Friday, May 18, 2012

Liz Magee's "The Attendant" - 5/18 @ 6pm

Liz Magee recently received a BA in Theatre Arts with concentrations in Performance and Writing for the Stage from Marymount Manhattan College. Her short play, If You See Something, Say Something won Manhattan Rep’s Fall One-Act Competition and was a semi-finalist in the Riant Theatre’s Strawberry One-Act Festival. While at Marymount, she was head writer of the sketch group “Comedy Schmomedy,” received the award for ‘Best TV Script’ for her spec script of Modern Family, and was the recipient of the Gold Key for Academic Excellence for Writing for the Stage.
  • Your play The Attendant will be performed as a part of our Dark Nights series this week at the Richmond Shepard Theatre (Thursday, May 18 @ 6pm - see Facebook). Can you tell us about what inspired it?
A few years ago, while still a student at Marymount Manhattan College, I had written the beginnings of a play that took place strictly within a bathroom at a high school. I wasn’t happy with what became of that piece — with the exception of the I-still-find-clever title “Stalling”. But I remained intrigued with the concept of setting a play within a restroom of sorts. At the moment, I find I am prone to first establishing a consistent setting — usually a confined space — and then I begin to explore potential characters and circumstances that the particular space calls for. 
  • You are part of Wide Eyed’s very first Apprentice Playwrights Program. Can you tell us a little bit about what the process has been like?
This program has given me the greatest gift a young, distracted writer could ask for: DEADLINES.  Throughout the past few months, we would meet to workshop our work, which meant I needed to bring in something to workshop. In addition to this, the community that formed has been invaluable to me. Not only is it always exciting to work with new people, but to have feedback sessions with new WRITERS was terribly exciting for me. I must admit, I have learned a great deal from each writer involved and without this program, The Attendant might have still been on the to do list. Thanks Tim!
  • I’m under the impression that you have worked before with Michael Kinnan, your director for this staged reading of The Attendant. Can you tell us a little about that working relationship?
Oh, where do I begin? Well, Michael and I both attended Marymount, where we participated in a Playwright / Director / Actor workshop. I was assigned a group of actors and a director to specifically write a piece for, that director being Michael. You could say we just ‘clicked’. A natural symbiotic relationship was born and is still developing. We continue to serve as a source of support and encouragement for one another as well as a source of critique and challenge. We are constantly learning from each other while growing into these roles of director and playwright through our frequent collaborations. Plus, we both love Mad Men 
  • You were kind enough to answer some questions earlier on your creative process as your monologue, Jeans, was being performed in our recent production of A Girl Wrote It. Now that the show is over, do you have any additional thoughts on that piece?
This was a particularly scary experience for me at first. I had written Jeans during a ‘free write’ session during a playwriting class over a year ago. Meaning, it was written with no intention of being performed. I submitted the piece on a whim and I am so glad I did! It has been an immensely encouraging experience to have such talented ladies (Carly Knight under the direction of Kristin Skye Hoffmann) bring life to a piece that may have otherwise been neglected. There were many layers of humor and intimacy that I hadn’t even recognized within the piece until these gals got their hands on it. 
  • Can you tell us about any additional projects you’re working on right now?
Hm. I suppose it’s time to start writing a new play, eh? I will say that my next play is likely to be another female-centric piece. This is not because I am especially fanatic about women’s issues, but I entered college as an actress, where the female to male ratio was 5:1. I dream of a future where there is more material for a scene study class of mostly women besides that scene between Claire and Catherine in Proof. Gotta represent.

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