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.
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.
Have something you’d like to say to the Subtext? Call 505-302-1235. Your message might be used on a future episode. You can also email the podcast at TheSubtextPodcast@gmail.com or send a tweet to @SubtextPodcast.
Support American Theatre: a just and thriving theatre ecology begins with information for all. Please join us in this mission by making a donation to our publisher, Theatre Communications Group. When you support American Theatre magazine and TCG, you support a long legacy of quality nonprofit arts journalism. Click here to make your fully tax-deductible donation today!