Cory Hinkle, a Brown MFA graduate, is the author of Ciper, Little Eyes, Phosphorescence, and SadGrrl13. We were blown away by the In the Rough reading The Killing of Michael X, a New Film by Celia Wallace, and are thrilled to be developing this exciting piece even further in the Festival this summer.
1. How long have you been writing for the theatre? What was the creative spark that led you to become a playwright?
I’ve been writing for about 9 years. At first I wanted to be an actor, but I hated the actor’s life (I liked acting, but not headshots, auditions and all the other stuff). While I spent a couple of years becoming disillusioned with all that, I was writing a scene or a monologue here and there, but didn’t take it seriously until I finished my first full-length. As soon as I finished that first play, I knew it was what I wanted to do – even before I heard it aloud. For me, the creative spark has always been people – the way they talk, interact and why they do what they do and I think my acting background still comes through in my writing – in terms of the language and the richness of the characters.
2. What inspired the creation of your play, The Killing of Michael X: A New Film by Celia Wallace? Tell us a little about the process of writing this piece.
I wanted to explore the subject of grief and what it means to lose someone close to you, but I didn’t want to deal directly with my own personal experience, which would have been too difficult. So, the character of Celia Wallace came to me. She’s a young Midwestern girl obsessed with the loss of her brother and in love with the movies he shared with her before he died. I’ve always been a movie fanatic. When I was a teenager I did my own survey of old movies with my own brother – we watched noirs and French New Wave and the great American films from the seventies. That personal experience was the real inspiration for the character.
The play came to me quickly. I wrote the first half at MacDowell in about two weeks and I finished it six months later in two more weeks. The main character and her experience really popped for me, probably because of the emotional connection I have to her.
3. What do you hope to discover, improve, or change in your play during the festival process?
The play is at different times fantasy, a film and a dream. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all three, so I want to make sure I clarify all of that. Also, I want to keep working on the end. It’s always that way though, isn’t it? Either the end or the beginning needs more work.
4. After the 2010 Bay Area Playwrights Festival, what’s next for you?
A week after BAPF I’m going up to Northern Minnesota to the Tofte Lake Center to create a new show with a group of collaborators. We received a grant from the Jerome foundation to create a new theater piece based on the real-life story of the kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa. It’s going to be a fantastic process building a play from the very beginning with everyone in the room – director (Jeremy Wilhelm), two writers and three of the best actors in the Twin Cities.
And this coming season, my play Little Eyes will be produced in a Workhaus Collective production at the Guthrie Theater’s Dowling Studio. We’ve assembled a great cast of actors some of whom have been workshopping the play at the Playwrights’ Center for a couple of years now, so that’s very exciting.
5. Desert Island Top Five Plays, go!
Hamlet, Uncle Vanya, American Notes, Godot, Aunt Dan and Lemon.
For more information on Cory Hinkle and the play, and to see a Festival Calendar of Events, please visit our website: www.playwrightsfoundation.org
The 2010 Bay Area Playwrights Festival takes place JULY 23 - AUGUST 1, 2010 at the Thick House in Potrero Hill, SF.