Another SLC alum, Libby Emmons, is an amazing playwright I got a chance to work with. My first time directing was my own play, “The Because of Things”, at Nuyorican Poets Cafe and I almost died from stress. My second time directing was Libby’s play “Subways” which was about a young broke couple who just moved to NY and, in addition the stress of that alone, endure even more stress when the young woman kidnaps a kid on the subway. I did die from that experience but I grew a lot too and fell in love with Libby’s version of magical realism which walks the perfect line between naturalism and abstract - you’re not tired or confused when you experience her work.
Explain your editing process.
I feel like each piece wants to be edited differently, but always, when editing, I start from the beginning and work through to the end, even if what I want to fix is a little thing in scene 5 or whatever. Often when I’m working on a script, after having set it down for a day or two, I start from the beginning and work through to where I left off and then continue from there.
Do you expose your “in progress” writing to other people? Why or why not?
I often do. But to people I’ve collaborated with before, who understand what my deal is already. Why? Sometimes I just want someone to say: hey, I get it, and it’s working, and I think it’s exciting and compelling too. Sometimes just to see if the thing makes any recognizable sense.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you ever got?
Be honest. And then I figured out that honesty is different than truth. And that in all likelihood truth doesn’t even exist.
What’s the worst piece of writing advice you ever got?
When I was in writing club in middle school, we were meant to bring in writing to share. I brought in this vignette I had written that started out “the flower she held was colorless and bitter” (that’s right, middle school). The teacher who sponsored the club was like: “how could a flower be colorless? That doesn’t make any sense, cut that.” Right then I knew that anyone who mistook metaphor for wrongness shouldn’t be sponsoring writing club.
What kind of mediums do you use to get your writing out there the public?
I submit plays everywhere, produce some myself, and network with producers/directors/actors/writers as best as my anti-social self will allow.
How often do you edit a piece once it’s “done”?
Unless I end up in some kind of development process where the whole point is to rewrite toward production, I leave the thing alone.
What do you think is the biggest misconception of writing or being a writer?
Somehow I got it into my head about a million years ago that at some point in my writing career I wouldn’t have to constantly hustle. But that is a lie. A writing career is nothing if not constant hustle. There is no corner that you can turn where suddenly you have a good income no matter what. Even if you sell a bunch of movies, there’s no guarantee that you’ll sell another one. That has been my biggest misconception, and once I realized that it was a misconception, it’s been the thing that makes me second guess having a writing career at all. It’s the thing that could drive me into nursing if I could stand the sight of suffering.
How do you feel about offering other writers feedback on their writing if asked?
Only if asked. And then sure.
How has your writing evolved from the beginning? 10 years ago? Last year?
I think my writing is in a perpetual state of evolution. I think the whole “finding your voice” thing is a little bit of a myth in that the voice, once found, changes, just like everything else about a person’s life. Life changes, what I want to say about it changes, how I feel about it changes, my perspective changes, so the writing changes. When I first started I wrote abstract poemy type plays, then for a while it was realism that entranced me, then straight comedy, now my writing is pretty spare, and almost entirely philosophical. I bet that changes.
Libby Emmons, playwright. Co-producer: Blue Box’s Sticky series. Clubbed Thumb
Biennial Commission 2009 winner for Zeropia. Publications: “The Worm Turns at the
Fort Peck Hotel,” 2009 New York Theatre Review; “Little Angel,” InterACT Theatre
Co., Philadelphia, PA, 2000. Upcoming film credits: “I Miss You” Acorn Films, LA,
2010; “Malcolm & Margerie,” Blue Guns Blue Tobacco, 2011. One-acts Wanting It,
finalist for the Humana Award at Louisville Actors Theater, 2010; leaving last night,
EBE Ensemble, Teatro Iati, March 2010, New York, NY.
Full-lengths: The Little Room, short listed: BBC’s 2009 International Radio Play
Competition, semi-finalist: Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s 2010 National Playwrights
Conference; The Girls From Afar, reading: East West Players, LA, Desipina & Co.,
NYC, finalist, Yale Drama Series 2010. The Sustainable Future, Blue Box at Galapagos,
2006; Eyes of the Prophet, winner: John Golden Award; Dirty & Leo in Tokyo,
workshopped: Torn Page Salon.
Shorts seen with: Junta Juliel and RKP, Desipina & Co., Crown Point Festival, Sticky,
Manhattan Theatre Source, Working Man’s Clothes, Atlantic Theatre School, LaMaMa
Etc., all NYC; Acorn Pictures, LA, Subversive Theatre Co., Buffalo, NY. International:
Sheffield, U.K., New Zealand. Collaborator: MacBeth Project: RAT Conference,
Rosario, Argentina, 2004; The Charlotte Salomon Project, A Thousand Thousand Slimy
Things Polybe + Seats.
BA: Sarah Lawrence College, MFA: Columbia University, with Liberace Foundation
Fellowship, Miller Scholarship, Columbia Theater Merit Scholarship, and Shubert
http://www.blueboxproductions.net/Deserted_Islands_Deserted_Cities.html (producing and writing)
http://www.polybeandseats.org/alice/ (writing team)
No Comments »
No comments yet.
Leave a comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.