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Introducing W/D Lab Member… Anna Greenfield!

a_003We continue our 15th Writer/Director Lab with Anna Greenfield’s new play THIS IS GONNA BE GREAT, directed by Mary Birnbaum. This interview with Anna continues a series of interviews with the participants of this year’s Lab. Come and join us the reading at Access Theater, April 29 at 7PM.
1. Briefly tell us about THIS IS GONNA BE GREAT?

The play I wrote is a pretty embarrassing close-up into the vivid fantasies of a thirteen year old girl named Norma and her family. Her mom and dad and her ‘best friend’ and her best friend’s mom make real life appearances in Norma’s bedroom and in also in a fever dream. My hope for the play is that the characters are able to reveal some heartfelt raw honest truth through the veil/curtain of performance to each other or about themselves. I’m not sure if they escape the dream world. Or if they kill the part of themselves that is dreaming instead of living. Anyways, the play is at least entertaining and that’s important. There’s some rigorous and fully committed upper body dancing.

2. Who are your greatest influences in your writing?

My dad is a self employed writer. So he makes me think I could be an artist     and successfully live my dream. He does not doubt who he is or what he can do and he hustles every day and writes and writes. Boo Killebrew, Lee Sunday Evans, Jenny Schwartz, Heidi Schreck are some artists who make my heart want to dance with other hearts. I would like to live like them both in my work life and in my life life.

3. What part of the Writer/Director Lab process was the most instructive and entertaining?

Entertaining? I rode my bike home on the Williamsburg Bridge after every meeting and I would be crying from happy happiness always at the top part, the hardest uphill bridge part cause I got to be part of this lab. Or I would sing out loud to myself a made up motivational song if I thought my new pages were terrible that week.

Sometimes I wouldn’t even be listening to what people were saying during the lab I would be so caught up in my own complex joy and fear about being in the room with these amazing beings. Then I had to tell myself to calm down and I started listening again. What I took away from the lab is a little unquantifiable. It makes me feel like I am in the cast of Cheers or something-I just want to keep going there. Smart, smart people with huge hearts and generous souls and oh oh oh I was in lucky heaven all the time surrounded by them.

Instructive? The lab was a very useful practice in ego annihilation. Bringing in new unread untested pages every week to be read out loud by a group of respected peers, I had to let the play be pretty out loud bad, clunky, and chunky cause I had no time control, and the whole process of creating it was so much less secretive. Which for me, who is a rigidly secret gardens kind of person was super important. I needed to blast through that hiding secret little girl place that can traps me into never sharing anything.  So I really had to let go of needing the play to be perfect or even good. Whatever good means. If I let this response go spiritual and why not, it was a journey into finding out who I was as a writer (as a person??) as opposed to the writer (or person??) who I thought I needed to be to get approval. Yes! Self acceptance—so freaking awesome, so freaking fleeting.

4. How do you think the Lab will influence your future work?

How will the lab influence my future work? The lab will be like ‘you go girl’ and I will be like ‘thanks lab, you’re the best,’ and then the lab and I will laugh and laugh and high five. It will make my future work be unafraid to be bad. The past work done at the lab will be like ‘you got this future work, don’t look back, JUST KEEP GOING!’ And then my future work might say something like, ‘let me work in peace, past, you need to let me go.’

5. It’s the 15th anniversary of the Lab! Looking back over the history, which plays that have come out of the Lab are you inspired by and why?

Just the company of all those former amazing lab participiants! Oh my gosh-Annie Baker, Sheila Callaghan, Jackie Dibblies Drury, Jenny Schwartz, Anne Washburn, Heidi Schreck, Thomas Bradshaw just to name a few…….the grrrrrreats!!!! I feel honored and so silly to be amongst them. But my ego is secretly like, ‘hell yeah.’

Anna Greenfield writes plays so she can be in them. She wrote a play she performed at NYU’s Experimental Theater Wing (GOOD PLAY) in a black box. She wrote a bizarre play she performed with her best friend in an apartment (NORMA AND CLAUDE GET MARRIED). She wrote a play that she is really proud of, directed by Lee Sunday Evans and performed at the Kraine Theater in April 2013 (ALL GIRLS). As an actor she played Boo Killebrew in Collaboration Town’s THE PLAY ABOUT MY DAD written by Boo Killebrew and also directed by Lee Sunday Evans. She was a special victim in an episode of Law and Order: SVU. BFA from NYU’s Experimental Theater Wing at Tisch School of the Arts. She loves the lab, she just loves it.

THIS IS GONNA BE GREAT will be read at ACCESS THEATER, 380 Broadway (at White Street). 7PM Start! 

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