Interview with Playwright BARRY LEVEY

Posted by MB - October 13, 2015

Barry Levey

Barry Levey

Playwright, Barry Levey recently sat down with Project Y Associate Producer, Sarah Dunivant, to talk about his upcoming production of Maimed, which is the centerpiece of our 3rd New York New Playwright Festival (NYNP).  A second year member of Project Y Playwrights Group, Levey has been part of TechnoPlays Festival and wrote and performed the NYFringe hit, Hoaxacaust, in 2014.  We are excited to see the workshop production this October.


SD:  What inspired “Maimed”?

BL:  I’d wanted to write it for a very long time, and one day just got brave enough to start.  Also my therapist vetoed my other ideas.

SD:  How is this play similar or different to some of your other plays?

BL:  I enjoy writing about my own experience through someone else’s lens—in this case, filtering aspects of my family history through the prism of Patrick Dennis’s Auntie Mame.  It’s a way of forcing myself out of my own perspective, even when coming from a personal place.  Plus, I get to feed my inner nerd; I’ve never met an idea I couldn’t research to death.

SD:  What was the process like for creating the piece? 

BL:  The writing process was one of my fastest—helped along by deadlines from the Project Y writers’ group.  It’s had two readings with actors, by the Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey and The New Group.  Both were awesome.

SD:  What do you hope to gain from the workshop production in the NY New Playwright Festival?

BL:  A film deal.  Or just to share it with Project Y’s audience and make people laugh.

SD:  When did you decide you wanted to pursue playwriting? 

BL:  When puberty dictated I would no longer pursue musical theater performance. I still try to sneak a little musical theater quality into each of my plays.  Just kidding; I’m not remotely sneaky about it.

SD:  Do you have any playwriting commandments or rules that you follow? If so, what are they? How do they instruct your writing?

BL:  I like Jose Rivera’s dictum regarding writer’s block: go back to where you lied, and tell the truth.  I’m paraphrasing, of course.  And it doesn’t always work.  But it’s a good way to psychoanalyze yourself for an hour instead of writing.

SD:  What are you working on now?

BL:  The story of a woman trying to juggle career and romance—in the 1780s.  She encounters some conflict.  But she’s based on a real-life genius I find inspirational, and she left behind enough witty-but-unknown public-domain putdowns that I barely need to write my own jokes.


CLICK HERE for tickets to Maimed

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