Corey McDaniel of Theatre22 chats with playwright Y York, one of four playwrights selected to participate in the 2017 Construction Zone. The series offers playwrights an opportunity to develop and share new work, while providing audiences with an intimate and meaningful exposure to the process. York’s play, Late in the Game, will be read on Sep 14 at 7:00pm.
What inspired you to become a playwright?
It was an accident. I was acting in New York and took a gig helping a producer cast a play—an adaptation of a classic old novel. The adaptation was all narration with no scenes of drama or immediacy. To show the producer what I meant by that, I wrote a few. A door to another world and possibility cracked; I pried it open and it slammed shut behind me.
How did you come up with the idea for Late in the Game?
I have an odd relationship to writing, or maybe not so odd. Life is good when I’m writing and it becomes scattered when I’m not, so there’s an imperative to keep the writing going. Sometimes the writing chances arrive with a request and a check; other times a story falls from the sky and I get going. Then there’s most of the time when there’s no request and no gift from the gods. Then I must go digging. The landfill into which I shove my shovel is a body of stories I wrote in 1992 when I was performing them every month at House of Dames, a late night lady’s cabaret in Seattle. Game came from a germ called The Lady Who was Prepared for Death. Like all of those stories-into-plays, Game changed significantly as I morphed it into a play.
What makes Late in the Game unique in your body of work?
Most of the characters are smarter than me. That’s always a challenge.
What advice would you give to someone who is striving to become a playwright?
First off I’d say, don’t listen to me. Then I would probably talk long enough for the young writer to tune me out. While I was blathering I would tell her to gather her collaborators and keep them forever and keep expanding their numbers; to care about the earth and its inhabitants, and to keep learning stuff forever. And to keep a sign over her desk that asks “Is your audience in a better place for having seen this play?”
For tickets and more info, visit our website.