An Interview with Kevin Broccoli

Indie Theater Now asked Kevin Broccoli a few questions about his play American Strippers.

When do you know the play is absolutely completely finished and why?

I'm not sure a play is ever really finished, but usually you get this really nice feeling when you've landed on the right closing line. You exhale--that's the best sign that you got the finale somewhat right, because the tension you've been holding inside while you worked on the play lets up a little bit.

Many playwrights say that one or more of the characters in their play “decide” what will happen in the play. Do you believe this is so (please explain)?

So much of my work is ensemble-driven, so the goal for me is to make sure every character has a purpose, has a moment, and has a chance to drive the play. I'm a compulsive planner and outliner, but I've never worked on a play where a character didn't throw me for a loop at least a few times during the writing process.

How have you been surprised by the audience response to any of your plays?

My goal is always to surprise the audience. It's this trick you have to accomplish where the title of your play and what it's about have to draw them in and get them to buy a ticket, and then you have to give them what you've promised and also give them something they didn't expect. "American Strippers" definitely promises one kind of show, and then we try to give them that and as many surprises as we can.

Do you enjoy sitting in on rehearsals, taking notes, re-writing or would you prefer to be told by the director what changes are needed and how do you react when you don’t feel changes are needed?

I love, love, love working with other directors. I never feel they're wrong about anything, because the play is mine and the production belongs to them, so I try to help them create the production they want by making whatever changes are necessary. If that means two productions of something I've written have noticeable differences, I think that's wonderful. It always ends up serving the play in some way.

Do you believe that you improve with each play you write, that each production teaches you something new and do you enjoy the entire process as much today as you did when you first took pen to paper?

I really hope I've gotten better with each play, but I think so much depends on the idea of the play--if it creates that spark of inspiration in you. I don't remember writing most of the best stuff I've written. It almost seems like it's come from outside of me. That being said, I also put a lot of faith in structure. I believe if you find the right structure of a play--the order of things--you'll be just fine.

posted August 1, 2016