Name: Maggie Cino
Hometown: Yardley, PA
Education: Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theater. And Barnard College of Columbia University.
Favorite Credits: Decompression, my full length play, which won an Overall Excellence in Playwrighthing award in 2012. Warm Enough for Swimming, which was a Eugene O’Neill Theater Conference semi-finalist. And my current full time job, as Senior Producer for the extraordinary organization “The Moth”.
Why theater?: When I was seven my mother signed me up for a theater “workshop”. Once I realized it didn’t involve hammers and nails and getting dirty it never occurred to me to stop.
Tell us about Warm Enough for Swimming?: Mom drowned years ago. Gramma died yesterday. Eddie fled his wedding. And Bridget can’t make coffee. Can estranged siblings clean the living room when the bride arrives with a post-recession pyramid scheme and a Russian gangster stalks their childhood home? It’s warm enough for swimming . . . as long as no one drowns.
What inspired you to write Warm Enough for Swimming?: My director, Fred Backus, was a big inspiration. We’re old friends and many years ago we were performing together. During an incredibly harrowing tech rehearsal he accidentally got me in terrible trouble. After one of the worst opening nights I’ve ever had, he guiltily sat with me for forty five minutes until I stopped sobbing (yeah, it was that bad.) I have three brothers. And there was something about that moment with Fred, both the getting someone in trouble and the guilty-but-incredibly-kind aftermath that felt very true to that relationship. So I stared thinking, it would be fun sometime to do a play where Fred and I could play a brother and a sister. Except that there were no plays that I could think of that approached the depth and complexity of that relationship as I understood it, so I decided to write one myself. I gave up on the idea of acting in this play very quickly. Throughout the many years I spent developing it, Fred was essential in shaping both the lead male character and the dramatic arc of the piece. I am very fortunate to have him on board as director.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I’m incredibly interested in environmental theater these days, works like Sleep No More and Then She Fell. I’d love to try creating something like that someday. I also love very intricate novels. I recently finished Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and it was one of my favorite books I’d read in a while. Perhaps not coincidentally, has a lot of themes in common with this play.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I love the idea of working on a long form television show someday. Alan Ball and Joss Wheadon are great heroes of mine.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: In this particular festival, there are several great ones: I’ll Say She Is by Trav S.D. Kate Holland and Carolyn Prugh’s No Provenance, Over directed by Bryan Enk and Bohemian Valentine by Mateo Moreno.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I keep thinking Natalie Portman, but it’s just because I want to look like her. It would probably be called, “This Is What I Think, But If You Look At It A Different Way . . .”
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Listening to a terrible pop song on repeat for days. Also ice cream.
What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: This show had a whole playlist that included “Better” by Regina Spektor, “Avenue B” by Gogol Bordello, “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” by Paul Simon and “Atlantic City” by Bruce Springsteen.
If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Crying in a gutter under a ragged blanket, wearing clown makeup and begging for change. Seriously, it’s hard to imagine any version of being me that doesn’t involve live performance in some capacity.
What’s up next?: More work with the Moth! We’re moving internationally these days and I am so happy to be part of the expansion. I’ve gotten to interview storytellers on the radio and that’s been a big pleasure. I’m also working on a new play. Stay posted!