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I really appreciate Playscripts and their work toward creating better theater and theater experiences for all. Jay Muldoon Theater Teacher, Fairfield, OH
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5 Questions for Anne Washburn

Anne Washburn Anne Washburn’s play, Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play, is currently in previews at Playwrights Horizons, and will open September 15th.

We like your sense of humor. Tell us a joke, or at least a funny story.

I’ve started collecting bar jokes which can be made into Haiku. At the moment I only have 2:

a skeleton walks
into a bar he orders
a beer and a mop

the past the present
and the future walked into
a bar it was tense

If you could spend a day with one of the women from The Ladies, who would it be and why?

Oh my God. Probably Madame Mao.  She’s was a piece of work, but a vivid one. I would very much like to observe her at work on one of her Model Operas.

How often do you write? Where do you like to write?

I write in spurts. When I’m in a spurt I’m writing most every day, ideally a chunk in the morning and then another chunk later though I also kind of enjoy getting myself into situations where I have to write continuously, for days, cursing the whole time. I like to write at home, in the morning, because I like to go straight to the desk, unwashed, hair pulled back into a snarl, and then I like to have the obligation to make breakfast and shower as a distraction. If I write in the afternoon I usually go to The Brooklyn Writer’s Space. I have a hard time writing in cafes; I need to be able to jitter away from my desk and snack on something at random intervals.

Who/What are The Civilians and how did you get involved with them?

The Civilians are an investigative theater group founded by Steve Cosson in 2001. The group will often take on a topic or an event and, using a modified kind of joint stock method, send actors out to create interviews from different perspectives, although they will also sponsor different kind of theatrical events including fully realized plays. I think what all Civilians projects have loosely in common is a spirit of larger social inquiry. I was working on a project with Steve when the group was founded and was folded in then. Anne Kauffman and I were already at work on The Ladies which dovetailed in so many ways with the Civilians mission that it became one of the earliest shows.

Were you “into theater” when you were in high school? Did you ever act in a school play?

Oh yes.  Yes.  Yes I was.  I did.

–Anne Washburn

Anne Washburn’s plays include Mr. Burns, The Internationalist, A Devil At Noon, Apparition, The Communist Dracula Pageant, I Have Loved Strangers, The Ladies, The Small and a transadaptation of Euripides’ Orestes. Her work has been produced by 13P, Actors Theater of Louisville, American Repertory Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, Clubbed Thumb, The Civilians, Dixon Place, Ensemble Studio Theater, The Folger, London’s Gate Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, NYC’s Soho Rep, DC’s Studio Theater, Two River Theater Company, NYC’s Vineyard and Woolly Mammoth. Awards include a Guggenheim, a NYFA Fellowship, a Time Warner Fellowship, Susan Smith Blackburn finalist, and residencies at MacDowell and Yaddo. She is an associated artist with The Civilians, Clubbed Thumb, New Georges, and is an alumna of New Dramatists and 13P. Currently commissioned by MTC, Playwrights Horizons, Soho Rep, and Yale Rep.  Her short play October/November is published by Playscripts in Great Short Plays, Volume 7 and Actor’s Choice: Monologues for Teens, Volume 2.

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