Introducing: 2015 ONSTAGE Playwright Beth Kander

Learn more about our fabulous playwrights, and then join us at the Prescott Center for the Arts in Prescott, AZ this Thurs, Sat and Sunday (Aug 6, 8, 9) for the OUTSIDE THE LINES Festival!  Tickets Available HERE

Beth KanderBeth Kander sent us a delightful little piece about the fleetingness of life titled EPHEMERA that tugged at our heartstrings in a totally unexpected way.  It’s about a cat (but not really) and about hope (really) and about those weird people you meet at the bus stop.   And we love it!  EPHEMERA stars Mikki Russ and Amber Bosworth, and is directed by Tiffany Antone.

LBDI:  Why did you decide to submit your work to this year’s ONSTAGE Project?

BETH: My worldly friend Don sent me a link to the Little Black Ink page and the ONSTAGE opportunity, saying “I think you should submit something here.” I read through the website, the philosophy, the ideas, and thought: “Y’know what? Don’s right.”

LBDI:  Describe your writing space…

BETH: Ideally, my writing space is a corner in an almost-empty coffee shop, my computer in front of me, a warm mug beside it, hours to write and create. That’s sometimes the reality– but my writing space is also sometimes my desk at home, against a window, pets at my feet and dishes being ignored; sometimes it’s at airports between flights, sitting on the floor, wherever I can find an outlet; sometimes it’s on my phone while riding the train, thumb-typing out notes to capture ideas before they escape. A writer has to be able to write anywhere. But the ideal sure is nice, when it works out.

LBDI:  If you could be any literary character, who would you be?

BETH: That’s a toughie, because most of my favorite literary characters don’t exactly have situations I’d want to be in (hello, Katniss Everdeen). So I might not want to be my favorite literary character, so much as I’d like to be a happy, fulfilled, creative, interesting but not-too-traumatized literary character. With that in mind, let’s go with … Jo March, maybe? Yes. The more I think about it, yes. Absolutely. Jo March.

LBDI:  What was your first play titled/about?

BETH: I wrote my first play when I was fourteen. It was called “Through Rachel’s Eyes” and it was about a young girl’s friendship with an elderly blind neighbor named Rachel. The best thing about the script was Rachel’s elderly gang of poker buddies (all women). When the show was produced, when I was about 15, I played one of the geriatric poker ladies. I wore a hot pink track suit and it was awesome.

LBDI:  Which theatricians do you admire and what about them inspires you?

BETH: Theatrician – what a great word! Sarah Ruhl is a playwright-hero of mine because she seems to have it all– a happy home life, a successful writing career, a Genius grant, interesting ideas. I also love Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and count them as theatricians since they got their start in improv and still support theatrical work. Aaron Sorkin’s scripting is great. I have far too many amazing actor, director, designer, and other theater-genius friends in real life to pick just one 🙂

LBDI:  Why do you write for theatre? (as opposed to other written mediums…)

BETH: I’m a playwright because that role marries two of my loves, writing and theater. Everything I love about theater is infused in playwriting: it’s a collaborative art form. Even though writing can be solitary, when you’re writing a script, you know that it will never find its full potential until you place it in the hands of other artists. Scripts need directors, actors, designers, stage managers, dramaturgs, audiences. I love writing plays and knowing that they will continue to evolve and find new life each time more artists touch them.

LBDI:  What message would you put in a fortune cookie?

BETH: “Uh oh! This is a disappointing fortune! You should probably have a second cookie.”

LBDI:  Morning, Noon, or Night?

BETH: Noon. On weekends. So I can have brunch.

More About Beth:

BETH KANDER is a creative artist with one foot in the South and the other in the Midwest. Selected playwriting honors and awards: Downstage Left Playwright Residency, Stage Left—Chicago, 2014-2015; Charles M. Getchell New Play Award, SETC (2012); Eudora Welty New Play Awards (2013, 2010, 2008); Theatre Oxford Audience Award (2012); Mississippi Theatre Association New Play Award (2009). Kander has scripts represented by Steele Spring Stage Rights and Chicago Dramaworks. In addition to playwriting, Kander authors fiction, including the novel “Was” and the children’s book “Glubbery Gray: The Knight-Eating Beast” (Pelican Publishing). She holds degrees from Brandeis University and the University of Michigan, and has studied at Second City Training Center and New Stage Theatre. She lives with her husband and a small collection of rescue pets, some of them famous.

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