Playbill.com sits down with Halley Feiffer, whose play I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard is part of the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center.
Halley Feiffer is a New York-based playwright and actress. Her full-length play I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard received workshop readings as part of the O’Neill 2014 National Playwrights Conference.
When did you write your play I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard? What is it about?
Halley Feiffer: I wrote the first draft of the play in March, 2011. I wrote it over the course of 24 hours and thought it was perfect. Little did I know I would spend the next three and a half years reworking it and workshopping it and getting it closer and closer to what it really wanted to be. The play is about a father and a daughter in a theatre family and their loving, but codependent, relationship.
You started out as an actor. Sam Shepard once said becoming an actor helped him understand the kind of dilemmas an actor faces. Is that how you feel as well now that you are wearing both hats?
HF: I do feel that being an actor helps me as a playwright. I write characters that I feel would be fun to play. I have a sense of what works and what doesn't work so much — at least for me — from years of acting in plays and feeling what has worked and not worked so much, for me. I also have spent so much time in theatres — both as an audience member and as an actor — and I think hearing the texts of plays so much has helped give me an understanding of what can make a play work.
Do you put your protagonist and your audience in the same position?
HF: I don't know how the audience feels when watching my play. I assume everyone feels a bit differently. My protagonists are deeply flawed people, so I think there are probably times when the audience can identify with them and often times when they might condemn them. I'm interested in both scenarios.
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