The Subtext is a podcast where playwrights talk to playwrights about the things usually left unsaid. In a conversation that dives into life’s muck, we learn what irks, agitates, motivates, inspires, and ultimately what makes writers tick.
This month playwright Brian James Polak talks to Rebecca Gilman (Luna Gale, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter). She is an artistic associate at the Goodman Theatre and an associate professor of playwriting and screenwriting at Northwestern University, and her newest play Twilight Bowl is currently up at the Goodman (Feb. 8-March 10). Rebecca talks about growing up in Alabama and seeing plays at the local JCC. She talks about a seminal early trip to New York City, meeting Stephen Sondheim and riding with him in his limo, and staying in Mary Rodgers’s apartment (and sleeping in Adam Guettel’s bedroom).
After graduate school Rebecca moved to Chicago, where she learned an important piece of advice she shares with students today: If you want to be a playwright, get a job that doesn’t consume you, so you can be consumed by the writing. She also shares another piece of advice she gives to students: There is great safety in health insurance.
She also talks about what inspires her to write, and by the end of the conversation lands on an important definition: “Success is being happy at whatever you choose to do.”
Download the episode here.