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Dance + Science = New Play!

January 19, 2012

M is a new play about a girl who solves the last mysteries of string theory through contemporary dance. Karen Li states that she wrote this play to indulge in her love for theatre, dance, and science all at the same time.  Hear more from Karen in the interview below.

M was selected for Playwrights Project’s recent round of Play by Play, a program that pairs emerging playwrights with dramaturgs and culminates in a workshop reading of the selected play.  Playwrights Project recently joined forces with New Village Arts Theatre, which is producing a workshop production of the Play by Play selections.   Karen Li’s play, M, will be presented this weekend, January 20-22, 2012. Order tickets here!

Karen Li

What attracted you to further developing your script, M, in Play by Play?

I was so happy to hear from Playwrights Project, especially since I had submitted this piece so long ago. I was even more excited when Chelsea Whitmore told me that there would be a full staging as well as a reading. At its heart, M is a play that celebrates the human body in motion. I’ve heard the play read before this, but I love that I’ll be able to see it on its feet for the first time.

What aspect(s) of Play by Play have you valued the most?

I could not thank my dramaturg enough for all of her support during this process. Sonia has been a godsend and an absolute pleasure to work with. This is my first attempt at writing a full-length play, and her expertise has been invaluable to the development of this piece. It is always wonderfully bizarre to see my work analyzed and memorized in rehearsal, but Sonia has approached my work with such tenderness and insight that I am still completely blown away. It has truly been a blessing to have her by my side, and I thank Playwrights Project from the bottom of my heart for bringing us together.

What are your future plans for M?

I’m in the process of applying for a grant that will take this play to London. If it pans out, I will be working with students at the University of Roehampton, and we will most likely turn M into a full-fledged dance piece.

Are you working on another script? If so, what is it about?

I’m always working on other scripts, but there is nothing big at the moment. I’ve been drawn to the image of Guy Fawkes in T.S. Eliot’s, “The Hollow Men,” lately, so maybe something will come of that.

What have you learned about yourself as a playwright since taking part in this program?

I have learned to be brave in the face of writer’s block, and soldier on through time crunches and lapses in judgment. The answers I’ve been looking for will invariably appear when I let go of where I think the play has to go, or what I think the characters have to do.

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