Q&A with ‘Meet Cuter’ Playwright Hailey Robinson
Q&A Interview with Hailey Robinson by Winter Mallon, Musical Theater ’22. Images credit: Winifred Westergard. Note: Though performers may be unmasked during performances, viewers are still required to wear masks and provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test.
Hailey Robinson is an up and coming playwright in her final year at Cornish College of the Arts. Robinson’s play Meet Cuter, a one-act “Christmas based love story,” is part of Cornish’s New Play Festival, a series of three one-acts written and directed by Cornish students. Her play centers around Holly Carter-Lawrence, “a girl with a big heart and intense parents,” and explores themes of love and acceptance.
Q: Why did you write this show?
A: This show came from three things: (1) my belief that Romeo and Juliet could have survived if they were better at lying, (2) my love of hallmark Christmas movies, and (3) I thought “Meet Cuter” was a cute title and I had to find a plot that fit it.
Q: What’s something you learned from this production process?
From a writer’s perspective, I learned that specificity is a great way to build characters and people tend to love it even if you think you are the only one who will get it. From a life perspective, I learned a lot about trust—trusting my writing, my director, and my cast.
Q: What types of plays do you want to be writing?
A: Funny ones. I want to keep writing quick paced silly little rom coms that use tropes that we have seen before in new ways and allow space in genre for people we don’t usually see at the center of these stories.
Q: What is your artistic style?
A: As a girl raised on Disney fairytales, low-budget romcoms, boy bands, and Taylor Swift, I believe in true love and that is what I write about. Escapism is one of many functions of theater, and it is the one that I tend to lean towards in my work—telling stories in versions of reality much softer than our own. I want someone to leave my work feeling like they just were hugged by an old friend in a cozy cafe. I want my work to be someone’s comfort media.
Q: What do you want to be doing five years from now?
A: I wish I knew. I think my dream right now is to be in a writers room for a sitcom. I know that I can write a good joke and quick paced dialogue is my strongest skill as a writer; I think working on a sitcom would play to those things well. My goal right now is to write a TV pilot for myself or to send to places, but that could change any day. I am just trying to grab opportunities that come my way and build up samples of my writing.
Images credit: Winifred Westergard.
One of my goals in my work is to create a frame that allows any body to step into the worlds of love at first sight and soulmates even if (or especially if) they are not the kind of body that has been heavily featured in these stories for years. Just because I enjoy writing in a reality that feels far away from our own, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t look like the real world. I kind of like to look at my plays like handmade clothes. I make them to fit me because that is the size I know but they can always be altered to fit someone else. I want the same character to be able to be played by people of a wide variety of identities and I hope that each of those bodies influences the story that is being told. I believe everyone is and can be a romantic lead in life and on stage and it’s important to me that my work reflects that.
I write plays for people who wish they had met the love of their life in kindergarten but think they might meet them tomorrow at the post office. For people who aren’t in a relationship but already know what song they want the first dance at their wedding to be. For people who are nostalgic for feelings, they have never had. For people who love the song “King of My Heart” by Taylor Swift and have a favorite member of One Direction. For anyone who calls their romantic partner their soulmate. For stereotypical water signs. For people who would rather craft than go to a party but go to the party anyway in case the love of their life is there. I write plays in pastel colors for optimists and escapists.
The Cornish New Plays Festival features three plays by student playwrights and directors. Catch the last performances this weekend at Raisbeck Performance Hall!
Rat Cage, written by Coco Justino and directed by William Boyer-Montgomery, a double bill with Meet Cuter, written by Hailey Robinson and directed by Gabriel FitzPatrick. Get your tickets here:
- April 22 at 8 p.m.
- April 23 at 7 p.m.
The Acheron’s Drop, written by Chris Rogers and directed by Amaya Zhané. The last show is tomorrow nigh, April 23 at 2 p.m. Get your tickets here.