What Playwrights Talk About When They Talk About Writing


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Jeffrey Sweet

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The art and craft of playwriting as explored in candid conversations with some of the most important contemporary dramatists

Edward Albee, Lanford Wilson, Lynn Nottage, A. R. Gurney, and a host of other major creative voices of the theater discuss the art of playwriting, from inspiration to production, in a volume that marks the tenth anniversary of the Yale Drama Series and the David Charles Horn Foundation Prize for emerging playwrights.
Jeffrey Sweet, himself an award-winning dramatist, hosts a virtual roundtable of perspectives on how to tell stories onstage featuring extensive interviews with a gallery of gifted contemporary dramatists. In their own words, Arthur Kopit, Marsha Norman, Christopher Durang, David Hare, and many others offer insights into all aspects of the creative writing process as well as their personal views on the business, politics, and fraternity of professional theater. This essential work will give playwrights and playgoers alike a deeper and more profound appreciation of the art form they love.

Jeffrey Sweet is an award-winning playwright and theater historian. His previous work includes the play The Value of Names, histories of the Second City and the O’Neill Theater Center, and two books on playwriting.

“Jeffrey Sweet has done an important service to playwriting. This book presents the reader with a broad spectrum of dramatists that encompasses gender, styles, religion, sexual orientation, genre, international figures and points of view.”—George White, founder of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and lecturer in the Yale School of Drama

“As a true ‘theater rat,’ my idea of heaven is to begin work on a new play. So what a treat it is to get a glimpse into the varied, private and personal process of these artists. Thanks to Jeffrey Sweet for compiling these interviews and all hail the playwright!”—Laurie Metcalf

“To any writer anywhere in the world, Jeff Sweet’s book must be thought of as a bible. Not just to playwrights but to anyone who ever thought of picking up a pen to create, to influence. I loved every word of every one of them!”—Ed Asner

“Ever wish you could sit down and grab a cup of coffee with an artistic genius? Jeffrey Sweet interviews 18 remarkable playwrights and allows you to be a fly on the wall as they reveal their creative processes. Bookended by a warm chat with Edward Albee and a revealing interview with Lanford Wilson, this book is an extraordinary window into the minds of some of the greatest dramatists of our time.”—Danny Burstein

“What playwrights talk about when they talk to Jeffrey Sweet about writing is the unadulterated truth.”—Daniel J. Sullivan, director

“Sweet’s collection of interviews is itself rather like a good play. For a start, it is not remotely boring or abstract and, significantly, the voices of the ‘characters’ come to life vividly on the page… A vocal celebration of the solitary writer in the most collaborative of industries.”—Laura Baggaley, TLS

“Sweet has assembled a group of successful contemporary playwrights and gotten them to open up about what they do and how they do it. . . . There’s a lot of professional insight in this collection of interviews, a lot of good advice, and the invaluable perspective of a glimpse into how these writers think.”—Jonathan Richards, Santa Fe New Mexican
ISBN: 9780300211443
Publication Date: February 21, 2017
304 pages, 5-1/2 x 8-1/4
The O'Neill

The Transformation of Modern American Theater

Jeffrey Sweet; Photographs edited by Preston Whiteway; For

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