Can you talk about the idea for The Best Summer Ever? How did it arrive?
My grandparents. My grandfather is my hero. He was strong and kind and he laughed a lot. He was also a farmer so I always wanted to be a farmer. In some ways I am a farmer but instead of soy beans and corn I grow stories. They start with a seed, an idea, and with care, and a bit of luck, they grow. At some point they say "Ok, I'm ready for the market."
When you sit down and make a new play or story, do you know what you are capable of?
This is a great question. I will sit down and write a story, and then memorize it. The first time I tell it, with the help of the audience, the story will say "this is what I'm really about." That's when I have to listen, listen to my own story. Then I'll rewrite it, maybe add or take away characters, expand sections where people need more explanation, always trying to find the very best version, the most truthful and entertaining way to tell it. I have to tell a story many times before I'm happy with the way it sounds.
What's the most important reminder when storytelling gets difficult?
I want storytellers to know that audience is really on your side, they want to have a good time, go on an adventure, laugh, be frightened, and safe. We all want a story to be good.
Did you write as a child? If so, what did you write about? What captured your attention or spirit?
Yes, I wrote a bit but most of all I heard stories. I still would rather hear a story than tell one. There is nothing like laughing with my friends or being moved by another person's experience, or learning a new way to look at something.
What do you hope audiences bring to the play?
As always, I hope my stories make you think of your own life. When did you do something you weren't supposed to do, go somewhere forbidden, or found a new friend in unexpected places. Bring your own life!
The Best Summer Ever! will play in the Eve Alvord Theater from March 19 through April 26, 2020 and is recommended for patrons aged eight and older.Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased online or by calling the Ticket Office at 206.441.3322.