Wednesday, June 22, 2011

'Juggling' at WB: Megan Gogerty

Posted by Anna Chovanec, Script Office

When I think of WordBRIDGE, a whole cadre of people come to mind: from our many guest artists, to each year's uniquely memorable playwrights, my own past creative teams, personal mentors, and amazing international guests over the past five years, but few are as utterly delightful as the incomparable Megan Gogerty. This year, Megan is burning the candle at both ends as she pulls double-duty for us as dramaturg and actor. She was kind enough to take a few minutes and talk to us about her experience so far this year.

Interview with Megan Gogerty, WB 2011 artist:

What is your history with WordBRIDGE?
MG: I was a nubile playwright in 1996, then I workshopped another play in 1998. Then I came back as a Boomerang playwright (a professional playwright who has returned triumphant) in 2008 to workshop my play BAD PANDA.

You're juggling some different roles here at WB this year. Can you tell us a little about each role, and what it's like to see all these playwrights' processes from different perspectives?
MG: I'm working as both a dramaturg for RABBITS and as an actor in TALL SKINNY CRUEL CRUEL BOYS. What's it like? It's great! It's fun to attack these scripts from different viewpoints. It's also reminded me how sedentary the 'wright and 'turg lifestyle can be compared to acting. Acting is all about "Jump! Run! React! Feel things!" wheras writing and dramaturging are all about, "Think about this for a while...perhaps eat a cookie while you think your deep thoughts..."

How does your experience having been a playwright in this environment in the past affect your reception of these plays?
MG: I think about it all the time. It makes me especially sensitive to the pressures on the writers. I try to couch my feedback in ways that are useful while also being cognizant that playwrights are people and not machines. Sometimes people just need to stare into space and not have demands put on them. Sometimes people need impromptu dance parties.

What will you take with you from this year's lab?
MG: Domino's sugar cubes.

(A big thanks to our gracious sugar donor – we in the script office are big fans of the cinnamon sugar and agave!)

Megan Gogerty is a playwright, performer and songwriter. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution listed her solo show HILLARY CLINTON GOT ME PREGNANT in the Top Ten Best Plays of 2009 alongside Billy Crystal and Twyla Tharp. It premiered to sold-out audiences at Riverside Theatre (Iowa City) in 2008 before being performed all over the country, including an extensive run at Synchronicity Theatre (Atlanta). Megan's musical drama LOVE JERRY was produced in the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2008. It won multiple awards, including three Talkin' Broadway Citations and four NYMF Excellence Awards including Excellence in Writing (Book). It premiered at Actors Express in Atlanta after touring England with Dartington College of the Arts. Her ten-minute play RUMPLE SCHMUMPLE (Dramatic Pub.) was a Kennedy Center/National ACTF honoree. Other plays include: SIG GOTTA DO (Synchronicity's SheWRITES Festival, Pasadena Playhouse Hothouse Series) and BAD PANDA (officially banned in China; Sycamore Rouge Theatre; WordBRIDGE 2008 Boomerang Playwright honoree; Syzygy Theatre/LA Writers Center series). Megan was a Playwrights' Center Jerome Fellow, and she earned her MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin. She currently teaches dramatic literature at the University of Iowa.

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