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Thursday, January 6, 2011

WBM Features: Anna Governali

The task of a writer consists of being able to make something out of an idea.
-Thomas Mann

For the individual that is able to express him or herself through their efforts, much of them is given. And as for our next WBM Feature, gives she does-- and give her all as Anna Governali does best, putting energy and breathing life into every word that she writes.

So with some time to discuss her interest with words and how she's making significant impact with her theatrical works, Anna allows us to get up close and personal. Take a moment to get to know her a little better.

[As Told To Why Blue Matters]

Who is Anna G.?

AG: I hate to start with a quote. However, Charles Bukowski once said, “These words I write keep me from total madness.” G*d, it’s so true! I struggle with that every day… I write every day! Writing is a very large part of who I am… So, it’s safe to say, I’m a crazy compulsive writer with a secret obsession for shoes!!

Where are you from?

AG: I went to public schools and ate lunch out of brown paper bags… I grew up in Queens, NY.


AG: I love to write when I'm in another country, that is when I feel I produce my best work. When I'm removed from my environment, is when I can truly embrace it… I’m not afraid to step out of my element.

What does performing arts mean to you?

AG: It’s watching the transition of the written word to real life.

How long have you been involved?

AG: I’ve been writing plays for a few years now. But, I’m relatively new to the theater scene.

When did you know that this was something that you wanted to pursue?

AG: I use to watch the Wonder Years growing up. There was an episode when Winnie got the lead role as Emily in the school play, “Our Town” and Kevin was stuck doing the stage lighting. I just remember Winnie being like a mess and just nervous. Kevin didn’t know anything about lighting which made the ending of this episode all the more moving and just brilliant. At one point of the play, Winnie stumbles on her lines. Kevin held the light so still and he whispered these encouraging words to her even though she couldn’t hear him, it was like she could… Even now, I still believe Emily’s final monologue is by-far one of the best written. It really depicted the rawness of human emotion as Kevin held Winnie with the light. He carried her and when he cries, it’s because he’s that proud of her and you see how innocent his love is for her and how proud of her he is and how courageous she is….

Why not screenplays or novels?

AG: My focus just happens to be theatre right now. I’m just so in love with it— everything about it— it’s so raw and honest. We’ll have to see what’s up next. Anything is an option.

Is this something you went to school for?

AG: No, I studied English… But, it was college, so my mind was always else where.

Are you self-taught?

AG: My great-grandfather was a playwright. That could have something to do with it… Though, honestly what I’ve learned is— to tame and develop an idea, rather than abandon it and move on. I feel like schools, institutions or writing workshops, can teach you structure. No one can implant an idea into your head. No one taught me how to write or what to write. I just sit down and write.

So what's The Tupperware Convention all about?

AG: The play is set in the 1950’s, which is a critical period for woman because they did not have the same rights as men. At that time, woman still didn’t even have the right to vote. Mainly, it taps into the life of Lucille Riley, who is an unappreciated woman, who happens to be a housewife. It’s about lost identity and self-discovery. It’s about suppressing those feelings inside and introspection about finding self-worth and self-value. This play is about the coming of age of a 1950’s housewife.

Who/What inspires you?

AG: People like my father inspire me. When he came here from Sicily, he didn’t have anything. He made a life for himself. I feel I do the same for myself every time I have the opportunity to do what I do…

What keeps you motivated?

AG: I’m not just a playwright— I’m a writer. And everyday I aspire to be just that… Writing takes a lot of discipline. There will always be those around you telling you what you can and cannot do. Art is meant to be controversial. It’s a risk— if you’re willing to take that risk, that’s great. If not, then that’s unfortunate. Regardless, there will always be talk— good or bad. If I have learned anything through all the doubt and uncertainty that I have experienced, is that I honestly have really nothing to prove. I love having the ability to tell stories, providing a glimpse into the life of a character that I’ve created.

Working on any new projects?

AG: I’m working on my first full length play. It is definitely a controversial piece— dealing with religion and law. It has been a challenge thus far.

Biggest Accomplishment?

AG: I’m a work in progress. I don’t allow my accomplishments to define me. I never want to get too comfortable where I’m at. I never want to stop myself from learning and growing, especially when it’s involving my craft.

What type of impact would you like to make with your efforts?

AG: Well, as much as I’d love to create timeless characters, like Shakespeare. What I’d really like to do is bring the human struggle to stage— there is something comforting about reading or seeing something you can relate to— kind of like you’re not alone at this, you’re not the only person going through this or who has gone through it.

Any anyone you like to work with in the future?

AG: Al Pacino. Anyone who can take on Shakespeare to Mario Puzzo clearly has no limitations on what he can do… I’d definitely love to work with him.

What's next for Anna G.?

AG: I’m going to write more plays. I want to set higher goals with the up coming year. I definitely want to work towards having a larger production.

Any advice for those looking to pursue their goals and dreams?

AG: The best advice I ever received was to quit. To stop torturing myself… I never thought of it like that. Everyone always acts like they have to write or they have to dance or they have to paint, produce music, what ever it is… But, there is no imaginary pistol being held to your head forcing you to chase a dream. You need to know all of your options before you are able to move forward. And quitting is an option. If you can give it up on your goals and dreams, then it was not your passion to begin with. If you can’t quit, well, it evidently has a hold on you. You have to accept not everyone is going to understand what you do. Not everyone is going to love it. Not everyone is going to hate it. People have a tendency of criticizing what they don’t understand so they will try to break you down. What ever your dreams are— keep plugging away at them.


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