ONSTAGE Playwrights 2016: Meet Rhea MacCallum

Rhea is a fabulous Los Angeles playwright who sent us such a kick-ass piece that I kind of can’t handle it.  The thing is, the play is so freakin’ timely that it hurts.  Asking For It focuses on a woman who, after being the victim of a hit and run, tries like hell to report the crime only to be faced with a litany of victim blaming/shaming nonsense from the less-than-impressed (and seriously nu-empathetic) officer who shows up.  It’s a comedy, but it chews at your sense of indignation in all the right ways.

We hope you enjoy getting to know a little more about Rhea and her work!

 What is the title of your play?
Asking For It

Why did you decide to submit your work to the ONSTAGE Project?
The ONSTAGE Project is unique in that there is a peer review process, meaning every playwright submitting to the project agrees to read blind copies of a selection of plays. I thoroughly enjoy discovering new voices and finding out how other playwrights choose to address the selected theme. One of the plays I reviewed this year and loved was Model Behavior, which has also advanced to production. Seeing it among the winners was exciting because having read it, I was already a fan.

Describe your writing space…
If the weather is agreeable, I like to write by hand in my sunroom. It’s quiet, green, void of distractions and I love the natural light. I also have a habit of writing in bed.

If you could have lunch with any playwright alive or dead, who would it be and what would you have for lunch?
What a great question! Makes me think of so many wonderful playwrights, but if I have to single one out, I’d love the chance to chat with Mae West. She was such a pioneering badass, writing her own rules and one-liners, and she was a smart, savvy business woman. We’d dine on crab legs and fresh fruit.

Why do you write for theatre? (as opposed to other written mediums…)
I do write in other formats, but what keeps me coming back to theater is that it offers a communal experience and requires the engagement of the imagination.

Who is your favorite fictional character of all time and why?
Gordie Lachance and Chris Chambers (they are just too intertwined in my mind to only name one) from Stephen King’s novella The Body, better known cinematically as Stand By Me. I read Different Seasons (which includes The Body and the stories for which The Shawshank Redemption and Apt Pupil were based) right before seeing the movie, which starred actors about my age. I identified with the relationship between Gordie and Chris.

Do you have any upcoming productions elsewhere that our readers should know about?
We Work Out premieres in TCT’s Playwright’s Festival at the Beekay Theatre in Tehachapi, CA. Show dates are July 8th – July 17th. Tickets can be purchased at:
Mowing Down the Junipers premieres in City Theatre of Independence Playwrights Festival. The festival runs July 28th-31st in Independence, MO.
Ashes to Ashes premieres with Onion Man Productions’ August – Summer Harvest 2016, The Lakeside Plays, August 11th to 28th in Norcross, GA. For more information:

Please share the synopsis for a full-length of yours that our readers should know about!
Direct Rescue is about a mentally unstable woman who joins an activist group seeking solace and understanding, but devolves into domestic terrorism.

More about Rhea:

Rhea MacCallum is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and script consultant, whose plays have been produced across the United States and six continents.  She was honored to participate in the Lincoln Center Directors Lab and was named a finalist by the Actors Theatre of Louisville for the Heideman Award for her play, YESTERDAY ONCE MORE.  Her work has been published by Smith & Kraus, Heuer Publishing, Original Works Publishing, JAC Publishing and themonologueshop.com.  She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, ICWP and ALAP.  Rhea earned her BA from USC and her MFA from the Actors Studio Drama School, New School University.

Website: rheamaccallum.com
Twitter: @rheaplaywright

Don’t miss Rhea’s play, July 14-16, at Acadiana Repertory Theatre’s production of this year’s ONSTAGE Festival: Curves Ahead.

Curves Ahead -ART

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