FIRST TIME, LONG TIME at the 2016 NYC International Fringe Festival.
An Interview with Jeremy Stuart

Indie Theater Now asked Jeremy Stuart a few questions about his play First Time, Long Time.

Who are your favorite playwrights?

Sam Shepard, Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Edward Albee, Wallace Shawn

What's your favorite pastime when you’re not working on a play?

I actually haven't written a play in a long time. I've been writing straight literature for the past few years - shorts stories and an evolving novel. Other than reading, swimming, drinking beer, and watching various sporting events, I don't really do anything besides write. I work as a house painter, and when I'm not working, I'm writing. There is nothing that gives me a greater sense of purpose and general satisfaction with life.

Where does this play take place, and how did you choose that location?

One of my favorite quotes regarding the theater comes from a review I once read about Sam Shepard's early work, where the reviewer said that you should never ask where you are at a Shepard play, you're in the theater. I have always tried to follow this sentiment, looking for locations that exist solely in my mind, that may be translated to the stage. As long as the context makes sense to the characters, it will make sense to the audience. For this particular play, the location is a talk radio show, but I couldn't narrow it down any more than that.

When did you know you wanted to work in the theater, and why?

In college I fell into the theater by accident. I was acting at first, but then felt the pull towards writing. Once I was in, there was no getting out. Theater is the most unique art form there is, the only one, as I see it, that is impenetrable to the onslaught of digital transformation. A play recorded, no matter how crisp the recording, is no longer a play. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but a play is live. Period.

Why did you want to write this show?

I don't really remember. I wrote it years ago, and I can't recall any specific inspirations. I do know that it came quickly. That I heard the place where the characters were speaking before any particular dialogue arose. I heard how they spoke, upon what plane, and the rest came together rather easily. I also remember that when the idea came to me, I relayed it to my girlfriend at the time, and she told me that she couldn't visualize what I was describing. That it didn't make any sense to her.

posted August 1, 2016