From the Playwright’s Perspective

by Kirin McCrory

Let me start off with a confession: I am not a playwright.

Oh, sure, I’ve been referring to myself as one for the past two months, but if anyone could hear my inner monologue directly after referring to myself as a one, it would sound like this: “Oh my god, I can’t believe you just called yourself that. You’re not a playwright! You wrote this, your first full-length play, on a whim! I bet Tennessee Williams called himself a playwright and you dare to use the same term?! YOU’RE A PHONY, McCrory, and the world will soon know!” This is all while I’m smiling and nodding and pretending that I heard what you said to me after I referred to myself as the playwright (oh god, here it goes again).

I started CHOPS in December 2009, setting out to write a play that I liked and that had female roles. Having just taken Andrew Clarke’s Playwriting I course, I sort of knew what I was doing. A first image popped into my mind that was startling enough to inspire me, and I had my laptop in the BU B&N Starbucks, so I started writing. After conceiving a basic storyline, big ideas started coming to me that I wanted to include: weird names, incessant tea drinking, crumbling formality. The play’s a hefty representation of me and the things I like and am interested in: language, women in society, a forgotten time of etiquette, stage combat.

The biggest challenge for me throughout the process was not having anyone or anything to be responsible to, no deadlines, no professors, no requirements. That’s what makes me more proud of myself in the end, as a non-playwright, because it surprises me that I even finished it without someone breathing down my neck. I finished the first act by June 2010; I finished the second act by September 2010. I just did my biggest rewrite by far over winter break, after discussing the play and its strengths and shortcomings with the wonderful Joe Antoun (NewFest Artistic Director) and it’s only just occurred to me that I maybe should have been saving previous drafts for process and posterity (they’re in my email somewhere…right?).

That’s what I’m talking about, though: if you ask me for the playwright’s perspective, you’ll have to wait for the inner monologue roar to die down.

Last confession: I’m really an actor. I love monologuing!


Kirin McCrory is a senior BA Acting major at Emerson College. She is the recipient of the 2011 Rod Parker Playwriting Fellowship. Her original play, CHOPS, will be presented as a fully staged and designed production during NewFest 2011.

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