Thursday, April 17, 2014

I Interview Playwrights Part 652: Benjamin Brand


Benjamin Brand 

Hometown:  East Lyme, Connecticut 06333

Current Town:  Los Angeles, California 90066

Q:  Tell me about Taste.

A:  Just over a decade ago, I read a news story about two men who met online. One wanted to eat another man, and another responded that he wanted to be eaten. At the time, I was writing only feature films, and Taste just poured out of me, as a real-time, single-location screenplay.

I’d never written anything as easily or as quickly before, nor have I since. I was drinking a lot of gunpowder tea at the time, but I don’t think that explains it.

For the next five years or so, I worked with a wonderful film producer, and we kept ALMOST getting the film made. There was a lot of excitement and a lot of heartache. Last year, my manager Adam Goldworm encouraged me to adapt it to a stage play, which was a pretty modest endeavor. There were some close-ups in the screenplay that required a line of dialogue here and there, but not much else. Perhaps I had written a stage play in the first place.

Stuart Gordon — who has a background in theater and film —got involved as the director, and Sacred Fools came along. Suddenly, I’m a first-time playwright.

Q:  What else are you working on now?

A:  I’m writing a miniseries for NBC about Eliot Ness’s time in Cleveland in the 1930s. In my spare time, I'm writing a kids “chapter book” about a boy, his crazy uncle, and the hunt for a lost treasure.

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

A:  When I was in second grade, in public school, we studied ancient Egypt, and I was obsessed with the glory of the pyramids. At the same time, in Hebrew school, around Passover, we talked about the enslavement of the Jews in Mitzrayim. Sometime in third grade, I was shocked to discover that Egypt and Mitzrayim were actually the same place.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  My artistic heroes — theatrical and otherwise — include Patricia Highsmith, Wallace Shawn, Mark E. Smith, Daniel Pinkwater, and Amos Vogel.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Anything that makes me a little uncomfortable in my seat (aside from the seat itself).


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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I Interview Playwrights Part 651: Christie Perfetti Williams



Christie Perfetti Williams

Hometown: Born and raised in Oswego, NY. Moved to NYC after college graduation and lived there for 11 years.

Current Town: Brick, NJ

Q:  Tell me about An Appeal to the Woman of the House.

A:  It's about a husband and wife who get a knock on their door one night and their lives are forever changed.

Q:  What else are you working on now?

A:  A novel...it's been a long time since I worked on one of those. It's fun and naughty.

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

A:  Oh boy. Me in a nutshell?! As a kid, I used to insist that before we started a Barbie doll playing session, we had an outlined premise, conflict and conclusion. And God help the poor friend who deviated from it.

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

A:  There need to be more and better parts for women. Period.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  If Sam Shepard knocked on my door tonight, I'd runaway with him. My husband would understand.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  I love simple stories with great dialogue. Sets, costume, funky gels - I don't need all of that. The barebones of theater turns me on.

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

A:  Write your hearts out. And don't stop.


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Monday, April 14, 2014

650 Playwright Interviews (alphabetical)

Sean Abley
Rob Ackerman
Liz Duffy Adams
Johnna Adams
Tony Adams
David Adjmi
Keith Josef Adkins
Nastaran Ahmadi
Derek Ahonen
Kathleen Akerley
Ayad Akhtar
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