For two of the last three years, Lauren Gunderson has been the most-produced living playwright in America — and she revealed how she does it on the latest episode of Stagecraft, Variety‘s theater podcast.
Listen to this week’s podcast below:
Step one? Write. A lot. “Writers write,” she said, echoing advice she once got from a mentor. “So instead of thinking about writing, or planning writing, or talking about how you one day will write, write. Technically what that means is: Get up every day and do it.”
Gunderson does just that, often working on three plays in varying stages of development at once. Her other tips for success include: “See as much theater as you can. Read as much theater as you can. Talk to people about it. Find what you like about it.” It helped, too, that early in her career she found a supportive and very active theater community in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she once premiered five new plays in a single year.
Although the playwright’s work gets done all over the country, New Yorkers don’t often get the chance to see it. This fall, however, they can check out her latest, “The Half-Life of Marie Curie,” now having its world premiere in an Off-Broadway production that stars Kate Mulgrew and is produced by Audible.
In many ways, “Half-Life” falls in line with what she describes as her aesthetic: “I think [my aesthetic] is brainy people with great passion,” she said. “Both of those adjectives mean that they go fast, think fast, decide fast, face consequences fast. There is an energy, a pace that you hopefully can’t look away from.”
She added, “That’s combined with a lot of humor and a lot of wackiness. People that laugh at their own jokes. I think that may be my own personal aesthetic for my life!”
Also on the new episode of Stagecraft, Gunderson discussed turning “Peter Pan” into activism, why it’s dangerous for her to read biographies, and how she once got an idea for a play from a Google Doodle.
New episodes of “Stagecraft” are available every Tuesday. Download and subscribe to “Stagecraft” on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or anywhere finer podcasts are dispensed. Find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.