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ON THE RISE 2012

A playwright on the rise: Walt McGough

(Saglio Photography, Inc.)

It was during Walt McGough's junior year at the University of Virginia that he initially turned his hand to playwriting. The result was "First Person Singular,'' which revolved around a company that offered a unique service: It allowed customers to hire a narrator for their lives.

"I still love it,'' says McGough, now 27. "It was a crazy, door-slamming kind of farce.''

If hired by McGough today, that narrator would certainly have a tale to tell - and it would be about doors opening all over the place.

Consider just the past few months in the life of this playwright, a Pittsburgh native who lives in Brookline and works as an administrative assistant at SpeakEasy Stage Company. In October, Boston Playwrights' Theatre premiered "The Farm,'' McGough's darkly gripping one-act drama about a spy who tries to come in from the cold, with a scarred psyche and a CIA debriefer demanding an explanation for the mysterious death of an underling.

McGough got the kick-start he needed to write "The Farm'' when he was studying for a master's degree in playwriting at Boston University. His teacher, the playwright Melinda Lopez, issued an assignment to "write the first 10 pages of the play you've been putting off writing.'' Once he got started, he couldn't stop.

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In November, McGough married his longtime girlfriend, Annie Cardi, a writer of young adult fiction. In December, his inventive comedy "Priscilla Dreams the Answer,'' which had earlier won the audience award for best comedy at the Capital Fringe Festival, in Washington, D.C., served as the debut production of Fresh Ink Theatre Company in Boston.

Currently, he is in talks with the Orfeo Group about a possible production this year of his latest play, "Paper City Phoenix.''

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It's about a young woman who begins channeling the entire Internet after she is hit by lightning. Not a bad topic for a creative young dramatist who hopes to keep capturing lightning in a bottle.


Don Aucoin can be reached at aucoin@globe.com.