A Search for a Postmodern Theater: Interviews with Contemporary Playwrights

By John L. DiGaetani | Go to book overview

ERIC OVERMYER

Called by the New York Times one of America's most verbally accomplished playwrights, Eric Overmyer has had significant success in New York and at regional theaters around the country. Originally from Seattle, Eric Overmyer has received grants and fellowships from the McKnight Foundation, the Le Comte De Nouy Foundation, The New York Foundation for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, and The Rockefeller Foundation.

His first staged play Native Speech ( 1984) premiered at the Center Stage in Baltimore. On the Verge or the Geography of Yearning appeared in 1985, followed by In Perpetuity Throughout the Universe in 1988, which was staged in Arizona, off-Broadway in New York, the Berkeley Repertory, and the Empty Space Theatre in Seattle. In a Pig's Valise was first staged in 1986, with a production in New York in 1989. Overmyer also writes for films and television.

DiGaetani: According to Mel Gussow in the New York Times, you are at the avant-garde of a new movement in the theater of rediscovering words and avoiding spectacle on stage. Would you agree with Gussow?

Overmyer: I would agree that my central concern in my writing is probably language, in all the things that entails -- language and culture. I am very interested in language in the theater. Since I write a lot for film and television, it seems to me that the theater is the place where language can happen. One of the strengths of the theater is that is accommodates language, it accommodates poetry and image and myth and metaphor and other things that great playwrights of the past use. What I'm not interested in in the theater is naturalism, which I think is done so much better by film and television.

DiGaetani: I'm interested in your flexibility -- the fact that you have written for films and television as well as theater. Which medium do you prefer?

Overmyer: I think I'd actually prefer to be a novelist.

-253-

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A Search for a Postmodern Theater: Interviews with Contemporary Playwrights
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Robert Anderson 1
  • Alan Ayckbourn 15
  • Eric Bentley 27
  • Ed Bullins 39
  • Mart Crowley 47
  • Jules Feiffer 55
  • Horton Foote 65
  • Michael Frayn 73
  • Larry Gelbart 83
  • Amlin Gray 91
  • Simon Gray 97
  • John Guare 105
  • A. R. Gurney 113
  • ChriS+̄topher Hampton 121
  • William M. Hoffman 133
  • Israel Horovitz 139
  • Tina Howe 149
  • David Henry Hwang 161
  • Albert Innaurato 175
  • David Ives 183
  • Barrie Keeffe 191
  • Romulus Linney 199
  • Craig Lucas 211
  • Terrence Mcnally 219
  • Adrian Mitchell 229
  • Richard Nelson 237
  • Marsha Norman 245
  • Eric Overmyer 253
  • David Storey 259
  • Timberlake Wertenbaker 265
  • August Wilson 275
  • Lanford Wilson 285
  • Paul Zindel 295
  • Bibliography 305
  • Index 309
  • About the Author *
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