Playwriting Student McFeely Sam Goodman Discusses His Thesis Play

April 25, 2016

Current student McFeely Sam Goodman’s thesis play,Afterward, ran at the Ford Studio at Pershing Square Signature Center on April 21, 23 and 24. Written largely in the first person from his experience as a childhood cancer survivor, Afterward mixes medical memoir with scenes which use superhero movie tropes to explore the themes of illness, trauma, survivorship, and anxiety.

Can you tell me a little bit about the origin of this play? Where did the idea come from? Did you work on it in class?
 
This piece grew out of a shorter piece that I wrote for Collaboration class. Philip Seymour Hoffman had just died and I had had this experience right before starting at Columbia that had really shaken me, and I couldn’t get this thing out of my head that Hoffman had said not long before he died, which sort of combined in my head with this thing I had read that Jimmy Buffet had said in an interview, both of which resonated with this way I was feeling at that time and turned into this short dance piece about mortality and fear and joy. Afterward is a sort of longer, less fearful meditation on the same experience or set of experiences.

Who is your mentor? Why did you want them as your mentor?
 
My mentor is Karinne Keithley Syers. I asked her to be my mentor both because of her experience as a dancer and a choreographer and because I think she has an approach to writing and a way of thinking about writing that really makes sense to me and that I thought was especially well-suited to a piece like this, which doesn’t have characters or scenes or dramatic action in the usual sense.

Read more about Goodman and Afterward here. Tickets for Afterward are free and can be reserved here.