Aaron Wigdor Levy is the writer of Monroe, Illinois: Over Here/Townie premiering this week at the Flea Theater, produced by On The Square Productions.
Tell us a bit about your body of work?
My work usually is pretty naturalistic. Some people have said my plays are political, but I don’t think they’re overtly political. I think most of my plays simply deal with people trying to figure out their place in the world. I know that kind of sounds general, but that’s what I’m trying to do so I don’t see why my characters should be any different.
Monroe, Illinois: Over Here/Townie are actually two separate one acts. What will the audience gain from seeing them produced together?
I wrote Townie and Over Here around the same time so they’re connected in that way. They both deal with loss. Over Here deals with a loss that has just taken place while Townie deals with the losses that happen over a person’s life. Over Here actually takes place in real time over fifty minutes while Townie takes place over forty years or so. I think it will be very interesting to see the brief amount of time that’s covered in Over Here compared to the life span that happens in Townie.
What is a recurring theme in your plays?
Theme is always tough. I try not to have an overt theme, but looking over my plays I really think a lot of them deal with where we find ourselves in America today. I’ve always been a bit obsessed about what the American Dream is so I find that creeping into most of my work.
When auditioning for Monroe, Illinois what qualities where you and the director looking for in your actors?
We knew all the actors going into it, so there wasn’t much of an auditioning process. Usually though, I just look for actors that understand what I’m trying to write, understand the material, and can really bring a part of themselves to it.
You are a member of the 2010 Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater, how has that experienced been for you? Has it already been opening doors for you as a playwright?
The Emerging Writers Group at the Public is truly an amazing experience. I can’t say enough good things about it. I really can’t. I could go on and on saying how lucky I am to be apart of it, but I fear it would get a bit obnoxious.
What is the one question you really hope experiencing Monroe, Illinois inspires?
I’m not sure what the question I’d like people to come away with after seeing Monroe, Illinois. I just really hope that people empathize with the characters. I’d like them just to observe people they may not observe otherwise.
——–The Flea Theater presents On the Square Productions’s Monroe, Illinois: Over Here/Townie by Aaron Wigdor Levy directed by Deborah Wolfson December 8-21, 2010 Tickets are $18 for more information visit www.OnTheSquareProductions.com.
The Flea Theater | 41 White Street | Manhattan