05 Jan RPW IV – Meet playwright Charlie O’Leary
Winnie and Jace have been getting close ever since their classmate jumped in front of a train – but we don’t need to talk about that. Actually, it’s sort of weird that you brought it up. Was anyone even friends with him anyway? A play about teenagers who hang out in basements.
Read. Play. Write. IV playwright Charlie O’Leary shares his thoughts on collaboration, new works, and his new play, Rail. Reserve your tickets at www.CrashboxTickets.com to see Rail on January 11th at 8pm.
Thoughts on Process/Collaboration:
I met Ivey Lowe, the director for Rail, this past summer doing the 24 Hour Plays: Nationals. We were paired to work together on two short plays over the course of a long weekend and instantly hit it off. I was so impressed not only with her sharp work in the rehearsal room, but also just by how quickly she clicked into these plays that I had written so fast I didn’t really even understand them myself. This reading is our first time working on a full-length play together, and it’s been an incredible pleasure as well. I wrote the first draft of Rail almost two years ago, but Ivey’s intuitive questions have shaped the play in significant ways as I’ve revised the past few weeks. The contributions of this great team of collaborators – helpful notes from the Crashbox team, the instincts and insights of our wonderful cast – have helped me see things in the play I never realized were there.
Thoughts on New Works:
New plays are my favorite thing – I’ve seen, read, heard, and been shaped by hundreds of them in the few years I’ve spent in New York. But trying to create theatre can be exhausting, both physically and emotionally, even under the best of conditions. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about Anne Washburn’s wonderful 10 out of 12 from this past summer. Midway through Act I, three techies have a short conversation about a TV show over headset – they’re debating whether or not it’s good, and one of them says: “I think if part of you loves something, and part of you hates something, the part of you that loves something wins.” When I’m feeling defeated or tired, sitting down to write at midnight after a long day of running from my day job to a reading to a late-night notes session – I find that line running through my head.
Thoughts on Rail:
In 2013, I spent a few months in Western Michigan working in administration at a summer stock theatre by the lake. I lived in student housing – a “cottage” I shared with a few others – that was just steps away from a railroad track. Trains barreled through constantly, and the noise often woke me up in the middle of the night. One night when I couldn’t get back to sleep, I wrote the first scene of this play. Although I’m not sure any of that writing still exists in the current draft of Rail, that initial impulse – the sense of helplessness that can hit you out of nowhere – still very much informs the play.