Gracie has been absent from work for an entire week, since returning from a work trip. Her boss, Sheryl, thinks she knows why. Can a c-suite exec who didn’t grow up in the era of #MeToo and an introverted Millennial have an open, unapologetic conversation about appropriate workplace behavior?
Daphne Macy is an Israeli-American writer and actress. She studied at the Lee Strasberg Institute and holds a B.A. in Communications and Film from Tel Aviv University. Her work was included in festivals and programs such as CineWomen Magazine, Chicago Blow Up Art House Festival, NewFilmmakers NYC, Primary Stages ESPA’s Detention Series, NYCLife, and CrossingsTV. She was also a finalist for Playwrights Realm’s Scratchpad Series, and a semifinalist for Playwrights Realm’s writing fellowship and for the Premiere Stages Play Festival. www.daphnemacy.com
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?
Throughout my childhood, writing had been a refuge for me: As an Israeli-American who grew up in both Israel and Connecticut, I always questioned where I belong. Being a sensitive straight-A student who took advanced physics with a class full of boys didn’t help either. So I wrote. Back in high school, the characters in my stories made me feel like I wasn’t alone and helped me escape the troubling security situation in Israel into more optimistic imaginary realities.
Several years later, I moved to New York to study at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute. Suddenly, my teachers challenged me to channel my personal experiences into my art – and to let the world see them. I was exposed to the world of sense memory and to an entirely different style of storytelling, both in the classroom and also on the stages of New York. Since then, I no longer write to escape a challenging reality, but rather to share it with the world.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
Inspired by a personal experience I had, I wrote Validation with the goal of shedding light on interactions that perhaps once would have been considered to be in the gray area, where the offender could believe that “nothing happened,” but where something inappropriate indeed took place. It is my hope that anyone who may benefit from hearing that something inappropriate that happened to them wasn’t OK – as “minor” as they might tell themselves it was – will feel validated too.
I developed this piece over the course of the pandemic with two actor friends from an actor-writer collective. We collaborated over Zoom from three different cities (and two different countries!), but managed to channel intimacy and human connection through our screens. I am thrilled that Validation will now be making its debut on stage at the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Bilingual, female, sensitive, curious, collaborative
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
I’ve studied with Michael Walkup and Adam Kraar at Primary Stages ESPA, and they both truly transformed me as a playwright. Michael – who is the most brilliant dramaturg I’ve ever met – has opened my eyes to how valuable dramaturgical advice can be. His feedback, questions, and observations are always inspiring and transformative. He has truly made me a better writer. And I’ve learned so much from Adam – who is an incredible playwright – about the writing process. Learning from such a seasoned writer was a true gift, and he has been very generous with his time with me over the years since I attended his class.
Additionally, two of my acting teachers from the Lee Strasberg Institute – Lola Cohen and Mauricio Bustamante – have made a great impact on me as a writer. Lola helped me connect to Lee Strasberg’s method, and taught me that the most powerful storytelling comes from sharing real, challenging truths. And Mauricio empowered me to see myself as an artist. When I was still his student, he acted in a short play I wrote (my NYC writing debut!). His encouragement and belief in me gave me the confidence to see myself as a worthy storyteller.
I’ve truly been so lucky to have such great teachers and mentors in my life.
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
In college, I had lunch with two Oscar winners! (I guess I can no longer use this for two truths and a lie…)
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
“Cost of Living” by Martyna Majok, “Collected Stories” by Donald Margulies, “Tribes” by Nina Raine, “Proof” by David Auburn, “Rabbit Hole” by David Lindsay-Abaire
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
I’m in advanced stages of working on a full-length play entitled Genesis. It is a play about language barriers, cultural identity, loss, and longing. It delves into how the world judges us based on our race, looks, and accents. Genesis is a play about the meaning of family, our connection to our genesis, and the effect of the people we meet along the way:
Emunah, an 85-year-old Israeli woman of Yemenite descent, is detained at Customs and Border Control in Newark Airport. Izzy, a 17-year-old Korean-American high school senior, is working on her college application essay and HATING every minute of it. Both of these strangers are searching for something from their past, which holds a missing piece of their identities.