Each month Brian James Polak (he/him) talks to playwrights 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 month Brian talks to playwright, former NYU professor, and recently retired Dramatists Guild executive director for creative affairs Gary Garrison. Prior to his work at the Guild, Garrison filled the posts of artistic director, producer, and full-time faculty member in the Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is on the Tony Administration Committee for the Tony Awards, and serves as program director for the Summer Playwriting Intensive for the Kennedy Center. In 2016, he was awarded the Milan Stitt Outstanding Teacher of Playwriting by the Kennedy Center.
Growing up in Texas at a time when football was king, Gary, the consummate performer, joined the cheerleading squad. His performative nature lead him to the theatre and eventually through multiple college degrees, culminating in a Ph.D. in Performance from the University of Michigan, which launched an academic career at NYU that lasted nearly 30 years.
Gary talks about the popularization of the 10-minute play form, and his role in it through the publication of multiple guidebooks on writing, such as A Perfect Ten and A More Perfect Ten. A collection of his own short plays, Verticals and Horizontals, was recently published by Original Works Publishers. In April of 2014, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts instituted the National Gary Garrison Ten-Minute Play Award, which is given to the best 10-minute play written by a university dramatist.
This episode can also be found here.
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