Sunday, August 16, 2015

I Interview Playwrights Part 773: Kris Bauske

Kris Bauske

Hometown: Born in Grand Rapids, MI and raised in Niles, MI. I consider both of them home.

Current Town: Orlando, FL

Q:  What are you working on now?
A:  I have a lot of irons in the fire, so please don’t be dismayed by the long list. 

Currently reviewing a contract from a British publisher interested in one of my plays, Whispers to the Moon, which is set in Monaco. Contract looks good to me, but I’m waiting on an okay from my agent before moving forward.

Making arrangements to have the illustrated book version of A Good Old Fashioned Redneck Country Christmas represented at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Frankfurt, Germany this year.
‘Redneck Christmas’ is being adapted as a movie this year with filming set to start in Vancouver in the fall. I’m in constant contact with the producer on that project, and I plan to be on set during filming. 

The film producer has a partner who primarily works with stage productions. We are discussing a Toronto production of ‘Redneck Christmas’ this season and possible touring productions for following years. There is one completed sequel, A Good Old Fashioned Redneck Country Wedding, which the stage producer is also interested in which will premiere in Saskatchewan, Canada this year, and I’m working on a third installment – A Good Old Fashioned Redneck Happy Halloween. That’s my only new writing right now.

This is my second year as Co-Chair for ICWP’s 50/50 Applause Award, and summer is our busiest time. I am responsible for the creation of the 2015 Celebration Video, so I’ve been soliciting and reviewing video clips from recipient organizations and working with our volunteer to have the video ready when we make the formal announcement in September.

My play The Nearly Final Almost Posthumous Play of the Not-Quite-Dead Sutton McAllister was in a new play festival last month at The Players Theatre in Sarasota, FL and will be one of five full-length scripts in the Tampa Bay Theatre Festival next month. I spent a week in Sarasota for the festival, and I’m producing and directing for the Tampa festival, so it’s been a busy summer.

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

A:  When I was about six, we lived very close to the church we attended. Some Sundays, my older sister and I would walk to Sunday school together and then come home by ourselves. One Sunday, we saw a tiny kitten near the sidewalk on our way home. My sister told me I’d better keep walking and get home, or I’d be in trouble. Then she continued on her way. I stayed and coaxed the kitten over. I spoke to the animal quietly and petted her and told her how sweet she was. Unsurprisingly, the kitten followed me (half carrying/half coaxing) all the way home. She was the best friend I had as a child. I can’t turn my back on any innocent in need of help, and I still have a deep love and respect for animals. Theirs is the only love without condition or guile. I enjoy writing characters who are that untouched by the world. It’s a breath of fresh air.

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

A:  Our community would be more generous to each other if I had the power to change the theater. I have been incredibly blessed by organizations that freely loan props and costumes; freely share their empty space; and freely help with auditions and promotion. I’ve also been on the other side where a theatre with lots of empty space still expects $1500 a night rental if you’re going to put up a show there. It seems to me we should be more supportive and encouraging to our fellow artists. I would love to see organizations with empty space hold a lottery each year to share some of it with local playwrights. Wouldn’t that be something! 

I am truly appalled by ‘theater’ people who try to make their fortunes off the most underpaid, financially strapped members of our community. Theater is a team sport. We need to approach it as such!

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes? 

A:  Kenneth Brannaugh, Tom Hiddleston, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Helen Hayes, Tommy Tune, and of course the great Neil Simon. Mr. Simon and I share an agent, and he has read some of my work and shared his comments with me. I have found him to be a generous, kind-hearted man. He is my hero just for being so gracious with his time when clearly he has no need to be.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?
A:  I love theatre that takes me out of myself. When I can sit in a seat for 2-3 hours and wish it had been longer, I know I’m seeing real genius! I prefer theatre that lifts my spirit and makes me feel renewed and exhilarated. It doesn’t happen often any more, but I’m always tremendously grateful and uniquely inspired when it does!

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

A:  Understand that writing for theatre today requires as much talent (if not more) at promotion as it does at writing. Use social media to your benefit. Don’t have a Twitter or Tumblr account yet? Get one, and use it often. Network as much as you can, and stay apprised of what’s happening in our community. Finally, don’t get frustrated. We’ve all been turned down, turned away, and turned off. If plays are your calling, you’ll keep going anyhow. If they’re not, don’t force it. It’s a tough journey even for those who feel called. It’s misery for those trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

Q:  Plugs, please: 

A:  The illustrated book of A Good Old Fashioned Redneck Country Christmas is available on Amazon, Kindle, and Barnes & Noble. It’s a lovely family-friendly book that makes a terrific gift. The plays, both musical and comedy, are available from my wonderful friends at Samuel French.
If you’ll be near Tampa over Labor Day weekend, I’d love to see you at the Tampa Bay Theatre Festival. Tickets to The Nearly Final Almost Posthumous Play of the Not-Quite-Dead Sutton McAllister are available at
If you don’t currently support the International Centre for Women Playwrights, please check out the website at ICWP’s 2015 recipients for the 50/50 Award will be announced in September! 

Check out my website to keep updated on other projects, and feel free to follow me on Twitter. and @IntlPlaywright

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