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 brianjamespolak.com to learn more about his work. Follow him on Twitter @bejaypea.

The Subtext. Episode 19: Alena Smith

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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. 


In this episode, Brian and Alena talk about attending a progressive grade school in upstate NY, and how that reshaped Alena’s concept of rebellion. Alena’s journey has taken her from precocious, adolescent avant-garde theatre maker to rising TV writing star, but the theatre clearly never leaves her mind.


static1-squarespaceALENA SMITH is a playwright and TV writer, recently named one of Variety’s 10 TV Writers to Watch. She is a writer and producer on Showtime’s The Affair, and previously wrote for HBO’s The Newsroom. Her most recent play, Icebergs, will premiere this fall at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. An original television series she created is in development with Anonymous Content.

Alena created the Twitter character @TweenHobo (featured in Paste, The Believer, A.V. Club, and elsewhere); Tween Hobo: Off The Rails, her novel based on the account, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2014. Her essays about writing for theater, TV, and the internet have been published in Grantland and the Los Angeles Review of Books.

She received her MFA in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama, and studied philosophy at Haverford College and the University of Oxford.

AlenaSmith.com


Reach The Subtext at thesubtextpodcast@gmail.com, or on Twitter @SubtextPodcast.

Shakesqueer – A Queer, Feminist Reading

“We know from his plays that he struggled intimately with the social conditions that produce identity in the first place. A queer reading of Shakespeare dwells not on the orientation of the man but rather of the works. And Shakespeare’s works are queer AF.”

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