By Mervyn Rothstein
19 Jan 2013
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
SW: I was born in Frederick, MD, and moved to Southern California when I was small, to Orange County. I went to junior high and high school in Boulder, CO. And after high school I went back to Southern California. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I took some time off. I worked in a warehouse for a while. Then I went back to school. I took some biology classes at a junior college in Southern California. I was sort of planning to be a biologist because my father is in science; he's a biophysicist and physiologist. Then I took some acting classes and I got hit with the theatre bug and I moved to San Francisco with the naïve idea that I'll get into A.C.T. [American Conservatory Theatre] because I hear that's a great school. But I was lucky in that I did get into A.C.T., so I went to San Francisco State for a little bit and then I jumped over to A.C.T. and finished the acting program there. I started writing at A.C.T., though they didn't have any writing classes. But we were doing created projects and I started writing for my classmates.
By the time I graduated [with an M.F.A.] in 1993 I thought writing was the thing for me. So I moved to New York. I was doing some auditioning, but mostly I was writing. I knew, several years in, that I should just commit to writing because [when I did so] I stopped not wanting to go on auditions because it would ruin a good writing day. From there it was a long process for me, because I didn't go to grad school for writing, I didn't go to any writing programs, I wasn't formally trained at all. I felt like when I reached a point in beginning to develop I didn't have anyone to turn to, which was pretty isolating. My time in New York has been about writing, writing, writing. I did some self-producing in the '90s. The big break was with Humana Festival in 2006. I was able to start surfacing to people, and I got a couple of commissions. It's been a long process to get here.
What's next for you?
SW: The Snow Geese. I'm developing it right now. And we'll see what happens. You never really know.
SW: I keep asking my parents about this. It's not always clear. They wanted original names for their kids. And so that's what I got. I'm happy with it now, but I was not happy with it when I was in third grade.