Spotlight On: John McKinney 

Christopher Borg 

This year, John McKinney's play The Chekhov Dreams received 2 nominations for 2013 IT Awards, for Outstanding Original Full-Length Script and Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role.  A great start for New York theatre artist and December brings a lot more than just snow to the playwright.
On December 5, his one-act, Unprimed, about two ex-lovers who run into each other in an art museum and engage in a vicious repartee-fest , opens a 3-week run as a part of the Workshop Theater's "Super Shorts" play festival.
Then another of his one-acts, Unintelligent Life, will be hitting the bookstands as a part of the anthology, Best 10-Minute Plays 2013, published by Smith & Kraus who have ALSO included one of McKinney's monologue from his IT Award nominated, The Chekhov Dreams, as a part of their publication, Best Monologues for Men, 2013.
BORG: Tell me about Unprimed!
MCKINNEY: I'm particularly proud of this play as it represents the kind of plays I most enjoy seeing - seriocomic drama with an accent on language and tempo. The play is about two ex-lovers who run into each other in an art museum and engage in a vicious repartee-fest.  As the banter continues, however, we begin to sense that the verbal combat is really just part of an elaborate game that is both a turn-on and a kind of Sartre-like Hell at the same time.
I first wrote the play as a kind of homage to Pinter, whose mastery of rhythm and subtext always humbles me. Later, however, I began to realize there were parallels between this couple and couples I have observed or been part of in my own life.
I'm also proud to say that this is a Workshop "best of" show, which means my play will be surrounded by other proven pieces which have already had successful runs, written by writers I greatly admire.  
BORG: How does it differ from your play, Unintelligent Life, being published by Smith & Kraus?
MCKINNEY: It's a futuristic comedy that is part sci-fi spoof, part social satire about our first encounter with intelligent life.  Like Unprimed, it also involves some romantic verbal sparring and provides a showcase for some great vocal impressions by the male actor whose body is possessed by an alien life force.
BORG: So how did the monologue from The Chekhov Dreams end up being published in a book of monologues?
MCKINNEY: I invited a drama critic to come see the play with the intention of getting dramaturgical feedback, completely forgetting that he is also an editor for Smith & Kraus.  So the publishing contract came as quite a surprise, especially since the play was still in development.
BORG: How does it make you feel to know that there might be hoards of men using your words to audition for acting schools, etc.?
MCKINNEY: It's funny, a lot of actors ask me that question and it always thrills me to hear it phrased like that.  It's strange to think I'll have this unseen, unspoken connection to all these actors across America who I'll never meet.  Strange, but wonderful at the same time.

For more information about his production of Unprimed, and also tickets and details, the Workshop Theater website.


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