Playwright Sharr White (The Other Place, Sunlight, Six Years) lives in New York state with his wife and two sons and works full time as an advertising copywriter. His latest play, Annapurna, is the story of a poet named Ulysses who's dying in a trailer park and his ex-wife, Emma, who comes back to him after walking out 20 years before. Annapurna, directed by Loretta Greco, had its world premiere last week at the Magic Theatre and runs through Dec. 4.
White talked to us about playing with language, mining the newspaper for contemporary stories, and the destruction in epic relationships.
What's it like getting ready for the play in San Francisco when you live across the country, working full time?
I'm trying to hold down my 9-to-5, and luckily, I work at the kind of company where although I'm never really off call, I can work remotely. I just have to be diligent. It's hard rehearsing on California time because I'll get up really early and do work stuff and then go rehearse and then come back and do work stuff, but you know, I've got to put food on my family (laughs). I've been a copywriter for different fashion brands for 11 years, and copywriting is just sort of word games and games with syntax and stuff, so it's kind of great because I get to free associate with language all day (laughs). It's helped me with precision and, I think, learning how to pull out phrases and make them sharper and make them pop and learn the technicalities behind doing that. It's been good for me because I'm sort of a nerd at heart about that (laughs).