James Elden's Playwright's Spotlight

Purging Emotions, Deus Ex Machina, and Making the Case to Study Playwriting in Academia - Playwright's Spotlight with Luke Yankee

February 06, 2024 James Elden/Luke Yankee Season 3 Episode 6
James Elden's Playwright's Spotlight
Purging Emotions, Deus Ex Machina, and Making the Case to Study Playwriting in Academia - Playwright's Spotlight with Luke Yankee
Show Notes

Had the pleasure of chatting with playwright and son of actress Eileen Heckart (Bus Stop), Luke Yankee, about growing up in the world of Hollywood and his journey to be coming a playwright. It's a wonderful interview that touches on his relationships with not only the Hollywood greats but also the pioneers of the theatre (including Steven Schwartz, Beth Henley, David Lindsay-Abaire, and David Henry Hwang) and how they affected his growth as an artist and craft of playwriting. We touch on his delving into playwriting, winning The Stanley Award, his inspirations and writing style, receiving notes and getting bad feedback, knowing and breaking the rules of playwriting as well as the importance of script analysis and criticism. We also talk the benefits of making your work more personal, making characters sound different, learning from the Greeks and other classics, and what he views as the most important element of playwriting. Also, if you're a long time listener to the podcast, Luke may very well have ended the debate on whether or not it's worth studying playwriting in academia. Overall, Luke was is absolutely charming and delivers a plethora of knowledge about the craft. Enjoy!

Luke Yankee is a writer, director, producer, actor, and teacher. His play, "The Last Lifeboat" (published by Dramatists Play Service) has had more than 50 productions in North America and has won over 60 regional awards. His play, "Marilyn, Mom & Me" was the recipient of the Southwest Theatre Productions Sponsor's Award, the Moondance Stageplay Award, and the Writer's Digest Award for Best Play. His play, “Confessions of a Star Maker” was recently a finalist for the Screencraft stageplay competition and was chosen for the Last Frontier Theatre Conference. Other plays include "A Place at Forest Lawn", "The Man Who Killed The Cure" and "The Jesus Hickey".

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Links mentioned in this episode -

The Stanley Award -

International City Theatre -

The Art of Writing for the Theatre -

Play Submissions Helper -

William Inge Theatre Festival -

The O'Neills -

UC Riverside MFA Program -

Socials and Website for Luke Yankee -


FB - www.facebook.com/luke.yankee
IG - @lukebyankee
X/Twitter - @lukebyankee

Websites and socials for James Elden, PMP, and Playwright's Spotlight -

Punk Monkey Productions -

PLAY Noir -

PLAY Noir Anthology –

James Elden -
Twitter - @jameseldensauer
IG - @alakardrake
FB - fb.com/jameseldensauer

Punk Monkey Productions and PLAY Noir -
Twitter - @punkmonkeyprods
                  - @playnoirla
IG - @punkmonkeyprods
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FB - fb.com/playnoir
        - fb.com/punkmonkeyproductions

Playwright's Spotlight -
Twitter - @wrightlightpod
IG - @playwrights_spotlight

Playwriting services through Los Angeles Collegiate Playwrights Festival

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