Core Writer Lee Blessing is at the Playwrights’ Center this week, workshopping his new play Uncle with director Leah Cooper and actors Jim Lichtscheidl, Steve Hendrickson, Ron Menzel, Bob Davis, Addie Phelps, and Ashley Montondo. We asked Lee a couple questions:
What is your writing process like?
Chaotic and depressing, generally. People shouldn’t write like me. They should write like my wife and fellow Playwrights’ Center member, Melanie Marnich. She’s up at six a.m. every day and writes (journaling at first, then segueing into her project) until at least noon. This leaves the latter part of the day for whatever else she needs to do. This regular schedule allows her to get a tremendous amount done and live a life at the same time. Remarkable.
What kind of theater excites you?
I’m excited by a kind of theater that seems to be largely out of fashion these days. I like plays that alter the lives of their audiences, that impact our attitudes not only toward the subject matter of the play but also toward ourselves. I like plays that make us larger by making us question our most deeply-held assumptions—plays that are controversial about us, not just the issues. Most people today refuse to believe their world view might be wrong or insufficient—or even relevant. So most plays no longer bother to rattle that cage. They preach to the converted instead.