Geetha Reddy is a four-time recipient of PlayGround’s Emerging Playwright Award and was recently selected by Theater Bay Area as a local “Up and Coming Playwright.” Last year, she participated in PF’s In the Rough Reading Series, where she developed her play Me Given You.
Safe House, selected for the festival from among 500 entries, tells the story of an isolated stay-at-home mother who employs very unusual measures to protect her twins. Crossing the lines between experimental therapeutic treatment and survivalist mentality, a mother does her best to create a ‘safe house’ for her children. PF asked Geetha about any possible political intentions behind writing what seems to be a post-post-9/11 play:
PF: You’ve been active for a number of years with several Bay Area playwriting groups. What do you think the atmosphere in the Bay Area is like right now for local writers? Do you feel like there are many opportunities to have your work produced?
GR: The Bay Area playwrighting community is amazingly creative and driven, and there are many groups and classes that have arisen to support our work. I have participated for many years in PlayGround, which gave me my first chance to work with professional actors and directors and also commissioned my first full-length play.
Getting a play produced is the tricky part. I think the opportunities are out there, but having the right play at the right theatre is a needle I am still working on threading.
PF: When did you begin writing Safe House? Where did the idea for the play come from?
GR: Safe House was originally commissioned by Jim Kleinmann at PlayGround in 2006. It is based on a 10-minute play I wrote for their Monday Night reading series called Honey, I’m Home. My work tends to evolve from intimate moments into a larger piece. In this case, my unease with Silicon Valley life, the 24-hour disaster/news cycle, and my own growing family were just some of the seeds for the play.
PF: Your play Safe House strikes me as a kind of post-post-9/11 play, in that it’s not the event of 9/11 that’s the engine driving the play, but rather the overzealous reaction of the characters to that event. Do you intend this play to have a political point of view?
GR: I am not interested in writing agit prop, but I do think of Safe House as a sort of parable conflating the child-centered culture of the elite with the various reactions to 9/11. Is it ever really possible to be safe? The dramatic answer is, of course, no. But as responsible parents or citizens, safety is the fundamental guiding principle. Rather than pushing a point of view I hope to illustrate how we can be torn apart by this paradox.
PF: What’s up next for you?
GR: I have a new play I am working on called Blue God Countdown, and Aaron Loeb and I are planning to collaborate on a project with Central Works.