Each month on The Subtext, Brian speaks with a playwright about life, writing, and whatever itches we are scratching. On this episode, Brian travels to the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn to chat with MJ Kaufman (and their dog Milkshake).
Kaufman is a playwright and television writer from Portland, Ore., whose plays have been seen at numerous theatres and schools around the country including the Public Theater, WP Theater, National Asian American Theater Company, Clubbed Thumb, Colt Coeur, Williamstown Theater Festival, InterAct Theatre, and Yale School of Drama. MJ received the 2017 Helen Merrill Emerging Writers Award, the 2013 ASCAP Cole Porter Prize in Playwriting, the 2013 Global Age Project Prize, and the 2010 Jane Chambers Prize in Feminist Theatre. MJ also curated the 2016 and 2017 seasons of Trans Theater Fest at The Brick and, along with Kit Yan and Cece Suazo, founded Trans Lab Fellowship, a program to support emerging transgender theatre artists. They taught playwriting at Fordham University, Wesleyan University, SUNY Purchase College, the University of the Arts, and as a teaching fellow at Yale College. They are currently an assistant professor of dramatic writing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Although they originally sought athletic fame and glory in grade school, it was theatre that came calling, particularly when MJ was exposed to a local theatre company focusing primarily on new works. But it was a rejection and then victory in a national young playwrights festival that hooked MJ as a playwright. They subsequently moved to the East Coast to attend undergrad, and, after a brief sojourn in San Francisco, returned East, where their family had since relocated. During this conversation Brian and MJ discuss the ways in which our homes can evolve along with our relationship to them, as well as MJ’s turn as the co-writer for A Transparent Musical.
Music from this episode is by BOXKNIFE and KJ Jarboe and used with permission by the artists.
This episode can also be found here.
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