How did you get your start in theatre?
Like a lot of people, I started as a fan. My parents took me to see touring productions of shows like Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera when I was little -- we saw every Broadway show that came through Detroit -- and I learned them by heart. I even remember more than one occasion where my mom would pull me out of elementary school so we could go see a matinee together, just the two of us. Then I got cast in a community theatre production of Evita, and I was hooked. Unsurprisingly, I was a theatre nerd in high school, performing in shows like A Midsummer Night's Dream and Pippin, The Importance of Being Earnest and Into the Woods. But it wasn't until college -- where I was simultaneously studying fiction -- that I began to think of playwrights as actual, living people (even women!) instead of men who have been dead for hundreds of years. I started to devour plays by Paula Vogel and Wendy Wassterstein, and when I graduated, I took an internship in Arts Administration at the Juilliard School.
When I arrived at Juilliard, I didn't know they had a playwriting program. But they do, and a phenomenal one at that. The writers in school while I was there included Beau Willimon and Adam Szymkowicz, Carly Mensch, and Elizabeth Merriwether, and I got to sit in on readings and workshops of their plays. While I was there, I self-produced my first play, and it was a spectacular disaster, but I learned so much from it. I decided that there was so much more to learn, so I applied to grad school, and attended Columbia University (like a few of the Juilliard playwrights I'd met.) There, I was taught by Chuck Mee and Kelly Stuart and Lucy Thurber and Sheila Callaghan and Anne Bogart and... I could go on and on about the amazing talents I was exposed to, but this answer is probably already too long.
What is To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This about?
To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This is inspired by the New York Times article of the same name. The article -- written by Mandy Len Catron -- begins this way: "More than 20 years ago, the psychologist Arthur Aron succeeded in making two strangers fall in love in his laboratory." The way Dr. Aron did that? Using 36 questions that, he claimed, could make anyone fall in love.
In this two-character play, the individuals in question are not strangers. In fact, they have a long and storied history together. But a terrible tragedy has torn them apart, and now they have agreed to come together one final time to make a last-ditch effort to stay together.
Can you tell us about your experience with submitting it and how it came to win awards and get produced?
It's a very new play, so I haven't shopped it around very much. I've only submitted it to two places: The San Diego International Fringe Festival and the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans One-Act Play Contest. I'm very proud to report that it was the winner of the Tennessee Williams prize -- and was presented in new Orleans in March -- and that it will appear as part of the San Diego Fringe Festival this summer.
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on revisions of a Young Adult novel, and a new play called The Fourth Fate, all about an agoraphobic psychic who discovers that she's not actually bullshitting her clients after all.
To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This
June 22nd-29th, 2017
Written by Jennifer Lane
Directed by Jacole Kitchen
Starring Beth Gallagher and Eric Casalini