Playwright Spotlight: Jennifer Lane

i am the girl with the spun gold hair [Quickies Vol. 14June 2013]


Where did the idea for i am the girl with the spun gold hair come from?
I wrote this piece in class with Chuck Mee while I was a grad student, and he gave us a series of amazing writing assignments inspired by pieces of art, or other writers, or with various constraints or rules. So in this play, one character can only use words that the other character has already used, that was the rule I came up with. Then, of course, I broke the rule. But i am the girl with the spun gold hair is very much a product of Chuck’s teaching.

What was your favorite moment in working on this piece?
Discovering how moving this bizarre little play can be. I had no idea it could pack such a punch until the actors got their hands on it.

What projects are you currently working on?
Right now, I’m working on a play called Harlowe at the Alec Baldwin Fellowship at Singer’s Forum in New York City. I’m also working on some brand new things in my playwriting lab at Mission to (dit)Mars in Astoria, NY. And finally, I’m gearing up to present my play The Seer & The Witch at the nuVoices for a nuGeneration Festival at the Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte. Also, a novel!

Finish the sentence- “I love theater that…”
…makes me remember why I wanted to get into this business in the first place. I recently saw The Last Five Years at Second Stage and ugly-cried through the entire thing, it was so good. Or seeing Into The Woods in the Park last summer, which was the perfect place to see that show. Things that move me and surprise me, or things that use language in new and interesting ways.

Who is your current artist crush (any discipline)?
Sarah Ruhl is a long-time artist crush of mine. I re-read Eurydice whenever I get frustrated with Playwriting. Also the final moment of In The Next Room is so perfect, I know I’ll never forget it.

What was the best advice you were even given as a theater artist?
This bit of advice might seem obvious, but back when I first started writing plays, I was told to feel free to skip ahead, that no one said things have to been written in order. Hearing that forever changed how I work — it makes for very fragmented first drafts, but I believe it’s best just to get it all out there to see what you’re working with.

What is the one thing you know as an artist now that you wish you could tell your younger self?
It’s not fair; the universe doesn’t owe you anything. But do it anyway.

Outside of theater, what are you really into right now?
Travel, I’m obsessed with travel. Also, 30 Rock — I know, I’m super late to that party, right? And Zumba and video games. And YA novels. And women’s rights advocacy.

What is your favorite and least favorite word?
My least-favorite words include things like “Webinar” and “Webisode”. Though “Blog” doesn’t bother me, despite its “Weblog” origins.

And I love words like “halcyon” or “melancholy” or “sorrow” or “verisimilitude”, but I couldn’t really tell you why, though I do know that is has more to do with sound and shape than with meaning.

Any other toughts you’d like to share? (About Live Girls! Theater, Quickies, Love, Life, Puppies, Ponies…really – anything at all?)
I’m really excited to be participating in Quickies, as I’ve been following Live Girls! from afar ever since my friend and collaborator, Jess Smith, told me about it back when we were in school together. What else? Um. I have 2 cats, a turtle and a husband in the navy. (Only the husband is in the navy, not the cats or the turtle.)

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JENNIFER LANE is a playwright and fiction writer originally from Troy, Michigan. Her work includes Harlowe (developed under the mentorship of Sarah Ruhl, winner of the Alec Baldwin Fellowship at Singers Forum, and a finalist for the TS Eliot US/UK Exchange); The Seer and the Witch (Nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and the Sue Nims Distinguished Playwriting Award, a Semifinalist for the O’Neill Playwriting Conference); Psychomachia (recipient of the Gatsby Grant); The Would-Be Room (performed in New York City, Chicago and Washington D.C.); Convergence (premiered at the soloNOVA Festival); The Burning Brand; and Does Anyone Know Sarah Paisner? Her short plays have been workshopped with Anne Bogart, and performed at Ensemble Studio Theatre. She is a member of the Mission to (dit)Mars Propulsion Playwriting Lab and an alum of the terraNOVA Collective’s Groundbreakers Playwriting Group. Jenny is a graduate of the Columbia University MFA Playwriting Program and Sarah Lawrence College. For more information, visit