Katherine James is one of three playwrights participating in our ONSTAGE Project for the third time this year. She’s written some lovely pieces for us in the past, but her play The Old Salt really touched hearts this year – it was one of our highest scoring peer-reviewed plays!
The play focuses on an elderly sailor who’s just moved into a condo in Marina Del Rey. Trying to navigate a deep loss and this new beginning makes meeting his gregarious neighbor a difficult chore, but by the end of the play we’re left feeling hopeful that these two salty dogs are going to become fast friends – just what both of them need and deserve.
So, without further ado, we’d like to introduce you to the fabulous Katherine James!
LBDI: Why did you decide to submit your work to the ONSTAGE Project?
Katherine: I just love the big vision that Tiffany has for us all. I am majorly into the 50/50 by 2020 movement. AND I know that when a ton of creative and brilliant women get together to create theater the whole world can skyrocket into a brave new time.
LBDI: Describe your writing space…
Katherine: My major space is called “The Inspiration Room”. For many years it was called “Jordan’s Bedroom”. It is filled with all our theater and show biz memorabilia, all our theater books, all the plays I have written and am currently working on and thinking about. There is a window which pours in light. There is a couch that is covered in deep purple velvet with lipstick red throw pillows. There is a “table” which is really my mother’s hope chest (a cedar chest). There is my grandmother’s cast iron stove with flowers on it. There is a ceiling fan which is bright yellow and has the face of the smiling sun in the middle. There are costume and prop pieces all over. There are also sentimental projects I haven’t yet finished – like putting the photos from 1995 – 2005 into albums. There is the radio that my grandfather owned. There are the books in Swedish that my great grandmother brought from the old country. Stuff like that. Stuff that inspires me as an artist. By the way, the room formerly known as “Nathan’s bedroom” is now “The Meditation Room”. Thank God children grow up and leave home – how else would we move on to exciting new times in our lives?
LBDI: What was your first play titled/about?
Katherine: “THE KATH AND JESS SHOW”. I first started writing shows with my best friend, Jessica Murray, when I was 6 and she was 7. We wrote an original musical review weekly.
LBDI: Which playwrights do you admire and what about them inspires you?
Katherine: I love all playwrights who are “the real deal”. Really write from the heart and head. So — the dead ones I am really crazy about are Shakespeare, Coward, Wilde. I could see a great production of MIDSUMMER or PRIVATE LIVES or EARNEST right now and be hit by a truck and die a happy woman. I love new playwrights. For example, Tiffany, I find you inspiring. Prolific, deep, mysterious, funny – I love that you ask big questions and write plays that are highly theatrical. Sometimes I just get blown away by someone like a Sara Treem. I am especially affected by women playwrights. So many ways of telling our stories – stories that deserve telling and being told in “our” way. Maybe that’s why even the dead playwrights I am so crazy about were crazy about women in ways other than as wives and mothers…hmmm….
LBDI: Why do you write for theatre? (as opposed to other written media…)
Katherine: I was born to write for the theater. I have written for other things – you know, like film, television, blah blah blah…but…I hear voices and I see a stage and I feel a big question coming on…pretty much all the time.
LBDI: What is your spirit animal?
Katherine: Cat. Definitely Cat. Dogs adore me, and I them but I sure wouldn’t want to be one…
LBDI: Paper or Plastic?
Katherine: Actually, we have to supply our own bags now which suits me fine…but…I used to love a paper bag in a plastic bag. That way you have the square and wonderful form of the paper but if whatever in it is spills, then you have the protection of plastic.
Katherine James (MFA from A.C.T.) has been in the theatre since her father first put her onstage in one of his shows at the age of five. Still crazy about the theatre fifty-five years later. An accomplished actress and director as well as playwright, she currently makes her home in Los Angeles where she is part of the Theatricum Botanicum company and on The Seedlings (new plays) Committee. Recent projects include a workshop of her jamming spoken word opera, OLYMPUS, at the Sontag Greek Theatre, staged reading of THE OLD SALT at Theatricum, and DIRTY LAUNDRY for The Dirty Laundry Festival. She has been the artistic director of Free Association Theatre for 35 years.
The Planting the Seed Festival runs this week for 3 performances only
at the First Congregational Church Theater in Prescott.
Showtimes – Jan 2nd @ 7:30, and Jan 3rd @ 2:30 & 7:30.
Tickets just $14 online or at the door!