This is the second and final of Meet The Amazing Writers Who Are Featured In Whisper And Shout: A Series of Curious and Unexpected Plays!
Two more writers. Two more questions.
Meet Jessica Fleitman! She wrote G Train Exodus
And, Evan Twohy, writer of Freshfaced!
Jessica: How would you describe your work? Are there elements/themes/ideas you find yourself returning to again and again?
Evan: My writing can most often be filed under sad, dark, absurd comedy. And I almost always write love stories, even when I’m not trying to. So far, most of my pieces have involved characters being forced into love or otherwise whipped around by a wicked, powerful world against which they have little control; I guess I’m slightly obsessed with how much control we truly have over our choices. I’m a very cheery person!
Evan: What do you start with when formulating the idea for a new play: Characters? Situation? Thesis? A moment? A title?
Jessica: This question gives me a little too much credit, because it implies that I start a play with something other than several frustrating hours of staring at a blank page while wondering if my muse has packed it in for good. I never know where to begin, and any attempts to trick myself into coming up with an idea through a free-write or exercise inevitably results in the same play: Two Generic Characters Have a Boring Conversation About Something Unspecific. Not good.Usually, I’ll be out in the world, doing something completely unrelated to writing, and out of nowhere I’ll have this “Aha!” moment. Something will simply spark me, no rhyme or reason why, and it’s usually something pretty strange.
The play I’m working on right now, for example, was inspired by a statue I saw at the Met: there’s this Roman sarcophagus lid depicting a husband and wife, but the wife’s face is unfinished. It’s un-carved stone. And she’s surrounded by all of these other beautiful Greek and Roman antiquities, but she’s the only one with no face. And I started wondering: does that make her feel insecure? Or is it possible that she LIKES not having a face? What are the benefits to being faceless? What does her husband think? Is he attracted to her? I just keep asking questions, and I let the characters answer. And suddenly I have the beginnings of a play.
I’m sure G Train Exodus started in a similar fashion, but it’s honestly difficult for me to
remember the genesis of an idea once I’ve begun. I probably felt that, after spending so much time cursing the train for its chronic lateness, it deserved the opportunity to answer back.I also just realized this question was basically the dreaded Where-Do-You-Get-Your-Ideas Question, but written with prettier words in order to trick me.
See Whisper & Shout: A Series of Curious & Unexpected Play Readings, night one: One Acts: MONDAY MARCH 7TH. 8pm. Theater for the New City. 155 1st Ave. $10 Suggested Donation.