playwright

Opening Creative Doors: The Joyful Terror of Writing with Laura Harrington

Laura Harrington is an award winning playwright, lyricist, librettist, and most recently a novelist. She chats with Susan about her creative process, the need for beginner’s mind, and her long career as a writer across many genres. She loves opening creative doors that terrify her ~ case in point ~ taking a playwriting course in college with the daunting challenge that everyone must read their work aloud! Going through that door changed her life.

Originally thinking she wanted to be a novelist, she discovered theater, an art form based on her passions of language, literature, words, dance, and music. Likewise, when she won the Kleban award at the age of fifty, she used it to say STOP! to her twenty-five years of working and collaborating in theatre, and decided to write a novel. She is now on her third. She values the joy and creative energy of being a beginner, “knowing too much can be a burden,” so she finds ways to stay curious and in an act of discovery with her writing ~ One of her secrets? She reads everything aloud. “Music is in everything I write,” she says, “My ear is smarter than my eye.”


Meet This Episode's Guest

Laura Harrington

Laura Harrington, award winning playwright, lyricist and librettist, winner of the 2008 Kleban Award for “most promising librettist in American Musical Theatre,” has written dozens of plays, musicals, operas and radio plays which have been produced in 28 states, Canada and Europe, in venues ranging from Off-Broadway to Houston Grand Opera to the Paris Cinemateque. Harrington has twice won both the Massachusetts Cultural Council Award in playwriting and the Clauder Competition for best new play in New England.  Additional awards include a Boston IRNE Award for Best New Play, a Bunting Institute Fellowship at Harvard/ Radcliffe, a Whiting Foundation Grant-in-Aid, the Joseph Kesselring Award for Drama, a New England Emmy, and a Quebec Cinemateque Award. Laura teaches playwriting at MIT where she was awarded the 2009 Levitan Prize for Excellence in Teaching.  She has also been a frequent guest artist at Tufts, Harvard, Wellesley, Skidmore, and the University of Iowa.  She was the 2014 Jack Kerouac Writer in Residence at UMASS Lowell.

A Catalog of Birds, her second novel, published by Europa in 2017, has been praised by The Washington Post, CONSEQUENCE literary magazine and others. Alice Bliss, (Penguin/ Viking) her first novel, widely acclaimed in print and online and a Boston Globe bestseller, won the 2012 Massachusetts Book Award in Fiction. Alice Bliss was published in Italy, Denmark and the UK, where it was a Richard and Judy Book Club Pick. In addition, Playwrights Horizons in NYC has commissioned Alice Bliss, the musical with composer Jenny Giering, librettist Karen Hartman and lyricist Adam Gwon. A workshop of the musical will take place in 2018 in NYC, with Mark Brokaw directing.

 

Find out more about Laura's work here: http://www.lauraharringtonbooks.com

Or click below to purchase on Amazon:

A Catalog of Birds

Alice Bliss

 

 
laura-harrington-hi-res.jpg

One Powerful Voice: Cori Thomas on Playwrighting, Serving Others, & Outing Sexual Misconduct

Cori Thomas began her creative journey wanting to act but alas the timing was wrong for multiracial actors, who “didn’t look like any particular race,” and she soon got very frustrated. In a serendipitous encounter someone suggested she “write roles she could play” and soon after a voice popped in her head talking - and then another - and then they were having a conversation and she was writing it all down and she discovered she was becoming a playwright.

Her immigrant experience of living in many different countries (her father was a Liberian diplomat) has given her a keen ear for the voice of “the other” and one of her underlying missions in writing is “trying to get the audience to see that the other is not so other.” Her advice to beginning playwrights is “write from an organic place, ask yourself, what do you want to express, and then do it! Fall down and get up and keep working!”

She also discusses her (now public) sexual harassment encounter with Dustin Hoffman when she was 16 - inviting us to understand how, over the arch of time, that experience has moved and shaped itself in her, culminating in her decision to become public, a brave choice that grew out of wanting to help the other women who had similar encounters.


Meet This Episode's Guest

 

Cori Thomas

Cori Thomas is a playwright whose plays have been developed and produced at Sundance Theater Lab, Goodman Theatre, City Theatre Company (Pittsburgh), Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Women’s Project Theater, Page 73 Productions,, Playwrights Horizons, Lark Play Development Center, The Working Theater, Going To The River, Pillsbury House Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, Penumbra Theatre, Passage Theatre, The Playwrights Realm, New Federal Theatre, New Georges, The Black Rep (St. Louis), The New Black Fest, and Queens Theatre in the Park.

She is also a co-founder of Pa's Hat Foundation, a charity dedicated to enabling former male child soldiers and other underserved males of Liberia success in life by providing access to education and job opportunities.

Cori's newest play, CITIZENS MARKET, is currently in rehearsals for its World Premiere at City Theatre in Pittsburgh.

cori.jpeg