Monday, 25 July 2011

I got to meet Tony Kushner!!!

So for those of you who read my In My Mailbox posting for this week, you will already be aware that this past Saturday I had the extreme honour of meeting the fabulous Tony Kushner! Tony Kushner is an award winning playwright best known for his work Angels in America, for which he won the Pullitzer Prize. In fact, Angels in America was adapted into a HBO tv mini-series starring Al Pacino, Emma Thompson and Meryl Streep back in 2003. Not only has Kushner won the Pullitzer, but he was also nominated for an Oscar in 2005 for co-writing the script for the movie Munich.

Luckily for me, my work was holding a theatre conference over the weekend entitled Speed of Ideas, in which Mr. Kushner was the opening speaker. I was so excited to find out that I would get to attend the book signing portion of the event in order to sell copies of his scripts to those attending! Although I had never read any of his scripts leading up to the day, I knew of his awards and works, so I was nonetheless eager for the chance to meet him.

When I first arrived at the theatre where he was speaking I had some pre-concieved notions of what I thought Mr. Kushner would be like. I pictured this Pullitzer prize winning writer to be stiff and arrogent...but boy was I wrong! Tony Kushner is probably one of the most warm-hearted and sincere authors I have ever met! Despite the fact that he was on a strict time constraint (as he had to catch a flight to go meet up with cool is that!?), Tony Kushner made sure that he gave his undivided attention to each and every person who waited in line to meet him!

Rather than sitting formally behind a table, he stood up in the middle of the lobby and greeted each person with a friendly handshake while asking their name. He then proceeded to have a full out conversation for about five minutes with every single person that he met! Rather than talking about himself, he engaged everyone in line, inquiring about where they were from, what they did for a living, and their plans for the future. At one point, he even purchased one of his own plays to give to someone he had met in line who had not brought a book of her own so that he could personalize it for her! I was in complete awe for the entire hour I sat by him!

After he had finally gotten through the line of people waiting to meet him, Mr. Kushner then turned to my friend Greg and I and began to introduce himself! While he signed Greg's copy of Angels in America, and my copy of Homebody/Kabul (which I had resisted in buying all day but couldn't help after seeing how wonderful he was!), he then asked us about what we were studying in school, and what we wanted to do with our degrees once we had finished our Masters. Although I knew he was in a hurry to catch his plane on time, I never once got the sense that he was annoyed with us taking up his time which is something that I will always admire about him!

So pretty much I am now a huge Tony Kushner fan (despite not having read his works), solely because he seems like such a wonderful person! I'm sure like everyone else he has his bad days, but he definitely made my Saturday at work one to remember! The first chance I get I will be cracking open my copy of Homebody/Kabul to see if he is as a great a writer as he is a conversationalist!


Jenny said...

Wow! What and awesome experience! I love when you meet someone you assume will be arrogant and they're totally the opposite. Sounds like a great guy!

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