Introducing: 2015 ONSTAGE Playwright Bridgette Dutta Portman

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

Bridgette Dutta PortmanBridgette Dutta Portman’s PYTHAGOREAN TRIPLETS is such a perfect fit for this year’s theme, it’s almost criminal.  What a fun, creative, wacky little piece – and we love it!  The play, which asks what happens to the three lines of a triangle when one of them wants to leave, had us giggling from the get go and we can’t wait to see it onstage!  Directed by Tiffany Antone, PYTHAGOREAN TRIPLETS stars Kevin Goss, Carissa Bond, and Annabelle Veatch.

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

BRIDGETTE:  The theme “outside the lines” intrigued me. There are so many ways to interpret it, from metaphorical to quite literal. I had previously written a short sketch about three line segments, one of whom becomes restless and wants to escape her geometrically-assigned lot, and I immediately thought that, with some expansion and revision, it could be a perfect fit.

LBDI:  Describe your writing space…

BRIDGETTE:  I don’t really have a designated writing space at the moment. Right now, I’m at my kitchen table. Other times I write at coffee shops. I usually find it easier to write outside the house, as I have a baby at home who likes to pull the keys off my laptop.

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

BRIDGETTE:  Great question. My favorite literary character is Captain Ahab from Moby Dick, but I don’t know that I’d want to BE him. He’s pretty miserable most of the time. Grand, but miserable. Same thing with Hamlet, whom I also love. In fact, most of my favorite characters lead pretty unhappy lives. So I guess I’d want to be someone who has a happy ending. Maybe Ishmael; he gets to take part in all the adventures, but he survives.

LBDI:  What was your first play titled/about?

BRIDGETTE:  The first play I ever tried to write was called “The Oracle Consulter” and was about Astyanax, the son of Hector and Andromache of Troy. He’s the little baby whom the Greeks threw off the wall, to keep him from growing up and coming back for revenge, but in my play he survives and does just that. The first version of this was pretty awful, but I later revised it and it became part of the 2013 San Francisco Olympians Festival, an annual series of staged readings of plays inspired by Greek mythology.

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

BRIDGETTE:  My favorite playwrights and the biggest influences on me as a writer have been the classical Greek dramatists and Shakespeare. I am inspired by their use of meter, rhythm and verse to craft plays that are beautiful to listen to as well as engaging to watch. Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt and Oscar Wilde’s Salome are among my favorite plays for the same reason. I’ve attempted to write several plays in verse myself, and although I find it challenging, there’s something immensely satisfying about the process when it’s working and the words begin to flow. Verse plays are uncommon now, but I have great admiration for modern writers who incorporate poetry into their language or classical styles and themes into their work. Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice is a good example.

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

BRIDGETTE:  I like the collaborative nature of writing for theatre — I can write a script, but a production can’t come together without the actors, director, set designers, and crew. That sometimes makes writing for theatre more complicated than, say, writing short stories or a novel, because you have to be prepared to give up some creative control, but it often leads to new ideas and interpretations and generates a sense of community. I have found such a supportive and encouraging community of fellow playwrights, as well as actors, directors and other theatre artists, here in the San Francisco Bay Area and across the country, and I love being a part of it.

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

BRIDGETTE:  “Bad luck and extreme misfortune will infest your pathetic soul for all eternity.” I stole that from Rocko’s Modern Life. I always thought it was the coolest fortune.

LBDI:  Morning, Noon, or Night?

BRIDGETTE:  Night. For sure.

More about Bridgette:

Bridgette Dutta Portman is a playwright based in Fremont, CA. Her plays have been read and produced in the San Francisco Bay Area, across the country, and overseas. She is currently president of the Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco, an associate artist at Wily West Productions, and a founding member of a new theatre group, Ex Nihilo Theater. She is also a member of the Pear Writers’ Guild and is on the literary committee of City Lights Theater Company. Her full-length comedy LA FEE VERTE will be read at Paper Wing Theatre in Monterey, CA on July 19, and a drama on which she collaborated, ZERO HOUR: THE MARS EXPERIMENT, opens July 17 in San Francisco with Wily West Productions. She particularly enjoys writing silly, absurdist comedies, dramas that deal with psychological and existential issues, and scripts that play with language or involve classical structure and themes. You can learn more about Bridgette and her plays at http://www.bridgetteduttaportman.com.

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