Arts-Views continues a series of introduction-interviews about this season’s crop of writers whose imaginations will take them far … while taking their readers even farther.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born without a socket in my right hip. It wasn’t noticed until I began to walk at the age of 10 months. The medical procedures in the early ‘60s called for me to be restrained in a lower body cast for nearly a year as my right leg was methodically spread a little wider each month in order to gouge out a socket. The result was spectacularly successful, and I haven’t stopped since. Even when the gouged-out hip finally gave up the ghost (about 10 seconds after I turned 50) and I was faced with a total hip replacement, I did not hesitate for one second: I had the operation and was back on my feet in record time. So understandably, forward motion has always been of the utmost importance. As I have had to constantly evolve to meet the various challenges of my life, I have never let any roadblock stop my progress; I find the way around it and continue on the new path in front of me. Not even a crushingly bad review for my play The Fierce Urgency Of Now in The Seattle Times stopped me. (You’re going to look that up now, aren’t you?) I read the review, I put down the paper, I finished my coffee – I was in Seattle, remember – and I looked at my options: I could fork down the road that was most comfortable (stop writing, and continue to dream), or I could fork the Seattle Times, revise the play, and then write two more in quick succession. I think you know which fork I followed: the fork that I will continue to follow for as long as I can. (And for what it’s worth, The Fierce Urgency Of Now won several awards in New York. Fork you, Seattle Times.)
Where do you get inspiration or ideas from?
In a previous life I worked as an Art director/Copywriter for such advertising agencies as Grey Global Group, J. Walter Thompson, and N.W. Ayer, and served as the marketing director for Abingdon Theatre Company for four years. I was also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Advertising Design Department at F.I.T. in New York. All of the above, along with a Catholic school education and my Irish Catholic Depression Era Mother, have given me an unbelievable amount of material.
What is your creative process?
I’m half-Irish. I half-drink.
Do you connect spirituality in your artistic works… how?
HAHAHAHAHAHA! Only insofar as a character’s spirituality, in whatever form that takes, comes from within said character and is not buffeted by the stronger, outside societal forces that inform an accepted view of spirituality.
I’m deep into revisions on my latest dark comedy, Upper Division, which takes place in the toxic halls of academia, and I’m close to finishing the first draft of Fable, which is “a fable about the creation of a musical fable” from the point of view of one of the characters who was tangentially involved. I’m planning on having readings of both works in the near future. I will also be spending June 6th through 9th at the Kennedy Center Summer Playwrights Intensive, where I expect to have my ass handed to me on a regular basis as I attempt to improve my skills in a room filled with better playwrights than myself. I may go full Irish after that weekend.
In other news… Phillie’s Trilogy was recently named a Semi-Finalist for Barrington Stage Company’s Burman New Play Award and was a Finalist for the inaugural Davenport Reading Series and an early draft of Upper Division was named Semi-Finalist for both B Street Theatre’s New Comedies Festival and Normal Ave’s New American Play Series.