100 Creatives 2012: Carl Williams

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What He Does: The most famous work of award-winning playwright Carl Williams is a comedy called When Bullfrogs Sing Opera. The play centers on two sisters, one of whom left her little hometown of Bullfrog Waller for the big city and never looked back, and the other, who unexpectedly shows up just as her sister is trying to impress high society. Bullfrogs premiered at the Midland Community Theatre, where it won the McLaren Memorial Comedy Playwriting Competition. Other works include Under a Cowboy Moon, which won the New Play project, Authors Anonymous, which won the Robert J. Pickering Award, over 30 other published works.

Why He Likes It: "What I enjoy most about being a playwright is seeing what I've written come alive through the efforts of the actors and directors of any productions I'm able to attend, and of course the audience response.

"As for what I'm most proud of, I suppose it's being able to make people laugh, though not all my plays are comedies."

What Inspires Him: Any writer will tell you that ideas generally just come out of thin air, and birth themselves into existence as abruptly as the Alien did from John Hurt's chest. That being said, Williams is a big Neil Simon fan, and admires the Hollywood comedies of the '30s and '40s, particularly those directed by Ernst Lubitsch.

If Not This, Then What: "What would I be if I weren't a playwright? Nobody's just a playwright, except for a tiny number such as Edward Albee, who also teaches. I was a social worker for nearly three decades, now retired. I started writing plays in the mid-1990's. Now I'm a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.

My degree was in English from the University of Houston, and long ago I had a number of short stories published in literary journals. After writing several 'literary' novels that were never published, I turned to playwriting and found I had a greater facility for that. But just to prove I could get a book published if I wrote in a particular genre, I wrote a Western novel called Fool's Play that was published last year."

If Not Here, Then Where: A native Houstonian, Williams is comfortable here in H-town, those he does lament our lack of mountains, or hills, or really any natural surface that raises a man higher than about three feet. If he were kicked out of here he'd move to Colorado.

What's Next: Williams continues to plug away at his plays, is attempting a detective novel, and adapting a few of his plays into screenplays.

More Creatives for 2012 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).

Magid Salmi, photographer

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