Playwright Spotlight: Emily Feldman

MADELINE J. SMALL IS GETTING SMALLER [Cupcake Reading Series, Sept. 2013]


Where did the idea for MADELINE J. SMALL IS GETTING SMALLER come from?
I had a vision of a doll-sized woman trapped inside a jar and I wondered how her full-sized community would interact with her. I didn’t know how she got there, so I wrote towards that image.

What was your favorite moment in working on this piece?
I did a production of this play with high school actors at a performing arts academy in New Jersey. The students brought incredible energy and intensity to the play and were gracious and game when I cut a large chunk of the script the night before their dress rehearsal!

What projects are you currently working on?
I’m brainstorming a few new projects… At this very moment, I’m working on moving my self and all of my belongings across the country to start my M.F.A. at UCSD.

Finish the sentence- “I love theater that…”
I love theater that makes up its own rules. I love plays that let people speak or sing or act in strange ways. I love dialogue that feels unfamiliar.

Who is your current artist crush (any discipline)?What was the best advice you were even given as a theater artist?
Right now, it’s George Saunders. Six months ago, I read his story collection The Tenth of December and I can’t stop thinking about it! The stories are quite beautiful, and haunting and funny. The experience of reading them reminds me of how I feel when I see a great play.

What was the best advice you were even given as a theater artist?
The best advice I’ve received in the theater thus far is a caution against writing “an important play.” Write your guilty pleasures. Write the play you think no one will be interested in. I’m working on that.

What is the one thing you know as an artist now that you wish you could tell your younger self?
If you want to stay home and read on a Saturday night… just do it and make no apologies.

Outside of theater, what are you really into right now?
I’m always on the look out for huge dogs with lots of fur and new varieties of apples.

What is your favorite and least favorite word?
“Cute” is my least favorite adjective for anyone over four years old. My favorite adjective is “sublime.” I wish I found more opportunities to use it in everyday life.

Any other thoughts you’d like to share? (About Live Girls! Theater, Love, Life, Puppies, Ponies…really – anything at all?)
This 2013 Cupcake reading is my first introduction to Live Girls! I’m very happy to be a part of the series. I hope to visit Seattle sometime soon. I’ve heard it’s a wonderful theatre town… and coffee town… and town in general.

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Emily Feldman has been a core apprentice at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, an associate artist at The Atlantic Center for the Arts, and a Tennessee Williams scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference. She is a two-time Heideman Award Finalist at Actors Theatre of Louisville and her plays have been developed and produced at Actors Theatre of Louisville, in the Playwrights Horizons Resident Workshop, FringeNYC and in the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival where her play Poor Jesse was a 2013 Finalist. Emily holds a B.A. from Middlebury College and is a first-year M.F.A. playwriting candidate at UC San Diego.