Playwright Jenifer Nii and actor April Fossen have previously collaborated on SUFFRAGE (2013) and THE WEIRD PLAY (2018). In many ways, they are each other’s muses.Their latest collaboration, a solo play called THE AUDACITY Jenifer wrote specifically for April, premieres via online streaming March 28-31 (for ticket holders) and April 1-5 (free to the public). We asked them to share five things they admire about each other.

Five Things Jenifer Nii Admires About April Fossen

Her courage: April is one of the bravest actors I’ve ever had the chance to see on stage. She will push every limit to honor the play, which enables writers to dig deeper, ask better questions and write more creatively. Writers pray for actors like April Fossen.

Her investment: It is obvious that April does so much work on her own to understand and inhabit the characters she plays. Because she goes “all in,” her characters are people – nuanced and complicated.

Her range:  Period pieces, modern pieces, weird pieces. Comedies and tragedies and everything in between. April can do it all, with astounding skill. ASTOUNDING.

Her professionalism: April comes PREPARED, from day one. I have never – not ONCE – seen April “ad lib,” paraphrase, or approximate her lines. We writers are (or should be) really purposeful about what we put on the page. April treats each script like she expects we are, and that what’s on the page matters.

That “thing”: April makes what’s on the page BETTER. She can make a flawed script less amateurish, more textured, and just plain better. Somehow it seems like she sees the intention behind the imperfect script, and manages to find a way – while still honoring the mess we’ve put on the page – to present the story and the character we intended/hoped to write. I don’t know how she does it, but I am so grateful.

Five Things April Fossen Admires About Jenifer Nii

Jenifer is stealthily smart. She’s so humble, you’d never know it. But when you start asking her questions about something, the wealth of knowledge she can impart is astounding. If there’s ever a thing she doesn’t know about, she researches it until it’s so deep in her bones it starts coming out of her fingers when she writes.

Her language is (no exaggeration) Shakespearean. It is precise. It is complex. It can be weaponized. It has rhythm and tone and character written into the words she chooses. It presents a challenge that makes me bring my best and make it better.

She observes (and, I think, experiences) life with granular detail. She notices everything. She feels everything. And that makes it possible for her to write deeply about life and the human experience.

She never stops trying to make things better. To improve herself as a writer, to improve the play she’s working on, to improve the experience for everyone else working on it. To an admirable fault, I think she’s truly never satisfied.

On a very personal level, I know she loves and trusts me. Having a playwright write a script with me in mind is a gift without measure. Knowing that playwright completely trusts what I will do with her words and her stories, is…sacred.

 

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