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1100 Playwright Interviews

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Oct 17, 2018

I Interview Playwrights Part 1007: Marilynn Barner Anselmi

Marilynn Barner Anselmi 

Hometown: I grew up in Holt, Michigan 

Current Town: Rocky Mount, NC 

Q:  What are you working on now? 

A:  My newest full length script, Seven Bridges Road— based on the true stories of the murders/disappearances of ten black women and the killing of a leading white woman in a small, southern city. 

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

A:  Every summer, my family visited my dad’s childhood home in rural, western Tennessee. There his many kin gathered in the evenings and, after dinner, the women told the most fascinating, boisterous tales us kids weren’t allowed to hear. I discovered if I scooted under the huge dining room table early enough, I could stay, knees hugged close to my chest, silently eavesdropping on their outrageous tales and thundering laughter. It was there I learned the music of dialect, the flavor of accent, the entrancing magic of story telling.

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

A:  Accessibility, definitely. 

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes? 

A:  So many: Margaret Edson, Henrik Ibsen, August Wilson, Doug Wright, Lorrainne Hansberry, Lynn Nottage, Tony Kushner, Marsha Norman, Paula Vogel, Edward Albee, etc. 

Q:  What kind of theater excites you? 

A:  Theater that makes me forget I’m watching a play. Theatre I wish I’d written. 

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

A:  How do you plan to support yourself while you chase this demon? 

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  American Bard Theater is the rare, essential theater that truly supports new playwriting. Though many companies claim to offer that opportunity, look closely at the work they produce. Most of it comes from playwrights with extensive writing backgrounds and the requisite MFA. Does this mean writers from smaller areas, with less formal training have nothing worthy to say? ABT has the artistic courage and vision to offer this type of (almost nonexistent) production opportunity.  

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