Wherein we ask the Moderators of the Dramatists Guild Fellowship three questions of monumental significance.
The man who saved me, discovered me and set me on my path was Milan Stitt. I met him in a class he was teaching at the Women’s Project. He had just taken over the program at Carnegie Mellon University and invited me to come to graduate school. I hadn’t even considered grad school and so this was a shocking, exciting moment. I went home to discuss it with my partner and she pretty quickly said, you got to go. And so I did. Milan remained my mentor reading every play, frequently multiple drafts until his death in 2009. At CMU, he brought in Tina Howe to advise us on our thesis plays and she became my next mentor. Tina was a big influence on me in terms of encouraging both an economy and a wild bravery in my writing. She also shared her personal habit of writing every day for going on 30 years. Inspired, I started my own daily practice which I have maintained. From there, there are so many mentors over the years. I would say Artistic Directors, directors, actors, designers so many theater artists who took an interest and contributed to my notions of craft, of performance, of what is theatrically possible and encouraged my dreams. I too was a Dramatists Guild Fellow as a playwright and felt mentored equally by Janet Neipris, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty learning so much in the process. My mentor was Susan Miller who took a strong interest in my work and was very generous sharing industry contacts and opportunities, recommending me and writing those letter of recommendation. She has continued to be a dear friend and joined the Fellows program for a number of years lending her insight and encouragement. And I remain on the market for mentors both young and old. I feel there is always so much to learn. I love the process of making discoveries together.
I guess because I have been around the whole time I’d rather see what the new folks say.
[Editor’s Note: After graduating from the Fellowship, Ms. Lepcio went on to become the Program Director alongside Ms. Ahrens, Ms. Neipris and Mr. Flaherty]
Interesting question. I am a fan of the new. I go to the theater to be surprised, to have my life changed. I hope to see brave work, exploration of truth in all its complexity, work that provokes, questions and engages.
Be patient. Good things will happen, but not necessarily on the time table you want. If you do the work, you will find yourself blessed to be a member of a rich community of writers all equally frustrated, equally inspired and equally hopeful.