Kaylee and Adelyn
by Elizabeth Shannon Ellis

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Elizabeth Shannon






A set of identical twins explore their lives growing up together until an act of violence suddenly tears them apart.




Elizabeth Shannon (ELLIS) is a playwright and actor. She is a four-time winner of The Blank Theatre’s Young Playwrights Festival. She was an inaugural winner of ENOUGH! Plays to End Gun Violence in 2020, having her play Loaded Language produced in 47 places across the world and counting. She is the 2023 winner of the Wichita State University Bela Kiralyfalvi National Student Playwriting Competition. She was a winner of the 2023 Horizon Theatre’s New South Young Playwrights Festival in Atlanta. She is published on Playscripts and in three Smith and Kraus monologue anthologies. She has completed a residency with Young Playwrights Theatre of DC and is a current resident with Ripple Effect Artists in NYC. She has worked with Baltimore Centerstage, South Coast Repertory, Olney Theatre, Soho Playhouse and many others. She is a rising senior at Marymount Manhattan College, working to obtain her BFA Acting and BA Writing for the Stage degrees.




When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?

I have always loved storytelling, but didn’t ever think playwriting was for me. I attempted it briefly but didn’t think it was a good fit. Then in my theatre class in high school, we had a major group playwriting project that would be submitted to Baltimore Centerstage’s Young Playwrights Festival. I had the time of my life working on that play, called What Are You Hiding?, and had never enjoyed something in that way. Writing allowed me to explore and fight for a social issue that mattered to me in a creative way with a new perspective. It is still one of my favorite things I’ve ever written. The play ended up being one of the winners of the competition, and the mentorship and editing experience made me love playwriting even more. After that, I just kept writing!


How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?

I think I originally started with the idea of twins being mistaken for each other, and how inexplicably hard that must be for one twin if their sibling were to die, especially suddenly. In addition, writing about social issues and to encourage social change is very important to me, and I had written about gun violence in plays before, including working with the program “ENOUGH! Plays to End Gun Violence.” I combined these two ideas because I thought the conversation of survivors guilt through the perspective of an identical twin in a school shooting would make audiences think about gun violence through a new lens.


What are five words that describe who you are as a playwright?

Queer, heart-wrenching, stillness, dialogue-driven, timely.


What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?

Any Paula Vogel play, but Indecent is my all-time favorite. Other playwrights that are inspirations to me are Lynn Nottage, Annie Baker, Clare Barron, Amy Herzog, Sarah DeLappe and Madhuri Shekar.


What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?

I have an over 1500-day streak on Duolingo and study Norwegian!


What are some of your favorite plays?

Indecent, How I Learned to Drive, The Wolves, Fat Ham, Mary Jane, Pass Over, The Flick, Peerless, Evanston Salt Costs Climbing, Ruined.


Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?

My full length play On/Off is in the Downtown Urban Arts Festival at Theatre Row this summer on June 26!

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