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1000 Playwright Interviews The first interview I posted was on June 3, 2009.  It was Jimmy Comtois.  I decided I would start interview...

Jan 12, 2017

I Interview Playwrights Part 904: Vicki Vodrey

Vicki Vodrey

Hometown:  Kansas City, MO but I travel to NYC often.

Q: Tell me about Thank You Notes: Headed To Heaven W/ Flat Jimmy Fallon.

A: Thank You Notes: Headed To Heaven W/ Flat Jimmy Fallon is a dark comedy with a twist. We’re there for Angela’s funeral, who put a bullet in her head. She has requested in her will three things – that she is buried with her dog’s ashes, that her life-size cut out of Jimmy Fallon be put in the casket with her, and that her twin, Ethan, give her eulogy in the fashion of the Thank You Notes segment on The Tonight Show. After all, she was his biggest fan. Shortly after the service starts, Angela gets out of her casket, along with Flat Jimmy, to help tell her story. And towards the end, it takes an unexpected turn.

Q: What else are you working on now?

A: I just recently completed my dark comedy, The Exit Strategy Club, which is having a staged reading in February. I’m now leaving quirky comedy for a bit to write a drama, Sixteen Seconds.

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

A: I remember, on the playground when I first started kindergarten, going around the bases in a game of kickball. Some kids were yelling, “Look! She runs funny! She doesn’t know how!” It didn’t strike me until much later that they were right – I wasn’t running, I was galloping. I was obsessed with animals (still am), especially horses, and I’d pretended so often to be one, that I only knew how to gallop. I used to gallop around my back yard, jumping over bushes. As an only child, I had a lively imagination. I think that helped form me, both as a person and as a writer. If I was ever treated as an outsider, or was every lonely, I had my trusty imagination.

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

A: I wish it was more accessible to people financially. I understand why it is so expensive, but people will opt for a more affordable movie ticket over a play or musical. Kudos to the theatres that have “pay what you can” nights. What a wonderful concept!

Q: Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  Oh gee, there are so many. Joseph Papp is a big one for me. I’d love to meet Tracy Letts, Theresa Rebeck and Neil Simon because I think they’ve influenced my writing.

Q: What kind of theater excites you?

A: I’m excited by any theatre that gives good actors a chance to dig their teeth into a role. I started out as an actor, and so I love and appreciate great actors. Luckily, I’ve been fortunate to work with some very talented ones. When they perform something of mine, they make me forget that I’ve written it.

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

A: My advice to writers starting out would be first, to write something that excites them, that they’re passionate about. That makes the writing so much easier, at least for me. Then have a few trusted friends over to read it out loud, and get some solid feedback. If only one person has a problem with a certain scene or element, that doesn’t always mean the writer needs to change it. If they’re getting the same comment numerous times, it needs to be addressed. After rewrites and now having a script that they feel really good about, find a way to cheaply produce their own work a time or two. You learn so much from it! Some festivals are economically affordable. If you can get a reviewer or two to come, and give you a few quotes to use, it gives you something you can use, to market yourself with. And have patience – lot and lots of patience.

Q: Plugs, please:

A: My play The Exit Strategy Club will have a staged reading by Script2Stage2Screen in Palm Desert in February, and The Frowning Ladies of Shady Pines will be getting a series of readings by Actors' Choice in the Kansas City metropolitan area starting in April.


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