Mark Snyder

Mark Snyder’s plays include Lila Cante, Corsets, Wipe Away, The Beanbag Game, Lilith on Today, and The Sounds of Ice. His new play, As Wide As I Can See, will have a staged reading this month in New York for At Hand Theatre, where he is an Artistic Associate. For three summers, he hosted and performed in Red Light Nights at New York’s The Slipper Room (Firecracker Productions). His plays have been produced and developed in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Portland. His interviews and essays have appeared in The New Gay, Queerty, ThePeeq, and at Maud Newton.com, and he has read new work at Pete’s Candy Store (courtesy of the2ndHand.com) and throughout downtown NYC. Mark was born in Warren, Ohio and received his BA, Otterbein College and MFA, Ohio University. At Hand Theatre will present a staged reading of Mark's play As Wide As I Can See on Sunday, January 23 in New York City at 7pm at Shelter Studios (244 West 54th Street, 12th Floor).

1. Who or what inspired you to become a playwright? Thanks to my amazing parents, I grew up around lots of books and read plays from a very early age (my mom’s acting editions of Arsenic and Old Lace and Our Town in particular) and I wrote a couple of ultra-ambitious school plays in the 8th grade. Reading Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance was a seminal experience for me, partly because I grew up around people like Agnes and Tobias and Claire, but mostly for the emotional surge I felt towards the rhythms and the language. At Otterbein College, I was a communications major and worked at the radio station playing alternative 90s music, which was housed in the basement of the theater building. So I started easing my way back into acting in directing classes (taught by the passionate Christina Kirk), and then writing again. Plus, we had a new play commission program at Otterbein, which resulted in a world premiere new play every spring, so I got to assist and work with writers like Joan Ackermann and Neena Beber on their work. My friends and I wound up producing four of my plays while in college, and I knew that I found my place in that “empty space” Peter Brooks wrote about.

2. Who's the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? There are some really fantastic actors who are primarily known as musical theater performers that are mind-boggling good in plays, like Michele Pawk in Adam Bock’s beautiful play A Small Fire at Playwrights Horizons. I have a couple of younger musical theater actors who don’t immediately spring to mind when casting for a straight play who I think would be really interesting. Otherwise, I stay pretty flexible - I just love discovering the play with talented artists who are also good people.

3. What's the best advice you've ever received? My first writing professor Dr. Jim Bailey took me very seriously as a writer, and he always challenged me to keep my nose to the grindstone, to keep working, to not settle on the easy way to tell a story. He also made sure he had some juicy gossip to keep me coming back! I try to write every day, which I think can be very important in terms of the flow and structure of one’s life, and to figure out what engages me emotionally and physically about a play and to hold on to that kernel throughout the writing of it.

4. If you couldn't be doing what you are doing now, what career would you choose? I would move to Portland and work two part-time jobs: one as a chef at an organic produce-based restaurant and one as Powell’s bookstore employee, preferably in the biography section. At night, I would front my folk-punk cover band Prerequisite Homo. Our encores would consist of forgotten Fleetwood Mac songs.

5. Favorite place to write? I love working in Provincetown during the summer; I’m quite productive despite the numerous distractions.  Closer to home, I have a couple of nooks and crannies in the city that are reliably quiet and wireless-free.

6. Favorite meal/drink? Meal: Westville and Westville East vegetable plate, the eponymous burger at Bar Toto in Brooklyn, the cookies at Levain Bakery near my apartment, a daily banana. Drink: A damn fine cup of coffee and a bottle of water.

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? Writing is a full-body engaging activity, so I like to stay in very good shape and try to do something physical every day. I ride my bike. I go to the gym. I run, which helps when I’m stuck and I need my body to be doing something else while I think and listen to the characters and talk out dialogue.

Adam: When you’re running and reciting dialogue, will you remember what you said when you get back home? Sometimes, though mostly it’s not about the actual dialogue but the situations I put characters into and discover why they do what they do and how their reactions inform who they are.

8. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs, unless I’m on vacation and then I don’t wear anything (no laundry=vacation!).

9. Favorite website? I’m a total lit nerd, so I love MaudNewton.com and Largeheartedboy.com, Brooklyn Vegan for my indie rock scoops, Towleroad.com (Andy is indefatigable and cool), and any place my favorite fiction writer Mary Gaitskill slums. She can reliably elevate a conversation.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? I’m more inclined to redheads…Is The Flash a redhead? One of my best friends loves Wonder Woman, so he’s going to be really mad I didn’t pick her.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? No need. I watch YouTube.

12. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? Folks are always shocked to discover I can change a tire and that I’m good with little kids. But I AM from Ohio, so…

Adam Pascal

Tom D'Angora Part Duex