5 Questions with Deb Margolin

Deb will have a reading of her play TURQUOISE on March 6, 2014 at 7:30pm as part of the NJ Literary Artists Fellowship Showcase.

The reading will take place in the Chase Room
of the Madison Public Library
39 Keep Street
Madison, NJ 07940
Click here for directions

There is a suggested donation of $10. All tickets will be available at the door on the evening of the readings. No advanced ticket sales.

1. What inspired you to write TURQUOISE? Deb Margolin
I started following a quest going on in particle physics for this mysterious particle called the Higgs Boson! I’ll tell you in my mad lay language: particle physicists seem to be postulating the existence of an energy field around the entire universe that is responsible for even subatomic particles having mass. And since they couldn’t prove the existence of this field by showing it, they had to try to prove its existence by creating a NOTICEABLE DISTURBANCE in it! I thought it was so fascinating that such a big idea hung from such a tiny one! I found it beautiful to consider the interconnectedness of everything, provable only by those things that interrupt that connectedness!

2. You are an actor and a playwright. Do you feel your plays are written from an actor’s perspective or that of a writer? 

I think acting and writing, while two very different skills, come from the same truthful source, when they’re practiced well. I love writing for theater because it comes from the body and returns to the body; it is not meant to live just on the page, but to come out of the moist, radiant, foul mouth of the actor! I think writing for theater is a kinetic act, and acting for the theater is an authorial one. When you’re doing a good job onstage, it seems like you made up your lines right then and there; that your lines were spontaneous. I’ve always felt a play gets written many times: first by the playwright, then by the director and the actors. And then again by the actors the next night! I write with my body and I act with my vocabulary, both physical and verbal.

3. As an Associate Professor of Playwriting and Performance in Yale’s undergraduate Theater Studies Program, what is the one thing you hope your students take away from your class?
A sense of joy, of the permissions of the playwright, of the impulsivity and freedom of the actor! There’s a whole lot of hooey about “suffering for your art”; my passionate advice is: Seek the joy! The suffering will find you; no problem with the suffering. Seek the joy! That’s where the divine resides!

4. We asked you to give us a list of books you used in your research for this play. You listed THE WORLD’S BEST DIRTY JOKES as one of them. Can you tell us one of those jokes or are they really dirty?
These jokes, my dear friends, are VILE! They are racist, sexist, homophobic, misogynist, backwards jokes! Unbelievable! The copyright on this book is about 1946 or something! When you open this book you laugh not at the jokes, but at the idea of the culture that welcomed them! I once was in this show downtown NYC called Fear of Laughing on the Lower East Side. I had a book at that time called The Complete Comedian’s Encylopedia, in which the jokes were listed alphabetically BY THE REASON YOU MIGHT NEED TO TELL THE JOKE; i.e., “Mother-in-Law’s Coming for the Weekend!” and stuff like that. The announcer said: And now! Please welcome, the fabulous comedian: Robert Orben! And out came two of us with no explanation, dressed in the same exact suit and, in unison, told one sexist joke after another! This is book is from around the same time as that one.

5. So if you were offered tickets to any of these events, which would you choose and why? a) the Oscars b) the Olympics c) the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

I’d probably go for the Tonight Show. I like watching actors work, I consider it a privilege. Every time I enter a theater, I fall in love.

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To learn more about Deb, visit our website

You can also find additional information on our website about theLiterary Artist Fellowship program.