Review Fix chats with “ME THREE: A GUIDE TO NEW BEGINNINGS” writer Lenny Schwartz, who lets us know what inspired this special work of theatre.
Review Fix: What was the inspiration for this project? What’s the criteria for what you get involved in?
Lenny Schwartz: This play was the hardest one to write. During the height of the #metoo movement in the beginning of 2018, Stan Lee was actually accused of harassment (people might not have remembered it) It was circulating like crazy one day. Regardless of my feelings of Mr Lee, I thought at that point it was a little much as his wife had just passed. So I posted something to that effect on Facebook and it sparked an immediate rage by a lot of people.
So a lot of heated discussions ensued, but I’m happy to say it was respectful. And then somebody said “well why don’t you write a play about it PLAYWRIGHT?!”
And so I did.
The criteria for writing anything is that it has to scare the hell out of me. If it’s scary to me then I have to try for it.
Sexual harassment is obviously a tough topic, and people say that they want to talk about it…but nobody really wants to talk about it. So how do you make them listen, and have them not “tune out” like they do 80 percent of the time now and actually have a real emotion? That was the challenge.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like – choosing, writing, directing?
Schwartz: It’s different on every show…on this one I talked to 25 different women from all walks of life. Their stories informed the script I wrote. There’s real things in it that actually happened, more than people would think.
I realized I was the least qualified to do it. I realized that completely.
I still am.
But you have to try. And you have to be respectful of everyone’s reaction to the play because that’s part of the process.
And have good discussions from it.
A critic said that they thought maybe I was maybe scared of causing a stir, of not wanting to be hated, so I didn’t solve anything in the script.
Let them hate me.
I can’t solve sexual harassment against women and even men. I can only ask the questions. And that’s what the play does. Ask every question it can
And the audience makes up the rest of the process at that point.
Review Fix: What makes Daydream Theatre Company different or special?
Schwartz: We can do original scripts in RI and bring them anywhere. NYC, MA.
Usually I direct my own scripts, however if someone wanted to produce with us and it’s a PASSIONATE script I’m in.
I can’t do stuff that’s been done before or something that someone isn’t ready to die for.
For better or worse, I care about every play I do to exhaustion.
Review Fix: What did you learn/are learning about yourself through this process?
Schwartz: I learned that we should listen to every story about harassment. And we need to re-evaluate our standards in the world.
Every person needs to be recognized and listened to.
Every person is valuable. We are only as good as what is considered the least of us.
Women need to be heard. This is just the beginning. But that equality need to be shared to every last person.
And with that, we need to care about each other.
I have always felt that way but this process really hit home and needs to be reinforced.
To all of the women who helped me with this script, thank you and it’s nothing without you.
Thank you for helping change my world views even more.
Review Fix: What are your ultimate goals for this production or your company for the future?
Schwartz: I hope people see it and discuss and remember this happened. I’m proud and happy it did.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Schwartz: I’m writing and directing a play about Fredric Wertham in November 2019 called A Seduction of the Innocent. And I’m bringing my Ditko play about Steve Ditko, co creator of Spider-Man and Dr Strange to NYC in October.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Schwartz: I want to thank the cast. They are so amazing. Come see the show for them.
I thank them all as they have become my family. I am blessed by all of them.
Come see the show and be part of the ongoing process with this show.