Most people in Atlanta know Grant McGowen as Artistic Director at Pinch ‘n’ Ouch Theatre, where he has directed and performed on stage. Did you know that he also writes? This February Pinch ‘n’ Ouch will produce his first full-length drama Let’s Make It. In this Quick Chat feature, McGowen discusses the writing process of the play and gives a hint about what audiences can expect when seeing it.
What inspired you to write Let’s Make It?
“Making it” is difficult. It is the yearning for love, success, fame, power, respect, compassion, equality, answers, etc. It drives us and makes us feel alive. I was interested in following two passionate artists on their journey towards “making it.”
What types of issues are presented in the play?
I question the oversexualization of women in film. What happens if you tip the balance between love and ambition? Does everlasting love exist? What does it mean to love?
Is this the first play that you have written?
I’ve produced one other play that I wrote in 2009 called Tits & Assets. It was a dark comedy about sex, marriage, and Wall Street that came to fruition while I was writing stand up in New York City. I’ve also written sitcoms and films. Let’s Make It marks my first full-length dramatic play.
What was the writing process like for the play?
I wrote this play in two days with very minimal edits, which is not at all normal for me. It usually takes me about two months, with tons of edits, but for some reason Let’s Make It had a flow to it. Like Clifford Odets once said, “It was as if I woke up one morning and the manuscript was beside my typewriter.”
How is the play a good fit for Pinch ‘n’ Ouch Theatre?
Let’s Make It is an honest and raw portrayal of modern day relationships and it showcases two incredible actors, Barrett Doyle and Heather Rule. It’s funny, sexy, and poignant.
After directing plays by others, do you think there will be differences in directing a play that you have written?
There isn’t much difference. I wrote the play two years ago, so I’ve had some time away from it. Honestly, I’ve been very respectful to my original draft. Before I ever consider changing a line, I try to find justification for why I wrote the line in the first place.
What different challenges does directing a two-person play have over directing one with a larger cast?
Well, honestly, you better have two actors that you absolutely love, which I do, because you’re going to spend a lot of time with them in rehearsals. The chemistry of the cast and crew is crucial. I find there is a fine line between good theatre and great theatre, but for me the determining factor is always spontaneity. What is so cool about Let’s Make It, is that the actors really come to life. It seems as if anything could happen on any given night—much like real life.
What do you hope audiences will take away from the production?
I hope it will start great dialogue among audiences about their work and relationships. Ultimately, I hope it will bring them closer to the ones they’re with.
Let’s Make It plays at Pinch ‘n’ Ouch Theatre February 14 to March 2, 2013. For tickets and more information, please visit the theater’s website.