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
Kira Rockwell and I met for coffee a few months ago when the burgeoning young playwright reached out wanting to know more about how to tackle this crazy career she’d chosen for herself. I was immediately struck by her enthusiasm and spirit, as well as her tenacity. When I told her about our festival, I never imagined the young woman would deliver one of the most poignant and distinct pieces I’ve seen in all four years of the fest! What a delight to be able to bring her play, WITH MY EYES SHUT, to so many locations! The play, centered on two young autistic teens, takes place in five sweet but powerful scenes, and I can’t wait to see the play this weekend! Directed by Cason Murphy, the play stars Annabelle Veatch and Neal Griffin.
LBDI: Why did you decide to submit your work to this year’s ONSTAGE Project?
KIRA: I had heard about Tiffany Antone and her mission with Little Black Dress INK from a number of people, all encouraging me to check it out. When I had finally sought it out myself, I immediately aligned with LBD’s mission statement and purpose. I was so in awe of it’s core foundations in community and it’s initiative for female playwrights. The prompt was, “outside the lines,” and the brainstorming began. From the beginning, I knew this was an opportunity I could not pass by, LBD is rare gem in the world of theatre, especially for female playwrights, and I am so thankful to have been a part of this journey.
LBDI: Describe your writing space…
KIRA: I don’t have one, lol. Or at least a consistent one. I enjoy changing it up constantly. I get bored of regularity and liked to feed off new and different environments. I love having noise and commotion and people all around me to pull from for my work. There are 6 coffee shops, all in a 5 mile radius of me, that I like to popcorn through. Sometimes it’s based on where I want to have lunch. I even did a Taco Bueno once because I’m obsessed with their bean burritos. From time to time, I do enjoy making a space at home, especially if I know it’s going to be long, late night hours. If I’m at home, you’ll find me sprawled out on the floor, typing away, blasting the newest Pandora station I’ve created. In college, when I really began to take my writing seriously, I didn’t own a computer. I had to rent laptops/use desktop computers inside the school’s library to complete my writing projects. I also wasn’t able to afford Final Draft yet so I created all my scripts with a word document via Google Docs. PRAISE GOOGLE DOCS Y’ALL! My senior year of college, I finally had enough for a beautiful Macbook &&& Final Draft software! I think my years of fighting to find somewhere and something to write on to get all the voices up in there out, instilled this vagabond spirit within me to write wherever and whenever.
LBDI: If you could be any literary character, who would you be?
KIRA: I would be Camae from Katori Hall’s, “The Mountain Top.” And I would embody all her (SPOILER) supernatural powers & impressive rap skills & sass.
LBDI: What was your first play titled/about?
KIRA: Hahahhaha, it was a first grade writing project that I still have today. It makes me laugh so hard when I see it. It’s called, “My Teacher is a Witch.” With my actual 1st grade teacher as the leading character, it is about a young girl, me, who discovers her teacher is a witch one day after school and her mission is to stop her teacher from eating all the students. In the end, she loses, a clan of witches come to take the entire class, but don’t worry, they’re “mommy witches” so they’re nice… I’m baffled that she didn’t set up a parent teacher meeting after seeing the story. Honestly, I think I was just bitter that Ms. T had given me a zero for cheating on my spelling test that year.
LBDI: Which theatricians do you admire and what about them inspires you?
KIRA: Oh man, current contemporaries would be Katori Hall, Braden Jacobs-Jenkins and Sarah Ruhl. Classics would be Eugene O’Neill, Tennessee Williams and August Wilson. For me, each one of them have reoccurring characteristics that I admire, which is an incredible ear and sensitivity to people and the characters they create. It illuminates their pieces of work with such a bright light of authenticity. They write beautifully raw, compelling and theatrical pieces that resonate so powerfully with people. I love it because it feels so selfless. Their work feels so sacrificial as if it is an offering to the audience to consume and transform. It’s a very soulful experience.
LBDI: Why do you write for theatre? (as opposed to other written mediums…)
KIRA: Because it’s a living, breathing art form that is meant to be experienced. It’s not a game of deception or manipulation, nor is it intended to be a solo venture. It is raw, for community and produced by community.
LBDI: What message would you put in a fortune cookie?
KIRA: You might wake up on time tomorrow, you might not. Either way, don’t sweat it.
LBDI: Morning, Noon, or Night?
KIRA: Night, always.
More about Kira:
Kira Rockwell is a playwright from Dallas, Texas. She is a recent graduate of Baylor University where she received her BFA in Theatre Performance and a minor in Film & Digital Media. This March, her play Nomad Americana premiered at WaterTower theatre’s Out of the Loop Fringe Festival. In 2014, Kira established a writing group called the Waco Writer’s Collective for fellow emerging writers in her community. As a teaching artist, Kira directs and leads a theatre program for at risk urban youth at the Methodist Children’s Home. Currently, she is developing a full length play set in the near future of a dystopian America called, BirthRight, and resides with her husband in Waco, Texas. This will be her first time working with Little Black Dress Ink’s festival and she is over the moon with excitement to be working with this outstanding company and other fabulous ladies from around the nation! #femaleplaywrightrock