New Pages Spotlight: Jacqueline Goldfinger

Hello, Azuka friends and family!

Yesterday, Maura, leader of our writers group New Pages, took us through what the group is all about. Read it here!

Now, we put the spotlight on the playwrights. In trying to decide the format of this series, I ultimately figured it would be best to pretty much let them have the floor. They’re very good with words, after all. We begin today with, appropriately, an artist who’s no stranger to Azuka (but she’ll speak to that!) Here’s a spotlight on JACQUELINE GOLDFINGER.

Goldfinger in Old City, Philly, PA.jpg

Geographically, where did you start out, and where are you now? “Born and raised in Tallahassee, Florida; Now in Center City, Philadelphia; I teach MFA Playwriting and Dramaturgy at Temple University.”

Tell us about your writing history, both personal and professional. “I began writing stories and poetry as a child, and matured into playwriting in my early 20s. I started by self-producing at Fringe Festivals and in small houses, then, when I moved to Philadelphia a decade ago, my work began being picked up by professional theaters; starting with Manhattan Theatre Works in NYC and Azuka Theatre in Philadelphia, then moving beyond the northeast. My work has been developed abroad at The National Theatre in London and the Disquiet Conference in Lisbon, but I will have my first international production this fall, at The Court Theatre in New Zealand. They will be producing the Azuka developed and premiered play, THE ARSONISTS.

Steven Rishard and Sarah Gilko in THE ARSONISTS (2017); photo by Johanna Austin /

Steven Rishard and Sarah Gilko in THE ARSONISTS (2017); photo by Johanna Austin /

Like the grave robbers and fairies cast by Victorian magic lanterns, I believe the shadow of the play is all that we ever see. The substance of the play lives in the air between the performer and the audience, it is that thing that appears only in performance in that magical moment between breaths and bodies on-and-off stage. Then it slips itself into the pockets of the audience, who carry that experience around with them. My hope is that the substance of the play stays in their pockets and informs how they move through the world, as the literal weight of a rock would change their stride. But before the magic of the play comes the work. I always begin by asking three questions: (1) What’s the story? (2) Who do I want to fight? (3) Who do I want to fuck? Asking these questions keeps me honest about what viscerally speaks to me, and what story I most need to tell in the moment. Whether a story with the fuckers or the fighters or both, I unearth a messy, uncompromising truth that spins itself into the soul of the play.”

Goldfinger gives a speech at an Independence Foundation Fellowship event

Goldfinger gives a speech at an Independence Foundation Fellowship event

Why do you think a group like New Pages is important? “I work best in community. New Pages gives me the opportunity for consistent feedback so that my work progresses more quickly and efficiently. I prefer the company of playwrights and dramaturgs during development, especially during the infancy of a play, because these unique artists cherish the idea or scene fragment or character description with unfulfilled promise, and understand that it takes time to grow out of its eczema, over-sized ears, and sharp elbows.”

Anything else you want to share or that you feel is important to your work? “If you are a playwright or aspiring playwright, I hope that you will check out my monthly online magazine, PAGE BY PAGE, a new play resource. We have subscribers who are at all stages in their careers, who learn and grow together both online and in-person.”

Goldfinger Page By Page Logo.png

Learn more about and support PAGE BY PAGE here:

Thank you, Jackie! As Maura mentioned yesterday, you’ll get a chance to hear some of Jackie’s new work next season amongst our three shows.

Check back next week for more Azuka extras and to hear from our next New Pages playwright. And happy weekend!

- Lucas