On Playwriting: My Interview with Adam Szymkowicz

I’m happy to have been interviewed by fellow playwright Adam Szymkowicz, whose remarkable blog details the work and lives of American Playwrights.

Q:  Tell me about The Xylophone West.

A:  Often, the desire to explore a certain relationship will inspire me to begin a new play. With The Xylophone West, I wanted explore the unbreakable bond between two boys growing up in rural Nebraska- a relationship that, for most of their community, is too close for comfort.

I wasn’t interested in creating a clear-cut relationship; one defined as distinctly ‘a friendship’ or ‘a gay relationship’. They’re 14-year-old-boys. I don’t think they know what to call it themselves; they only know it’s good. And I think there’s a lot of truth in relationships and ideas when we’re younger. There’s more honesty in the world’s lack of definition at that age. It’s only when we get older that we start forcing ourselves into boxes: “I’m this, she’s that. We fit neatly into these categories.” I think life is more nuanced than that and it’s something I explore in my writing.

Halfway into the first draft I discovered a Mark Twain quote– “It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.” That fascinated me and informed the rest of my process. I think it rings especially true in today’s world.

The interview runs the gamut from The Xylophone West to Tom Waits. To check out the full interview on Szymkowicz’s blog, click here.

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