The Interview Project: Milo Cramer
Interview by Will Arbery
April 8, 2020
"Quarantined with my family in the woods. We made these diy tyvek masks to donate to a hospital." —Milo Cramer
1. What fills your days?
9-1 CREATIVE WRITING
1-2 LUNCH?? BREAK
6-8 SOCIAL MOMENT, DINNER PREP
8+ MANDATORY FAMILY MOVIE AND GAME RITUAL
2. What is your relationship to work during crisis?
Sometimes I’m like “fuck mandatory productivity, let yourself WANDER” — other times I’m like “my mom and sister are working 40+ hours a week from home and here I am pretending to write poems”
3. What or who is inspiring you right now? What or who is beautiful?
I’m quarantined with my family & spending an unprecedented amount of time with my siblings & the deep dense intimate goofy endless private vocabulary (treasure trove) of jokes & associations we share (a secret language!) is the most fertile soil of all & is literally what qualifies me to be an artist.
4. What are you dreaming of making, once we can gather in rooms again?
I want to make a play where the whole play is just one lonely, awkward, high-stakes, timed 90 minute Zoom tutoring session (we see the characters sit alone at their sad computers but don’t see their screens) (or maybe we doooo finally see their shiny screens projected at the end?) between an unqualified, first-day-on-the-job, cash-desperate private tutor & and a depressed, ADHD, 16-year-old high school C-student & her hopelessly aspirational mom & the whole play is them all fighting over and sentence-by-sentence revising ONE cookie-cutter five-paragraph essay the kid needs to write for English class (due tomorrow!!!) about some definitive American novel (?? TBD) and the themes of the essay are sometimes hot-button political and sometimes abstractly humanistic BUT the big obstacle is the kid’s grammar which is just illegibly weird. Incoherent conversations about the most important things. Ultimately the mom rewrites the essay word-for-word, the tutor gets paid a lot and then gets fired, and the kid gets a B.
5. What would you say to your younger self — the one without many connections in theater, the one without a Playwrights Horizons commission — if your younger self were confronting or considering a future as an artist during this time of tremendous uncertainty?
You should do the thing you want. Protecting your daily personal creative practice — even though it's extremely vulnerable, useless, stupid, embarrassing, and hard — is the thing that actually brings meaning & joy. I would also say that no one needs you to be a playwright, and if you can't write a play it's OK.
Milo Cramer is the recipient of a Jody Falco and Jeffrey Steinman Commission for Emerging Playwrights.