I met playwright EM Lewis at the very first Great Plains Theater Conference, the one where I took master classes with Edward Albee, Mac Wellman and Arthur Kopit, which I reported on way back in the early days of this blog.
Since then, she’s won the 2008 Primus Prize ($10,000), the 2009 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award and now the 2010-2011 Alfred Hodder Fellowship at Princeton.
As further proof of her awesomeness, Lee Wochner has written a post for the LA Stage Blog, where he provides lessons for all playwrights inspired by Ellen’s success. Lessons such as “You don’t get a hit if you don’t go up to bat,” “It’s good to be good-natured,” and this one, “Playwrights are not novelists”:
Novelists write in isolation. Every playwright I know writes in community. It’s good to have access to actors and directors and audiences and a space to work in. Ellen was wise enough to immediately claim those things for herself. She needed them and she knew it. She got involved with Moving Arts because I needed a dramaturge for a play I was directing (for the world premiere of Sheila Callaghan’s American Jack) and Ellen already seemed so impressive in every other way I was sure she would be great. She was. After that, we never let her go. She followed that up by connecting with everyone possible and staying connected. Surrounding yourself with artists inspires you to do more art. That’s how it works in the theatre, anyway.