Q&A with Lauren Gunderson
By A Noise Within
April 19, 2023
Hello Lauren, we are excited to welcome your work to A Noise Within. I read in an interview with you and St. Ambrose University that your theatre career began as a young actor. Was that the moment your love of theatre began?
Yes! I started performing professionally in Atlanta when I was 10 and quickly adored the process, challenge, and adrenaline of live theater. But I have always been as an audience member first. All of my writing comes from asking myself: “What do I want to see? What moves me? What makes me want to come back to the theater again and again.” Because if I see a need for a story that’s not yet been told, others will as well.
As one of the most prolific and most produced playwrights in the country. How does someone with such a high output of work balance working on different projects at once?
I love being in the room collaborating, so I suppose I work so hard to get back into the rehearsal space with great artists. I can balance various projects as most are in very different stages of development. First reads, rewrites, world premieres, all require different parts of the craft and different kinds of attention.
The Book of Will has been described as “a love letter to William Shakespeare.” In your opinion, why has Shakespeare’s work stood the test of time?
Many people are more qualified than I am to answer this, but what draws me in are the depths of emotion, leaps of poetry, and the boldness of plot. His characters are large, loud, ambitious, and hilarious. There is nothing subtle about Shakespeare’s stories or characters, and I crave that grandiosity and bravado in the theatre, as well as his wisdom and glee.
Related Blog: Interview with Lauren Gunderson on The Book of Will
In addition to being a writer, you’re an activist. Do you feel a responsibility to use your platform to tell stories that may affect change?
Every story is a chance to remind people how much we share as humans, and how much we need each other. My plays vary in their political directness but all of them aim to honor courage, compassion, and hope.
As someone who has accomplished so much, do you still have dreams and goals you want to reach? If so, what are they?
Heck yeah I do! I’m working a lot with new musicals now, which is so massively collaborative and fun. My newest musical, an adaptation of The Time Traveller’s Wife, opens on the West End in London this fall and it has been such a fantastic challenge and glorious delight. I am always thinking of new stories and new ways to explore what is so special about live theatre and push it to new places, forms, and heights of theatricality.
Learn more about The Book of Will.