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Edgy and Far Out but Not Unsafe

A talk with visiting playwright Adam Szymkowicz

Adam Szymkowicz knows a thing or two about playwriting. In addition to his extensive body of work — 25 plays, covering topics from love to arson to organized clown crime — he has interviewed more 1,000 playwrights on his blog ( His plays, including Pretty Theft, Rare Birds, and Clown Bar, have been performed across the globe. On March 14-15, he’ll be in Las Vegas for a series of events with the Dramatists Guild Foundation Traveling Master’s program.

What will you be doing here? I’m doing some guest teaching, and we’re doing a reading of Clown Bar 2 that Majestic Rep commissioned.

Have you been to Vegas before? Twice. Once for a reading of Mercy. The other time was a group vacation after working on a TV show. I saw Jersey Boys and walked around the Strip a lot. I really love the insane architecture and miniature landmarks from other cities.

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Which of your plays do you think would resonate most with a Las Vegas audience? Clown Bar has done well here. Maybe because it’s edgy and far out but still not unsafe.

You’ve written a lot of plays — what’s your secret for being productive yet maintaining quality? I’ve been doing it a long time, and I don’t like it when I’m not writing, so I try to always be writing — which, of course, I can’t do. But when I can, I’m happiest.

Are you always in the midst of writing something? I wish it were that way, but usually there is a pause between finishing one thing and starting another. But I’m always thinking about a lot of things I want to write and taking notes.

Your plays tend to deal with dramatic subjects, such as dating, loss, murder, mental health, etc., yet most are categorized as comedies. I naturally write humorously, for better or worse. When it’s done right, the humor lifts and supports the darker and more serious parts.

The topics and characters in your plays are extremely varied — where do you draw inspiration? Most of my plays are about love.

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Playwright Adam Szymkowicz

March 14: Q&A, workshop with Las Vegas Writer’s Lounge, 3p, at Left of Center Gallery; writing workshop,7p, PublicUs, $5 donation suggested. March 15: Public reading of Clown Bar 2, plus talkback, 10p, Majestic Repertory Theatre, free,