|Photo by Lisa LaGrande.|
This interview has been edited for length.
Z: Emily, let's start with your writing background. How long have you been writing verse plays, and what drew you to that particular style of storytelling?
ECAS: It's funny: I started writing verse plays because the director I was collaborating with wouldn't let me write an opera! That was in 2008, when I first started writing Cupid and Psyche. The themes of that story were so huge, they had to be in music or verse - and she chose verse.
Working in this heightened text, it felt like it burst me open at the seams. Prior to that, I'd made a career of writing fairy tale and farces, but all of those prose plays remained fairly light. Working in verse required me to bare parts of my soul in epic poetry that hadn't been open to me before. It was the opportunity to work more truly, more rawly, more universally, to go into the dark in order to find the light.
Because characters can speak in soliloquy, too, we have the opportunity to really delve into a person's psyche: thoughts that they'd never dare express out loud. There's something intimate and exciting in that.
Z: Ah, so you turned your arias into soliloquies! Neat trick. :)
ECAS: Haha! Yes, basically arias become soliloquies! And I definitely hear verse as spoken music: tempo, changing time signatures, etc.