Four beauty editors, isolated in their homes after an apocalyptic event, try to figure out what kind of content is appropriate for troubled times.
Lia Romeo is a 2021-2022 fellow in the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at Juilliard. Her play The Forest was developed at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, and was scheduled to receive a National New Play Network rolling world premiere this season (postponed due to the coronavirus). Her play Sitting and Talking, starring Dan Lauria and Wendie Malick, premiered at Mile Square Theatre, and has subsequently been presented by Laguna Playhouse, New Jersey Rep, Seven Devils New Play Foundry, and other companies. Other plays have been produced off-Broadway at 59E59 and regionally around the country, and four of her plays have been recognized by the Kilroys List. Her plays are published by Broadway Play Publishing, Playscripts, Dramatists Play Service, and Smith & Kraus. She earned her B.A. from Princeton and her M.F.A. in playwriting from Rutgers/MGSA.
A BIT ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
1. When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was seven years old. I wrote a lot of bad poetry, and a lot of slightly-less-bad fiction, and then I started writing plays in high school. As soon as I heard people reading my words, and other people laughing, I was hooked. I love being able to experience my own work as a creator and an audience member at the same time.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
“Lifestyle Content” was the first thing I wrote after the shutdown last spring. For the first few weeks, I wasn’t doing a lot of writing… we’d pulled our son out of day care, so I was trying to manage full-time childcare, keep up with my day job, and obsessively sanitize everything in the apartment. I’d had a lot of productions cancelled, and I was feeling really uncertain about the state of the industry… but I saw that some companies were starting to produce plays on Zoom, and almost in spite of myself I got excited about writing a play that could work in this new medium. Writing this play reminded me that I was a playwright, even if I didn’t know what that was going to mean going forward.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Sad, funny, imaginative, magical, open
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
I write about things when I don’t understand them. I have a lot of questions, and I write to find answers, or at least to explore where those questions might lead. For this particular play, I was trying to figure out what our role as artists should be in terms of responding to the times we were living in – should we be trying to carry on as usual, or should we be reimagining what we do in some sort of radical way?
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
I don’t know how to whistle.
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
Kimberly Akimbo (David Lindsay-Abaire), The Children (Lucy Kirkwood), School Girls, or, the African Mean Girls Play (Jocelyn Bioh)
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
My play THE FOREST (O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Kilroys List) will premiere at NJ Rep in 2022 (after an almost two year delay due to the pandemic). And I’ll be the featured playwright at Durango PlayFest this summer, working on my new play GHOST STORY, as well as on a live stage version of my play SITTING AND TALKING, which was originally written for Zoom and had quite a few online productions this past year.