05 Aug OOB Final 30 Countdown – Jane Willis
We’re so close! With only two days until the festival we are excited to introduce today’s Final 30 countdown playwright – Jane Willis!
Jane returns to playwriting after a long hiatus, during which she taught public school. Prior to her career as a middle and high school English teacher, she is best known for Slam! and Men Without Dates (Ensemble Studio Theater) available through Dramatists Play Service. Slam! also available in Ramon Delgado’s Best Short Plays of 1986. As The World Turns, The It Girl (Martin Poll Productions/HBO) (November 2015) What She Wished For (a full-length dark comedy) Staged reading directed by Melissa Skirboll: @ The Barrow Group, NYC.
A Brooklyn resident, Jane likes to write about restless youth on the crest of making drastic life-changing decisions. She has three children, and a loving partner who kindly reads her first drafts. Jane would also like to thank Arlene Hutton and her Barrow Group workshop, for her support as That Kid developed.
1. When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?
I transitioned to playwriting from screenwriting. I love the immediacy of theater and how the dialogue looks on the page.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
A few inspirations behind this play: In addition to knowing what it’s like to be a kid who doesn’t fit in at school, – My elderly parents enjoyed regular visits from neighborhood deer.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Curious, Outraged, Warped, Lover of the Silly, All Ears.
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
All writers influence me, but here are a few names: Annie Baker, Marsha Norman, Craig Lucas, Eugene Ionesco, Margaret Atwood (novelist), Francine Prose (novelist).
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
For a third career, I’d like to be a forensic detective.
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker, Getting Out by Marsha Norman, You can Count on Me by Kenneth Lonergan, Three Days of Rain by Richard Greenberg, Faith Healer by Brian Friel, Arcadia by Tom Stoppard, Absurd Person Singular by Alan Aykbourn
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
Just completed: (Shameless Plugs):
What She Wished For (full length) a dark comedy about how the people we love…change.
Last Minute Thing (10 minute play- comedy) Set in a hair salon in deep Brooklyn, a woman’s personal crisis is getting in the way of Andrei and Marius (underworld cleaners), who are just trying to take care of today’s business.
Prospect and Refuge (full-length play) Jill and Adam, both 17, are first loves with big future plans that will hopefully eject them from their small town of Bartley, New Jersey. They have everything going for them – but their separate choices drive a wedge between them.
As we see the past (Jill and Adam 17) and present (Jill and Adam 40) relationships unfold simultaneously, we see the ways that time and trauma ambush them and their dreams — but can it also open up a path for them toward renewed guts and hope?
Her play That Kid will be performed on August 9th at 8:30pm. While Evelyn prepares lunch, she tries to find the cause of her quirky grandson’s anger towards a visiting deer, just as he discovers that his grandmother has a mysterious medical condition. As they both cope with the reality that “it’s just the two of them” now, Fabian is even more determined to banish the lingering deer. The play explores the courage of this unlikely pair to get through days that may seem banal, but are shadowed by the danger of imminent loss.