29 Jul OOB Final 30 Countdown – Angela Stern
It’s day twenty four of our Final 30 Countdown, and our special guest today is Angela Stern!
Angela Stern is a writer and actress. She earned her BFA in theater from U.C. Santa Barbara and began writing plays shortly after graduating. She is the author of five short plays, three full length plays, and several short films as well as a novel. Angela has successfully produced two of her full length plays in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, Ca.
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 while I was at U.C. Santa Barbara working on my BFA in theater. When I graduated college, I started to write more frequently to cope with the realities of being a “grown up”. Writing plays became a passion rather quickly.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
I was taking a graduate acting class at the Ruskin School of acting in Los Angeles and we began to write our own material for scene work. When the suggestion of a Christmas theme was thrown out, the idea came kind of easily. My mother had passed away suddenly in March of 2014 and my siblings and I had a very difficult time coming to terms with her death. We were all together one afternoon, shortly after we had gotten her ashes back from the morgue. My family is extraordinarily close and we all tend to cope with grief through humor. My sister decided to investigate the plastic bag that held mom’s ashes. When a puff of ash escaped the bag and landed on her hand, she immediately licked it off like she was licking a spot of ketchup or something. For a brief moment, the rest of us were horrified that she had just ingested our mother. And then we burst into uncontrollable laughter. That moment really resonated with me and I wanted to explore a play in which a family copes with their grief in an unconventional way.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Unique. Daring. Raw. Clever. Sardonic.
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
David Lindsay Abaire, Edward Albee, Shakespeare, Tom Stoppard, Wendy Wasserstein, Tennessee Williams, Samuel Beckett, Margaret Edson, Tony Kushner, Lee Blessing, Yasmina Reza, Larry Kramer, Sam Shepard.
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
I am the child of immigrants. My mother was from Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies and my father was from Macedonia.
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
Rabbit Hole, Macbeth, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Wit, Angels in America, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Down the Road, God of Carnage, The Normal Heart, Fool For Love.
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
I am finishing a full length play based on by the characters in Mama’s Eggnog. I am also producing a short film I co-authored titled Drusilla about a brother and sister who are cast opposite one another in a Broadway Play.
Her play Mama’s Eggnog will be performed on August 12th at 8:30pm. It features three grown siblings, coping with the recent death of their mother, who frantically scramble to wrap Christmas gifts for their children. To ease the Christmas Eve tension, they whip up a batch of Mama’s eggnog, but Belinda’s special ingredient turns out to be more than the siblings can stomach and Christmas Eve becomes less than a silent night.