(Laura Axelrod's note: I first came across Pat Gabridge back in 2003, when I was living in New York City. I don't remember how I learned about him. It was over the internet, I'm sure. Pat was involved with the Playwrights Submission Binge. I interviewed him for a playwriting column I had back in the day. He was based in Massachusetts, which I found intriguing. Back then, I believed all serious theater people lived in New York or Chicago. Sad to say, I'm only half-kidding about that.
Pat's extensive experience in theater helped me over the hump of that prejudice. Apparently it was possible to do theater anywhere. Who knew? Not me. When I left NYC because of health issues, I kept Pat's success in mind. I quit playwriting in 2007. After returning to playwriting in the fall of 2010, I thought of Pat again. I figured it was time for another email discussion on his books, plays and the state of American theater.
I'll post this long interview in 7 segments.)
What is the latest Patrick Gabridge news? What have you been up to recently?
What am I up to?
For theatre, I'm in the second year of a two year fellowship with the Huntington Theatre Company, which has been great. I get to work with a lot of very smart people, see a bunch of shows, and get feedback on several full-length plays that I've been developing. They gave me a reading of an historical play last August, that I'm still tweaking. I just had a reading of another full-length play in DC with Madcap Players in January. I've got a short play in the Boston Theatre Marathon, which is my favorite theatre event of the year--50 ten-minute plays, by 50 different writers, each produced by a different Boston-area theatre company, all in one day.
My novel, Tornado Siren, just came out as an e-book, which has been fun. I'm glad that it's starting to find some new readers again. I finally got an agent last year, and she's shopping around two novels, one for adults and one for kids. I'm in the middle of the first draft of an historical novel set during the Civil War, one of those projects that I've kept hanging around for years and years, and I've finally gotten around to writing it. It's in the extremely crappy first draft stage right now, but that's what it takes (that and patience).
I go into the studio this Friday for a short audio play that the Huntington commissioned, as part of a set of site-specific audio plays that will be part of the Emerging America Festival (a collorbative effort between the Huntington, A.R.T., and the Institute for Contemporary Art). I'm excited because it's with three actors who are a blast to work with, and a director/producer whom I like very much. I did some radio theatre back when I had a company in Denver, and we always had a good time. Radio work is a lot more relaxed than theatre or film.
I haven't done much film for a while, but a local filmmaker approached me recently about maybe turning some of my short plays into short films. So just in the past couple weeks, I've adapted a couple into screenplays. It was fun to revisit these scripts and really see if I could translate them into a different medium. It's all very preliminary, just for kicks, really, but I hope we end up making them.
That's about it. Staying out of trouble.
Wow, you've got a lot going on. Fantastic. Is this the busiest you've been in your writing career? Do you find there's an ebb and flow to it all?
I'm busy, but I don't know if it's the busiest I've been. (When I complain to my wife that I've never been so busy before, she tells me I have.) In 2005, I had two full-length plays produced back to back, here in Boston, and I was heavily involved in both productions, and my first novel was about to come out--that was a pretty crazy time. I definitely find there's a big ebb and flow to my writing career, and though I like having times where I can catch my breath, the doldrums can be tough to take. I'm happiest when I'm working a lot.
Next up: Discussion about theater