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Meet Playwright Maybe Stewart

Maybe is the author of All the Wrong Places, the next #newworkshop selection in Now & Then's 3rd season. Artistic Director John Perovich had a chance to speak with Maybe about their play, its process, and Maybe's hopes for the workshop. All the Wrong Places by Maybe Stewart will be presented to audiences this Friday, September 13 at 7:30PM and Saturday, September 14 at 11:00AM.

John Perovich (JP): What goals do you have for the workshop week?

Maybe Stewart (MS): My primary goals are to trim out any clunky or overwritten dialogue, make sure the intentions and stakes are clear within the text, answer any questions that still stand out, and see the play with basic blocking for the first time.

While I have been incredibly lucky so far in my process with this piece, this is the first opportunity I've had to work with a full team for more than a few hours on the text, or see it with any action. I am looking forward to finding a cleaner, leaner script through this process. 

JP: That sounds like a clear path forward and I'm hopeful that the process will afford you opportunities for exploring of your goals. For a final question, how does collaborating with a director, dramaturg, and actors help you with your process? How does sharing the process with an audience impact you and your play?

MS: Collaboration is a huge part of my process, especially on a piece that is so close to my heart. This play is the most vulnerable thing I have ever written, and because of how much this process has really shaped me as a person, I am far too close to the text to be objective on my own. Having a full team for this step of development allows me to separate myself from the text and see other people inhabit and study it, so that I can see the weaknesses and improvements still to be made. 

I also feel having a team and a week to work together is a huge benefit to this show because of my use of silence, action, and sensory experiences. Staged readings have helped extensively in making the dialogue sound more natural, but some very poignant moments in the play occur without the help of words -- especially those with just Lane and Robbie. One of the things I wanted to capture in this play is the feeling of safety, validation, and acceptance that comes in the silence between two queer people, or two artists. It is something that has meant so much to me in my life, but it isn't something that words can communicate, and I look forward to finally seeing these moments play out in a real space. 

Finally, sharing this play with an audience is incredibly important, I think, because I am representing so many voices that have never had a space on stage -- in fact, we hardly have a space off the stage. The characters in this play are struggling with things that are simultaneously present in every person, and entirely outside of most people's conscious frame of reference. The audiences at my readings have helped me shape this play to suit both my own queer community and those that have never been exposed to it, and my hope is to bring us all together for just a few hours to find a place of acceptance and understanding -- at least in that room, for that performance, on that day. 

All the Wrong Places by Maybe Stewart will be presented to audiences this Friday, September 13 at 7:30PM and Saturday, September 14 at 11:00AM. For info and tickets, click here.