Q&A with Ann Hughes, playwright

Ann Hughes’ (17C) play, The Younger, was the 2016 Brave New Works Fellow’s Project. Created by inaugural Emory University Playwriting Fellow, Edith Freni, The Fellow’s Project identifies and mentors a promising Emory student playwright who has completed the first draft of a full-length play, culminating in a staged reading during Brave New Works.

We sat down with Ann to discuss her Brave New Works experience working with a professional cast, director Jeremy Cohen, and Edith on the newest draft of her play.

Scroll down to see what she had to say!

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Director Jeremy Cohen, playwright Ann Hughes, and dramaturg Edith Freni in conversation following the presentation of The Younger.
Q: How has the experience been having your play workshopped? 
A: It was amazing! I was so lucky to have such an awesome director, Jeremy B. Cohen, and my mentor Edith Freni helping me through the process. My cast was excellent, and everyone was so supportive. It was a lot of hard work, but I enjoyed every minute of it. 
Q: What have you learned throughout the process?
A: I’ve learned that in most cases less is definitely more. You don’t need to tell your audience who the characters are all the time – the actors will do that.  
Q: What inspired you to write The Younger?
A: I learned about Seneca’s relationship with Emperor Nero in a history of theater class, and thought it would be interesting if Seneca was actually Nero’s father. After doing some research I found out about Agrippina and thought she was fascinating. 
Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced?
A: Some of the cuts were hard to make, not because I felt like I was taking out anything the play needed but because I got attached to a specific line or moment. 
Q: What was most exciting about the process?
A: Realizing how much better my play can be. It’s easy to get lost and not know how to fix things and all of the great feedback is what will allow me to keep working on it. 

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