San Diego Playwrights

Getting San Diego Playwrights Produced on San Diego Stages

Cygnet Theatre’s Playwrights in Process–An Interview with David Jacobi

on October 3, 2014

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Playwrights in Process: New Play Festival is Cygnet Theatre’s annual festival of readings of new plays presented in collaboration with Playwrights Project. The festival introduces San Diego playgoers to new works by local artists and also offers a series of workshops designed to introduce curious audiences to the art of playwriting. In addition, the three-day festival at the Old Town Theatre includes opportunities for informal forums to meet the playwrights. The festival is sponsored by Bill and Judy Garrett.

David New Headshot

David Jacobi

Tell us about yourself and your writing process.

I’m originally from New York, and am a current MFA Playwriting student at UC San Diego’s Playwriting Program. Before coming here, I lived in China for three years, where I self-produced plays and taught five-year olds how to say “I would like a cheeseburger.”

As far as my writing process goes: I’m constantly collecting things (articles, bits of history, dialogue overheard on the bus) and putting them into a drawer. When I’ve ready to sit down and write a play, I aim to write the entire first draft in two or three days. It’s terribly exhausting, but it allows me to get out of my own way. Sporadically, I’ll glance into the drawer, and see if anything I’ve collected over the years communicates with what I’m writing.

Tell us about your play. What was your inspiration?

This play started as a ten minute play based on a footnote from David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest,” which mentions a fictional film about a boy and his cocaine-abusing father burning spiders in the desert. As I developed the play further, I found myself thinking about something I was very interested in as a boy, which is professional wrestling. For all its faults (and it’s got many,) it was my introduction into theatre. Pro Wrestling is predicated on a lie. Despite that, it maintains a deep, emotional relationship between audience and performer.

What do you hope to get out of the Playwrights in Process experience?

Through many rewrites, this play has found its shape. What I’m happily focusing on during this experience are the “angry” moments. This play is visceral and at times, brutal. I’m working with amazing collaborators to figure out when I can really turn the screws on these characters.

What is your next step? Any advice for other playwrights?

In April of 2015, Widower will receive a workshop production at the Wagner New Play Festival at UC San Diego. This is my final year, and I’m currently deciding where my next theatrical home will be.

My advice to other playwrights? Well, I can only speak about what works for me, but I hope this helps: I treat this like a craft. No one’s making sure I put in the time and effort, so that job falls on me. I never really learned how to stop making mistakes, I only learned how to better spot them and buff them out. Playwriting is a lot like carpentry, if carpentry had a lot less heavy lifting and slowly drove you insane.

Thank you for talking with us David! Good luck with Widower and Playwrights in Process!

View complete information on workshops and plays: http://www.cygnettheatre.com/connect/playwrights.php

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