Right Brain: Craig Sodaro
When Craig Sodaro was in eighth grade, he read his writing assignment to the class. “I don’t have any idea what my topic was, but I remember deciding to make it funny,” Sodaro said. “And I must have succeeded because I do remember the kids and my teacher laughing a lot as I read the essay. That response, I think more than anything, made me want to be a writer.”That’s when he decided he’d become a professional writer. He began writing stories, then plays – and just as quickly, he began collecting rejection slips. “I think if I had kept all my rejection slips over the years, I could easily have wallpapered the main terminal at DIA. But I didn’t stop to think about rejection and pinned my hopes on that one piece that might eventually sell.”It took him about 10 years to learn the craft of playwriting before he sold his first full-length play, a mystery called “Tea and Arsenic.” And now, 30 years later, he gets up each day and does what he’s always wanted to do – write.Saturday and Sunday, his play “Swiss Family Crusoe” runs at 2 p.m. at the Breckenridge Theatre. It’s part of KidsPlay, the Backstage Theatre’s workshop for first- through eighth-graders. It features 24 local kids in a full-length comedy that begins when a family takes a vacation and becomes shipwrecked on Villagain’s Island. For $3 tickets, call (970) 453-0199.Why write?
I write because I have to. It’s like eating and sleeping. I have to put all the characters and stories in my head onto paper, or I might explode. What do you convey through writing?I like to make people laugh. It’s good medicine, and I hope when casts perform one of my plays, they have fun doing it. Laughter is an obvious, gratifying response from an audience – and not an easy one to achieve.I’ve also written very serious plays dealing with child abuse, family breakdowns, intolerance and guilt. These plays are not fun to do in the same way a comedy is, but I hope they open an audience’s eyes to what might be, rather than what is. ChallengeThe biggest challenge is understanding how long it takes publishers and editors to review a writer’s work – even editors with whom I have a good working relationship. It can take up to a year or more to get a response.
One time a theater called and asked if it could present a play I had sent it four years earlier. The only way a writer can deal with this is to have patience and, more importantly, to keep writing even while waiting for a response. Most proud of?The fact that I now make most of my living writing. Staying freshI travel – especially to big cities where I’m surrounded by millions of people and thus millions of stories. I also stay motivated by reading and watching plays and movies.
When you’re not writing?I read, hike, watch movies, travel, cook, direct KidsPlay, keep up with the lives of four grown kids, and occasionally help my wife, Sue, correct third-grade homework papers when she gets swamped. Craig SodaroType of Art: PlaywritingHours per week dedicated to art: 40 to 50Favorite artists: Agatha Christie, Elizabeth George, Arthur Conan Doyle, Alfred HitchcockSensitivity: 7
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