Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I Interview Playwrights Part 667: Susan Ferrara

Susan Ferrara

Hometown: Chicago

Current Town: New York

Q:  Tell me about your play at TerranNOVA.

A:  It’s called THE WONDER. It’s a solo piece that follows a New Yorker through the city on an ordinary Tuesday morning: the ordinary people we meet, the ordinary things we see on an extraordinary day.

It’s a story that’s been rattling around in my brain for a while so I’m looking forward to sharing and performing it. I’m extremely lucky to have two amazing directors collaborating with me, Julie Ann Emery and Kevin Earley.

Q:  What else are you working on now?

A:  I finished THE WONDER rather quickly and am working on a new draft of a play called, THE SILVER KITCHEN PLAY, a conversation with memory that takes place in a run-down Chicago kitchen. Also outlining episodes for a new web series (MEAN SECRETARY) and researching a play about women war reporters called THE FIELD.

Q:  Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.

A:  Growing up, we had this huge picture window and every summer I’d watch my dad mow the lawn in shower shoes, a speedo and a button-down shirt – opened and tied in a Carmen Miranda-like knot at his waist – while all the kids on the block sat on the curb, watched and laughed. He chain-smoked Camels. Would smoke them until the ash reached the filter, then he’d flip them in the driveway. If he thought something looked good, he did it, wore it, said it – the whole shebang. I grew up watching and listening to him; watching everything. My dad mowing the lawn in a speedo is nothin’. I’d like to say that story is simply his calling card. There are a million stories about my dad problem solving in a way you wouldn’t expect. And I kinda love that.

Q:  If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?

A:  Nothing. Theatre has always been what it is. The reflection changes, the challenges may adjust to the reflection – but that’s theatre. With what we have available to us, we always figure out a way to write, produce and bring to life our stories.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  Ruth Gordon, Kathryn Hunter. Too many to list. Buzz Goodbody, definitely. And then there are all my friends, my husband; the people I know and love, whose work inspires me daily.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  The kind of theatre that makes me feel like I’m eavesdropping. Or sitting in the audience watching while the entire production is whispering “WATCH THIS”. Anything that makes me feel like I’m nine years old watching the ballet for the first time.

Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?

A:  Surround yourself with supportive people who challenge you to be the best version of yourself. Live a life. Have a laugh. Be kind.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  susanferrara.com

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