nytheatre.com q&a preview by Naomi McDougall Jones
March 18, 2013
What is your job on this show?
Artistic Associate and Producer.
What is your show about?
A fast-paced evening of ten-minute plays by award-winning MFA playwriting students at the top graduate programs in the country.
What type of theater do you like most to work on?
There's something so messy and creative and wonderful about getting to work on new plays. Don't get me wrong, I love a good "Hedda Gabler" or "Death of a Salesman" as much as the next person, but there is an increased sense of vitality to the process when the playwright is in the room and re-writing during rehearsals. It is rewarding to feel that what you do will affect the finished play.
Are audiences in New York City different from audiences in other cities/countries where you’ve performed? If so, how?
Theater Masters has the great fortune of getting to put the winning ten-minute plays of the National MFA Playwrights Festival: "Take Ten" up twice each year. In January we produce them in Aspen, Colorado and then several months later to New York for an Equity Showcase production. It's always fascinating to see how both the performances and audience reaction differ place to place. There are some plays that benefit from the heart and enthusiasm imbued in them by actors who don't necessarily get to perform all the time and these plays don't land as well in New York. There are other plays that require more polished performances and don't really live until they get to New York. It's always fascinating to watch.
Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
I have been blessed to work with Theater Masters since I was a teenager growing up in Aspen, Colorado. In one way or another (acting, writing, producing) I've gotten to work on this festival for the last decade or so. What Julia Hansen (Theater Masters' Artistic Director/Founder) in the National MFA Playwright Festival is an incredible and, insofar as I know, unmatched opportunity for MFA students to, not only work with a professional team on their plays, but to get introduced to the top people in the industry when they come to New York. Our alumni have gone on to have outstanding careers in the American theater and it is thrilling each year to watch these playwrights get an opportunity to work on their craft and make the connections that may very well launch their post-MFA careers. "Take Ten" is an exciting evening of theater for the very reason that you get a sneak peak at the preeminent voices of tomorrow.
Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
Surprising: the ten-minute play format lends itself to a wonderfully surprising variety of plays.
Why are theater festivals so very important?
It is unfortunate that playwrights so rarely get to exchange ideas face to face. What "Take Ten", as well as other theater festivals, does is give these nine winning playwrights from across the country the chance to meet and share their ideas and experiences. Some extraordinary collaborations have come out of this program between writers and most of the playwrights leave the program saying that perhaps the most special thing they took away with was the chance to be inspired and challenged by the other writers.