Saturday, October 16, 2010

Spinal Yanks and AIDS Burgers: an interview with True Blood scribe Alexander Woo

Alexander Woo, a writer and producer on True Blood since Season One, gives APA a glimpse into his writing world.

True Blood scribe and producer, Alexander Woo, visited USC for a conversation with MPW faculty member Prince Gomolvilas, as part of MPW's panel and discussion series featuring prominent professional writers in different genres and form. On his way to the discussion, Woo graciously stopped by to chat with Asia Pacific Arts about his experience as a playwright, his journey into television writing, and his adventures in the world of Southern vampers and mythical critters.

APA: Tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up, and how did you get your start as a writer?
Alexander Woo: My family is Cantonese from Hong Kong, and they came to the United States in the 50s. I was born and raised in New York and suburban New Jersey, and I was in the Creative Writing Program at Princeton, and that's where I first got the idea that I could possibly write professionally. Then, I attended drama school at Yale, and for the next seven years after that, I was "working" as a playwright. I use the term loosely, because no one actually earns an income strictly from playwriting, but that's how I met Prince [Gomolvilas] around 1999.
There was a certain kind of parallel kinship in our styles of writing. We both like to use humor, and at the time, not that many Asian American playwrights used comedy in their work. Back in the day, most of the work I was seeing was quite humorless. When I think about Asian American theatre then, I see a stage, four pools of light, and four Asian women crying: "Why are you doing this to me?!" [he says in a pitch-perfect Cantonese accent, while lifting his chin up to the ceiling and waving his fists in the air]

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