The Heaviest Burden
by Kailee Goldberg

Featured image for “<span style="font-size:20px"><em>The Heaviest Burden</em><br><span style="font-size:16px"><span style="color:#E64B2D"> by Kailee Goldberg”



During a 제사 (jesa) ceremony for her mother, Jaimie receives an unexpected visitor and is finally forced to grapple with her grief.




Kailee Goldberg is a playwright, director and actor from Rockville, Maryland. Her most recent theatre credits include Spring Awakening (Director), As You Like It (Audrey/Hisperia), The Fearless New Play Festival (Actor) at the University of Maryland and Heathers The Musical (Director). She is excited to be making her playwriting debut and is extra thrilled to hear the work of everyone else at the festival. Kailee earned her BA in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Maryland this past May. While at UMD she was a proud part of the Kreativity Diversity Troupe, the Undergraduate Theatre Artist Society and Omicron Kappa Delta (the national leadership honor society). She would like to thank her family, friends, professors and mentors for their endless support and love. Extra shoutout to her playwriting teacher and mentor, Jennifer Barclay. Instagram: @kaileegoldberg



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


Technically I started when I was young. Maybe 5 or 6? I started writing short little plays and then made my brother, cousins and family friends perform them with me for our parents. I would direct and star in them, of course, and my parents knew I was destined to to something in the dramatic arts. I didn’t really consider myself a playwright until college. I dabbled in writing a lot before college, but I never really took myself seriously as a writer. Before getting into playwriting, I wrote fanfiction (I still do), and then I wrote short plays for clubs and for fun. Then, this past year, I took a playwriting class and got more serious about it once I had a methodology and structure for 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 inspired by my own experiences going to the Buddhist temple with my mother growing up. I grew up around Korean culture and wanted to write a play that spoke to my own experiences growing up Korean in America. I also wanted to put a ritual on stage that most Westerners and Americans wouldn’t know anything about. My goal as a theatre artist is to put more Asian stories and actors on stage. This play was actually an assignment for a playwriting class, and it has developed into my own little love story to my mom.


3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?


Always writing impossible stage directions.


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


My Mom. My Dad. My little brother, Mason. My Grandparents. Lauren Yee. Hansol Jung. Young Jean Lee. Dark comedies and horror comedies. Star Wars. Korean mythology. Greek mythology. Eva Noblezada. Hadestown. Bong Joon-ho. Sandra Oh. “Trashy” Romance Novels. Rian Johnson. Generational trauma and just general trauma. Avatar the Last Airbender (the cartoon, not the movie).


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


I’ve been a swim coach for nine years. I’ve taught so many people how to swim that I’ve lost count now.


6. What are some of your favorite plays?


Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee (or really anything by Lauren Yee). Ain’t No Mo’ by Jordan Cooper. The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe. Alabaster by Audrey Cefaly. Wild Goose Dreams by Hansol Jung. Pass Over by Antoinette Nwandu. Until the Flood by Dael Orlandersmith. Failure by Philip Dawkins. Straight White Men by Young Jean Lee. Vietgone by Qui Nguyen. peerless by Jiehae Park. Stick Fly by Lydia R. Diamond.


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


I’m working with friends on a devised theatre piece for the Capital Fringe Festival this summer! Our piece is called “TBD” and I’m super excited about it. I’m writing for it and acting in it.