BWW Interview: Playwright Natalie Margolin's THE POWER OF PUNCTUATION Makes its New York Debut
Tickets are now on sale for the New York premiere production of THE POWER OF PUNCTUATION, a new play by Natalie Margolin. Opening July 15 and playing 11 performances only, through August 6 at the Davenport Theatre, it's a play about friendship, sex and commas. BroadwayWorld sat down with the playwright, Natalie Margolin, to learn more about her creative process.
Congrats on your New York debut! How did this come about?
I came to New York right after college, and I was working as a dramaturge to Lucy Allibar and interning at the Young Jean Lee's Theater Company. I met the associate producer, Matt Kagen and I was working for him. I had started developing this play and writing this play in college, and essentially, my senior year of college I wanted to put on a play with a female director and a female actress, and myself. I was looking to find a play that had two female leads that were our age, that spoke to us, and was something we could all connect to. We had a really hard time finding that.
So I decided to write one myself. At that time, I was studying with Wendy MacLeod, and developing this play with her, and a group of women at Kenyon [College]. I came to New York knowing it was a story I wanted to share, that I was excited to share, and Matt [Kagen] really believed in it. He started this Production Company called Soft Focus, which aims to give new playwrights New York premieres, striving to produce a high caliber, micro-budget show for audiences today. I'm really grateful that this production of THE POWER OF PUNCTUATION is going to be the debut of my work and of his company.
Tell us about your work THE POWER OF PUNCTUATION what inspired you to write this piece?
I think what inspired me to write this play was... we were looking for a piece that really spoke to our generation, that we all could relate to. It's about female friendships and the female experience today, with the hookup culture of today, the addiction to our phones. It's for today and for female friendships.
Your play features technology, iPhones, and modern lingo... how do you think technology has helped modern theatre?
It's interesting, because I think technology, in some ways, has made it so easy for us to communicate with one another - so accessible, so fast - and it's really changed the game in how we talk to one another. But at the same time, the face to face contact has been so diminished. I think it's interesting with theatre, something that's so live, and so based on being in the moment and listening to one another, and technology ultimately has caused us to listen a little less. So I think figuring out how technology fits into theatre today is really quite interesting, and it's something this play touches on quite a bit.
What initially gets a play started for you as a writer - is it a character, an image, a theme?
I would say I think it's different for each play that I've started. For this one, I was listening to a Ke$ha song [laughs]. It was during a college all-nighter. It was around 3am, and I was feeling sort of frustrated, and I was reminiscing about the weekend that had just happened, listening to Ke$ha, and I just started writing. I think it has to do most with what's around me.
How have your life's experiences formed the subjects of your works?
I think my life experiences definitely come into the work, but I think I try to write from a place of honesty... but I really enjoy being able to dramatize as much as I can. This specific play is about girls who are trying to make order out of chaos. They've created a system, an actual physical manifestation of their attempt to gain control, and make sense of the situation, which otherwise will leave them feeling quite powerless. And I think this has taken the anxiety that I felt, that my peers felt, about texting with romantic situations, and about dealing with friends in different situations, and kind of physicalized a way to control the anxiety and stage it.
What kind of theatre excites you?
I am someone who grew up jusT Loving musical theatre, and then the whole world of theatre was opened up to me. I love so many different types of theatre. Hand to God by Robert Askins on Broadway is something I really, really loved. I love theatre that makes us think we understand something, and then by the end have a different understanding of it. I love comedy and drama combined, I don't think the two should be mutually exclusive. If we never laugh, we never know what's lost. I think, ultimately, what I really react to the most is what's honest and true. It can be as dramatized and as crazy as it needs to be, but if there's something honest in there, I'm going to be a fan of it.
Tickets are available now at powerofpunctuationplay.com