Q: How does seeing your play performed -- even in rehearsal -- affect the material? Are you an author who makes script changes in the process, or not -- and why?
A: In the past I've done a lot of rewriting during rehearsals, but for this play the script was pretty much set on the first day. There is one scene I have rewritten from scratch four or five times, and that one could still change. But Daniel Aukin has encouraged me to leave the script alone for now - there is always the preview period to make changes - and that has allowed the actors to dig into the material in a way that isn't always possible when the words are changing. I had the good fortune to work with Gabe and Mary Louise (our two leads) in a reading in the fall and during a workshop about a month before rehearsal started, so their voices have been with me for a long time and these characters no longer exist in my mind independently of the actors who realize them.
Q: Is there a "Vera" in your own life?
A: I have a grandmother who will turn ninety-five this fall. She lives on her own in a three-bedroom apartment in Greenwich Village, and this morning she left me the following voicemail regarding a screenplay I'm working on (sounding slightly put out that I didn't pick up):
"What are you doing on this cold, cold day? Anyway, I finished reading an article on American movies, and directors, etc., that I think might interest you; whether it will influence what you're writing I don't know, but I think it gets you a feeling of the whole American Cinema. It's in The Nation, and I have The Nation, of course, so if you're interested in reading it, call me, come by and pick it up. My usual 'I love you' scene. Big hug. Bye."
So yes. I have a Vera in my own life who still kicking ass, taking names, and finding sneaky ways to get me to read The Nation.
More to come!