Also, another play I wrote immediately after the 2016 election, A Woman, about a NYC professor challenging her church denomination's deeply entrenched policy against women elders, will receive two staged readings this summer, one at the Women's Theater Festival and one at Baylor University, both directed by Kel Haney.

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

A:  Well...I was born in the Philippines and raised in Hong Kong and mainland China until my family came back to the US (Oklahoma) when I was thirteen. Both of my parents were military kids. My sister works in counter-terrorism. I'm a playwright. Somehow all of that adds up to my writing.

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

A:   I love theater. I've been doing it practically full time since high school and it's still magical to me. And I love love love the theater community in NYC. But if I could change one thing, it would be equal opportunity for women and people of color. I don't believe that the decision makers are consciously biased against us. But I do believe that the structures upholding the industry have these biases embedded. I wish I could change that.

Q: Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:   I love Rajiv Joseph, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Annie Baker, Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Caryl Churchill, Helen Edmundson, Martina Majok...there are so many.

Q: What kind of theater excites you?

A:  For me, it's the specificity of human interaction that thrills me. Human beings will forever fascinate me. I want to understand these creatures, because they are remarkable in their kindness and cruelty, courage and cowardice. Ultimately, I suppose I want to understand myself. So I like all kinds and genres of theater as long as it gives me that thrill of seeing something that shows me some small truth about who I am.

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

A:  Read lots of plays. Go to all of the rehearsals. Listen to your actors and directors, but also trust your instincts. Don't let go of the impulse.

Q: Plugs, please

A:  I have a really fun musical called The Zombie Family Musical, a Jungian comedy, also co-written with Don Chaffer, that is super smart and commercial and it needs a first production, please.

  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Enter Your Email To Have New Blog Posts Sent To You

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Support The Blog
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mailing list to be invited to Adam's events
Email:
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Adam's Patreon

Books by Adam (Amazon)