20 Jul OOB Final 30 Countdown – Perry Guzzi
Welcome to day 12 of our Final 30 countdown, and say hello to Perry Guzzi!
Perry Guzzi is a NYC playwright whose short plays include Ouagadougou (2012 Samuel French OOB Short Play Festival), as well as Rupture, An Angry Heart, The New Hire, and Closing Time, all which have been featured in short play festivals. Full length plays include Beach Trip (April 2016 run at HB Playwrights Theater), Across the Way (2016 Thomas Barbour Memorial Playwrighting Award), The Coffin Maker, and his current project, Visible Light. Perry received a BFA from Baylor and an MFA in acting from Mason Gross School of the Arts. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild, a member of Julie McKee’s writing workshop at HB Studio, and has studied with playwrights Laura Maria Censabella, Glyn O’Malley and Stuart Spencer. Perry shares a Manhattan apartment with his four year old Corgi/Sheltie, Katie.
1. When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?
1986. Smack in the middle of the AIDS crisis. I’d just moved to NYC; alone, insecure, people everywhere sick and dying, and I went to a dark place. There was no thinking, no process, no preparation to start writing; I sat down one day and knew I needed to write (first, a really bad novel, then two full length plays). Strangely, as much as the AIDS crisis had prompted me to write, it was my numbness after 9/11 that caused me to stop writing for many years. I didn’t write again until 2008 when one day I picked up a phone, got the names of good playwriting instructors, re-booted, and have been on this second life writing journey ever since.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
I have to think that at this moment in time there aren’t many playwrights around whose thoughts aren’t at least on a slow simmer about prejudice, bigotry, fear of the “other,” and what could be in store should “fuzzy” people be left to sway in the wrong direction. I doubt the words “social activist” will ever appear on a tombstone bearing my name; but my last few short plays have landed in this same place. I have a strong need to express here and to make it count. This play itself is very new — so any development is yet to come.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Option A: I often write about saviors. Option B: Light, dark, mystery, scarred, paradox, fantastical, language
(oops, that’s 7)
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
Williams, Albee, Pinter, Wilde, Coward, Anouilh, Chekhov, Inge, Kushner, McDonagh, Sondheim, Dickens, Keats, Wordsworth, Defoe, Professor Pat Cook, and a fictional TV family named Bunker from Astoria NY.
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
I have a wallet-buying fetish. That’s it; just wallets. I otherwise dislike all shopping and spending.
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
I’m sure this list is way too long but… Delicate Balance, Streetcar, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Death of a Salesman, True West, Seagull, Dumbwaiter, Way of the World, School for Scandal, Importance of Being Earnest, Proof, Beauty Queen of Lenane, Ardele, Life is a Dream, Angels in America, The Oresteia, Candida, 12 Angry Men, The Crucible, Blithe Spirit, Caroline or Change, Light in the Piazza, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, and more recent plays: 4000 Miles, Grand Concourse, The Whale, The Qualms, The Christians, The Humans, and Daphne’s Dive.
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
I’m delighted, surprised and a bit weirded out that I am in the middle of writing a full length, science-fiction, relationship play.
His play Los Demás will be performed on August 10 at 6:30pm. It follows Waitress Sue who shines a light on dishwasher Miguel as she sorts through a pressing and defining point she needs to make about herself.