Greg Kalleres received his BFA from Tisch’s Dramatic Writing Program at NYU. His plays have been produced in numerous cities including, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Berkeley CA, Bloomington, IN and Beirut, Lebanon. In a few weeks, I will be seeing Greg’s show, HONKY. Check back soon for a review! For now, here’s a little email interview I did with Greg.
The Playbill Collector (TPC): How old were you when you decided to write plays?
Greg Kalleres (GK): I think I wrote my first play when I was about 10. The protagonist was a womanizing amalgam of Dan Fielding from “Night Court” and Sam Malone from “Cheers”. I distinctly remember writing a number of sexual jokes that I didn’t understand then and really don’t understand now. Actually, now that I think of it…it may have been the best play I’ve ever written.
TPC: Who has been your most influential mentor?
GK: That’s a tough question. I don’t think I really have a mentor – as in some elder, smarter, more experienced writer one I can go to with advice or questions. But I really like the idea. Where can I get one of those? Is there like an app or something?
TPC: Do you favor writing for stage or screen?
GK: I love writing for film, but theater is definitely where my heart is. Probably because language is where I often begin and there is more freedom to experiment with it on stage. Plus I love the collaboration in theater. The visceral, living, changing experience that happens from the first rehearsal all the way through to the final show. It’s addictive.
TPC: What gave you the idea to write HONKY?
GK: The play is a comedy about race through the lens of sneaker advertising. I use to work as copywriter for brands like Nike and Jordan and was always struck by how white the industry is. And because much of the time we were marketing to non-whites, people were often forced to speak comfortably about topics with which they were clearly uncomfortable. And this lead to some very awkward and revealing conversations. I wanted to write a play that explored the idea of language as a sort of antagonist – the words we use, don’t use and can’t use when it comes to race.
TPC: Did you collaborate with the upcoming show in New York City or does the show just get licensed out?
GK: The director, Luke Harlan, is fantastic and we have a great working relationship — so it’s been really nice to collaborate with him on this play. During the first run of the show in March, I was living in San Francisco, so I only got to be around for part of rehearsals. Now I’m back in New York, I’m able to help out with the remount in October. Which is fortunate because Luke got into the Yale Directing Program this year so he’s a tad busier than last time.
TPC: If you could collaborate with a famous playwright, who would it be?
GK: Probably Edward Albee but I have a feeling he’d be miserable collaborating with me.
TPC: If you could write for any TV show, what would it be?
GK: Cheers and Night Court!
For more information on Greg, take a look at his website: http://gregkalleres.com/