Thursday, June 24, 2010

Meet your 2010 Festival Playwrights, week five! Meet local playwright Elizabeth Gjelten!

Each week we will be sharing an interview with a playwright featured in this year's 2010 Bay Area Playwrights Festival. PF sat down with SF-based playwright Elizabeth Gjelten, who will be developing her play Hunter’s Point in the Festival on Saturday, July 24 and Saturday, July 31.

1.   How long have you been writing for the theatre?  What was the creative spark that led you to become a playwright?

I started as a solo writer and performer about 20 years ago. After years of writing poetry in my room, it was the love of being on stage that got me going -- until I didn't need that impetus anymore, and found myself wanting to sit back and watch actors make discoveries in the words that came through me.

2.   What inspired the creation of your play, Hunter's Point?  Tell us a little about the process of writing this piece.

First it was a voice that came to me in some freewriting. I knew who she was as soon as she appeared, but it took several tries and dead-ends before I found the form for her story. The play also came from my feelings of helplessness and guilt in the face of a loved one who lived on the streets for many years, as well as my own struggles with my unruly mind.

3.   What do you hope to discover, improve, or change in your play during the festival process?
I'm mostly hoping to work with some structural questions I have about the play -- I want to simplify and pare it down.

4.   After the 2010 Bay Area Playwrights Festival, what’s next for you?

See this puppy into production next spring. And work on two other plays that have been germinating and growing.

5.   Desert Island Top Five Plays, go!

Gertrude Stein, Dr. Faustus Lights the Lights
Brecht, Mother Courage
Suzan Lori-Parks, Death of the Last Black Man...
Caryl Churchill, Far Away
Tony Kushner, Angels In America
For more information on Elizabeth Gjelten and Hunter’s Point, and to see a Festival Calendar of Events, please visit our website:

The 2010 Bay Area Playwrights Festival takes place JULY 23 - AUGUST 1, 2010 at the Thick House in Potrero Hill, SF.

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