Interview with Playwright Tiffany Antone

Tiffany Antone evades questioning:

Tiffany Antone

LA FPI Blogger Tiffany Antone is one of the six bloggers to kick off the LA FPI Blog back in 2010. Direct, bold and innovative, Tiffany not only creates with words on the page; she creates venues for art to happen.

1.  How did you become a playwright?  What brought you to theater?    I grew up an actress – I was always auditioning, performing, and staying in the theatre till the last possible second.  I moved to LA in 1998 to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts… but I wasn’t the most amazing actress ever, and I hated auditioning.  I decided to apply to UCLA in pursuit of my Bachelor’s Degree.  I took a playwriting class in my first year and fell in LOVE.  I had always written, but this was the first time I had written a play – it felt like exactly what I should be doing.

2.  What is your favorite play of yours?  Why?  My favorite self-penned play is Ana and the Closet.  The play is incredibly fantastical and (I think) poetic.  I’ve been fortunate enough to see several readings of the play (including an AMAZING reading at the Kennedy Center), but it hasn’t yet been produced.  I think it’s to do with the fact that there are a number of “theatrical” moments in the play requesting multimedia projections, flying people, and a black river that writhes on stage beneath a crumbling ledge… (I know, I know… I’m not asking for much, am I?)  But even though it’s a wild show, it has it’s heart a very moving story about traversing the abyss of deep loss. I look forward to the day a director envisions bringing these moments to life with Bunraku artists in charge of the magic… Theatre is nothing if not inventive.

4.  What play by someone else has moved you the most and why?  Argh!  I hate these types of questions because they limit the field so narrowly… Okay, I’l pick three – how about that?  Three of my favorite plays are: Sarah Ruhl’s Euridice (HOLY COW – the lyrical nature of the script and the you-would-think-impossibly-contradictory-succinctness, the fantastic staging… oh, I was in love with the first read!), Anything by Albee or O’Neill (the men are story genies!), and I’m going to list two final plays in tandem because I LOVE how they are – in principle – both family dramas, and yet each ignite into something much more perverse, combustible, and ultimately delightful on stage:  August Osage County by  Tracy Letts, and The Pain and the Itch by Bruce Norris.

Yeah, yeah… I know – that was way more than three (sigh) but I tried!

5.  Who is your favorite playwright?  WhyCan’t pick just one… just can’t!  But top honors on my bookshelf go to Martin McDonough, Sarah Ruhl, David Lindsay-Abaire, Suzan Lori Parks, and of course the great Albee, Shephard, O’Neill & Williams.

7.  What type of plays do you write?  (Dramas, Comedies, Plays with Music, Musicals, Experimental, Avant-garde …)  What draws you to it?  This is always a hard question for me to answer, because I don’t just work in one medium or style.  I have written fantastical plays, “sci-fi” plays, and kitchen-sink dramas, and – I’m currently working on my first absurdist piece. The thing that draws me to write is the world, and the “how” of its writing is dependent on the story I’m trying to tell.  My only “rule” when it comes to drafting a script is does it pass the “Who gives a shit?” test.  If I have an idea and I ask myself (honestly) “Who is going to give a shit about this play/screenplay?” and the answer is “Probably nobody” then I don’t waste my time developing it – I just scribble the idea down in my little notebook and turn the page.  That way, I’m not cluttering my calendar with brutal work on material that would probably be better off written as a poem that will sit in the back of my desk drawer – because if I’m the only audience for something, it’s probably not going to be a very good play.  If I feel an audience exists for the story in my head/heart, then I set to figuring out it’s mood, style, and shape and start writing.

8.  Do you write any other literary forms?  How does this affect/enhance your playwriting?  I am also a screenwriter, which terrified me when I first sat to developing the skill-set for it.  I think working in both mediums makes me a better assessor of story, and enables me to create/inhabit very different worlds. And if I ever sell a screenplay, I’ll be a much happier playwright 🙂

9.  Why did you become a blogger for LA FPI?  I jumped on board because there are so many layers to gender parity in theater – why not start delving into/and/writing about them?  I love the sense of togetherness LAFPI supports! 

13. Do you have a writing regiment?  Can you discuss your process?   Snacks.  I have to have snacks in every nook of my desk.  I also have to be careful with my “other” life, meaning Tiffany Who Pays the Bills must not work so much that Tiffany Who Writes gets buried in exhaustion.

16. What other areas of theater do you participant in?   I find myself doing a lot of producing lately, and teaching acting/production/writing.  It’s good to be comfortable in all of these areas (especially since some of them actually PAY a girl), and I’ll probably continue to work in these areas as they provide a different brand of satisfaction – that of realization (vs. the incompleteness of a play un-produced).  Writing is definitely my “Ahhhh” place, but I don’t think I’ll ever be of a mind to stop my other theatrical endeavors… I like wearing more than one theatre hat.

For blog articles written by Tiffany Antone please go to http://lafpi.com/author/tiffanyantone/.  Tiffany’s first blog article is titled “It Takes a Village” dated May 16, 2010.

Tiffany’s Bio

Tiffany is proud to have received her MFA in Playwriting from UCLA’s prestigious school of Theater, Film, and Television, where she also completed her BA in Theater.  She also holds her A.A in acting from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Tiffany was a 2008 Hawthornden Fellow, which included a writing residency in Scotland, and a 2009 Sherwood Award Finalist with Center Theatre Group.  Tiffany has received the Tim Robbins Award for plays of social importance, James Pendelton Foundation Prize, Hal Kanter Award in Comedy Writing, Dini Ostrov Stage Spirit Award in Playwriting, the Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme Scholarship, and the Florence Theil Herrscher Award.

Her plays have been read and/or performed in Los Angeles, New York, D.C. and Minneapolis.  Her plays Twigs and Bone and Ana and the Closet were both Jerome Finalists and O’Neil semi-finalists for 2009 and 2010.  Ana and the Closet was also presented at The Kennedy Center’s Page to Stage Festival in 2009.  Her play In the Company of Jane Doe was a Princess Grace semi-finalist in 2006, a winner of the New Plays on Campus series with The Playwrights’ Center, and winner of the 2008 New Works for Young Women contest with the University of Tulsa.  In the Company of Jane Doe premiered in January 2010 at The Powerhouse Theatre (LA Theatre Ensemble). Tiffany’s play The Good Book was a winner of the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway play festival and is available through Samuel French publishing.

Other plays include The Low Tide Gang, Ham Brown’s House (Princess Grace Semi-Finalist, 2008), Little Phoenix, Stalled, My Pet George, and From the Rubble. Screenplays include The Sisters Roberts and A Disappearing Woman (Golden Brad Finalist 2009).

Tiffany currently lives and teaches in AZ and runs Little Black Dress INK, a producing org for female playwrights.  You can read more about Tiffany at www.TiffanyAntone.com or on her blog www.AwdsAndEnds.com.

Tiffany acts as an LA FPI Graphics Consultant.

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