Plays for Two is a unique anthology of twenty-eight terrific plays for two actors, by a mix of celebrated playwrights and cutting-edge new voices. I had the pleasure of speaking with playwright Daria Polatin about her play, That First Fall, her writing process, and upcoming work in stage and television.
JACQUELINE LAWTON: Why did you decide to get into theatre? Was there someone or a particular show that inspired you?
DARIA POLATIN: Discovering Chekhov made me want to be a playwright. Reading his plays I was struck by how his characters had so much emotion and depth – so much lurking below the surface. They felt so human. My first play was an adaptation of a Chekhov short story “The Lady with the Pet Dog.” I had a wonderful teacher at drama school, Jon Lipsky, who encouraged me to write the piece. The play ended up getting produced and published, and that’s what began my career as a playwright.
JL: Tell me a little bit about your writing process. Do you have any writing rituals? Do you write in the same place or in different places?
DP: I usually write daily during business hours. Right now I have a great office, and I have a few favorite coffee shops I like to go to. I also like libraries. I stay off the internet while I’m writing (or at least try to).
JL: Can you tell me about the play that’s being published in Plays for Two?
DP: That First Fall is about the first fracture in a friendship between two eighteen-year-old girls, Zoe and Skyler. I wrote it when I was living in Brooklyn. The play was brought to life by Ellen Haun and Martina Bonolis at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and was directed by Lila Neugebauer.
JL: What excited you about being a part of this anthology?
DP: I thought it’d be great to contribute to a book that lets actors have a wide range of new pieces at their disposal. I'm really pleased to be a part of the collection, alongside such great other writers.
JL: What advice do you have for up-and-coming playwrights?
DP: Keep writing. Write and write and write, and re-write, re-write, re-write. Read as much as you can, see plays, talk about plays. Seek advice on your work from those who know more than you. Have your work read out loud by actors. Hone your scripts, craft them. Dig deep within yourself and ask yourself how you can make your work better.
JL: What’s next for you? Where can we follow your work?
DP: I recently finished a new play called IN TANDEM, and am just getting started on a new piece I’m excited about. I’m also working in TV these days so trying to balance my writing time. I keep updates on my website: dariapolatin.com
About the Playwright
Daria Polatin’s plays include In Tandem, Guidance, That First Fall, D.C., and The Luxor Express, inspired by her father’s life growing up in Egypt. Her work has been produced at The Kennedy Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Naked Angels, Ensemble Studio Theatre NY, The Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Hollywood, in London and Hong Kong, and at Cape Cod Theatre Project, where her play Guidance was helmed by Broadway director Mark Brokaw. Daria’s most recent one-act play, Laura & Sebastian (and Jordan & Bliss), premiered in Los Angeles and was co-produced by Anonymous Content. Daria wrote and directed the short “Till It Gets Weird,” which she developed for television with Hazy Mills Productions. Daria currently works on the Starz original series “Flesh and Bone.” Daria completed a playwriting residency with London’s Royal Court Theatre, earned her B.F.A. from Boston University, and her M.F.A. in Playwriting from Columbia University. Awards: Kennedy Center/A.C.T.F. Best One-Act Play, Wasserstein Prize Nominee, Princess Grace Award Finalist. Plays published by Dramatists Play Service, Dramatic Publishing Co., and Vintage Books. www.dariapolatin.com
About the Anthology
I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!