Is this your first Sheherezade?
Yes, and it’s about time! Actually, I think this is only my second submission, so I can say with glee that I’m invited to participate in Sheherezade half the times I apply!
Which play did you write? What's it about?
Reframing Rockwell. It’s about the behind-the-scenes private life of renowned painter-illustrator Norman Rockwell, whose work for the Evening Post went on to bring him a place in American history.
What was your inspiration for the play?
It’s funny, you know, because I was reading the only newspaper I could find at the gym – the travel section of the New York Times – and it had the most amazing spread devoted to where Norman Rockwell lived with each of his wives (he had three) and his sons. And interspersed in the article were these rather nonchalant references to how his first and second wives had been institutionalized. I thought of the idyllic family life that Rockwell is so famous for presenting, and how ironic that the Norman Rockwell we typically imagine (pristine and proper family man) was actually afflicted by rampant mental illness – his wives’ and his own. I thought to myself what a fantastic play this would make – but then cautioned myself and decided to test the waters with a shorter version to measure just how much mental instability an audience can take.
An emerging theme between these plays that has really jumped out at us is reality and perception. Tell us about an experience that you thought had been one thing only to discover it was completely different.
Oh, that would probably be the last guy I dated, where I thought we were moving forward and he was running in the opposite direction. I’m only half-joking. I’m fascinated by how two persons can have such completely opposite reactions to one another and not have it register with one of them. I think I’m pretty much always the latter fellow, and it can get pretty frustrating when you start to constantly question your intuition. With some things, like cars, I can pretty much always trust my intuition. Hmm. These brakes seem kind of soft. I’m going to bring the car in and see what’s going on. Sure enough, I’ll need a break job (and several other things, of course!). But when it comes to people and dating in particular, it’s only getting worse as I get older. I hope someone soon proves what I think something is actually is what I want it to be. Until then I just try not to act too surprised when someone orders the check before the dessert menu arrives.
What has participating in Sheherezade meant to you?
Well, let’s see . . . this is my first professional juried work to be performed, so, heck, it means everything in the world to me! It’s like I’m losing my virginity to Sherherezade, and I’ll always remember this moment.
What other projects are you working on? What can audiences of Sheherezade look forward to next?
If things go swimmingly, look for a reading or two of a full-length version of Reframing Rockwell. I’ll work with Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco to try to get a reading, and from there I’ll keep massaging it and shopping it until I gather interest for a production. I’ve also got another short play (again, historical fiction), from which I’d really like to see a full-length production emerge. It’s about the first American women to travel to Antarctica to support their husbands in their scientific work. While the women were designated as supporting roles, they truly kept the men on task and ensured the mission succeeded. Lots of room for humor in this one, which delights me and feeds my constant need to laugh at the absurdity of people.