At the PWC this week: Andrew Rosendorf

This week at the Playwrights’ Center, McKnight Fellow in Playwriting Andrew Rosendorf is workshopping Paper Cut with director Jeremy B. Cohen and actors Sommer Carbuccia, Billy Mullaney, H. Adam Harris*, and Robbie Tann* (*Member of Actors’ Equity). Learn a bit about Andrew in this mini-interview.

You’ve written at least two plays that take place in a very specific part of Florida. How does a sense of place drive your work?

A sense of place is everything. The smell. The heat. The air. The history. The land. The imprint human beings have left on it. It is another character. It has stories to tell.

Mentoring other writers is a passion of yours. Why is it important to you?

I think it comes back to how important it has been in my life to have those in the theater community—from when I was starting out to this very moment—extend a hand and believe in my work. That I have a voice. That I have important perspectives to share. This was and continues to be everything for me. It is the nourishment that keeps me going. And is something I want to provide and give to others. I do think this is an important part of being an artist—nourishing the next generation.

What is your advice for finding or creating your artistic community when you move to a new city?

Be proactive. Take meetings. Go see theater and readings. Get to know the work of the actors in the community. Ask people for coffee. Do the hard work which often pushes us out of our comfort zone. Don’t ever be afraid to ask someone for something.

How do you approach researching and writing plays with historical content?

Before I can write a play that requires research, I need to delve into the subject matter for months by reading, watching, visiting the place, and talking to others. I feel I can’t write the play until I am an expert on the subject matter.

What play do you wish you would have written and why?

So many. But if I have to name one that’s modern (my own parameter)…Jerusalem. That play is amazing on so many levels.

What have you been working on this year?

Paper Cut, which centers on a soldier returning from Afghanistan after losing his left leg and genitals in an IED explosion. And Mermaid(s), which focuses on a 9-year-old child who tells his parents that he’s a girl. And many many more things.

What will theater be like 45 years from now?

Hopefully supported. Hopefully funded. Hopefully playwrights will be able to make a living. It’ll always be relevant and immediate. That’s the beauty of the art form.

Andrew Rosendorf