The Subtext - Brian James Polak

The Subtext. Episode 11: Kemp Powers & Eliza Clark

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A podcast where playwrights talk to playwrights about the things usually left unsaid. In a conversation that dives into life’s muck, we learn what irks, agitates, motivates, inspires and — ultimately — what makes writers tick. 

During the first part of this month’s interview, Brian and Kemp Powers talk about finding a creative home in LA theater and making theater accessible to young people. In the second part, Brian speaks with Eliza Clark about the pros and cons of being a child actor and the time she wrote herself notes from God.

is a playwright, screenwriter and author. His plays include One Night in Miami… (Donmar Warehouse 2016, Baltimore Center Stage 2015, Denver Center for the Performing Arts 2015, Rogue Machine Theatre 2013, three Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle awards, four NAACP Theater Awards, LA Weekly Theater Award), Little Black Shadows, The Two Reds (LATC 2017) and the forthcoming Christa McAuliffe’s Eyes Were Blue (Denver Center commission). He is a resident playwright at Los Angeles’ Rogue Machine Theatre Company and a founding member of The Temblors, a producing playwrights collective at LATC. He is currently developing a dark comedy with fellow playwright John Pollono for FX and producer Nina Jacobson (The Hunger Games, The People vs. OJ Simpson) and is a writer on the forthcoming Star Trek television series (2017). Kemp has toured as a storyteller for the Peabody Award-winning series “The Moth” and was one of 50 storytellers selected for publication in their 2013 debut book, The Moth: 50 True Stories (New York Times bestseller).

clarkELIZA CLARK has had her plays developed at Manhattan Theatre Club, the Studio at Cherry Lane Theatre, Page 73 Productions, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Provincetown Playhouse, The New York International Fringe Festival and Yale University. She has received commissions from SCR and Yale University’s O’Neill Studio. Clark was a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre’s emerging writers group, Youngblood and was the 2010 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow. Her play, Edgewise, was co-produced by Page 73 and The Play Company in 2010 and her play, Recall, was produced by Colt Coeur at The Wild Project in 2012. Both Edgewise and Recall are published by Samuel French. Clark also has written for television including AMC’s “Rubicon” and “The Killing” as well as “Extant,” produced by Steven Spielberg on CBS. She is a writer/producer on a new show, “Animal Kingdom,” airing this summer on TNT. She currently is developing Margaret Atwood’s “Maddaddam” trilogy with Darren Aronofsky for HBO.

Reach The Subtext at, or on Twitter @SubtextPodcast.

Brian James Polak

Brian James Polak

Brian is originally from New Hampshire and he has a tattoo to prove it. Some of his plays have been published in Smith & Kraus anthologies, and his embarrassing childhood poetry has been published in Mortified: Love is a Battlefield. He is a member of The Playwrights Union and received his MFA from the USC School of Dramatic Arts. Go to to learn more about his work. Follow him on Twitter @bejaypea.