WOS Special Edition: Caroline Donnelly

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conducted by mike doyle on 5/23/13

md: Okay, so why don’t you just talk to me a little bit about what it’s been like getting ready for Wrights of Spring this year and working on both of your plays and where each of those started––whether you started one third year or one of them this year?

cd: So the first play I’m doing––the not supported workshop––is a play I actually started my sophomore year, and it was just the first act that was performed at Wrights of Spring.  A lot of my relatives wanted to know how it ended, and the director, Lauren Lundy, was like, “I’m not doing anything spring quarter, so if you have anything…” So I just gave her this piece that I wrote kind of a rough ending to. The Love Song of Gertrude F. Doyle I started at the beginning of my junior year, and I’ve been working on it basically nonstop since then. I kind of took a break this winter quarter, because I was starting to hate it. But now I did some edits, and it feels like it’s getting to where it needs to be.

md: Why don’t you talk a little bit about what it’s like working in the supported workshop setting with the professional actors and the director, and how that’s different from other Wrights of Springs that you’ve had here?

cd: One thing that I’ve noticed is that the professional actors are a lot more likely to challenge me as the writer. They’re not saying that anything I write is invalid, but they’re more likely to be like, “Are you sure this is what you meant to say?” or “I’m not sure this is what my character would say,” which is helpful, especially at this stage in my work when I’m trying to really fine tune everything. It’s also really nice to do more table work than I’m used to, because a lot of Wrights of Spring is just like–– Let’s just read through it a couple times. Whereas this we get set rehearsals times to really dive into a lot of the stuff that is in there and that we want to be in there.

md: What are the differences with The Love Song of Gertrude F. Doyle from last year’s Wrights of Spring compared to this year’s in terms of working on it?

cd: Last year I felt like I had to do everything. I had my hands in all the pots and I was trying to wrangle actors and trying to get everyone together for the rehearsal. Whereas this year it’s really about me being a writer and working on the actual play, which is really valuable to me.

md: And then with your other Wrights of Spring that Lauren is directing can you talk a little bit about that and seeing that come into fruition with actors and getting everyone around and how that’s been?

cd: I’ll probably have a better idea about how I feel about it after the show tonight––our first show opens tonight. What I did was basically hand the script off to her and I don’t what she’s done with it or anything. Right now I’m nervous about what is going on with that, especially since she’s sent me a couple of distress signals about people dropping out of the cast, and I’m like, “I’m sorry. I’m working on my supported workshop.”

md: Oh, so you’ve not really been involved in that at all? 

cd: Just in writing it.

 md: Did you choose the actors?

cd: I helped with some casting. I actually don’t know who’s going to be in it tonight.

md: So you mentioned that you’re nervous that you haven’t been with the work, but is there anything liberating at all about not really being involved in that?

cd: One of the reasons I agreed to do it with Lauren is because I thought it would be an interesting experience––because that’s not something you get in Wrights of Spring, to see your work the way it would actually be done. A lot of times the playwright isn’t in the room when they’re making a lot of decisions. I don’t know if later on in my life it will be more liberating, but because it’s a script that’s pretty early on in its development I’m really nervous about it.

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