29 Jul OOB Final 30 Countdown – Angela Santillo
It’s our twenty second day of the Final 30 countdown, and today’s special guest is Angela Santillo!
Angela Santillo is a New York City based theater artist. Her plays have been workshopped and produced by foolsFURY Theater, FURY Factory, New York Madness, Dixon Place, Pan Asian Rep, Abingdon Theater, Communal Spaces, NY3, Chicago Fringe, among others. Recent credits include: Oh the Moon!, a collaboration with choreographer CatherineMarie Davalos; Faulted, world premiere production (foolsFURY Theater); Love in a Heat Death Universe, a devised solo show with performer Benjamin Stuber (Unchained Theatre Festival, Chicago Fringe Festival); The Unfelt Wonder, her solo show co-created with director Lillian Meredith and media designer Kevin Brouder (FURY Factory, Dixon Place). She was a finalist for the 2015-2016 Jerome Fellowship and her play 410 Days Later will be published in an anthology from Smith and Kraus. MFA: Sarah Lawrence College, recipient of the Lipkin Playwriting Award. Member of the Dramatists Guild and an Associate Artist with foolsFURY Theater.
1. When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?
I started writing plays my freshman year of college because I suddenly wanted to express myself in words. I had acted in a number of plays during high school so dramatic writing was the form I was most comfortable with. During my sophomore year of college, I took a monologue writing class with director Rebecca Engle and playwright Octavio Solis. I had a one-on-one meeting with Octavio to go over the first draft of a piece and I remember sitting down and he just looked at me and said, “You know you’re a writer, don’t you? You have it.” That’s the moment I realized I needed to get serious.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
I was asked to write a one-act for The Motor Company’s festival Communal Spaces, which is a summer event that takes place in community gardens throughout New York City. They ask that you create a play inspired by the architecture of the space and I was assigned a large garden in the East Village that was full of hiding places. I had one month to write the script (due at the end of July 2015) and it was the first thing I’d written all year. I had an extremely busy theater year in 2014 but also had a life threatening medical emergency and needed to take the time to live a slower life. But slow did not happen, in the months before the festival I was laid off in the most insane way possible from a high profile political nonprofit, I was dealing with the one year anniversary of said medical trauma, and I had started an intense but beautiful correspondence with a skydiving Marine who was in Afghanistan. I decided to put everything I was dealing with in that garden and created Welcome to The Fall.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Imaginative, scientific, sarcastic, heartbreaking, funny.
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
I’m influenced by the facts of things. I get lost in historical research and science writing. I find an insane amount of magic and wonder in how and why things happen. I find stories bursting in the concrete facts of things. I often devise and co-create shows with artists of different disciplines because I am inspired by how others approach their craft. Learning what others find important about performance and storytelling makes me see the blank page in a different way and keeps things fresh. Really, anything that throws me out of my comfort zone and challenges me to see the world in a new way is what inspires me.
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
I wish I was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
Macbeth (Shakespeare), Life is a Dream (Pedro Calderon), Cabaret (Masteroff/Ebb), Marisol (Jose Rivera), Venus (Suzan Lori Parks), The Secret in the Wings (Mary Zimmerman), 3C (David Adjimi), The Nether (Jennifer Haley), RossevElvis (The TEAM)
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
I’m working with director Julie Kramer on a new solo show about my medical emergency, the realities of recovery, and the awful play I tried (and failed) to write in the months immediately following my hospital release.
Her play Welcome to the Fall will be performed on August 10th at 6:30pm. The premise – 1973: A smokejumper crash lands on the property of the world’s first meteor strike survivor.
Today: Your tour guide is about to lose her mind.