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All Girls

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Anna Greenfield
February 16, 2013

What is your job on this show?
playwright/actor.

What is your show about?
All Girls is a hyper real, sometimes surreal play about three teenage girls and one colossally scary mother. It's also funny.

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?
I knew I wanted to work in the theater when I was six years old. I asked my mom if I could take acting classes which was a big thing for a shy kid. She put me in the Children's Experimental Theater, an amazing wonderful crazily named/operated institution in my small hometown. I eventually went to college at NYU's Experimental Theater Wing so it was fitting. At the time, it was just a Saturday morning class that was fun and I ate mac and cheese afterwards. The woman who headed it was this amazing grand dame of theater who spoke with an affected voice and instilled fear and awe in little children. She wrote the plays herself which we acted in every year which I also just accepted as the way things were. I was six!!! And I was performing these plays with all this flowery language and themes and situations that I did not understand but totally accepted. In my first play I think I played a maid with no lines. I remember coming out for my entrance like two scenes early and just waiting on stage for my scene to begin. I remember the grand dame waving at me frantically from the booth to leave and go backstage. She was probably also calling me an idiot which was one of the many epithets she used against us (I have to repeat that she was amazing). She also did our makeup for the shows and we all looked like French whores (age six). This woman was such a character. So I remember being on stage early and just loving it. Instead of going back, I stayed on stage until my scene started. The audience tittered and I loved that. I loved having an affect. I think I even improvised some lines in that show although I didn't have any. I remember thinking this was where I felt most alive, this is where I had the most fun, this is where I felt the most free and connected to people. I loved being around that scary amazing grand dame and seeing how every person is a character. And I loved being in the light. I knew I wanted to stay there.

Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this winter that...?
My show is the only one opening in NYC this winter that is written, performed, directed, produced, technically operated, and designed by only and all girls. It is this living breathing thing where the art of the play is going hand in hand with the distribution of the show. The show is about all girls and its made by all girls but at the same time, there is nothing exclusive about this show. Maybe this is the only show in NYC this winter that is about how to break through the barriers of exclusivity in the attempt to discover authenticity. It's just also really fun.

How did you meet your fellow artists/collaborators on this show?
I met the director Lee Sunday Evans because I had the great good luck to be directed by her in a number of shows, most notably The Play About My Dad by Boo Killebrew. Lee is the scariest director I have ever worked with-she takes away all your security blankets and makes you tell the truth and doesn't let you apologize for being an embarrassing human. Her theater is real and heartfelt and so full. She is scary but also is the cutest/prettiest female director with red hair and freckles and gorgeous blue eyes. I got to know both her and the wonderful company of Collaboration Town through that show. They are helping to produce the show with Anne Louise Marquis who is the next oh so important fellow artist. I have known her since I was twelve, she is my best friend, and she just happens to be one of those people who people want to be/be with. So she is producing the show because she has mad people skills, creativity, and love to share- we are so lucky to have her on our team. The other actresses featured in the show, Zoe Costello and Anna Konkle I know from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. They were such intimidating talents/life forces in school that I just feel so blessed that they want to do this show. Their acting is inextricably linked to their personal powers as amazing women. They are so funny and brutal and loving in real life that the stage is just an extension of all that light and love.

Which famous New Jerseyite would like your show the best: Snooki, Bruce Springsteen, Thomas Edison?
Bruuuuuuuce. I met him when I was really young. He kissed my cheek backstage and told me I was very sweet. I wish that I could have predicted the future at that age and knew that in sixteen years I would write a show and had invited him to this future show. Oh well. I will just dance in the dark until he comes to see All Girls.

If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
I would pay everyone good salaries so that they could live well doing their jobs well. Health care, day care, travel. Good food, health, lifestyle, and good housing is what I wish for all my fellow theater artists. No idealization of the starving artist! And no actors who have to work in a restaurant after a full day of rehearsal! So most of the millions towards my people-for me, that's always the first place it will go.