If You've Ever Made a Practice of Interviewing Theatre Artists about Their Work

Article excerpt

IF YOU'VE EVER MADE A PRACTICE OF INTERVIEWING theatre artists about their work, you know that some are terrific at articulating the hows and whys of what they do, and that others are, well, not. Most designers, I've found, have a facility for translating their aesthetic decision-making into illuminating language; the visuals-into-words thing seems to come naturally as an intrinsic part of the design process. There are equally talented folks, on the other hand--actors and playwrights, particularly--who get tongue-tied the moment you pose a question about methodology or artistic intent. How? Why? You might conclude from the dearth of communicable insight about the artistic wonders they accomplish that for them, creativity is a vague, dreamy, purely instinctual business in which intellect and precision play nary a part.

Two terrific interviews in this issue of American Theatre serve as happy contradictions to these rule-of-thumb observations. Both interviews are with playwrights, one of whom also regularly acts in his own plays. And both demonstrate that intellect and precision are every bit as fundamental to the crafts of writing and acting as they are to any theatrical discipline, design included. …