Playwright builds plays around ‘faction’

Playwright Lynne Kaufman has authored 20 plays since her first play, “Couch,” a romantic comedy about Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and Jung’s marriage, premiered in 1984 at San Francisco’s Magic Theatre. We visited in College Hall at the University of London.

EH: What is your writing process?cus on a short period time of interaction and shifting change. Once I know who the characters are, I don’t think of how they’re saying something, I just think of what they need to say with heightened dialogue.

One of the best things I’ve heard about playwriting is: “When you’re feeling blocked in a play, don’t go outside and drag in something new. Focus: go deep into what you already have, and let the new come from there.” That’s tough, but it really works. Plays should continue to open.

EH: What is your writing process?

LK: A lot of my plays are what’s called ‘faction,’ based on real historical characters, catching them in some major change and conflict in their lives: imagining the dialogue, dramatizing it, hopefully serving the truth of who they are and who they were. I focus on a short period time of interaction and shifting change. Once I know who the characters are, I don’t think of how they’re saying something, I just think of what they need to say with heightened dialogue.

One of the best things I’ve heard about playwriting is: “When you’re feeling blocked in a play, don’t go outside and drag in something new. Focus: go deep into what you already have, and let the new come from there.” That’s tough, but it really works. Plays should continue to open.

EH: Do you do a lot of research?

LK: I always do the research and then put it away. My great mentor in my literary life was Joseph Campbell. Campbell talked about good writing: “Think about two lead pipes; one would fit into the other. You envision drilling little holes in each pipe and putting one inside the other. When you turn it, and they align, the light goes through both, and you have something.” The research informs the main action. The light shining through is a very human moment.

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