Alyssa Haddad is a Brooklyn-based playwright participating in Art House's INKubator, a year-long generative new play program.
What was the first production you saw? What do you still remember about the experience?
Hand to God on Broadway. We were forced to take a playwriting class at NYU, where I was writing TV and sketches at the time, and my professor got us free tickets. It was the first time I saw that theatre could be comedic and silly and unpretentious. At that point, all I had known of theatre and plays was Shakespeare taught in high school english classes. It opened up my entire world to what theatre could be.
What production have you seen the most?
The Cher Show, but mainly because I work for Bob Mackie and had to for work. But it was still an incredible experience to be so close to a Broadway production, and see how hard every single person works to create something.
What is inspiring you right now? Who do you look to for inspiration?
Everyone who knows me knows that I am NEVER up for a movie and am typically only consuming plays and sitcoms but the best distraction right now has been catching up on movies I've never seen that are deemed classics. Yesterday, I watched The Birdcage, Planes Trains and Automobiles, and Bridget Jones's Diary. Today's agenda has been Heathers and Moonstruck. When I take a movie break, I've been listening to Chika's new album.
What's the elevator pitch for the play you're working on in INKubator?
When a group of friends takes a DNA test, their identity is called into question.
What inspired you to write the play you're working on?
I'm half Lebanese and half Italian. Depending on a variety of factors I present differently in different rooms, and around different people. I was curious about our relationship to our identity, and for those of us with complicated ones, what it would mean if we found out there was a part of us we didn't know about? Or a part of us we thought we did was missing?
Where are you in the writing process for the play?
Still working out kinks, still writing, still somewhat sane.
Tell us about your writing process.
Depends on the play. Sometimes I start with the ending and work backwards. I usually write very dialogue-heavy plays and the conversation between the characters just flows. This play has been an entirely different writing experience. I'm posing a question to myself and trying to answer it.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Thank you so much to Art House for being such supporters in our corner every step of the way.
Alyssa Haddad is a Brooklyn-based, award-winning (and losing) playwright. Her plays have been presented at the Capital Repertory Theatre, Centenary Stage Company, The Secret Theatre, Theater for the New City, Kraine Theatre, and The Midtown International Theatre Festival where she was the recipient of the Playwright’s Award. She is an alumna of Living Room Theater’s New Play Incubator Lab and New Perspectives Theatre Company’s Women’s Work Play Lab. She was a 2019 Artist-In-Residence and Guest Lecturer at Adams State University’s Rare A.I.R program. She is a frequent columnist for Eleanora Magazine. She holds a BA in History and Writing from The College of Saint Rose and an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.