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Interview with Liz Silverman by Hayden Royster  

Posted by on Jun 4, 2017 in Author Interviews, Blog, Fresh Ink | Comments Off on Interview with Liz Silverman by Hayden Royster  

Liz Silverman‘s work as a playwright includes: Water Lords and Unplugged (Scripps Ranch Theatre’s New Play Festival), The Art of Disappearing (Playwrights Project), and numerous shorter plays. She participates in National Novel Writing Month, runs the website for local theatre professionals, and is looking forward to participating as a writer in That 24-Hour Thing during the 2017 San Diego Fringe Festival.

Do you remember the first thing you ever wrote that you were really, really proud of?

There was an essay contest when I was in middle school that I got second place in, and it was an essay on Rosa Parks, which I then actually delivered to a room full of adults, and that was pretty cool. And I remember thinking as a kid, “Wow, there’s prize money for this! I can make money doing writing.” Which was probably a terrible lesson to learn at a young age, because it’s not really true. But that’s probably the earliest published equivalent to writing that I have. Classes often didn’t ask you to write fiction, though, which is what I was more interested in.

Was there a moment when your love of writing collided with your love of theater?

I got into theater seriously in high school. The first production I was ever on I was actually an understudy, which basically just meant I got to hang out in the theater after school doing nothing, enjoying the theater kids. But it really gave me a perspective on the backstage stuff, more of the nuts and bolts of theater than I think I would have gotten acting in the play. And then our school allowed the students to put on one acts in the spring, and I said, “One acts? Cool, but I’m going to write my own one act and put it on.” And so I did, and it was crazy: I had to be my own lighting person, my own director, cast it myself. It was like, “Here, jump into the deep end!”…But the fact that I was allowed to do that, and it got put up on stage, and they laughed at the jokes—it was an incredible experience. People are getting enjoyment out of something I created. There’s that immediate feedback which you don’t really get from a book, where you send it off into the world and hope that people like it.

What was your playwriting journey like after high school?

 Well, I didn’t ever really stop writing plays. There’s an adjustment period, obviously, coming into college. But I did, along with a couple of friends, start a theater group at UCSD that was specifically for student written works…We would do short things like where everybody submits a piece on a theme, we rehearse for a week, and we perform for one weekend, real quick. So I got a lot of experience writing short plays through that. And then, of course, I took playwriting courses.

Elaborate a bit on your workshop.

It’s not so much a class as a casual workshop of guided brainstorming. It’s kind of assuming that you already know the basics of to write a script, but maybe you want to write in the company of fellow writers, and you want to have the playfulness of bouncing ideas off of each other. It’s based off of my own model when I writing during a twenty-four hour play festival, when you have to write it real fast, going with these ideas and seeing what happens. And if it’s terrible, you throw it out and do it again. Because a lot of times, I think our inner editor gets in the way. It will be a combo of improv writing and group I used to go to called “Shut Up and Write” where we would set a timer and just write. It makes you surprisingly more productive when you see, “Oh, other people are not on Facebook, I should be too.”