Cover art of The Before and After Issue: Two chickens - one facing left, the other facing right - each with an egg behind them
The Craft with Audrey Cefaly
Headshot of Audrey Cefaly

Once you have an idea, how do you proceed? Do you take notes? Do you outline? Do you plunge right in?

Outlines, no. Notes, yes. When I “plunge” right in (which happens a lot), I think of it more like an impulse than an “idea.” David Ball’s Backwards and Forwards taught me how to loosen my grip on story. I imagine a theatrically provocative gesture (“something’s on fire” in my play Fin & Euba; “a woman gets pushed out of a boat” in The Gulf) and then I write backwards—literally backwards—from there. I move in an uninterrupted sequence, action by action, in reverse, until the “rise” bottoms out.

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Audrey Cefaly
Audrey Cefaly

s plays include The Gulf (Edgerton, Lammy), Alabaster (Recordbreaking NNPN RWP, Kilroys, Calicchio Prize), Maytag Virgin, The Last Wide Open, and The Story of Walter. She is an Arena Stage Cohort, a DG Traveling Master, and has worked with Cincinnati Playhouse, Signature Theatre, About Face, Aurora, Florida Rep, Eagle, and Vermont Stage.