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Meet Playwright Antoinette Martin-Hanson

Antoinette (Toni) is the author of Life Can Be a Dream, the next free public reading in Now & Then's 3rd season. Artistic Director John Perovich had a chance to speak with Toni about the play and its process. Life Can Be a Dream will be presented to audiences this Saturday, November 23 at 11AM.

John Perovich (JP): Toni! It's great to welcome you back to Now & Then, where you were last seen in A Woman and a Suitcase by F. Thomas Vincent, as part of our production, Two Sleep | Two Dream. What has your writing process been like for Life Can Be a Dream?

Antoinette Martin-Hanson (AMH): My writing process for this script has felt like a roller coaster! Everyday, I have felt like I am learning something new, even though it's a script that I wrote. In so many ways, this script has melted my heart, broken my heart, and taught me more about being a writer than possibly any of the other scripts I have written thus far. This script has scared me and given me hope. As the script has grown, I have also grown.

JP: I'd also want to share with readers that you began writing this play about a year ago in our introduction to playwriting class at Arizona State University. Also, this piece went on to be presented at the Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez, Alaska—a great accomplishment! What are some goals that you have for the reading?

AMH: My goal for this reading is to uncover more insights on the relationships of the characters and the world of the play. In a world that deals with the unconscious, I feel it is important to get as much outside points of view as possible.

JP: Hopefully, between the process' rehearsals and the reading, you will be able to gain those insights. How does having actors work on your script impact your writing process? How does sharing a reading with an audience impact you and your play?

AMH: Working with actors has hugely impacted my work on the writing process. Even though I'm pretty good at creating dialogue that sounds realistic, hearing an actor say the words teaches me so much about a language that isn't necessarily in the rules. Something that's also useful is to see if I'm communicating well through the script itself. As a playwright, I hope others will want to do my work and I can't always be in the room telling them what I meant by that (the words). If it wasn't for the actors I got the privilege to work with over the past week, I don't know if I could have uncovered the undertones of this piece. Sharing the play with an audience impacts my play and myself, also, in several ways. For one, plays are meant to be heard—not read. They're meant to be experienced and it's incredibly humbling to see people show up and experience something that once existed only in my mind. This impacts the play because it gives me the opportunity to learn what someone (who is just experiencing the script for the first time) is able to obtain from the work. The actors have been working on this script for a week—some of them, even longer. While analysis and living with a script is important, audiences rarely have that much time and experience with the script. Thus, having an audience is important in order for me to learn more about the play.

JP: All good points. Final question, there are so many options for seeing theatre in the valley or simply enjoying home entertainment. Why should audiences check out Life Can Be a Dream?

AMH: The creation of art is important and script readings are part of a critical process to the craft. While this is just a play, it can be so much more then that. In the arts, change can happen, yet the arts are frequently undersuported and under appreciated by our current government and society. In being there and experiencing and sharing your experience, you have a chance to support the future of the arts.

JP: Thank you, Toni. As a final note, Toni's play (currently in development) will be produced this spring at Now & Then as a part of Toni's capstone project as an ASU student. So, come and be a part of the process, then join us this spring for the production!

Life Can Be a Dream by Antoinette Martin-Hanson will be presented to audiences this Saturday, November 23 at 11:00AM. For info and to RSVP to this free reading, click here.