‘MRS. WHITNEY’ at Magic Theatre

Thursday night, I finally got a chance to see Mrs. Whitney by John Kolvenbach at Magic Theatre. This was the play that ran in rep with Kolvenbach’s other play, Goldfish, featuring one of the main characters from that play as seen five years later.

Once again, I was captivated by the language and especially the rhythm and melody of the dialogue. So I wasn’t surprised to read Kolvenbach saying this (from a conversation with dramaturg Jayne Benjulian printed in the program):

Screenwriting is pictures and plays are sound. When I’m working on a screenplay, I try to visualize the story. When I’m working on a play, I want to hear voices…. [One of the reasons] I come to the theatre [is] for the sound of it. I want to hear writing, to hear the writer loving the sound of his or her own work. You can tell that Albee loves the sound of his work, and Mamet and August Wilson among many others.

I also liked this bit, which pretty much sums up my (and probably everyone’s) writing process:

It’s like creative manic depression, a very useful tool. On Monday, you have to believe in what you’re doing, you have to be able to take risks, to be unwise, and then you go back on Tuesday with a critical eye and see if it’s any good. Mostly it’s not. Which, then you have to gather yourself up and do it again…. It would be nice if weren’t work, but it is.

As for the play itself, it’s over, so I won’t belabor it. Suffice to say I felt pretty much the same way as I did about Goldfish. I kind of wish I could have taken advantage of the cool “see them both in one day” opportunities, but I’m still running and playing catch-up and trying to see everything and not succeeding.


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