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Thursday, October 7, 2010

3 Questions with Kate (on the MFA at BPT)

Less public than our productions but no less harrowing to our playwrights are our weekly workshops -- our classes taught (often on the set of our current shows) by playwrights Kate Snodgrass, Richard Schotter, Melinda Lopez and Ronan Noone.  And if you didn't know it:  Boston Playwrights' Theatre is Boston University's Playwriting MFA program.  I asked Kate Snodgrass a couple questions about her experience as a teacher of playwriting.   

Jake:  Can you give an example of something you experienced as a student in workshop that you try to avoid in your classrooms now?  Are you successful?

Kate: In a fiction workshop I was attending, the teacher laughed at one of the student's stories.  I don't laugh at any serious stab at playwriting--it's hard enough to write as it is.  And yes, I'm successful because I remember that student's face.

J: What play or playwright do you most often recommend new playwrights read?  Why?  

K: We're all different writers who gravitate to different rhythms, tones, worlds, and there's room for everyone in the theatre.  I wait until I understand what might encourage a particular student, and then I suggest a specific play or playwright s/he might gravitate toward.  There are playwrights with whom I think we ALL must be familiar, but...that's a different question.  (Okay.  Shakespeare, Buchner, Chekhov, O'Neill, Wilder, Beckett, Pinter, Churchill, Stoppard, LePage.  And some others.)

J: What is the most difficult lesson to teach a playwright?  
K: A point of view encompassing the three-dimensional space.


  1. At first glance, I thought the photo was of a pile of plays and a pack of smokes, LOL!