Q: Many people don't really know their neighbors, even with just a thin wall separating them from the people next door. Do you think people still want to be neighborly today, or do you get the sense that being neighborly is a risk? A: Sitcoms lied to us: next-door neighbors are not our best friends. In my first apartment, my neighbor and I swore we’d get dinner “soon.” Then 18 months went by, and I moved out. She Venmo’d me 20 bucks every month for WiFi, but we couldn’t find
Q: We don't normally ask playwrights about the origins of their scripts, but this one has an unusual genesis. It sprang from a kind of want ad, did it not? A: Yes, Kabin Thomas, a musician and professor of music, came to the Orange County Playwrights Alliance looking to pay someone to write his story. He'd been fired under interesting circumstances from the University of Arkansas, and had even made an appearance on one of the late night talk shows. His story was fascinating.
Q: A Girl Smiles in the Arctic is getting its second production here at OC-Centric, having won Best Play at the Secret Theatre's Act One: One-Act Festival in NYC this spring. It is a tender comedy involving Justin Bieber, a young Siberian Inuit woman, and a middle-aged Englishman who all find themselves in a conjoined dream. Where did that all come from? A: There’s a TV writer named Nell Scovell who, when asked where she gets her ideas, says it’s sort of like being asked how
Q: As your bio mentions, you played football for Bear Bryant at the University of Alabama. Very few playwrights seem to come out of top-ranked college football programs. Were you even into theatre at that time, or were you thinking NFL? A: I was not into theatre during my years at Alabama. And after three concussions, one cracked rib, and a torn groin muscle I had no aspirations to play in the NFL nor was I talented enough. Hence, I just focused on getting a degree in busines
Q: The title of Allegory of the Cave, of course, refers to Plato's famed allegory explaining that the reality of our existence may be different than the reality we manufacture, or the reality that someone else manufactures for us. In performance, actors step out of everyday reality into a "reality" they collectively manufacture, in which they and the audience suspend their disbelief. Do you see your play as a commentary on the levels of reality and identity we assume in actin
Q: Your bio says that you entered theatre as an actor, and I understand that you have also been a lawyer. How have those two experiences informed your playwriting? A: I think it's a must for a playwright to have first been an actor and also to have had a fair amount of experience on the stage before turning to writing. I had been acting for almost ten years, doing all manner of roles in several different theatres, before I tackled writing a play. I think the experience helps
Q: As I understand it, you took to theatre even before high school. Many kids in Orange County fall in love with theatre, many grow up wanting to act, some think about directing, but relatively few think about playwriting. Was there a particular incident or event that led you to become a playwright? A: When I was much younger I absolutely believed myself to be a performer—probably because I was landing those dream roles of Oz Munchkin number 12 and Daddy Warbucks’ third maid.
Q: You have acted a little here and there; did acting precede playwriting for you? When did you first realize you wanted to become a playwright? A: I learned that I wanted to write plays because of my obsession with Hamlet. Shakespeare, to me, is the ultimate playwright; I’ve seen too many productions of Hamlet to count. I collect them. When I saw Hamlet at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2010 (a production directed by Bill Rauch and starring Dan Donohue), I knew that play
Q: Theatrically speaking, you are a "triple threat" of a particularly intriguing kind: in addition to being a playwright, you are also a professional costumer, and an accomplished vocalist. Which passion came first, and how did you decide to become a playwright? A: Writing, music, and fiber arts have always been a part of my life. I sang solos and played in a youth orchestra as a child, taught myself to sew, crochet, quilt, and knit, and wrote songs, stories, poems and plays.