by Lauren Smerkanich

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Lynne and Rob have just moved to a town where holiday decorations are taken seriously and the neighbors are always watching. As they carve a pumpkin in anticipation of Halloween, the young couple hash out what brought them to their new home, and decide to decorate for their own reasons – neighbors be damned.




Lauren Smerkanich, a graduate of The Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, is a writer-director currently based in Los Angeles. Recent honors include placing as a Semi-Finalist (GIGI INHERITS FOUR MINK COATS) and Second-Rounder (BOIL) in the 2021 Austin Film Festival Playwriting Competition. Recent favorite credits include a production of her full-length play, THE DIGINITY CIRCLE (playwright), at Central Works Theatre in Berkeley, CA, and A GLASS OF WINE (playwright and director) in conjunction with Animal House’s Backyard Plays series. Additionally, Lauren has recently participated in a writing residency at The Writer’s Colony in Eureka Springs, AR, and is a Guest Teaching Artist with The Atlantic Theater Company’s Access Success Program, and Au Pair Weekend.



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


I’ve always been writing plays, I think. I recently found some of my earliest journals, and even then, I wrote little sketches and exchanges in dialogue. Playwriting has always been a way to make sense of the world. It’s always been an opportunity to puzzle things out.


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


I wrote HALLOWEEN during Covid lockdown, as we were watching holiday after holiday tick by without the usual celebrations. I was thinking about how ridiculous or performative certain holiday traditions are, but also how imperative these same traditions can be in helping us to remember the passage of time, and to celebrate those present and those who have left us.


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


Wry, heart-forward, observational, feminist, and empathetic.


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


Aaron Sorkin for dialogue, Ann Patchett for detailed, heart-felt story-telling, David Adjimi for the tales you can spin about historical figures we thought we knew, and a few life-changing teachers (Wes, Erik, Gary).


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


I can throw a baseball much faster than you would expect.


6. What are some of your favorite plays?


JOHN by Annie Baker, FEFU AND HER FRIENDS by Maria Irene Fornes, MARIE SEACOLE by Jackie Sibblies Drury, WOMEN LAUGHING ALONE WITH SALAD by Sheila Callaghan, HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE by Paula Vogel.


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


I just finished a run of my original full-length play, THE DIGNITY CIRLCE, at Central Works Theater in Berkeley, CA, and am working on a new play about the budding friendship between a young woman and a mysterious bird, called (aptly enough) ELEANORA AND THE BIRD.