We continue our 16th Writer/Director Lab with Amelia Roper’s new play EVERYTHING IS NICE, directed by Knud Adams. This interview with Amelia continues a series of interviews with the participants of this year’s Lab. Come and join us for the third reading at our theater on 46 Walker St, May 12 at 3PM!
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1. Briefly tell us about your play.
Lately I’ve been thinking about minimalism and modernism and loneliness and cities and the silent kinds of suffering and plainness and ugliness and how neat objects are, and how messy bodies are. And brains, brains are ridiculous. I wanted to write a three character play because I like them and I suspect they take skills I don’t have yet.
2. Who are your greatest influences in your writing?
Here is a list of the things I’m reading at the moment because perhaps the best way to answer a question like greatest influences is to be honest about the moment. The Aunt’s Story by Patrick White, The Orchard by Drusilla Modjeska, Shop Girl by Steve Martin, A Fraction of a Whole by Steve Toltz, Happy All the Time by Laurie Colwin. Also the poet Max Ritvo, Monroe Beardsley on anti-intentionalism and Maurice Maeterlinck’s The Tragical in Daily Life.
3. What part of the Writer/Director Lab process was the most instructive and entertaining?
Most entertaining will always be reading someone’s new pages and hearing a particularly good line or scene for the first time. And these three writers, they’re good. As for instructive, I’m going to lie on the floor in my very quiet apartment for a few months and think about it, all of it, so many new ideas.
4. How have your dramaturgical skills developed over the course of the past nine months?
I think, hmm, learning to look for the things others aren’t looking for, usually simple things. And trying to hear a play you’ve heard as though you’ve never heard it or any draft of it before, each time, which sounds simple but isn’t.
5. Sixteen years on the Lab has produced some pretty great plays. Looking over them, do any stand out to you?
Really Really Really Really Really by Jackie Sibblies Drury and Science is Close by Kate E. Ryan. Both unsettling in quiet ways.
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Amelia Roper is currently writing for Yale Rep, Berkeley Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, SOHO Rep’s Writer/ Director Lab and The Rose. She has been produced in Australia by the Melbourne Arts Centre, St Martins Youth Arts Centre and FortyFortyHome. Her work has been developed by the Melbourne Theatre Company, the Old Vic in London, Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, American Theater Company in Chicago, NNPN at the Kennedy Center and the Moscow Playwright and Director Center in Russia. She is a MacDowell Fellow and a recent graduate of the Yale School of Drama. www.ameliaroper.com.