I am a playwright, educator, theatre artist, aspiring novelist, avid tea-drinker, lover of all things British, and occasional knife-thrower.
What can you tell us about Drowning Ophelia (without revealing spoilers)?
Drowning Ophelia is a play that I wrote. Oh, you want more? Well, there’s a bathtub in it. And a girl named Ophelia. Really, though, Drowning Opheliais a dark comedy that explores some difficult themes. I set out to write a play about forgiveness, but writing this play reminded me that forgiveness is a process, not a simplistic action. What I ended up with is a play about a woman who is trying to move on with her life while being constantly hounded by her past. Where she ends up on her journey…you’ll just have to wait and see.
This is the East Coast Premiere of Drowning Ophelia. When and where was the world premiere?
The World Premiere of Drowning Ophelia was produced by Repurposed Theatre under the direction of Ellery Schaar in San Francisco, California, October 2013.
What do you find exciting and challenging about having your play produced locally?
Oh, I love having my play produced locally because my friends and family can come see it! Is that narcissistic? Honestly, Drowning Ophelia is very dear to my heart, and it makes me so happy to share it with people I love. I’m not sure any part of this process has been particularly challenging. Anytime you have a play produced it can be a challenge to let go and allow the director and actors to bring their own vision to the process. I am blessed to have extremely talented collaborators taking care of my “baby,” so letting go hasn’t been a challenge at all.
Have you ever worked with Gaslight Theatre Company before? How has it been working with them on this production?
I’ve had the on-going privilege of writing short plays for Gaslight’s PlayRoom Series the last four years. It’s a great joy to have that artistic outlet every year; the greatest gift you can grant a playwright is to produce their work. In that way, I have been doubly blessed by Gaslight. I’m always excited to see what they do with my work and this time around is no exception. Gaslight is full of kind, talented individuals who have a strong desire to produce excellent theatre. Every member of Gaslight has great respect for their fellow artists, and I have felt nothing but support and enthusiasm from each of them. I would work with them again in a heartbeat.
So it turns out that your husband is directing your play. What's that like?
It’s amazing. My husband and I have been doing theatre together for as long as we’ve known each other; we actually met playing Lydia and Wickham in a college production of Pride and Prejudice. We started our own theatre company in 2006 and have worked together as actor-director, producer-director, actor-actor; you name it. This is our first playwright-director collaboration, and I trust him implicitly because I know he does excellent work. One of my favorite things about this process is that he’s trying to keep some of his directorial choices a “surprise” – but he keeps telling me things he didn’t mean to because we tell each other everything, especially when it comes to theatre. I can’t wait to see the final fruits of this collaboration.
Are there any plans for future productions of Drowning Ophelia?
Hmm…I shall only say that I am currently in talks with two individuals in New York City who are interested, but nothing is set in stone.
What is your favorite part of the process so far?
My husband has assembled an incredible cast and crew, so I think my favorite part will be seeing the show in its final state! But my favorite moment so far was being part of the swimming pool photo shoot. That was just plain fun.
What is your favorite line from the play (and who says it)?
“Because it’s tragic and beautiful. Duh.” Ophelia says it and, as you can tell, it’s not exactly Shakespeare, but it is my favorite.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I am so grateful to the people who are willing to take a chance on my play, not just Gaslight or the cast and crew, but everyone who attends Drowning Ophelia. It’s one thing to spend your time and money seeing a play written by Arthur Miller or – let’s face it – William Shakespeare. To take a chance on a barely-produced play by an unknown playwright is to support not only the arts, but the next generation of writers. So thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will endeavor to be worthy of your good faith.
Drowning Ophelia opens this Thursday, January 28, at the Theater at Lackawanna College and runs through January 31. Head on over to our Up Next page to find out how you can see it!