Playwright Spotlight: Cynthia Faith Arsenault

F2F, [Quickies 16, June 2015]

Where did the idea for F2F come from?
I read an article in the Boston Globe a couple of years ago about a new technology — Plastic bracelets implanted with a chip, coordinated by an app.  One can preprogram their interests in their smartphone to facilitate networking with others who have the app. There are other variations of that out now, but this was the first. I wanted to explore how social phobics might use it to handle an overwhelming  club atmosphere.  And at the same time I wanted it to resonate that there really is no satisfactory substitute for  F2F (Face to Face) contact.

What was your favorite moment in working on this piece??
I wrote it in Key West on a wide veranda at a beautiful mansion. They were all good moments!

What projects are you currently working on?
I have a reading in June of my first one act play and a serious drama.  Prior to this one hour play, my limit has been ten minutes. I have over twenty mostly comedic ten minute plays. This is such a different experience. I feel relieved and intimidated at the same time to have the luxury of all these extra minutes!

Finish the sentence- “I love theater that…”
stays with me after I leave my seat.

Who is your current artist crush (any discipline)??
I’m too old for crushes – haha.  But I am always and totally enamored of Tennessee Williams– his plays, his poetry, his legacy.

What was the best advice you were given as a theater artist??
As a director first, my mentor told me foremost to keep up the energy at rehearsals. Works as playwright, too. There needs to be a driving force, an energy that is unleashed in the course of a play and that is looking for a place to land.

What is the one thing you know as an artist now that you wish you could tell your younger self??
This is such a great question. I’ve learned that I’ll never get the approval of everyone. And that gets proven over and over as appreciation of my plays is so subjective. In the end, I need to know I gave it my best and it resonated with at least one other person. Not that it isn’t a gas to have an entire theatre, rolling in the aisles, at one of my comedies!

Outside of theater, what are you really into right now?
My day job is psychologist/counselor.  I’m very invested in doing the best job I can in this trusted position.

What is your favorite and least favorite word?
My favorite word in each line of dialogue — the one that, after much agonizing debate, I choose. I have no absolute favorites in this department.

My least favorite contemporary phrase, which is not what you specifically asked, is “No problem,” spoken to me when there was no suggestion of a problem at all, usually by waiters or clerks, and when a response like “Sure” would be so much better!

Any other thoughts you’d like to share? (About Live Girls! Theater, Love, Life, Puppies, …really – anything at all?)
I wish I lived on your coast this year as so many of my plays seem to have a West Coast sensibility (what is that, anyways?) and have been chosen for production there.