A podcast by playwrights for playwrights, and everybody else

Podcast 062: Forming Families with Gary Garrison

It’s the Season 6 Premiere! Tori and Mabelle talk with Gary Garrison about his triumphs and missteps on his journey into theater. He talks about the importance of saying “yes” to every opportunity, the protective armor of theater, and the lovely theatrical families that form during productions. He also shares a short history of 10-minute play festivals, his work as an educator, tips for play analysis and writing, and assigning each draft a task.

Listen on Apple Podcast
Listen on Apple Podcast
Listen on Spotify
Listen on Spotify

Writing prompt (courtesy of Gary Garrison) 

Language. No two people in the world speak the same. That’s just true. Our education, our ages, our health, our well-being, our mental health, our physical health, our politics, our gender, our sexuality, our cultural influences, our regional influences, and on and on–all influence how we speak. A 7-year-old does not speak the same way as a 70-year-old, obviously. We say ‘obviously,’ yet when we write our script, everybody sounds like they are speaking standard English. People don’t talk that way so here’s your writing prompt: Go to your computer and bring up a script that has more than three characters talking on one sheet of paper (three people at least on one page). Cut and paste into a new document–one page of that. Take all of the names out. Print it off. Ask somebody how many people are speaking on the page. They should be able to tell you three.

Connect with Gary:


IG: @playatwriting

Gary’s bio: 

From 2007-2017, Gary Garrison was the Executive Director of the Dramatist Guild of America – the national organization of playwrights, lyricists and composers headed by our nation’s most honored dramatists. Up to the spring of 2020, he was also the Director of the Dramatist Guild Institute – a premier educational institution dedicated to the continued education of dramatists throughout the country.  Prior to his work at the Guild, Garrison filled the posts of Associate Chair, Artistic Director and Master Teacher of Playwriting in the Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he produced over forty-five different festivals of new work, collaborating with hundreds of playwrights, directors and actors. As a playwright, Garrison’s plays include The Mayworkers, The Unexpected Light On Azadeh Medusa, Too Quick to Pick, Ties That Bind, Skirting the Issue, Caught Without Candy, Game On, The Sweep, Verticals and Horizontals, Storm on Storm, Crater, Old Soles, Padding The Wagon, Rug Store Cowboy, Cherry Reds, Gawk, Oh Messiah Me, We Make A Wall, The Big Fat Naked Truth, Scream With Laughter, Smoothness With Cool, Empty Rooms, Does Anybody Want A Miss Cow Bayou? and When A Diva Dreams. This work has been commissioned by or featured at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, City Theatre of Miami, Boston Theatre Marathon, Primary Stages, The Directors Company, The Theresa Rebeck Writers Residency (through The Lark), Manhattan Theatre Source, StageWorks, Open Door Theatre, Pulse Ensemble Theatre, Expanded Arts and New York Rep. His recent work as guest artist or master teacher of playwriting involve such institutions as the Marfa Intensives, Convivio Writer’s Conference (Postignano, Italy) Sewanee Writer’s Conference, The Kennedy Center Summer Playwriting Intensive, CityWrights of Miami, The Inkwell, Source Theatre in D.C., Baltimore Playwrights Festival, New Hampshire Playwrights Festival, Last Frontier Theatre Conference, Southeast Theatre Conference, Northwest Theatre Conference, Alaska World Arts Festival, Boston Playwrights and has taught at New York University, Boston University, University of Oklahoma, The University of Texas, Hollins University, Goddard College, Texas State University, Texas Tech, University of Southern Mississippi, West Georgia College and the Dramatists Guild Institute. He is the author of the critically acclaimed, The Playwright’s Survival Guide: Keeping the Drama in Your Work and Out of Your Life, Perfect Ten: Writing and Producing the Ten‑Minute Play, A More Perfect Ten and two volumes of Monologues for Men by Men. In April of 2014, The Kennedy Center instituted the National Gary Garrison Ten-Minute Play Award given to the best ten-minute play written by a university dramatist and in the spring of 2016 awarded him the Milan Stitt Outstanding Teacher of Playwriting in the country. In July of this year, he was featured in American Theatre magazine’s The Subtext podcast with Brian James Polack under the title, More Than Ten Minutes with Gary Garrison

Pre-order Gina Femia’s debut YA novel, “Alondra”: https://bookshop.org/p/books/alondra-gina-femia/17287883?ean=9780374388454

Check out Mabelle’s play, “¡LOTERÍA: GAME ON!”:

  • Reading at Northwestern U’s PLAYground Festival in Evanston, IL (April 22, 2023 at 2pm CT). Tix here
  • Production at Theatre SilCo in Silverthorne, CO (April 23-May 6). Tix here

Check out the 40th Anniversary Festival of the William Inge Theatre Festival April 20-22, 2023: https://ingecenter.org/festival/

Register for the Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival: https://semo.edu/colleges-departments/arts-media/conservatory/lanford-wilson

Register for the Valdez Theatre Conference in June!: http://www.theatreconference.org/

Check out the first annual Gary Garrison Playwriting Award for 10-Minute Plays at Tusculum University: https://ttr.tusculum.edu/

“Mariposa Rising” will be at Moxie Theatre in San Diego on April 8: https://www.tuyotheatre.org/