Getting to Know RNPF Playwrights: Aaron Adair


Rockford New Play Festival: Hi, Aaron. Where are you from and where are you now?

Aaron Adair: I grew up in the smallest county in Texas— only 127 square miles of land and 22 square miles of water — and moved to Chicago in the 1990s. I live just down the street from fictional characters Bob and Emily Hartley. You can figure out the rest by using Google, but please don’t visit without calling first.

RNPF: Congratulations on being selected for the Festival. Can you tell us a little about The Paperboy Comes Before Dawn and what inspired it?

Aaron: Pondering the theme you provided, it occurred to me that nothing screams “beginnings” like newborn babies— especially those within earshot. I started there, threw in an anxious husband, a somewhat blasé wife, a paperboy, and then worked my way backward.

RNPF: Is there a particular playwright, author and/or other artist that you consider a hero or major influence of your own work?

Aaron: I don’t like playing favorites but, for you, I will. Edward Albee. Well, Edward Albee and Tony Kushner. No, wait. Edward Albee, Tony Kushner, Lillian Hellman, Harold Pinter, Tennessee Williams and Jeffrey Sweet. [Adair pauses to think.] But, THE PAPERBOY COMES BEFORE DAWN was inspired by Albee. Maybe that’s the question you should have asked?

RNPF: Sure, next time we promise not to make you pick a favorite. What appeals to you about writing for the stage vs. other forms of dramatic storytelling?

Aaron: Writing for the stage is about economy. I think most playwrights enjoy the challenge of mounting intricate worlds and ideas using very few words. To their credit, poets use even fewer words. But, between you and me, I think this makes most poets somewhat unbalanced.

RNPF: What’s next for you? Any projects you’re currently working on or plans for the near future?

Aaron: Chicago’s Babes With Blades Theatre Company recently finished a run of my evening-length play L’Imbecile. I shamelessly stole the plot of L’Imbecile from Verdi’s opera Rigoletto, which was adapted from Hugo’s play Le roi s’amuse. I’m toying with the idea of ripping-off Puccini next. If you want to know how this develops, visit me at

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