Miranda Rose Hall is a playwright from Baltimore, MD. She has presented work in DC (Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage and Georgetown University), Baltimore (Center Stage), and Anchorage. She is resident playwright with LubDub Theatre in NYC, and an MFA student at the Yale School of Drama. Her play How We Died Of Disease-Related Illness, produced by Longacre Lea, opened August 12.
Why are you a playwright?
I love making stories that necessitate community. I love the need for live performers. I love the need for audience. I love the need for company — in every sense of the term. These needs are ancient. We will never exhaust them.
What type of theatre most excites you?
Theater with big scope, theater with imaginative structure, theater with bold women, theater with diverse voices, theater with humor and social consequence.
What starts a play moving in your imagination?
It’s an alchemy! My most successful projects start with a subject — usually a noun — and an idea about form — how the nouns move. Language, character, and genre follow suit. HOW WE DIED OF DISEASE-RELATED ILLNESS is a pattern play about infectious disease. It took a while to realize that it was an absurdist comedy. But I got there eventually!
Describe your writing day. Do you have a favorite writing place?
Every writing day is different because it depends on where I am in the writing process and how I’m making money. For someone whose life is in relative flux, it’s been useful to learn how to change with the tide. I do write best, though, when I can hunker down in the same spot for many days in a row. When I’m in New Haven, I love to write standing at my kitchen table, and I prefer mornings. When I’m in Baltimore, I opt for afternoons in my friend Georgia’s living room. Windows and solitude are critical. I can revise in the company of others, but generating new material has to happen alone.
WOMEN’S VOICES THEATER FESTIVAL
HOW WE DIED OF DISEASE-RELATED ILLNESS
August 12 – September 6
3801 Harewood Road, NE
Washington, DC 20017
Details and Tickets
How did you choose this play to debut at the Festival?
Kathleen Akerley and I agreed on some terms: a one-act play for five actors and a few specific ingredients. I wrote two plays, and she went with this one. I think it’s been a perfect fit for this company.
What female playwrights have influenced your writing?
My life changed when I read/saw the work of Sarah Ruhl, Paula Vogel, Maria Fornes, Lynn Nottage, Suzan-Lori Parks, Caryl Churchill, Naomi Iizuka, and Lisa Kron. I’ve even had the chance to learn from Sarah and Paula in person — and those lessons touch every one of my plays.
My closest inspirations are Sarah Mantell, Tori Sampson, Lindsey Ferrentino, and Emily Zemba. They’re the ones in my writing circle at Yale. It’s a huge gift to learn from their plays and to learn about my plays through their feedback and encouragement. I look forward to adding Genne Murphy and Majkin Holmquist into that fold this year.
What’s missing from theatre today?
Women, queer people, and people of color. The landscape is changing, but change is slow.
What are you working on now?
I am working on two new full-lengths called BEST LESBIAN EROTICA 1995 and WHEN THE WHALES CAME.
Answer this: “If I weren’t a playwright, I would be … “