Saturday, August 04, 2012
I Interview Playwrights Part 483: Samantha Macher
Hometown: Leesburg, VA
Current Town: Los Angeles, CA
Q: Tell me about War Bride.
A: WAR BRIDE is my newest play. It was written for and developed with the SkyPilot Theatre Company of Los Angeles where we exclusively mount world premieres of new work written (mostly) right here in town by our ten company playwrights.
Our Official Synopsis (because I can't give too much away): Controversy erupts in a small California town in 1945 when a local hero returns from World War II with his Japanese bride.
We open on August 11th and run through September 16th, Saturdays and Sundays at 8pm and 7pm (respectively) at TU Studios, 10943 Camarillo Street NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA 91602
Tickets available at skypilottheatre.com
Q: What else are you working on now?
A: Presently, I am working on a film project with the Three Affiliated Tribes of North Dakota. Though we are unsure what form this project will take, I am helping them structure, and then writing a full-length film that will tell the story of Cpl. Nathan Good Iron, an American-Indian soldier who died fighting for the US in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving of 2006. The goal of the project is to educate non-native audiences about the military sacrifices made by a people historically oppressed by the country they fight for.
Coming up in 2012-2013 I will be traveling around opening some of my plays in Clarksville, TN at Fronkensteen Theatre Company, and in St. Louis MO, at Tesseract Theatre Company. After that, I may possibly head back east to Virginia to do some directing projects with the New Works Initiative sponsored by the Playwright's Lab at Hollins University. I may also do some directing here in LA this fall, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for that too.
Q: Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.
A: Well, I suppose I can start by saying I've always been a drama geek. Fascinated with performance and stage, I did everything I could to always be in or around it. Whether it was being in choir, or being in a ska band (briefly), I always enjoyed expressing myself through the performing arts. When I did theater though, I really enjoyed it the most. I always felt at home, and I always felt like I was doing something important.
Needless to say that when during my senior year in high school, our drama teacher decided to indefinitely postpone our fall musical for one reason or another (probably budget), I was FURIOUS. So, in my fury, I sat down and just WROTE the fucking (fifteen-minute) spring musical. Then, cast all my friends, went into rehearsal, and after pestering the powers-that-be, performed it in front of everyone.
What was beautiful about that experience that I take with me even now, is that I wasn't the only one who wound up writing a play in reaction to the loss of that performance opportunity. It was couched in a festival of three new student works that ere all written in a reaction to losing our show. That was the best part.
Q: If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?
A: Theater needs to be relevant to their audiences. If more theaters and theater-artists considered their audiences more carefully, they would be able to sustain themselves. That said, I'm not suggesting that every theater in America needs to be doing a hit Broadway musical, or needs to pack a season with light comedies for the sake of ticket sales, but if you're going to present an audience with challenging work, make it a dialogue rather than a lecture. Figure out a way to engage your audience so they're excited to support you. If you start a conversation with your audience about your work, especially new work, they're often eager to talk to you about it. Those conversations can potentially make the one-time theatergoer into a consistent, passionate audience member. That makes for happy collaborators all around.
Q: Who are or were your theatrical heroes?
A: 1. Todd Ristau, the head of the Playwright's Lab at Hollins University is probably my biggest theatrical hero. He is a champion of new work, a fantastic playwright/director/actor/producer, a networker of epic proportions and an amazing and insightful professor. I'm not sure how he finds time for sleep.
2. Lady-playwrights all over America, but specifically in Los Angeles. Less than 20% of all plays being produced in the greater LA area right now are written by female authors (www.lafpi.com). Working against those odds is tremendously challenging, and often disheartening, so I give so much credit to the women who get up every day and fight those odds.
3. Otherwise, my theatrical heroes are my genius actors, my wonderful directors, my visionary producers and designers, my completely brilliant playwright friends... basically anyone who has ever invested their time and energy into my little plays.
Q: What kind of theater excites you?
A: Anything that is not boring. That's a loose definition, but I don't really know what excites me 'til I see it.
Q: What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?
A: There's a home for every play somewhere, you just need to find the right collaborators and the right audience.
Q: Plugs, please:
A: Come see my play, WAR BRIDE!
Roles for (non-twenty year old) women are far too few in American theater, and this play has two leading ladies, and a strong ensemble of female actors and dancers. We have also authentically cast both Japanese and American actors and dancers, filling a gap in the Asian acting community.
Check out our trailer... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OwAM45Db5M
...Then buy your tickets at:
Also, I'd like to take the opportunity to plug the best playwriting program in all the world: The Playwright's Lab at Hollins University.
Then, I'd like to take a second to entice you to take a stand against discrimination in the arts. Support the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative.
Finally, I formally invite you to check out Original Works Publishing if you'd like to read my play THE ARCTIC CIRCLE *and a recipe for Swedish Pancakes
Or YouthPLAYS Publishing if you need a charmingly irreverent Christmas comedy for your high school this year.