Sheila Callaghan’s new play, Women Laughing Alone with Salad, is playing at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company through October 4, 2015. Everything You Touch was produced at the Contemporary American Theater Festival last summer. She is the recipient of the Princess Grace Award for emerging artists, a Jerome Fellowship from the Playwright’s Center in Minneapolis, a MacDowell Residency, a Cherry Lane Mentorship Fellowship, the Susan Smith Blackburn Award, and the prestigious Whiting Award. She is published with Playscripts.com and Samuel French.
Why are you a playwright?
I’m a playwright because I’m both a needy attention-starved masochist and a shy anxiety-ridden nerd.
What type of theatre most excites you?
The type that keeps me awake and alert in my seat after a heavy pasta dinner and two glasses of Pinot Noir. The kind that makes it worth skipping a night of reading stories to my seven-year-old and hearing all about how Cooper is jealous of his Pokemon card collection. The kind that makes me sick and angry and antsy and weepy and more human than I generally feel while ordering an iced green tea or counting how many “likes” my Facebook post got.
What starts a play moving in your imagination?
Chronic and unmitigated rage coupled with under-treated PTSD from assorted childhood wounds. Like everyone else.
Describe your writing day.
I am too restless to have a typical writing day but for the most part these tend to include one or more of the following: plain yogurt; peanut butter; insomnia; laundry; unreasonably aggressive house cleaning; twitter; self-soothing through unorthodox methods; pissing off the people who love me; getting angry at email; surfing the internet for badly dressed celebrities; not showering; coffee; therapy; almonds; fear.
WOMEN’S VOICES THEATER FESTIVAL
WOMEN LAUGHING ALONE WITH SALAD
September 7 – October 4, 2015
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
641 D Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
Details and Tickets
How did you choose this play to debut at the Festival?
Howard Shalwitz at Woolly Mammoth read this play and said he wanted to do it. I said okay.
What female playwrights have influenced your writing and how?
All of them. Because they did it and keep doing it, regardless of things like this: http://www.manhattantheatreclub.com/2015-16-season/ (Count the number of women writers and writers of color. Then ask me again why I write plays.)
What’s missing from theatre today?
See my previous answer.
What are you working on now?
Writing-wise… a movie, two plays, two TV development deals, plus I’m a writer/producer on Showtime’s Shameless. Non-writing-wise… I teach spin and yoga at a studio in Silverlake. Plus I’m a mom and a wife and a robot and a beast. So basically, I’m working on staying crazy with as little collateral damage as possible while attempting to keep my life asshole-free. So far so good.
Answer this: “If I weren’t a playwright, I would be … “
Anything you would like to add?
Advice to young writers: give zero fucks and stay murderously in love with your life. Advice to the young-writer-adjacents: feed them.