Terrence on Craft

The following excerpt from J. Dakota Powell’s “Elements of Craft,” summarizing a 1993 interview between Buzz McLaughin and Terrence McNally, appeared in The Dramatists Guild Quarterly, Spring 1995

  • Painting of Terrence McNally
    Artwork by James McMullan
  • Painting of Terrence McNally and many other illustrations of various artistic people expressing themselves
    Artwork by James McMullan

Responding to McLaughlin’s customary first question, “where does the initial germ of an idea for a play come from?” Terrence McNally said that for him, a play begins “with an image and a thought.” If the idea stays with him over a period of time—sometimes years—it’s highly probable that the idea will lead to a completed piece of work. For example, the impetus behind A Perfect Ganesh came from the playwright’s brief encounter with two older American women while traveling through India.

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