We had the honor of interviewing Jeremy Gable, the writer of our summer show, and it was so fun to find out why he wrote this play we have grown to love!
On how he got started writing plays
Jeremy Gable: I’ve been writing plays for 18 years now. I acted and did musicals when I was a kid, and I was writing a lot of stories, and I didn’t really put the two of those together until I was a teenager and said ‘I should be writing some plays!’… A theater nearby in Spokane, Washington did a couple of my short plays and that I was it. I was able to hear them in front of the audience for the first time and I was just hooked. I thought, ‘Well, this is what I’m doing now.”
On what it’s like hearing actors speak the words you wrote
It’s an adrenaline high.
On how “Dream House” came to be, and how he came up with the fun stuff that Jenn (Taylor Payne in our show) does in the play (Seriously, it’s fun)
We decided who the actor was going to be (for the original production of the show) before I started writing the script. There was this actress in Philadelphia whose name was Jenn, and I had asked her what were some things that she always wanted to do onstage, and she gave me this whole long list. And so my writing process for this play in particular was me coming up with how many of those things I could put in there, and at the same time I was figuring out how to do magic tricks, and shadow puppetry and pretend sword fights, and basically acting out a lot of this play before I wrote it, which my wife found very interesting. She said “What WERE you doing up there?”….You put (these things) on the page and months go by and you don’t know how that joke was gonna go, and to hear audiences responding the way that you thought they were going to is an amazing feeling.
On what it was like writing “Dream House”, his first (but not last) show for young audiences
So the theater where this was (Plays and Players Theater in Philadelphia), I had been a resident playwright for them, and they were doing this program where they were doing one-person shows, and asked if I would take the challenge of writing a one-person show, which I had never done before. That was important to me: I am a humongous Pixar fan and classic Disney cartoons, and one thing I appreciated is that my parents loved those movies as much as I did. My wife and I would go see those things without children… I really wanted to make something that was not only fun for kids and adults but that both kids and adults could take away lessons from it…I was conscious with most moments of saying, “What am I saying here?”, and also as a playwright who had mostly written things for adult audiences, you are able to get away with two characters sitting around talking for a long time whereas when you are writing for kids, they can take that, but only up to a point. A great playwright said to imagine what your play would look like on fast forward .. How does this play remain active and how does this character keep on going?
About writing a show for just one actor (who plays a bunch of different characters!)
I asked if we could the cast actor ahead of time and I figured that would make it easier that I wasn’t writing for some nameless, faceless person because I knew the person I was writing for. And so it was really challenging: I’m used to writing a character saying something and another character responds. Jenn’s list of what she wanted to do onstage was a great jumping-off point.
On why “Dream House” is about adults still playing pretend and why that’s good
One of the reasons that Dream House has the story that it has is that (we) were talking about being a child vs being an adult, we had just bought our first houses and this is the most adult thing and you are in your early 30s and it will take a lifetime to pay it off you can’t imagine being 60, and one thing about being in the theater, especially as an actor, is that you are basically an adult who never learned how to stop playing pretend… so with that in mind, it gave me the freedom to say, “OK she’s going to reinvent her childhood and reenact what it means to be a kid, one of the important parts is learning how to pretend.”
Why he wrote about being afraid (but why it’s normal to feel that way sometimes)
(Jenn and I) were talking about our similar upbringings through our childhood and one of those was we were talking about buying a home, and doing something so permanent felt so scary, and it led us down this road of dealing with fear… It was important to talk about fear. As a child there are so many things you don’t know and that you are discovering, and that can be scary. It is okay to be scared.. you can acknowledge it, but not let it stop you from taking chances or being bold.
On who encouraged him as a kid
My parents were fantastic about encouraging the arts..and exploring the arts and me expressing myself through the arts.. A lot of the character of Jenn is based on my sister, one of the great pretend players that I have ever met.
My grandmother thought theater was fun but computer was where the money was but my parents said not to forget where how much you enjoy this.