Category: Winter People
Alexis Scheer’s Our Dear Dead Drug Lord is on The Kilroys’ 2019 list of 33 most recommended un- and underproduced new plays by woman, trans, and non-binary authors of color. Laura Neill’s Winter People (produced here at BPT last season) made the list of honorable mentions!
Part two of my conversation with Winter People playwright Laura Neill about her play, collaboration, and the challenges along the way.
I love what you said about collaboration, about the end result belonging to the whole team of artists behind it. At what point in your process is it useful to pull others in? Are there times when collaboration/feedback is less useful, and you’d rather be left to your own devices?
I like to barrel through the first draft on my own and just get the thing out there. But beyond that I like to hear it out loud and get responses to key questions right away—there’s so much great information in actors’ choices! I like to use a modified Liz Lerman model for feedback at the beginning, where we start with things that stick out to listeners and then progress to a few key questions.
I think I work best when I have time alone followed by collab time followed by time alone followed by collab time, all in relatively quick succession… I need total quiet to write, so stepping back and internalizing things is important in between rehearsals. But I need that connection and collaboration to see what’s working and what isn’t! More
Review from The New England Theatre Geek
Winter People and playwright Laura Neill aren’t taking any of your establishment bullshit. This play challenges how we view play production. It takes great risk with even greater success. It is well written and should be viewed by as many developing and established artists as possible. It breaks rules and shows us why these traditional rules are should be broken.
Winter People playwright Laura Neill and I talk about her new play, endings, collaboration, and more.
Tell me a little bit about 'Winter People.'
Winter People begins with a huge Hamptons mansion burning to the ground in the middle of winter. Five local families’ lives are disrupted and potentially destroyed as the fire sets off an inevitable chain of events. And the person who set the fire may not be the person who gets blamed for it…I’m exploring questions of heritage, justice, how can things beyond one’s control affect one’s fate?
I grew up on Long Island, and I feel like I’ve been writing this play in the back of my mind for a long time. Every time someone asks me where I grew up and I have to say “the Hamptons,” I see their mind jump to the Kardashians. And I find myself having to explain that actually, the real population isn’t rich or all white, far from it—that the Shinnecock reservation is at the heart of the island, that my school bus got stuck behind potato farming trucks and tractors, that there is a huge community of immigrants who make up the fabric of the island…that the island shouldn’t, can’t be defined by the people who technically own it, the ones who leave their fifth and sixth houses empty all winter. It should be defined by the people who live it, the people who bleed sand and soil, the people who are disproportionately affected by the whims of the rich summer people. More