Tuesday, February 17, 2015

FRIGID New York Interview - Robin Rice Lichtig of "Everyday Edna Mae"

By Byrne Harrison

Show: Everyday Edna Mae
Website: www.dramamama.net - on Facebook: Everyday Edna Mae
Photo credit: Audrey Weatherstone

Robin Rice Lichtig is the author of over 50 plays (including 19 full lengths), produced from Mongolia to South Africa, London to South Korea, New York to California. Recent productions include Alice in Black and White (Louisville), The Power of Birds (NYC), Play Nice! (Off-Broadway), and Lola and the Planet of Glorious Diversity (upcoming in March, NYC). Her short play, Squeezing Papayas, will be read at The Sheen Center on April 11 as one of 15 plays by members of the international 365 Women a Year: A Playwriting Project – plays about women throughout time. Publishers include French, Applause, Smith & Kraus, Indie Theater Now. Memberships: The Articulate Theatre Company, Dramatists Guild, League of Professional Theatre Women, International Centre for Women Playwrights, Manhattan Oracles.

Tell me a little about Everyday Edna Mae.

First there was a ten-minute play about a young woman with a terrible body image – so terrible it plagued her every step.  One day I realized that the protagonist in this play was the same woman in another short play of mine about middle-aged best friends on vacation in San Diego. I tore the plays apart and began weaving a new, longer play with a third part in which the woman was elderly.

What inspired you to create it?

I’m always interested in how place influences behavior. San Diego is a place that is filled with sunny, tropical colors and soft ocean waves. I always feel good in San Diego. I started thinking about how San Diego would feel to a woman who had never seen the ocean or palm trees, who had never felt the air of southern California. Before I began writing plays I was a fine art printmaker – so my thinking naturally went to wondering how San Diego would affect this woman if she was an artist. What if she was creatively blocked? Surely San Diego would inspire her. What if… ? And the little play grew and grew. 

Who else is helping you bring the show to FRIGID?

Director Bricken Sparacino and actors Heather McAllister and Alison Saltz presented the play (an earlier, shorter version) at Emerging ArtistsTheatre’s New Works Series in March, 2014. We all loved the experience and decided to continue working on the adventures of Edna Mae.

Who would be your dream audience for this show?

People who will get a good kick in the creative pants from Edna Mae, and people who have been there and will root for her.

As a theatre artist, who are your biggest influences?

Thornton Wilder, Maria Irene Fornes, Jose Rivera, Tennessee Williams, Impressionists, poets and The Little Prince.

What shows are you planning to see at FRIGID?


What is next for you in 2015?

My full-length play Lola and the Planet of Glorious Diversity will be onstage in a premiere workshop production directed and choreographed by Marcus Yi at The Alchemical, March 11-15. This is a large cast play with music, movement and muscle! Also, T. Schreiber Studio is producing a short play, The Other Shoe, March 16-29 with director Brian Drillinger.

Lightning round

Favorite theatre professional? Frances McDormand, Robert Duval, the Coen Brothers.

Current show you would love to be involved with? Articulate TheatreCompany’s The Skin of Our Teeth.

Your dream show to be involved with? It would be a dream to get a professional production of Lola and the Planet of Glorious Diversity.

Who would you most like to have a chance to work with? Paula Vogel.

Your best theatre experience? Teaching playwriting in Mongolia.

Your worst theatre experience? A director in London who changed a lot of my dialogue without telling me and wouldn’t communicate with the actor in a one-person show headed to the Edinburgh Fringe.

Person you’d most like to thank for getting you where you are today? Joe Lichtig.

For more about Everyday Edna Mae, visit the FRIGID New York website.

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