Interview with the Playwrights: Anne Grob

Anne V. Grob

Anne Grob


Where do you get your inspiration from?

I like to eavesdrop on conversations in coffee shops for dialogue ideas. Also dreams and memories come into my plays as themes. Newspaper stories are ripe with possible plots. I wrote an entire full length play from a short news story buried in the back section of my local paper. Ultimately I start by inviting the muse– sometimes it is a work of art; other times a person; often a place, real (as in NYC!) or imagined.


Have you had any of your plays staged before? 

This is my 4th year with Players Theatre SPF NYC. Each year gets better and better. I’ve also had productions on the West Coast, but coming back to NY is always a thrill for me. Best experience here was June 2014 with Hemingway At The Larchmont. Sharifa Williams, who is directing The Bard of MacDougal Street, and an outstanding cast of actors made this a memorable production.


What is your favorite writing companion? 

When I start a new project, I like to gather around me my favorite books on playwriting and my favorite plays. I start out by reading, journaling, writing to prompts using pen and paper. Once an idea begins to shape, I transplant myself to the keyboard and start right in on the first few lines. Music is my constant companion throughout, owing to the idea that music composition and writing are complimentary processes. I also like to play the type of music my characters would listen to in order to get deeper into their mindset. Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my sweet terrier Roxie, who is always by my side.


What is your favorite part of the process?

It may be more accurate to say when rather than what. It’s that point where the idea transforms into a complete entity, where I can visualize the entire play from beginning to end.


What’s your least favorite part of the process?

When I have a deadline and I’m staring at a blank page and no ideas are forthcoming. Or, I have a beginning and middle, but no end. Sometimes I get a surprise and I know the ending early on, so I write to that point.


Do you identify with any of your characters in your play?

No, but my husband thinks all the men I write about are him, so maybe all the women are me.


If you could be a character in any play, who would you be? 

That’s a tough one. Would I have to be that character forever? I don’t think I would be a character in one of my plays because I know them and there would be no surprises, nothing to learn or discover. 


If you were a kitchen utensil, what would you be?

A whisk.


What is your favorite play?

Our Town by Thornton Wilder.


What playwright inspired you?

I admire the work of Sarah Ruhl for her use of language and her metaphysical slant on realism. David Ives is also someone I enjoy for his comedic absurdity. His play The Philadelphia in part inspired the premise for The Bard of MacDougal Street—the idea that someone could get stuck in part in another dimension but be required to act in their everyday life. Favorite authors are Hemingway, Fitzgerald and the contemporary Anne Tyler.


What was the seminal moment in your life that led you to playwriting?

I explored fiction and creative writing over the years but it took a dialogue writing class to awaken my muse. Suddenly my writing had a voice and went from passive to active and alive. 


What advice would you give other aspiring playwrights?

Read, read, read. Learn the rules, then break them. Find your voice. Write from your passion.

Do you consider yourself an adult?

Yes because I don’t have a curfew and I can stay up all night.


What’s your favorite word?

Whilst. I use it a lot. Don’t know why.


What’s your least favorite word?

Whatever word is currently trending. That’s the rebel in me.