Theresa Rebeck

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Rebeck in an Hour

THE THERESA REBECK STYLE

Having chosen playwriting over teaching, Rebeck began the challenging process of learning to write a good play. She looks back on graduate school as a period when fantasies about the sort of dramatist she wished to be gave way to discovering the reality of her particular style. "When you're in graduate school and young, you say, 'I'm going to be [Samuel] Beckett. This is what the shape of an artist is.' I was trying to write stuff that I had no way of knowing how to do."

An early one-act that later became the full-length "Sunday on the Rocks" revealed to Rebeck that she wrote best when writing the world as she saw it. The opening scene of "Sunday" has three women--three roommates--sitting on a porch one Sunday morning, drinking scotch for breakfast and talking about men, relationships, life. The dialogue sounds unselfconscious, specific to each character, and truthful. "We all have a particular keyhole through which we see the world," Rebeck once said, "and our job as writers is to keep the keyhole clean and report what we see. I see sexism more strongly than other people do. I learned from "Sunday on the Rocks" that you start with how you see the world and build on that."


From "Rebeck in an Hour," by Alexis Greene. Introduction by Robert Brustein.