Theatre or theater?
I go for "-er" when it's the practice and "-re" when it's the building. As in "I see theater at the theatre." Or "At Play works in the theatre to stage fine theater." I'm not sure that's right. Let's ask William Safire... Too soon?
Strangest theatre- or theater-related job?
I did some assistant directing and then some directing for Gorilla Rep, which does Shakespeare for free in the parks. I'd use my skateboard as a dolly to haul huge Tupperwares full of lights to Washington Square Park, where we'd jack into the park power lines and run extension cords with lights all through the park. At one point, somebody stole my skateboard. There were also crazy homeless people who would jump in and participate in the show. There was also one homeless guy who was always asleep on a park bench. Whenever we went to the park - never fail - there he'd be asleep on the bench. We'd be screaming out Shakespeare and he'd keep napping, unperturbed. One of the actors named him Ben Brantley.
What experience made you want to become a writer?
I was a dramaturgy intern at La Jolla Playhouse on a production of David Grieg's "The Cosmonaut's Last Message to the Woman He Once Loved in the Former Soviet Union," directed by Neel Keller. The script was magical and the production really did it justice. Mark Wendland had this amazing set where a mechanical orb (containing the cosmonauts) rotated in midair like a gigantic old-timey orrery (those models of the Solar System where the planets revolve around the Sun). I loved that production. Then I directed the play during my senior year of undergrad and it was a totally different beast but still rather lovely in its own right. I thought about that. About the many possible lives a play can take on; the transience of these two productions versus the permanence of the words. That did it for me.
Very first role on stage?
One of the 3 Wise Men in a nativity pageant, when I was in preschool. My mom sewed the costume herself, and I think we still have it somewhere. I brought the myrrh. Oh you better believe I be bringin' the myrrh.
If you were a 1980s television show sidekick, who would you be?
I'm going to steal an answer that should rightfully be Josh Koenigsberg's and say Arvid Engen; Head of the Class