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Thursday, October 14, 2010

4 Questions with Melinda Lopez

I asked Melinda a few questions about her experience as a teacher of playwriting.  Melinda teaches in Boston University's MFA in Playwriting offered at Boston Playwrights' Theatre. 

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?
I once told a classmate that his play would be better if "someone died."  As a result now, I rarely speak at all in class. Actually, no-- but I try to focus on the world the writer has created, and how her choices are successful or unsuccessful in that world.

What playwriting exercise do you assign that often bears the most fruit?
Only write what your mother would enjoy. Better still, only write plays that win major national prizes. That way, you'll never be embarrassed or afraid.

What play / playwright do you most often recommend new playwrights read?  Why?
I recommend a lot of Mamet's plays because in form and action they are so tight. Adam Bok. Jose Rivera. Theresa Rebeck, always. Of course, Euripides. Rajiv Joseph is a new favorite.

What is the most difficult lesson to teach a playwright?
What matters most is what you think. Because someone else will always think it's better "if someone died."

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