Richard Greenberg

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  • Born: February 22, 1958
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Playwright









Richard Greenberg is an American playwright and television writer known for his subversively humorous depictions of middle-class American life. He has had more than 25 plays premiere on and off-broadway in New York City and eight at the South Coast Repertory Theatre (Costa Mesa, California), including The Violet Hour, Everett Beekin, and Hurrah at Last.

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By the time I started writing plays, Broadway was never an expectation, so it's never been central. Time
For some reason, 1968 is a touchstone year for me. I think it was the first year I felt fully conscious.
Frankly, seeing my plays with an audience is something I do with gritted teeth; I find the experience very difficult. I love the moment when you have just the dress rehearsal, when no one's there; that's kind of the peak to me. When people start filing in, I like to file out. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I came to New York, and it was fascinating and intimidating and yielding, and all the stuff it's supposed to be. But whatever the abstract essence I was seeking, I couldn't find exactly that.
I do think the past changes at a slower rate. It sits a little more still for its portrait.
I don't write a play from beginning to end. I don't write an outline. I write scenes and moments as they occur to me. And I still write on a typewriter. It's not all in ether. It's on pages. I sequence them in a way that tends to make sense. Then I write what's missing, and that's my first draft.
I like the Mets. I'm interested in the Mets.
I started in the era when Hollywood reveled in being the most cost-inefficient industry on the planet. They used to commission a hundred scripts for every one they made.
I think I can be an intimidating energy in the room. I think I come in with an aura of wanting results because as the playwright, I know how it goes, and there's the thought, 'Why can't they catch up?'
I think I'm a writer, and it's my job. People in other professions are expected to do their jobs all the time. Why shouldn't I? Time
I want to be a playwright the way people are bank tellers. I want to keep doing it and have it go steadily and smoothly.
I was formed by 'The Forsyte Saga' marathon. There was something about seeing all those events telescoped that was unbelievably moving: that sense of time as something that can be tinkered with. Time
I'm sort of anti-Aristotelian. I want to get an entire life onstage while conveying a sense of how time feels, how unstoppable it is, and how we don't really know what's going on because as we're trying to weave, it's weaving us. Life ;Time
It seems that the hurdle you have to jump over is everyone's informed opinion. When you're a young playwright, you're probably too precarious in your own technique to understand that when these seemingly informed opinions are contradicting each other, it becomes this paralyzing monolith.
It's weird, because I don't feel prolific. I don't write anything for months at a time. Time
My friends and family have been so well trained that they know I really mean it when I say that I don't care if the review is good, because that can be as dangerous as when it's bad. It's less demoralizing, but it can be just as confusing. Families, Children & Parenting
My mother wanted me to be a writer. But she was a child of the Depression and never understood that she wasn't poor. So, you know, the idea of not having a job, it would creep through. But she tried very hard to be subtle about it.
My usual route is, I do a play at South Coast Rep, then there's time between and I revise it, and then I take it to New York. Time
People talk about alienation in the city. Diners are a place where you feel comfortable, an extension of your house.
The idea of a rupture between acts occurs in a number of my plays.
When we watch a play under the standard circumstances, we've lost volition and time is passing. A still play feels like an existential threat. Time
When you're writing plays, it's possible to believe you don't have any real world skill. When you're adapting, it is really all about the mechanics, so you feel closer to, I don't know, an accountant or someone who has a body of information. It's not all about temperament.
You do think, if you have your druthers, 'I want to sort of be, not anonymous, but unknown'. But you don't have your druthers in life, do you? Life

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