Wednesday, November 30, 2011

5 Questions with Ben Clawson

Our 11th FORUM reading playwright is no stranger to fans of StrangeDog. Theatre Company, a small group of award-winning young theater artists intent on developing and performing original, diverse work in a variety of genres and mediums, drawing new audiences throughout the New Jersey and New York areas.

THE BLAIRSBURG FAMILY PICNIC by Ben Clawson will be presented on Thursday, December 8, at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Dreyfuss Theatre, 285 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ. The reading will begin at 7:00pm.
Click here for directions. Click here for a printable map of the campus (the Dreyfuss Theatre is located in Building 9).

Ben Clawson received his B.F.A. in Theater from Montclair State University, NJ in May of 2007. He is the author of numerous full length and one act plays that have had professional productions, readings and workshops in New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C. and New Orleans. He has been an evening winner and finalist in the Samuel French Short Play festival, finalist for the Princess Grace Award in playwriting, and recipient of the Kennedy Center's David Mark Cohen award. He is a founding member of the StrangeDog. Theater Company, with whom he has produced many of his plays.

1. What inspired you to write Blairsburg Family Picnic?
The town of Blairsburg depicted in the play is very loosely based on where my grandparents live in Western Pennsylvania. I spent a lot of time there as a kid, so that area has a very particular and unique feeling for me. It seemed the match well with the story of the play.

2. You are a founding member of StrangeDog.Theatre Company. What are the advantages/disadvantages of working with friends and fellow Montclair State University graduates?
The advantage is that we've really grown to having a specific style of how we work together, and everyone trusts in each other very much. It's of course a lot of of fun to go to work with your friends, and when you make as little money as we do at StrangeDog it's important to be having fun. While I wouldn't quite call it a disadvantage, it's also nice to have opportunies to branch out and work with other people and theatre companies, to keep everything fresh.

3. What is your favorite play or book and why?
That's a tough one. No way I could name a single play. I really like American Buffalo by David Mamet. And Becket's Godot. And the plays of Martin McDonagh, Jez Butterworth. Tennessee Williams. And the book Jurassic Park is awesome.

4. What advice would you give to young playwrights?
Uh. Write. Write, write, write, write, write. Once you do it enough you start to figure out what exactly that means to you and how you want to go about it.

5. What is the App that you wish you could invent?
I can sometimes be a bit of a Luddite, so by "app" I'm going to choose that you mean appetizer. And I'd like to invent an appetizer that kind of combined buffalo wings and jalapeno poppers. Maybe the jalapeno popper is inside the buffalo wing? Could some one work that out? Or french fries filled with mashed potatoes and gravy. That'd be pretty brilliant too.

Click here to purchase a ticket to see BLAIRSBURG FAMILY PICNIC at at FDU.

You can also find additional information on our website about the entire
FORUM reading series.

$10 per reading
$25 for a FORUM pass (attend all 23 readings in the series)

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