Playwright Profile

Weston Gaylord

A Long Time Coming

ANPF 2023 Winner

October 20 and 22, 2023

Playwright Bio

Play Details

Weston Gaylord

Currently residing: Los Angeles, CA

Grew up in: Seattle, WA

Creative beginnings: There's a home video of me at the age of four bouncing on the bed and proclaiming, “INTRODUCING…The Magic Trick Spider Dance of Circus Love!” I’ve been performing on stage and making up stories for as long as I can remember. Seeing shows at the Seattle Children’s Theater was an early inspiration — miraculous original plays and literary adaptations that made me excited about what theater could do. 

Playwriting empowerment and nurturance: My grandfather Franz was a lover of theater, an usher at Berkeley Rep and a longtime member of a play-reading group. He nurtured my creative impulses and helped me write mini Christmas plays as a kid: living-room adaptations of The Polar Express and other favorite stories. He’d mail me clippings of theatrical reviews and enjoyed discussing deeply whatever we saw together. More recently, participation in writers’ groups at The Vagrancy and the Geffen Playhouse has been instructive and empowering — I depend so much on the insight and feedback of fellow writers.

Writing Process: It’s a slow process of thinking, making notes, assembling ideas and associations, before I start drafting. I speak lines aloud to myself a lot to hear the rhythm and cadence. I write first drafts in longhand and find myself already starting to revise and cut as I transfer them to the computer. I’m not a night owl—I get my best work done between 7-9:30am.

The inspiration behind your play: In 2020, the Vagrancy Playwright’s Group had a call for new play pitches under the general theme of “History Repeats Itself.” This immediately made me think of the Future Library, which had been on my mind since I learned about it in 2014. I was excited to use the Future Library premise as a way to work through my own climate anxiety and imagine what a post-disaster world might look like. I was inspired by the format of Lucas Hnath’s documentary play ​'Dana H' and the superimposed time periods of Tom Stoppard’s ​'Arcadia,'​ as well as the ambiguous utopias and post-apocalyptic visions of Ursula K. Le Guin’s 'Always Coming Home' and Lois Lowry’s 'The Giver.'

Favorite moment or line: At one point, the protagonists Ponderosa and Alder encounter a man whose job is to scuba-dive beneath the ocean, taking 3D scans of submerged cities. I like his description of what those dives are like.

Most looking forward to at ANPF: This play has never been read in front of a live in-person audience, and I’m very excited to have the time with actors in rehearsal to hone the pacing and clarity, and to hear the words aloud in space. Also, I love the Pacific Northwest deeply and am excited to spend a week in Ashland. 

Hope for audience takeaway: I hope audiences leave the play feeling a stronger connection to people who are more than a few generations past them in the future, thinking of those people as real and deserving of our empathy & consideration, and thinking on a longer timescale than their own lifetimes. And I hope it might make them want to reach out to their own parents or grandparents, and learn more about the parts of their loved ones’ lives they may have overlooked.