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The Subtext: Gwydion Suilebhan’s Homecoming

This month Brian talks to the playwright/poet/marketer who’s the driving force behind the New Play Exchange.

Each month Brian James Polak talks to a fellow playwright about the things usually left unsaid. In conversations that dive into life’s muck, we learn what irks, agitates, motivates, inspires and—ultimately—what makes writers tick.

Gwydion Suilebhan.

This episode was originally recorded in June of 2019, then seemingly lost to the ages—until Brian finally found it in a scrap heap of files on his computer. It’s a dialogue with Gwydion Suilebhan, a playwright also known for his work as a theatre marketer, journalist, poet, and the creative force behind New Play Exchange.

From public access television to journalism and poetry, Gwydion’s path to playwriting was long and winding. Beginning his education studying astrophysics, he discusses a last-second shift when poetry called to him. The pressure of poetry was too much, though, as he agonized for hours over every word, only to experience their ephemerality at readings.

After seemingly exhausting every form of writing, he took a playwriting class and, as he put it to me, “It felt like coming home.” The theatre instantly became the thing he needed to do.

Now, many years later, he feels like he’s experienced success, but as with most playwrights, that success feels insufficient. He has found himself at a point in his career where he has fewer things to write, but those few projects still call powerfully to him. As he says, “As a white, cisgender male, I better really have something to say that really matters if I’m going to take up any space.”

The episode can be downloaded here.

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