Featured Artist Interview with Kathleen Clark, playwright – June 2019
How did you get started in writing? Did you always know you were going to be a playwright?
My mother was a voracious reader and introduced that to me at an early age. I loved reading and soon wanted to create my own stories. I was in college when I decided that I wanted to write plays exclusively.
Do you have a personal philosophy or point of view that you express through your plays?
Many of my plays are about people who manage to retain their resilience, hope and humor when facing the struggles and tragedies of life.
When did you move to Leonia? Do your plays reflect life in Leonia in someway? If so, how?
I moved to Leonia in 1994. I had only written full length plays, but when I moved to Leonia, I met the brilliant Leonia actress, Rowena Wangenheim, and was inspired to write one act plays for her. Many were performed at the Leonia Players Guild, directed by Helene Marshall.
What is the most challenging part of being a writer?
Balancing the needs of my family with the time-consuming hours needed to finish a play. The other challenge is sticking with a play until all the problems are solved. That’s challenging because the weaknesses aren’t immediately apparent, and it takes readings by actors, discussions with directors and many rewrites before some of the problems clearly show themselves. It takes numerous drafts and a lot of patience to discover what the problems are and how to fix them.
What is the most rewarding experience you had as a playwright?
Many come to mind, but, particularly, the first time I heard an audience laugh during an early play that I had written. I was hooked. Hearing those laughs never gets old.
What is your favorite play, and why?
Our Town. Thornton Wilder’s extraordinary and profound insights on the human condition are timeless. I turn to it often for inspiration. I also enjoy Alan Ayckbourn because of the skillful blending of comedy and tragedy in his plays. He feels, to paraphrase, life is tragedy and comedy constantly interrupting the other.
Who influenced you the most to become a writer?
My mother. She’s a writer, a poet and an artist.
How does it feel to have a play that you have written move off the page and onto the stage? What is your favorite part of the process, and why?
The feeling is a combination of exhilaration and nervousness. There are two favorite parts of the process for me: writing late at night in my office and being in rehearsal when the director and actors bring the play to life.
What are you working on currently?
My play, What We May Be. It will be produced in August at the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, MA. I’m extremely fortunate that my Leonia neighbor, Gregg Edelman, will be directing. He’s an incredible director and wonderful collaborator.
What We May Be will be performed August 8-31, The Fitzpatrick Main Stage, 83 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA more information and tickets>