What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Mark Schultz. I am originally from Pomona, CA—Southern CA, the land of strip malls. And now I am living in Inwood, NYC.
What have you been working on at SPACE?
I have been working on a commission from Playwrights Horizons called The Blackest Shore. I have been revising and getting familiar with it. I have spent a lot of the time loving it, knowing it better, and getting to know it better. So, doing some tinkering and some tuning here and there. And I’m actually kind of happy with it at this point, which is uncharacteristic of me. So this has been a really fruitful and wonderful time.
How and where have you spent your time at SPACE?
I often wrote in the dining room. The dining room is great because it has the springy floor. And it’s lovely because you can put your earphones in, and you know that people are around you. And I like it that there are people around. There is a sense of belonging to, and also a sense of space to do what you need to do, but in community with a lot of other people. And that is significant and, for me, really helpful. I never felt alone here. But I always felt like I had the right amount of space to do what I needed to do. The lake is gorgeous. There is a boat that is stranded on the way to the lake. I don’t know how it got there. And it’s kind of wonderful. There was a butterfly that was trapped in there that I tried to save and wound up dooming because I saved it. So that will end up going into a play one day. And the bonfire was great. I love the community that is here, and not just the writers, but the interns and Emily and Susan. The place that is being built here is a gorgeous place and a gorgeous thing, and it’s nice to be part of it in some small way.
What’s next for this project?
There will be a workshop of the commission at the end of October. And then we’ll see if it will be produced, maybe. But who knows?! There is another commission outstanding, that I am late on. But they are very patient, which is a great grace. And there is another play as well. I think it’s about The Devil, or about a force of some sort. I haven’t quite figured it out. But there is a character that I have sketched out and I like her. And I like the people around her.
Do you often find yourself writing more than one play at once?
No. It is hard for me to do more than one thing at a time, because I get really obsessive. And that’s not necessarily a good thing. Because The Blackest Shore, which I have been working on here, has taken too long to write, I think. But I say that and at the same time I am happy with where it is. It’s been the process it’s been, and it’s produced the work it’s produced, and I am happy with the work that has happened. There are times, though, that I certainly wish that I could write fast. But that just doesn’t seem to be that way that it works and I have to be okay with that. It is hard to be okay with that.
If you were to be reincarnated as a farm animal, what farm animal would you be and why?
I really like the ducks, but I don’t want to be the duck. There is part of me that wants to take the place of the butterfly that I doomed. I wanted him or her to be happy, and then he or she was just gone. I would like to be the animal that makes it possible for the butterfly to have been saved and happy now—whatever animal that might be. Maybe a very kindly sheep, or a donkey.
Interviewed by Alison McLaughlin