Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Spotlight On...Annie Lux

Name: Annie Lux

Hometown: Santa Fe, New Mexico

Education: Columbia University (MFA Theatre), New York University (BFA Dramatic Writing), Carnegie Mellon University

Favorite Credits: Playwright-in-Residence, Byrdcliffe Theatre Festival,Woodstock, New York; Playwright/Director, Grimm Reality at the Santa Fe Playhouse; Author, Historic New Mexico Churches (book)

Why theater?: I’m a girl originally from a small town (Uniontown, PA), from a family and background that doesn’t include much theater or arts (except music). Still, I wrote all the time. Whenever there was an opportunity to go to Pittsburgh (50 miles away) and see a show, I was first in line. But it was a televised version of the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder that was my first and biggest inspiration to become a playwright. I wanted make theater before I even understood what was involved. I had an internship in the literary office at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre when I was a Carnegie Mellon undergrad. But I hated being in the office; I wanted to be down in the theater, getting my hands dirty. I love rehearsals.

Tell us about The Portable Dorothy Parker: This is a one-actress play about the famed wit and writer. The play is set in 1943, when the 50-year-old Parker is preparing the Viking Press collection The Portable Dorothy Parker. As she sorts through her poems and stories, Dottie reminisces about her life and (often disastrous) loves.

What inspired you to write The Portable Dorothy Parker?: It was actually our director Lee Costello’s idea. True story: way back in the Woodstock summer, Lee directed an early play of mine for the Byrdcliffe Festival. Although we remained friends for many years, eventually we both moved away from New York and lost touch. I was back in New York in 2004, hanging out with my actress friend Margot Avery, when her friend Lee arrived for a visit from Los Angeles! It was more than a reunion: Lee said that she’d always thought that Margot should play Dorothy Parker and that I should write the script—and there we all were in the same room. The rest is history.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I’m not a huge fan of plays that could be retyped as screenplays and made into movies without much revision. I prefer theatre that uses space and time and language in unusual ways to tell a good story. Lately, I’ve been inspired by real-life incidents and historic characters. I have two plays in progress based on historical incidents.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Tough one. I really love working with Lee. She’s a great director and really gets my work and is insightful in both her direction and criticism. But I’m open and and hopeful about future collaborations with good and thoughtful directors and actors.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Hand to God on Broadway, originally developed at Ensemble Studio Theatre. EST has been the source of an astounding number of good plays, especially lately.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: The Late Bloomer’s Handbook. I suppose Lisa Kudrow could play me (I used to get followed around by people yelling “How youuuuu doin’?” in both New York and Santa Fe), but I’m open to other casting choices!

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I’d love to go back and see everything Len Jenkin has ever done—both the ones I’ve missed and the ones I actually saw multiple times. He was my favorite playwriting/theater teacher and is an incredible theater artist. I’d also like to see Liviu Ciulei’s (another former teacher, at Columbia) production of The Tempest at the Guthrie. I learned so much about being an artist and human from Liviu and this was his favorite production of his work. And (duh) anything by Shakespeare back at the Globe.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Reading well into the night (sometimes books I’ve read before). And occasionally binge-watching a few good TV shows—again, often more than once. In both cases, it’s like visiting with old friends.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Oh boy. I’ve worked as a word processor, a waitress, and an editor (currently), but I don’t really recommend them. In my fantasy life I’m a singer (good thing it stays there). Probably I’d be a travel writer (which I sort of do, but not as much as I might).

What’s up next?: We’re producing The Portable Dorothy Parker in Santa Fe in November. I’m also planning a reading of my play-in-progress that weekend, and maybe another in December at EST here in New York. It’s called The Bridge and is about the meeting of two spies (one a scientist on the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, NM; the other a courier for the KGB), on the Castillo Street bridge in Santa Fe in 1945.

For more on The Portable Dorothy Parker, visit www.theportabledorothyparker.com