The sage and always illuminating words of Jayne Benjulian whose considerable experience as a highly respected dramaturg quietly underlines her authority. But it is Jayne Benjulian the poet, writing from her understanding of how language works dimensionally, even architecturally, that gives her writing beauty and resonance. Clear and true as a tuning fork.
My First Editor
Once I publish a piece, I see that it has not lived up to my vision of what it might be, and I vow to make a leap in my next work. If I have matured as a writer, it is largely owing first to dissatisfaction with everything I write; and second, to accepting that the drive to approach closer and closer in execution to the work as it is imagined is the preoccupation of art.
The Quivering Pen, July 11, 2016
The Journey to Five Sextillion Atoms
In my twenties, I wrote poems and published them under a name no one will find anymore. To dredge up those poems, you’d have to know the name I was born with—my father’s name and the married name of my mother, who died when I was a child.
Women=Books Blog, Women’s Review of Books, March 7, 2016
For people who don’t have experience working with actors, know this: actors are the most underestimated element of writing drama by those who have not yet written it. The actor is to theater what words are to the poem.
Agni Blog, November 30, 2015
On Accepting—and Leaving—Mentors
The longer you write, the more you fortify your own ear, and the more eccentric your voice becomes. That is the nature of art—if it weren’t, it would be wallpaper. People who never liked your work will dislike it even more. To my mind, in order to mature as a poet, you have to exploit your own gifts.
Agni Blog, September 24, 2015
Jeff Zinn: The Existential Actor
Zinn proposes that if actors understood that our quest for identity is a shield against the certain knowledge of death, if actors could articulate their own heroic journeys and their own given shapes—the ones given to them by the civilization in which we live—they might come closer to “the holy grail of acting technique,” the surrender to authentic emotion.
A Conversation with Jayne Benjulian and Taylor Mac
A flower wants to marry a woman but can’t because he’s a flower. For just about anyone who can breathe in San Francisco, that story is a metaphor for gay marriage. To its creator, that’s not all. If the flower is a metaphor for gay marriage, then gay marriage is a metaphor for how we create myths to foster or tear down community.
The Ordinary and the Luminous
Any Given Day is the story we might miss seeing, and seeing it is what makes unconventional art.
Octavio Solis on Tarell Alvin McCraney
An interview with Jayne Benjulian
I want to do plays that are visceral, raw, poetic and profane. Plays that call on the magic and mystery of the universe rather than on technique and style….
The Dramaturgy of Audience
Jayne Benjulian goes to the Theater as a Civilian
The lights dimmed. I felt the luscious nakedness of surprise.
Collaborators or Contractors
It is presumptuous to think we have nothing to learn from TV, most especially now, when so many talented playwrights write television scripts for shows to which so many of us are addicted. All of these playwrights working in TV are now experienced in different ways of collaborating, including as writer-producers; they demonstrate it is possible, and not unusual, for writers to run things—and to wield power.
Fury, Forgiveness and Love
An Interview with Lydia Stryk
You might say that there are those who favor the story of a rocket taking off and exploring space, while I am drawn to the bed—from where other forms of exploration and mental flight become possible.