Suzan Zeder is one of the leading playwrights for young and family audiences in the United States. Her new play, When She Had Wings, opens at Imagination Stage September 30, 2015.
Her plays have been produced by professional, university and community theatres in all 50 states and internationally. She is also the co-author of Spaces of Creation: The Creative Process of Playwriting, an innovative body/mind approach to creative writing. Zeder is a six-time winner of the Distinguished Play Award and the Campton Bell Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Alliance of Theatre and Education. She is a member of the College of Fellows of the American Theatre and the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at the University of Texas at Austin. Zeder is the former Head of Playwriting/Directing at the University of Texas at Austin, where she held the nation’s first Endowed Chair in Theatre for Youth and Playwriting for Youth. She currently lives and writes in Santa Fe New Mexico.
Why are you a playwright?
I write because I cannot fly, but words can and where they land worlds appear, characters move and breathe, and audiences come together in the alchemy of the moment.
It is the live interaction in real time and real space that triggers the imagination and makes the impossible, possible and transforms something literal into a metaphor that makes meaning in every moment!
What type of theatre most excites you?
Plays that take place in more than one time, place, world, or frame of reality simultaneously. Plays that ask more questions than they answer. Plays made of magic and illusion about real things that matter.
What starts a play moving in your imagination?
Usually it’s an image or a sound. A baby flying out of her crib and landing on a ceiling fan. A man pulling a wagon across an empty stage and speaking to an audience in sign language. A woman singing over the grave of her child.
Describe your writing day.
I begin every day in a courtyard with a small pond and a fountain. I read some poetry, eat some toast and scribble in a notebook to get the cobwebs out of my head. I think about what I want to solve or explore today in the world of my play, then I walk a labyrinth, (literally) eat some more toast and get to work. In my writing place in Colorado my office is outside on a picnic table under a lot of Ponderosa pine tress. In Santa Fe, it’s a regular room, that looks out into my courtyard.
WOMEN’S VOICES THEATER FESTIVAL
WHEN SHE HAD WINGS
September 23 – November 1, 2015
4908 Auburn Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814
Details and Tickets
How did you choose this play to debut at the Festival?
I am so in love with the idea of this Festival. My play is about women and girls who fly, literally and metaphorically so it was such a JOY when Imagination Stage suggested we use this Festival as the launching pad. How wonderful it is to have so many women, writing about women, all of us flying in different ways!
Which female playwrights have influenced your writing and how?
Paula Vogel, because of her craft. Beth Henley, because of her humor. Sarah Ruhl, because she invents worlds where anything CAN and usually does happen! Heather MacDonald because she writes plays of elegance, generosity and grace.
What’s missing from theatre today?
Courage from producers to take a chance on plays with unfamiliar titles, something so new that no one has even dreamed them yet! Plays that value optimism and hope over cynicism and irony.
What are you working on now?
A play for young and family audiences about our rights for end of life choice and dying with dignity. This is the most recent incarnation of a Pro Choice agenda. Choice is choice whether it is at the beginning of life or the end.
Answer this: “If I weren’t a playwright, I would be … “
A chef! Not at a fancy restaurant, but a chef that cooks for the joy of the ingredients, the pleasure of nourishing others and the delight of eating something that tastes as good as music sounds.