The Salon is quickly approaching and we’re finishing up casting for our 7 short plays, meeting with our devised directors tomorrow to see how their pieces are going, stocking up on Brooklyn Brewery beer for our opening night kick-off party on Monday, and giving our fundraising campaign one last push (click here to help us with our push!)!
Despite the chaos erupting in the Working Theater office, we still have the time to sit down with our playwrights and hear what they have to say. Check out Co-Curator Dina Vovsi’s Q&A with playwright Ed Cardona, Jr., who wrote the short play Will Work For ____, which premieres on Sunday, April 22nd at the Salon. Ed tells us about the kind of theater that excites him and the importance of buying playwrights drinks if you want to direct their work (only half-kidding).
Dina: Tell us about your play in the Salon.
Ed: My play Will Work For________, I believe is about generosity when the play is stripped down to its naked core. To be generous and what that means. How truly generous are we when tossing a bum a quarter on the street; when we take in a stray cat? Is that truly being generous or what should be expected? How is our generosity affected when we close ourselves off to change, to the unknown? What drives us to give and or not to give? If truly pushed how generous can we be and what stops us from being that?
DV: Our theme this year is WORK FOR CHANGE. We wanted to explore what we, as artists, work for. What inspires you? What do you hope to accomplish with your work both inside and outside of the theatre?
EC: Theater that really excites me is theater that is willing to take on the broader issues that affects us all, and theater that tells the stories of those who are not that often represented on the American Stage. So that’s what I try to work for and draw my inspiration from. In the hope to entertain, inform, provoke and inspire that one person who may literally change the world – hopefully for the better.
DV: Most artists have day (or night) jobs to support themselves. Do you have a day job story you can share?
EC: I work at the School of Social Work at Columbia University. That pays the bills. Not much more to it, though I’m blessed to be in a department that is very supportive and nurturing to my other life as a playwright. Finding support and flexibility in ones day job is important.
DV: What do you look for in a director?
EC: I look for a director who honors the text and the story before anything else. A director who is willing to challenge both me and the script in the effort to tell the best story, all while having fun doing it.
DV: Young directors are often told they need to meet playwrights in order to start directing in New York. Do you have advice for our emerging directors on how to meet and cultivate relationships with playwrights?
EC: Like any business you have to hustle, shake hands and network! Get involved with as many salons like this one or like Intar Theater’s weekly Monday Salon, Naked Angels’ Tuesdays@9, etc. Go to as many readings as possible, if there are drinks to follow and usually there are, stay and network. Intern/volunteer at theaters. Become a reader for Lit. Departments and reach out to writers you like. If you run into a playwright at a bar, buy him/her a drink :-).
DV: What’s next for you?
EC: My play American Jornalero, which received a workshop production at the Working Theater in 2010, will have its world premiere at Intar Theater this spring. It runs from May 7th through June 3rd, directed by Mariana Carreño King. Come check us out!
Ed Cardona, Jr.’s play American Jornalero will receive its world premiere at Intar Theatre in the spring of 2012, it was also the 2nd place selection in The Metlife Nuestras Voces National Playwriting Competition, 2011. Some of his other most recent work includes: La Ruta, a full-length play commissioned by the Working Theater; Jackson Heights, 3am, a collaborative ensemble piece, Theater 167, Queens, New York City;Who the Fuck is Nathan Hale?, a ten-minute play, Question-NY Madness, Intar Theater, New York City; Mongo, a one-act play commissioned by Local 3, I.B.E.W. Diversity Conference, New York City; Super Moon, a ten-minute play commissioned by the FOCUS Festival of the Arts, St. Andrew’s College, Toronto, Canada; Black Sheep, a ten-minute play developed with the Urban Arts Partnership/The New Group, Life Stories, Theater Row, New York City. Ed has also been an artistic associate with the Working Theater, a resident playwright with the Hispanic Playwrights-in-Residence Lab at Intar Theatre, The Professional Playwrights Unit at the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, The Hall Farm Center for the Arts & Education in Townsend, VT and is a founding member of NY Madness. Ed received his M.F.A. in playwriting from Columbia University where he received the John Golden Award for his thesis play, PICK UP POTS!