5 Questions With… TENDERNESS AND GRATITUDE NUMBER 4’s Enid Graham

Enjoy this exclusive interview between Script in Hand curator Mark Shanahan and Enid Graham. Enid is an actor and the playwright and director of our April Script in Hand Tenderness and Gratitude Number Four.

MARK: Tenderness and Gratitude Number 4 is an often hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking character study of two remarkably defined personalities in a complicated friendship. Where did these characters spring from in your imagination?

ENID: I think of the play as a love story about a friendship. Like great loves, friends come into our lives and alter the way we see the world. And like love affairs, friendships go through difficult times and sometimes come to an end. There are many plays about love affairs, but I don’t think we see friendships explored in the same way. The experiences of being changed by a friend and being deeply heartbroken by a friend are quite universal and equally powerful.


MARK: You have had a truly accomplished career as an actor. How has your work as an actor influenced your work as a writer?

ENID: I love actors. I think the main way my writing has been influenced by my acting career is that, as I write, I often ask myself, “Would I want to play this?” I always want to write parts that great actors would be excited to do. I think that most experienced performers have an innate sense of what is going to work in a play, and I find that, as I write, I use my actor’s sixth sense, sniffing out what doesn’t seem true to the character or cutting when I realize the character doesn’t need to say it because the actor will do it. Or avoiding what would be just plain boring – an actor’s nightmare!


MARK: The office scenes in your play are wonderfully funny. Did they mirror any experiences in corporate life you have ever experienced? They seem remarkably on point!

ENID:  When I was a young actor, I signed up with a temp agency, hoping that the flexible schedule of a temp would allow me to make a little money and still be free to go to auditions as they arose. I had no office skills, however, so my value as a temp was very low! But I was fascinated by being dropped down into different office ecosystems for a day or two, witnessing different variations of the mundane high-drama of office life.


MARK: When I first read your play, I was struck by the fact that Michael and Jenny were characters I could easily love and root for, but they also had tremendous flaws. As a writer, how do you go about crafting such complicated aspects in creating your characters?

ENID: Flaws make people interesting. And watching people struggle with their flaws is what drama is all about. I feel a great deal of tenderness toward all of us lawed people in the world, and so I hope I write tremendously imperfect people that an audience can recognize and love.


MARK: Michael learns about art through Jenny, and recognizes that art can sometimes make a person uncomfortable. How do your thoughts about the nature of art impact the themes found in your play?

ENID: In life, the way we grow is to be disturbed from our comfortable places and challenged to be vulnerable and open in the hard world. Friendships can rock us out of our snug little hiding spots, and so can art. In my play, Michael gets the one-two punch of being exposed to art and to Jenny as he commences on his journey of learning how to be a human being.

CLICK HERE or on the the graphics above to read Enid’s full bio.

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