Today is the day! We are gearing up for our November show TONIGHT. The show is at 8pm at The Drama Bookshop (250 W. 40th St.) We hope ever so much to see you there!
But before the show let’s spend a little time getting to know November playwright Jerry Polner the man behind the hilarious and thought provoking Medici Love.
FPNYC: Tell us a little about how your journey into the theatre and playwrighting began and has evolved.
JP: I’ve been writing plays for a long, long time. Consequently, I’m very tired. But maybe that’s just tonight. After a suitable rest, I expect to conclude that when I started, I mostly wrote cartoony kinds of short plays where the characters said what you would say if you had no social inhibitions. And I absolutely loved hearing an audience (when I could get one) laugh at my work. Along the way, I discovered that people would hang with your work longer if there was a strong story and the characters took irreversible actions which drove the story forward. Now I write comedies, political plays, and history plays. And I’m still addicted to hearing an audience respond.
FPNYC: Who or what are some of your biggest inspirations as an artist?
JP: When I first came to New York, I probably would’ve said that the playwright I most wanted to be was Sam Shepard because he was writing about the whole country. People could look at his work and say Yes, that’s America now. That’s who we are. I admire a lot of contemporary writers, but right now I’m especially inspired by Charles Busch. He has a wonderful ability to make us feel the hurt and pain of “the other,” the people who’ve been wrongfully left out, not given their due. He always takes us to a different place that has its own rules and we never question the world of the play. And he knows how to tell a story. And he knows how to entertain. He is screamingly funny play after play. And brick by brick, he has successfully built a following for his work.
FPNYC: How did Medici Love come to be?
JP: Two things happened at the same time. (Theatre Magic!) My workshop group, Playsmiths, challenged its writer members to create short plays for a Valentine’s Day show about love gone wrong. The messy, sordid side of romance. Concurrently, in my daytime gig as an accountant for a non-profit organization, we were asked to begin doing the books for a research and education outfit based in Florence that is creating a digital archive of the Medici family. Which sounded to me like a total scam to hustle foundation money. And I was sure that I could find an ugly sex scandal if I looked hard enough. With enough cynicism, anything is possible.
FPNYC: Are you working on anything new/what’s next for you?
JP: On December 10, I’m doing a reading of my play FARMERS IN LOVE, a comedy-history about the 19th century American Populist movement. And I’m now rewriting my science play THE HEAT GOES ON, a comedy about the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
FPNYC: Okay, last question! If you had to give advice to a brand new playwright what would it be and why?
The first rule is to write more in order to write better. But just as important is getting your work produced, regardless of what kind of dive you have to do it in. For many years, I marketed myself by sending piles of paper in the mail to total strangers (i.e. artistic directors), hoping that one of them would make me a star. The new generation of playwrights is teaching me to be entrepreneurial — produce the play under whatever conditions you can in order to see how audiences respond to your work. There’s no subsitute for that, and you can’t wait for someone else to do it for you.
Come check out Jerry Polner’s Medici Love along with two other wonderful pieces TONIGHT!
The Drama Bookshop (250 W. 40th St.)
$5 Suggested Donation!