More often than not I'll have music playing in the background when I write (unless I'm writing a song). I find that it takes my characters to unexpected places; I'll often hear them saying things which take me completely by surprise. While I was writing The Italian Prisoner, a one-act play about an Italian opera singer who may or may not have collaborated with the Nazis, I found this clip, a captivating recording by Magda Olivera of Alfredo Catalani's opera Loreley. I played it repeatedly as I began shaping the story. I think that the lines that resulted revealed more about her character and history to me than I would arrived at through any amount of conscious deliberation.