A reading of Helen Pafumi’s new play Redder Blood will be help Monday, October 19th at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia featuring Ed Christian, Michael Kevin Darnall, Nanna Ingvarsson, Rose McConnell, Sasha Olinick, Tia Shearer and Sara Dabney Tisdale.
She is is the Artistic Director and co-founder of The Hub Theatre. Her original plays have been produced by The Hub, Theater Alliance, No Rules Theatre Company, Theatre Asylum and been seen at the Kennedy Center’s Page to Stage Festival. As an actor, she has performed in many DC area theatres, including Folger Theatre, Woolly Mammoth, Theater J, Forum Theatre, Theater Alliance, Rorschach Theatre, Keegan Theatre, The Inkwell, the Source Festival, the Beckett Centenary Festival, and Madcap Players. She has been nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play for her co-adaptation of Wonderful Life. She is the recipient of the Puffin Foundation Award and the Washington Canadian Partnership Award.
Why are you a playwright?
Playwrighting does some of what acting does for me. I guess I give myself liberty to let loose. In many ways it is a guilty pleasure. It also happens whether or not I make a conscious choice to write. A story, a monologue, a scene will just come to me, and it stays knocking around until I write it down. I love words. Writing lets me fuse my day-dreaming with language.
What type of theatre most excites you?
Anything that just takes me away – and that can be clowning, a musical, a drama – anything. Poetic language, magical ideas and bittersweet comedies are treasures. But I am really game for anything – if I watch a show and didn’t wonder what time it was, or how much longer it was going to go on, then I probably loved it.
What starts a play moving in your imagination?
I get stuck on something. Kind of like anyone gets obsessed with something and then my mind will start attaching characters to it. Sometimes the subjects are things that I can’t turn away from, like bullying and how it has infiltrated every level of growing up, from the schoolyard thug to the gun wielding mass shooter. Abominable came out of my need to decipher the senselessness of that. Redder Blood is a long-standing fascination, come to the page. It’s about the connection between faith, religion and self worth.
WOMEN’S VOICES THEATER FESTIVAL
October 19, 2015 at 7:30pm
Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia
8900 Little River Turnpike
Fairfax, VA 22031
Free Admission (with reservation)
Details and Tickets
Describe your writing day.
I suck at writing days. In truth I am a champion procrastinator. I have to feel like writing for it to be any good. When I try to write and I am not in the mood, it all goes in the garbage. So I wait.
Deadlines are my biggest and best motivator and muse.
I do a lot of mulling and will jot down ideas in a list for a long while. I will knock out a play in a matter of weeks. Once I have a draft done, edits are easier, but I hate doing them. I do not suggest this writing schedule/style to anyone.
Favorite writing place – so cliché – I like writing in coffee shops. Something about the noise helps me to concentrate better.
How did you choose this play to debut at the Festival?
JCCNV has been my patron for the past year as I developed Redder Blood. We had planned on doing a fall reading and as the Women’s Voices Theater Festival was going on it was easy to be a part of it. It just kind of worked out well. The full production will be in July, 2016[at Hub Theatre].
Which female playwrights have influenced your writing and how?
I am far more guided by novelists like Jeanette Winterson or Margaret Atwood. Their poetic writing style has definitely been an influence on me. As for female playwrights that I love, I am a big fan of Sarah Ruhl, Lauren Yee, and Sheila Callaghan. I recently spoke with Lauren who likened the first draft of her plays to jumping off a cliff. All these ladies write with that same sense of adventure.
What’s missing from theatre today?
This is most certainly not missing but I wish I could see more of it – great, heartfelt comedies. Ones with a sense of hope. I adore plays where the audience laughs together before they cry together. I wish there was more of that.
What are you working on now?
I am still in rewrites for Redder Blood. I also have a short film soon to be produced and I have more things on the burner that I can’t quite talk about yet.
Answer this: “If I weren’t a playwright, I would be … “
A painter or a politician. I almost did both.
DCTS’ Guide to Women’s Voices Theater Festival
More interviews with WVTF playwrights
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