When he was about to start writing dialogue, Mr. Stephens found himself in a meeting with the artistic director of the National Theater in London, Nicholas Hytner, who was lamenting the lack of new plays with major roles for actresses in their 40s and 50s.
“I was silently furious with Nick, thinking you can’t impose a scheme on writers like that,” Mr. Stephens recalled during an interview this summer at the National, where he was rehearsing his new play, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.”
“So I sat there and muttered in my head: ‘O.K., so what if the first scene of “Seth Regan” is not about Seth but instead it’s his wife asking her boss for time off because of a family problem? That would be’ ” — he paused for dramatic effect — “ ‘more interesting. And what if it’s Harper running into a young man who she finds herself flirting with, rather than Seth meeting a teenage girl? Much more interesting.’ ”
At the NYTimes...