5 Questions with 'Princess of Rome, Ohio' playwright Jonathan Joy
WANT TO GO?
'The Princess of Rome, Ohio'
WHERE: Alban Arts Center, 65 Olde Main St., St. Albans
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
TICKETS: Adults $15, students and seniors $10
INFO: 304-721-8896 or www.albanartscenter.com
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- This weekend, the Alban Arts Center concludes its run of the down-home comedy "The Princess of Rome, Ohio" by playwright Jonathan Joy. The show was well reviewed in The Charleston Gazette, and the gazz decided to talk to Joy, a writer with local roots, about the play and seeing it come to life on a stage near him.
Q:Have you seen your play yet?
A:"I saw it Sunday. I was really excited. I thought it went very well. They did a great job with it."
Q:This isn't the first time "The Princes of Rome, Ohio," has been staged, is it?
A:"This is the fourth production. It was done in Huntington, Columbus, Ohio, and in New York City. In fact, we did it in 2005 in Huntington, and a lot of the cast members were in [the] New York [production] in 2009. They actually spearheaded that."
Q:Could you tell us a little about your background?
A:"I grew up across the river from Huntington, in Burlington, Ohio, but I went to Marshall, and I've lived in the area all of my life, except for about two years. I studied theater at Marshall as an undergrad, with a focus on acting and directing, then got a master's in English, with a concentration on creative writing, which is what I teach now at Ashland Community and Technical College.
"I've written 25 plays, a little over half of them have been published through Amazon."
Q:When did you write "The Princess of Rome, Ohio," and what's it about?
A:"I wrote that one while I was still in grad school -- that would have been 2003 or 2004 -- so it's one of my older plays, but I think it's my favorite.
"A lot of my plays are sort of set in the same area. Some of the characters in one play or another appear in others, which I like. It's like they're all part of the same neighborhood.
"'The Princess of Rome, Ohio' is about something I've kind of been fascinated with wherever I've lived. Some people live their lives with all their problems out there on the front porch for everybody in the neighborhood to see -- and this is very much a 'front porch' play. It revolves around Hattie, a 14-year-old girl, the princess, who wants to get away from that way of life.
"To me, that feeling, I think, is universal."
Q:Are you working on anything else now?
A:"Well, I'm always writing, I guess. I have a couple of plays in the works, but they're in very early stages. I'm submitting plays to be performed by different theaters, but I don't really know where that will go.
"Right now, I guess, I'm writing and teaching, and when something comes up, I'll just jump on it." Reach Bill Lynch at email@example.com or 304-348-5195.