Playwright INTERVIEW 7

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JJ Barnes The Table Read

Written by JJ Barnes

I interviewed author, poet and playwright, Cendrine Marrouat, about her career, her writing, and her latest play, In The Silence Of Words.

Cendrine Marrouat, writer of In The Silence Of Words
Cendrine Marrouat, writer of In The Silence Of Words

Tell me a bit about who you are.

My name is Cendrine Marrouat. Born and raised in southern France, I moved to Canada in2003. I am a photographer, poet, multi-genre author of 30+ books, and creator / co-creator of several artistic projects and artistic genres.

In 2019, fellow artist David Ellis and I founded Auroras & Blossoms and PoArtMo; we also created two poetry forms together: the Kindku and Pareiku. Individually, I am the founder of the PoArtMo Collective and the creator of the Sixku, Flashku and Reminigram.

I write in French and English and have worked in many different fields in my 18-year career, including translation, language instruction, journalism, art reviews, and social media.

When did you first WANT to write your play?

Plays have always been of great interest to me, both as a reader and writer. I studied many of them during my time in high school and my years as an English major at university.

Theatre is the perfect medium to open conversations about challenging topics. It’s all about the “show, not tell” approach.

When did you take a step to start writing In The Silence Of Words?

In 2006, when I started reading books on playwriting.

How long did it take you to complete In The Silence Of Words from the first idea to release?

I do not remember exactly, but I would say about ten months. And while I showed it to several people back then, I only felt ready to publicly release it eleven years later, in 2018.

What made you want to write In The Silence Of Words?

I wanted to trigger positive conversations around a few important topics, including suicide and the importance of mental wellbeing.

What were your biggest challenges with writing In The Silence Of Words?

Strangely enough, I do not recall encountering any major challenge. I had done a lot of research before even beginning the writing process, so I knew where I was going.

In the silence of words
In The Silence Of Words by Cendrine Marrouat

Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?

The play is loosely based on some major events in my life. Cassandra Phillips has a little bit of me in her.

Who would be your dream performer in that role and why?

Natalie Portman, one of my favorite actresses! She excels at portraying conflicted characters, giving them real-life depth. V for Vendetta is one of my favorite movies!

Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?

I wrote the play to be a reflection of what happens in real life. And more often than not, we are our worst enemy…

What is the inciting incident of In The Silence Of Words?

The suicide of Cassandra’s mother. The play starts on the day of the funeral.

What is the main conflict of In The Silence Of Words?

In the Silence of Words has a simple, yet complex premise: How the suicide of a loved one triggers chain reactions and force those who are left behind to deal with grief.

When writing your play, do you visualize staging, or do you consider that a separate job?

I do not think it is possible to write a play without visualizing everything. In the case of In the Silence of Words, I spoke every bit of dialogue before typing it. I moved with every character. When I was done writing the play, I also re-read it as if I were my own readers to try and understand how they would react to the whole plot.

Did you plot your play in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?

Of all the genres I have dabbled into, I can say that theatre is the only one that requires careful plotting. Things may not always go according to plan and new ideas may arise, so it’s fine to improvise some scenes. But you should not depart from the established course too much, as you are likely to create loopholes. You also run the risk of ruining the “narrative” logic.

Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did In The Silence Of Words need?

After I was done writing In the Silence of Words, I asked several editors / proofreaders and trustworthy friends to take a look at the play and advise me on how to improve it. Their excellent feedback helped make the story more impactful. However, the consensus was that the story did not need much editing at all. Everyone agreed that the play made a lot of sense and was very relatable. They could picture the whole play in their minds!

Has your latest play been produced, or are you still in development? Tell me a bit about how that process is going.

In the Silence of Words has never been produced. But I would love to direct it one day!

What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a play?

Writing a play is a great, albeit unique experience. However, it is not for everybody. My first piece of advice would be to read extensively on playwriting, as well as study your favorite plays to understand their inner workings.

Can you give me a hint about any further plays you’re planning to write?

I do not think I will write another play. The only reason why I would change my mind is if I found a writer with whom to collaborate. I have always enjoyed co-creating with other artists!

I have released many other books over the years. My main focus has always been poetry and multimedia projects.

And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

Of course! I have worked very hard to be where I am and would not change a thing.

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