Wednesday, December 12, 2012

5 Questions with Lia Romeo

The 3rd reading in our FORUM "Soundings" series is REALITY by Lia Romeo. This reading will begin at 7pm on December 16, 2012, and will be held at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Dreyfuss Theatre, 285 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ. Click here for directions. Click here for a printable map of the campus (the Dreyfuss Theatre is located in Building 9).

Annie and Matt met on ”Looking for Love,” a popular reality dating show. But now that the cameras have stopped rolling, their fairy tale is looking a lot less perfect than it seemed. Add to the mix producer Josh, who will do anything for ratings, and the show runner up Krisandra, an aspring actress who’s desperate to make her mark in Hollywood. Will there be a happy ending or a scandal? In our model society, where everything from breasts to feelings are likely to be fake, playwright Lia Romeo explores what “reality” really mean.

Lia Romeo is a playwright, novelist, and humor book author. She earned her B.A. from Princeton University and her M.F.A in playwriting from Rutgers, ending up with staggering quantities of student loans and no marketable skills whatsoever. She managed to secure a part-time job writing standardized test questions, and spends the rest of her time writing plays and novels and daydreaming about pretty shoes. Her play Hungry premiered at Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City in the 2011-2012 season, and was produced by Stillwater Theater subsequently. Her play Green Whales premiered at Unicorn Theatre in 2010, and was produced by Renegade Theatre Experiment in 2012. Her play Right Place, Right Time premiered at Renegade Theatre Experiment in 2010, and was produced by Stillwater Theatre subsequently. Her play LoveSick was produced by Project Y Theatre Company at 59E59 in New York in 2012. Her play Connected will premiere at HotCity Theatre in St. Louis in 2013. She has been a part of the Forum New Play Reading Series at Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey for the past five years, and her plays have also been developed at the Kennedy Center, Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, New Jersey Repertory Theatre, Kitchen Dog Theatre, HotCity Theatre, Abingdon Theatre, and elsewhere. She has been a finalist for the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, PlayPenn, WordBridge, the Reva Shiner Comedy Award, and the Heideman Award. She was the 2008-2009 National New Play Network Emerging Playwright-in-Residence at Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, and she is currently a member of the New Jersey Women Playwrights’ Project and Boston’s Interim Writers Accomplice. Her humor book, 11,002 Things to Be Miserable About, was published in 2009 by Abrams Image. It is currently in its second printing, with over 30,000 copies sold, and has earned favorable reviews in the Boston Globe and other national publications. Her first novel, Dating the Devil, will be published by BelleBooks in 2013, and is in development as a TV movie with Vast Entertainment.

1. What inspired your to write REALITY?
I'm something of a reality TV fanatic, for reasons that are mysterious even to myself, and I figured that if I wrote a play about it then I could count all those hours watching "The Bachelor" as research :) Seriously, though, I'm fascinated by the way that television and the promise of fame acts as a crucible to bring out these very extreme things in people, and by the differences between reality as presented on TV and reality as it actually plays out in the "real world" (whatever that means).

2. You are a playwright, novelist and humor book author. Do you approach each of those differently when you write or is your process the same?
I approach them all totally differently, actually. Even though I write comic plays, theater is the medium I tend to turn to when I feel like I have something serious to say. Writing novels and humor books is more of a lark for me - and as a result, often more fun - but I don't necessarily feel the same obligation to have some sort of important message.

3. What are your favorite pretty shoes?
Right now I'm really loving a pair of tall brown leather boots I just bought. They're flat, so they're comfortable for walking, but still stylish - I think I've worn them every day since I got them.

4. Your book is called 11,002 Things To Be Miserable About. What were reasons 11,001 and 11,002?
11,001 - Unfathomable darkness
11,002 - Happiness

5. You have a part time job writing standardized test questions. What is your favorite question?That's actually strictly confidential, since the questions I work on often end up getting administered on the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). I will say, though, that it's a really interesting job, because I learn all kinds of random information about a variety of topics - from biology to psychology - which sometimes ends up showing up in my plays.

♦ Playwrights Theatre will present these readings free of charge, with an optional donation of $10

♦ A $25 dollar donation will get you a FORUM pass that covers all of the readings.

♦ A $250 donation will get you a rehearsal pass that allows access to all reading rehearsals.

♦ Reservations can be made online at or call (973) 514-1787 X10

Click here to reserve your seat to see REALITY.

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

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