I met Reina at Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s 2010 PlayFest where she was doing a reading of her play Glassheart.
Brooke M. Haney (BMH): Tell me a little about your process as a playwright.
Reina Hardy (RH): Daydreams, cardio, private dance parties, insane typing sprints, sleep, slightly saner typing sprints, elaborate procedures to get rid of internet, readings, rewrites, despair, alcohol, solutions, rewrites, reading, alcohol, rewrites, despair. Shake, repeat.
BH: For you as a Playwright, what is the most valuable part of the new works process? Reading, Workshop, or World Premiere? Why?
RH: Well, I can’t speak to Workshop, as I haven’t really had one. I think that full productions are more valuable than Readings (assuming the play is ready for them) because you can live inside the play during the rehearsal period, and you can see it on its feet, as the beast it is. You get more ideas that way.
BH: When you go into rehearsal for one of your shows in one of these capacities, what is the best thing and actor can do to help you?
RH: For readings: Keep the pace up and trust the text. Even if the text isn’t working yet. If you trust it instead of fixing it, I can see what’s wrong. For full productions: amaze me. Do all the good stuff, and make all the discovery that you’d make with a classic play.
BH: How much does one of your plays tend to change from before a Reading to the World Premiere?
RH: I’ve only had one World Premiere, and that had already gone through two college level productions. I made small but significant changes. I had one other play that had a high school production (best workshop EVER). That play changed significantly, and changed even more after the production. I wasn’t allowed to switch up the script on the high schoolers as much as I wanted.
BH: What do you see as the actor’s role in developing new plays?
RH: Inspirations and collaborators. I think writers work best as part of an ensemble. Actors should seek out new writers, and try to help them, for selfish reasons. If a writer you admire expresses admiration for your work as an actor, volunteer your services for readings. Actors who’ve been involved with my plays during the writing process have often hugely shaped the plays themselves, in a way that I think is magical.