RAW by Amy Bernstein opens October 22, 2015 at Venus Theatre in Laurel, MD. A Baltimore-based playwright, she has participated in Free Fall Baltimore, the Charm City Fringe Festival, Kennedy Center’s Page-to-Stage Festival, and the Marble Collegiate Church Play Festival in New York, among others. She is a recipient of a Ruby Grant from the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance. She invites you to connect with her here.
What can you say in a play you can’t say in another medium?
Theater is the ‘most real’ reality ever invented by humans (and I say that as one who loves a big, fat juicy, world-spinning novel). I don’t think we’ll ever find a better medium to both lament and illuminate the human condition without the constraints imposed by the ‘mere’ reality we move through in everyday life. Even a 10-minute play on a bare stage allows you to explore huge emotional states and alternate universes in ways no other medium can do—in real time, no less. The stage offers an unlimited canvas—and that’s what makes playwrighting so terrifying and liberating at the same time.
What type of theatre most excites you?
Call me old-fashioned, but I am most deeply moved by plays that create characters I can somehow connect with, or react to, whether they are human, alien, mythical, animal, or something else entirely. I deeply admire plays that use time and space in completely novel and unconventional ways, yet still place sentient beings at the center of all that, who make you care about their fates.
What starts a play moving in your imagination?
Often, my starting point is a news article that is basically about some kind of big and intriguing conflict.
WOMEN’S VOICES THEATER FESTIVAL
October 22 – November 15
21 C Street
Laurel, MD 20707
Details and Tickets
Describe your writing day.
My writing ‘day’ is rarely a day (though I love those and should carve out more of them). I take blocks of time where I can find them. My favorite place to write (apart from my own diningroom table) is the airy, light-filled, and whisper-quiet Juanita C. Burns Memorial African-American Reading Room at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore.
How did you choose this play to debut at the Festival?
I owe Deb Randall of Venus Theater in Laurel, MD, a huge debt of gratitude for bringing my play, Raw, into her current season—and then creating the opportunity from there.
What female playwrights have influenced your writing and how?
I genuinely do not have an answer for this, just like I’ve never had a favorite color. I don’t read or see nearly enough plays to be wise about this. So many playwrights are doing amazing work, and so little of it gets produced—and I don’t just mean women (though that’s true!!), but writers of color, writers with disabilities, writers who are older than everyone around them, etc.
What’s missing from theatre today?
More: More opportunities, more spaces for rehearsals and plays, more young audiences exposed to live theater early on, more investment in producing playwrights who are not in LA, Chicago, New York, and especially those who are not armed with a theater degree from an accredited institution.
What are you working on now?
I’m making notes for a new play entitled Exit Pluto. It takes place in a bakery whose owners refuse to make a cake for their own beloved employee, when they discover she is a lesbian. Of course, the goal is not to make this a heavy-handed polemic. God forbid.
Answer this: “If I weren’t a playwright, I would be … ”
A screaming mimi. It isn’t pretty. Writing is necessary to living.