Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Conversation with Elizabeth Berg

by Maggie Carlin

First thing I really would like to ask, after reading and seeing your play is what inspires you to write?

I really believe that writers are born, not made. Some people love horseback riding or baseball, it is what each person feels most comfortable doing, and for me that is writing. That has been true since I was a kid.

In the play, Nan as a child has these dreams and as she gets older she has felt like she has lost these dreams. I know you started writing when you were a child and found yourself discouraged and for a while became a nurse. Do you feel like in a way that was modeled after you?

Wow, I really never thought of it that way. You know, when I was a child, I was so positive that I was going be a famous writer. I used to tell my Dad that I was going to be rich and buy him a Cadillac. And you do, you just let it go. As I got older I just thought too much. I believed you had to be a man even though I knew people responded to my work.

So what brought you back to writing?

Well, I have two daughters and when they were 9 and 4 I really knew that I wanted to be able to spend more time with them. I was working as a nurse back then and I thought about what I could do to be at home and still bring in some income, which we needed. So I started writing! I started out working for magazines and did that for 10 years then I moved on to novels. It just kind of happened that way.

What made you chose to adapt your novels into plays?

I love plays! It is my favorite thing to do, to go see a play. For me, when I’m writing I feel like I’m acting. It just seemed like the most logical step for me. It’s funny because if I had to pick one of my novels to adapt it would not be The Pull of the Moon. But a friend of mine really encouraged me to do it. I guess it’s because people respond to this story.

What was the hardest thing about adapting this novel into a play?

Understanding that the vehicle is different. Half of what I wrote was lost. You need to pick the essential and emotional parts but still be able to link them together in flowing manner that is true to the piece.

How are you hoping your audience responds to this play?

Tears and laughter! I guess that’s the easy answer. Beyond that I’m hoping for some identification. It feels so good to identify with people and know you’re not the only person going through it.

Is there anyone you would like to thank?

There are so many people who have been behind me and helped me throughout this. I really want to thank the actors, and director Kevin Fox, and Ann Filmer for teaching me how to be a playwright.

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