15 Jul OOB Final 30 Countdown – Sunita Deshpande
We are ten days into the Final 30 countdown, so say hello to Sunita Deshpande!
Sunita Deshpande is an actor, writer, and improviser living in New York. She’s trained at Maggie Flanigan Studios as well as UCB, Magnet Theater, and Labyrinth Theater. She teaches improv workshops across the country. You may have seen Sunita in an American Express commercial doing improv with Tina Fey, Kohl’s, LG, and Kayak.com commercials or Broad City & 30 Rock. This year she stars in the pilot The Ridge that was just picked up by Amazon Prime (2016). A Sari for Pallavi is her first play.
1. When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?
Last year. I have a background as an ad writer, but those were for 30 second spots. I took a Labyrinth workshop where we were encouraged to write, and I got a lot of encouragement from classmates. In one session we had to write a monologue and when a friend read it out loud I got really excited that someone was saying my words – and that people were enjoying it.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
I was in a class with Webb Wilcoxen of Labyrinth Theater. I wanted to take a class because I knew that it would ‘force’ me to just put something together. Story: I stayed in Santa Monica in the summer of 2013 after I got kicked out of my NYC apt, and it was one of the happiest summers of my life. A friend I made out there inspired the character of Pallavi. Thini was inspired by a girl I knew growing up mixed with a relative.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
1. Mischief-making, 2. Engaging, 3. Loving, 4. Witty (although you’re not supposed to say that), 5. Mercurial.
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
Oscar Wilde, Christopher Durang, Noel Coward, Mike White, Mackenzie Crook, and Frasier.
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
I don’t come from money.
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, August Osage County, Much Ado About Nothing, Noises Off, Jerusalem.
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
Just found out…I’m starring in a show that just got picked up by Amazon Prime called The Ridge! It’s very exciting! It’s created by Ali Abbas and about 4 Muslim kids in Bay Ridge who get superpowers. I learned so much and I am so excited to be part of the experience.
Her play A Sari for Pallavi will be performed on August 12th at 6:30pm. It follows how the traditional Thini tries to get her cousin Pallavi to wear a sari to a relative’s wedding, and a hilarious culture clash unravels…