I had the great pleasure of meeting Nancy at the Great Plains Theatre Conference 2 years ago, and let me tell you, if you’re a playwright and you’ve never submitted your work to GPTC, you need to pull a 180 and send them a play! Not only is the conference a total blast, but the playwright mingling makes you feel all warm and fuzzy and connected. Right away I knew I needed to get to know more about Nancy, because her absurdist play, Daniil Kharms: A Life in One Act and Several Dozen Eggs, was just soooooo fantastic. Imagine then what a thrill it has been then to see her work make our final cut two years in a row!
I highly recommend you take a moment to get to know a little more about this adventurous playwright and her highly imaginative worlds!
Why did you decide to submit your work to the ONSTAGE Project?
I did it last year and it was fun and inspiring.
Describe your writing space:
Sporadically spotless and organized, generally a holy mess.
If you could have lunch with any playwright alive or dead, who would it be and what would you have for lunch?
I travel back in time to meet Olympe de Gouges. (She is most known for her Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen, but, before the French revolution started, she also wrote an anti-slavery play.) I bring baguettes, paté, chocolate, a little Champagne. I schedule the lunch in a secret hideaway so that she escapes arrest and the guillotine.
Why do you write for theatre?
Because of collaborators: actors, directors, designers, tech folks, stage managers… But above all, actors.
Who is your favorite fictional character of all time and why?
Meg in a Wrinkle in Time. One tough kid.
Do you have any upcoming productions elsewhere that our readers should know about?
At the 2016 San Francisco Fringe Festival in Sept., the show “Abracadabra” will feature my 10-minute “The Suitcase.”
Please share the synopsis for a full-length of yours that our readers should know about!
The Trouble with Catherine
Loosely based on the memoirs and letters of Catherine the Great and the younger friend who helped her gain power, “The Trouble with Catherine” traces the life and death of a friendship between formidable women. The Princess Catherine Dashkova joins the conspiracy to dethrone the future Empress’s universally hated husband. Side by side, on horseback and in military uniform, the two women lead troops in a palace coup. Triumph is followed by disappointment when the friends clash over court politics and Dashkova’s role. Eventually, Dashkova wins a post worthy of her talents and intellect, as the director of the Imperial Academy of Sciences (a first for a woman in any country). But Dashkova’s loyalty to her powerful friend will be severely tested when it clashes with her broader sense of duty.
Fun fact: both Catherine the Great and Catherine Dashkova found the time to write plays!
More about Nancy:
Nancy Cooper Frank. Nancy’s The Trouble with Catherine is a full-length play on the bumpy friendship between Catherine the Great and her friend Catherine Dashkova, who helped her seize the throne (written as part of the 365 Women a Year project). Other credits include: Anna and the Blackbird (The Blank Theatre’s Living Room Series, 2015); Dramaphobia (SF Fringe 2015); The Plumber (in 2014 San Francisco Best-of-Fringe winning show); Daniiel Kharms: A Life in One Act and Several Dozen Eggs (Great Plains Theatre Conference PlayLab). Nancy’s The Announcement made the final line-up in the 2015 Onstage Female Playwrights Project. More at www.nancycooperfrank.com
You can follow Nancy on Twitter @NCooperF
Don’t miss Nancy’s play, July 14-16, at Acadiana Repertory Theatre’s production of this year’s ONSTAGE Festival: Curves Ahead.