Essays, Practice, Opinions

Polly Carl

Polly Carl is the director and editor of HowlRound: A Center for the Theater Commons at Emerson College. Her work at HowlRound is focused on promoting practices for 21st Century theater making based on the core principle that theater is for everyone. She is also part of the ArtsEmerson programming team at Emerson College and is developing new works for the stage in that context. She spent two years as Director of Artistic Development at Steppenwolf Theatre and served eleven years at the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis seven as Producing Artistic Director. She regularly teaches, writes, consults, and mentors. In addition to continuing to develop and produce new plays, she now devotes significant energy to researching innovative practices for the theater. Her PhD in Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society is from the University of Minnesota.

 

Polly
Carl

Journalin-depth stories

  • Unlocking the Mystery of Writing a Musical: A Conversation with Carson Kreitzer and Matt Gould
    Recently, I spent two days in a convening learning, among other things, about the partnership between Carson Kreitzer and Matt Gould. I was enchanted by their collaborative energy and I thought their discussion of what it takes to make a new musical these days was pretty instructive. Carson and Matt kindly took some time to talk with me about their new musical, Lempicka, and what it takes to get made.
  • An Interview with 7 Fingers’ Gypsy Snider and Shana Carroll
    When I was eighteen and deciding to do circus, I was involved in a form where you take a risk on a daily basis. I became a trapeze artist. I think that when you take a risk in one corner of your life, it transfers over and makes you more courageous in the rest of your life. … I think that as a spectator to be able to watch something that is choreographic and beautiful and to be transported to a place where you see someone risking their lives in order to do it, and the stakes are that high, it produces an emotional response you can’t achieve in other forms.
  • Sarah Ruhl in Conversation with Polly Carl
    Playwright Sarah Ruhl’s collection of short essays is called "100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write: On Umbrellas and Sword Fights, Parades and Dogs, Fire Alarms, Children, and Theater". The first chapter, “On Interruptions,” appears at the end of this interview.
  • Interview with Michael Garcés
    Polly Carl recently talked with Michael Garcés, artistic director of Cornerstone Theater, about their touring production "California: The Tempest", which revisits ten California communities that were part of ten year’s of Institute Summer Residencies.

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NewCritcriticism & analysis

  • Criticism, Vitriol, and Announcing Our NewCrit Critics
    A couple of months ago we announced that we would add criticism to the HowlRound site. The idea met with both great enthusiasm and deep...
  • Call for Final NewCrit Critic!
    First off, a huge thank you to everyone who applied to write for our NewCrit initiative. We have been impressed by the quality of applicants...
  • Call for Critics! by Polly Carl
    When we started HowlRound a couple of years ago we intentionally avoided reviewing plays. We didn’t want theater artists to wake up in the morning...

Blognews, trends, insights

  • The Trans Artistic Body
    I’m at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in the women’s restroom washing my hands. A woman walks in, “I must be in the wrong place,” she says and walks out. Then she walks back in, “No, you’re in the wrong place,” she says, seething with confidence. I walk out, not sure of my place.
  • A New Year’s Diet for the Theater
    The deleterious effects of criticism are underscored by mainstream writers such as Ben Brantley and Charles Isherwood in the New York Times, who revel in their power to destroy productions they don't like for reasons that are always political, as well as aesthetic, and always masked by the “objectivity” that power bestows on their work. Against such entrenched practices and stereotypes, critical generosity stands as a refreshing and, I hope, principled alternative.
  • Not Planning to Cross Dress This Time…
    The last time I wore a skirt was in 1987 for Junior Parents Weekend in college. In some moment of self-awareness, seeing myself in full...
  • An Apology
    I had an opportunity to talk to Lily this morning and I know she shares in this apology with me. I believe so strongly in...

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