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June Gottleib, Playwright of “Changing Roles”

March 2, 2012

June Gottleib’s play, Changing Roles, is one of four plays being performed in Lifestages Reflections at the Lyceum Theatre in April. June developed her play in a Playwrights Project Lifestages Recollections group workshop series, where adults ages 55 and up learn playwriting techniques and dramatize their experiences into original scripts. The play celebrates the deep passion and commitment shared by June and her husband Jerry, from the playfulness of young love through the challenges of living with Dementia and surviving the loss of a spouse. Changing Roles is directed by Jessica Bird.

We are proud to announce the 7:30 PM April 28th performance of Lifestages Reflections will be performed in honor of Jerry Gottleib.  Jerry was one of Playwrights Project’s most enthusiastic donors and a long time member of the La Jolla Kiwanis, which supports this year’s festival of Plays by Young Writers, as it has for many years.  This year’s Plays by Young Writers is presented in repertory with Lifestages Reflections.

Read below for June’s insights on the writing process.

Photo by Mel Yonzon

How did you first become involved with writing?

I’ve always loved to write. I kept a journal as a teenager. I always start my mornings with coffee and journaling – it’s my own form of morning meditation.  I write poetry, prose, and have written two plays with a collaborative of writers. I especially like to perform what I write.

How did you come up with the idea for your script?

The idea for the current script came from one of the exercises in the Lifestages class I took with Deborah Salzer.  We had to do a “quick write” on a variety of important events in our lives, and I selected the very last event I wrote down.  I was surprised that I had a lot to say about this selection – it was not a preconceived idea.

What themes are involved in your piece? 

The theme involved in the piece is mainly about commitment; commitment in a relationship as the years pass and “life” happens.

 What is the message you hope the audience takes away with them?

Conflicts and changes arise in relationships through time – learning how to deal with issues of aging and the death of a spouse offer challenges that are particularly difficult.  Hopefully, this play will help others understand the difficulties and possibilities that can arise from working through these times and moving on.

Do you plan to continue writing?

For me, playwriting is one of the most challenging mediums of writing – I would like to continue writing dialogue and keep learning more about the process.  I continue to write a lot of prose, memoirs, and poetry, however, writing dialogue for a play that shows rather than tells is something I would like to keep learning and hopefully get better and better at doing.

What advice to you have for young playwrights?

My advice to any writer is what I try to do myself all the time:  Just keep writing; don’t try to be perfect or have clarity when you start writing anything. Trust that the clarity will come as you continue. Enjoy the process, read it aloud or have someone else read it, so you can hear it, and always – just keep writing.

For more information on Playwrights Project’s New Play Festival at the Lyceum Theatre April 20-29, 2012, and to purchase tickets, please visit The Lyceum Theatre.

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