Mig Windows is one of a group of young artists who are beginning to make their mark on the Rogue Valley creative community. Windows has most recently been active as the scriptwriter for Camelot Theatre's "Spotlight on ... the Day the Music Died," and has also been featured at Ashland New Plays Festival, The Oregon Fringe Festival, Ashland Contemporary Theatre, and others. I chatted with Windows about her work and projects.
JG: What combination of events led you to play writing as your primary art form?
MW: The script format has always strongly resonated with me as a creative outlet. Also, being born a strange little girl who loves telling stories, frequent trips to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, not getting cast in plays in high school and needing something to keep me and my friends out of trouble, falling in love with the collaborative process, receiving encouragement from the Ashland New Plays Festival and other outstanding local theater groups over the years, winning some cool awards, Southern Oregon University being a great school and mounting my one-act last year, Rex Young directing it, and of course many, many inspirational and gifted actors who are really fun to write roles for! Those things definitely helped.
JG: How did you develop your particular writing style
MW: It’s a bizarre thing, my writing style. It depends on the project, but generally it’s part horror, part folk tales, part Chekhov, a lot of emotional upheaval ripped from the annals of my past, a healthy smattering of re-examining Shakespeare, some good old fashioned rock-'n'-roll, and a lot of influence from absurdism and sketch comedy. What helped develop this? Mostly prolonged exposure to it. When I was 10, I spent an entire summer devoted to memorizing all of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s sketch comedy catalog and I think that irreverent sense of humor has stuck with me. But above all, it’s really the people you meet. The best thing a writer can do is befriend strange and interesting people!
JG: What response are you most striving for from the audience when you present your work?
MW: I’ve never been 100 percent pleased with an audience’s response to any of my plays. Even at the most magical performances, there have always been talkers and coughers and texters and even sometimes crickets. But after every show, I’ve always learned a new way I can strengthen the material. A new line that doesn’t work. A new two-page monologue that I can tighten into a simple “No thanks.” The audience’s reaction plays a major role in that. Ideally the audience would be emotionally engaged and connecting with the work, of course, because that’s really the primary reason I write it. But if they aren’t, it isn’t the end of the world — just an excuse to rewrite!
JG: Tell us about your current project(s) and what you're most excited about now.
MW: My film production company, ROW 211 FILMS, just completed a short that was two years in the making, called "I Never Will." That will be hitting the festival circuit soon. I also have a web series called "How To Marry A Vampire," currently four episodes in on YouTube. As for play scripts, I’ve been approached about writing the script for a fundraiser that will benefit Southern Oregon University’s new theater building. Also my latest effort, "Within 10 Feet," is still in script-surgery after its first public reading back in April, but I’m planning to have another reading of it soon, and possibly mount an environmental-style production of it, where the actors can lead you on a journey through their various haunts.
—Ashland resident Jeffrey Gillespie is a Daily Tidings columnist, arts reviewer and freelance writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.