I’m here with Sarah Burgess! You’ve been here at SPACE before, right?

I’ve been here about six or seven times.

Oh wow! Were you a Working Farm member?

Yes, I was a part of the original Working Farm. That was two years ago, I believe. I’ve come every summer since!

What’re you working on this year while you’re at SPACE?

A few things. I’m working on a play that I’ve been working on for a couple years (I’m still refining it) and I’m working on something brand new.

You’re from New York, right?

No. I’m from the suburbs of D.C.

And where did you go to school for your undergrad?

NYU. I went to the film school there. It’s a BFA in film production. But I did a semester in London because I wanted to study at BBC. And we had to take a theatre class. Then I went from there. I realized the type of writing I was doing was more for the theatre. It had its power in the theatre. So then I started as a math tutor. I had friends from NYU that worked with the theatre. Andy Donald, who ended up working with Naked Angels, helped me meet some theatre folks. And then that helped me write for the theatre. I applied for writers groups, and wrote a ton. My third play…a lot of theatre people were interested in

And now…you have a big play coming up at The Public! Dry Powder! How long have you been working on that?

A fairly long time. That’s why I’m still tweaking it and refining certain things in that. I wrote it in 2013, and it had its first reading at ARS NOVA. They have a great writers ‘group. So I was in that and at the end of that you get a workshop and reading. That was in November of 2013 which went pretty well for readings, which is not my style to normally say… It was at 11 AM, which I realize is a good time for readings because people have just had coffee. Literary Managers and people who go to readings get to go in late on the day of reading so I think it’s just a good time for everyone. So it’s been since 2013! It had a reading at Roundabout Underground. Then Iapplied to be the writers group at The Public and submitted this play with my application and then it got passed up to Oskar.

How much are readings opportunities for an actor?

They’re huge. Not only might you actually get cast in the role, but I always remember actor’s who make an impression on me.

Good work is good work.

Right. I’m not always sure about exactly how much sway I have and sometimes things change, but if they’re interesting, I’ll want to write a part for them. It’s a tricky business though.

You’ve been back to the farm a few times. Do you have a favorite spot here?

It changes a lot. I actually often walk down to the road because I find that it’s actually quite private. When I’m making a phone call and walk along Starr Ridge…

You just have to watch out for the cars…

Right and then one comes around the corner and you have to jump into a vat of poison ivy…

Exactly!

So I’ve walked along the road and that sort of cul-de-sac area and talked to my mom there. So I like this front yard area a lot.

If you could be any farm animal, which would you be?

I don’t know. My only concern in life is trying to stave off death as long as possible, which is kind of a universal thing. So whatever lives longest? Those turtles that live long.

There’s turtles here!

Oh really?! Well, there was that one turtle that lived until about 170, right? But he was the only one, so it was both sad that he couldn’t reproduce and he was lonely. But he got to see a lot of presidents. And the invention of the airplane.

If you could be a farm turtle that lived for 170 years, when would you be a farm turtle?

So now you’re asking what time span would I like to observe? I would want to start now. And/or perhaps the height of the American Empire in the 40s and 50s. Right after WWII. I’m more interested in recent American history. Although I don’t know if, as the turtle, I could read or understand things. This is a tough question. I’ll have to think about it.

Take your time.

That’s the longest living animal, right?!

Well, 170 years is a long time.

If not a turtle, maybe a cockroach. They survive things a long time.

But a turtle is much more original and has a lot more going on. Cockroaches can’t observe the world in the same way.

You’re right.

Interviewed by Mason Hensley