What is your process like when you work on a story?
Usually, when I work on a story—either for live storytelling or my written work—I start from the major incident and then I build around that. What comes before that is relevant to the incident? What comes after that is transformational or funny or a meditation on the meaning of the incident? But the piece I might read in Milford is different. It’s from a play I co-wrote with a writer from Belfast named Donal O’Hagan. In the play, the major incident has already happened. It’s the death of a son. The play is about how you move on or do not move on after an emotionally crippling tragedy. It’s about memory and nostalgia and the struggle to be present in your own life. It will challenge me to have to do a Belfast accent for part if it, which will be especially difficult since Donal doesn’t use typical Belfast words like “wee” or “bairn” or “aye” that make it easier to get into the Belfast vernacular. He uses regular English phrasing and then it’s up to me to find the Belfast in it. Or maybe I will just chicken out and read something of mine that requires no accent.
Any big summer plans?
This summer I have a Dalio grant to study arts teaching at Lincoln Center for a week. I love New York and it’s rare for me to spend a full week there anymore, so I’m excited about that.
What can people expect from your reading?
I refer you back to my first answer.