Thursday, December 14, 2017

Spotlight On...Lynn Rosen

Name: Lynn Rosen

Hometown: Gary, Indiana (near Chicago)

Education: Brandeis University – BA in Theatre Arts

Favorite Credits: Proud of them all but the world premier of my EST/Sloan play The Firebirds Take The Field at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble in Chicago, directed by Jessica Fisch, this spring was a recent delight. Also proud of my work as co-creator/co-writer on my award-winning web series DARWIN, about a life coach whose life is falling apart, directed by Carrie Preston and Greg Ivan Smith, created with Karl Kenzler and Chris Gerson.

Why theater?: I’ve loved it since I was 6ish and I met Dracula at a kids’ show at The Goodman. He was terrifying and wonderful with his blood-red mouth and fangs. I fell in love with the mystery and the magic of it. Anything larger than life I am a fan of. Don’t we all want our lives to feel lifted and larger than they are? Even fleetingly? Theatre does that for me.

Tell us about Washed Up On The Potomac: Washed Up is a dark comedy set in D.C. about three proofreaders who find out that a coworker who vanished last year may – or may not have – just washed up on the Potomac. This makes them question their own existences and leads them to try to change their lives – no easy feat. Some change their lives more drastically than others. It’s also about the small but vital ways we try to connect with the people around us. And it’s an ode to art itself, and how life and art are entwined.

What inspired you to write Washed Up On The Potomac?: I worked in proofreading for many years. It’s a singular work environment mainly populated by artists wishing they were somewhere else. I was always struck by the personas and myths we’d create for ourselves in order to get through the day without feeling like failures. During that time I did, sadly, know of someone from my past who washed up on the Potomac. Besides being sad and scary, this made me think about the ways we all vanish from our lives. Additionally, I was haunted by the way people would simply not show up to work and never return. Sometimes we knew what happened to them, but more often it remained a mystery and all that was left of them was a sweater or a hat. It was spooky and sad. I guess I felt the need to work it out in my writing.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I like theatre that is bold, and theatrical, and tells a good story, of course. Anything that involves a transformation gets me. I think that’s what lifts us out of the mundane and gets us thinking, feeling and maybe even connecting. And please be funny. Even just a little. How do people survive in this world without humor? As for inspiration, seeing the Bway tour of Noises Off as a kid made me want to be a playwright. Also Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead which I read when I was a teen. I’m still haunted by a scene in Mnemonic by Complicit√© about Otzi the iceman, where a folding chair transforms into a man who is taking his last mortal steps in a snow storm. So simple yet so profoundly moving. I think about it a lot.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: This is the starry-eyed version but Francis McDormand or Julia Louis-Dreyfus. I also just did a Playing On Air recording of my one-act I Love You with Bill Irwin – would love to work with him more, I think he’s a genius.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Recently, The Band’s Visit. And Susan’s and Peter’s plays with The Pool!

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Hmm maybe Diane Keaton back in the day and it would be called “That Sounded Better In My Head.” Or “Well, That Was Awkward.”

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Being at the show where Abraham Lincoln was shot might be compelling. I’d certainly write about it.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: A certain reality TV show with wives who live in houses in NYC that are supposedly real.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Solvent? Well TV but that’s a boring answer. Actually, right now all my non-theatre work fantasies center around working in journalism and bringing down the Trump administration.

What’s up next?: Washed Up On The Potomac at San Francisco Playhouse this summer, also directed by Jose Zayas, thank god. Developing my musical about Helen Gurley Brown with rock band The Kilbanes at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley this April. Season 2 of my comedic web series Darwin. And working on a TV pilot with Carrie Preston. Also, I’m developing a farce set in a tea shop in Brooklyn called The Imperialists which is about, yeah, imperialism.

For more on The Pool Plays, visit