5 Questions with Stacie Lents
The 1st reading in our FORUM “Soundings” series is WRITTEN ON HER FACE by Stacie Lents. This reading will be begin at 7:00pm 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).
The relationship between student and teacher can be a strong one, but what happens when that relationship gets abused? When Professor Jenny Milder puts all of her passion for teaching into one student, it begins to raise questions as to whether or not all this extra time is appropriate or not.
Stacie Lents is the author of Henry’s Law, a play about bullying, which was featured in Mile Square Theatre’s Fall Fest last season and toured to New Jersey area high schools as part of an anti-Bullying initiative through Fairleigh Dickinson University. Henry’s Law received a workshop at Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey this month and a tour is planned for 2014. Stacie returned to Mile Square Theatre’s Fall Fest this year with Laugh Out Loud (cry quietly), which Peter Filichia of TheaterMania called “the best comedy of the year” in 2008.Written on Her Face previously received staged readings through PTNJ and Luna Stage and was a Semi-Finalist in the Premiere Stages New Play Festival in 2010. Stacie is currently working on Pastiche, one of several commissioned adaptations of fairy tales produced by StrangeDog Theatre Co. at Luna Stage in January with an anticipated transfer to New York. She wrote the book and lyrics for Daisy in Disguisewhich ran off-Broadway through Vital Theatre Company with an original cast recording released during the run. Stacie’s play College Colors has received readings at Luna Stage and at Manhattan Theatre Club produced by coLAB Arts. Other writing credits include plays in the 2011 and 2012 New Jersey One-Minute Play Festivals, Tidal Waves in the Neighborhood, Focus, and Just in Case (a commission). Stacie is also an actor who has performed in both New York and regional theatre and is currently a member of the jewish plays project’s Development Company. Stacie is an assistant professor of theatre at Fairleigh Dickinson University where she originated the Black History, Black Voices series which she writes and directs. She previously taught at Rutgers University. Stacie is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Screen Actors Guild, and the Dramatists Guild of America.Stacie received her MFA from Rutgers, Mason Gross School of the Arts and her B.A. in Theatre from Yale University.
- Where did you get the inspiration for this play?
I am originally trained as an actor and one reliable way I get ideas for plays is to turn an actor’s fail-safe–Stanislavski’s “Magic If”–to more mundane scenarios in my own life; to things that bother me; to experiences that others recount or even to things that strike me as absurd. For example, “what if I just pretended not to recognize an ex-boyfriend when he comes over and tries to talk to me at this cocktail party? What if, despite two years of dating, I just acted like I had never seen him before?”
This play came about from a series of these “what ifs”: I teach college myself (though I teach Theater rather than English Literature). I started to ask myself what would happen if a teacher cared too much–whether that was possible–and what would happen if a teacher just refused to give up in the face of all objective evidence that her efforts were in vain.
- You are currently working on PASTICHE, one of several commissioned adaptations of fairy tales. Which fairy tale are you adapting and are you staying true to the story line or putting your own twist on it?
I am adapting Rumpelstiltskin. Definitely my own twist. I hope that people who are interested in my work will come check out the project (Enchanted Arms at Luna Stage in January through StrangeDog Theatre Co.). I am really excited to be sharing the stage with the other writers involved.
3. You are also an actor. Do you find yourself writing from an actor’s perspective?
Definitely. I try to write characters who will be fun to play as well as to watch–and I am particularly interested in the relationship between language and character, in the way a character’s voice is developed over the course of a ninety minute to two and a half hour play. It is important to me to create interesting roles for women, while examining the role of women in our culture and carving out a new space for women in this industry.
4. As an assistant professor of theatre at Fairleigh Dickinson University, what do you hope your students will take away from your class?
My students will laugh because I say to them, almost daily, “if you learn nothing else from this class, then I hope you will learn” and then I fill in the blank with something new. I suppose what that reveals is that I feel there are many important things to learn about art, about literature, about life, and, above all, about staying true to your own instincts as an individual and as an artist.
If I have to pick one thing? Perhaps this: My students are one of my greatest sources of inspiration and I hope that they will learn to trust and believe in themselves as much as I believe in them.
5. If you weren’t involved in theatre, what other profession would you pursue and why?
Professor of English Literature?? Let’s just hope I wouldn’t run into Adam.
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 WRITTEN ON HER FACE.
You can also find additional information on our website about the entire FORUM reading series.