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Jun 15, 2017

I Interview Playwrights Part 953: Matt Lyle

Matt Lyle

Hometown: Atlanta, Texas

Current Town: Dallas, Texas

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:   I'm terrible at describing my plays but I'm going to just lean into my instincts. Three things:

I have a play, Cedar Springs or Big Scary Animals, opening at Theater Three in Dallas late August so I'm finishing up some rewrites on that. It's about two couples; one older, white, friendly but easily confused types who don't understand anything and the other couple are city dwelling intellectual, inter-racially same sex married types who don't understand rural types. You know the types. They get together, we see they're not that different, then (oh, shit) we see they're very different in a really terrible way that they all thought was behind them, but then maybe we realize they're not that far apart after all, and then a gun is introduced to the mix, yada yada yada a tourniquet is applied and we're left to wonder if their generations are hopeless and we should pin our hopes for some kind of common ground on the next generation. It's a comedy about the things that divide us - race, politics, religion, knowledge, geography, etc.

The Sincerest Form: A 3D Adventure (Dallas Theater Center commissioned it) where a desperate, modern vaudeville troupe is sucked through a vortex into a "movie world" where it turns into basically a Hope/Crosby-esque road movie where they adventure their way through popular films and movie tropes while bemoaning the demise of the theater, mortally wounded so long ago by the magic of the moving picture. Of course, the whole time we're recreating magical moments from beloved movies using low tech, uniquely theatrical techniques. That makes sense, right?

Troll - A one act where we follow a troll down his rabbit hole of online personalities until he's found by someone he's been torturing online who has plans to torture him in real life.

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

A:  From about 1986 - 1994, every time I went to the video store, I would rent a movie I'd never seen before and Clue.

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

A:  I REALLY wish as many people were as excited to see that new piece by that local artist for $20 as the 5th tour of (insert Broadway musical) for $128.50.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes? 

A:  Martha Lavey was the type of human being, artist, and leader that we should all aspire to be. I love everything about Bill Irwin. Bruce Norris's fearlessness excites me.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you? 

A:  I really like being surprised.

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

A:  Try to produce your own stuff. If it's good, people will notice that before they give your 10 pages and synopsis any serious consideration. Producing my own plays at first definitely got my foot into the couple of doors my foot is in. And also, take risks. Every time I've played it safe, the product hasn't amounted to much.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  Current: A Brief, Endless Love - A sketch comedy revue I wrote for Dallas Comedy House through June 24

Next: The Boxer: A Silent Film Onstage - It's basically a Chaplin/Keaton movie on stage with a live score for the Festival of Independent Theaters

Next next: Cedar Springs or Big Scary Animals at Theater Three in August-September

Read: Barbecue Apocalypse published by Broadway Play Publishing

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