1900's Women Bonding
In this slightly sexi period piece inspired by the short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” two women in the 1900s bond over having hysteria and wonder if they have any control over their fates.
Catherine Weingarten is a friendly jewish chick from an obscure area of Pennsylvania! She was the recipient of the Scott McPherson Award and the 2017 Tennessee Williams Scholarship through the Sewanee Writer’s Conference. She has previously developed her “girly, trashy” work with Dixon Place, The Tank, Less Than Rent, Last Frontier Theater Conference and has been awarded residencies through Bethany Arts Community and Monson Arts. Catherine has participated in Art House Production’s INKubator Writer’s Group, New Perspective’s Writer’s Group and The Shelter’s Virtual King Lear project. Her humor writing has been published in McSweeney’s, The Broadway Beat and elsewhere. BA: Bennington College MFA: Ohio University
A BIT ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
1. When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?
I have been acting ever since I was a mini and would write a short play every once and a while but I didn’t think women could be playwrights. I just assumed all playwrights were hip dead men. I got hit with the playwriting bug when I put my name in for Bennington College’s 24 hour play festival as both a playwright(as a lark!) and an actor and got chosen to write. I remember sitting in our gymnasium writing a trashy play about male prostitution at 11pm and munching on free oreos they gave us. I just knew if this was playwriting, then that’s what I had to be doing for the rest of my life.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
“1900’s Women Bonding” was written for Inversion Theater’s “We Read Books” Series at the Tank. A few playwrights were asked to write original short plays inspired by Charlotte Perkin Gilman’s feminist short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper.” I am obsessed with adaptation because I think we distance ourselves from history- we say, “oh that could never happen now.” But with adaptation you can make the past relevant and sexy and real.
The piece developed alot in rehearsals for the short play festival and I was lucky to have a really talented, inventive creative team that helped me find the arc of the piece and the balance between comedy and angstttt.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Trashy, Girly, Playful, Humorous, Heartfelt
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
Christopher Durang was the playwright that made me realize that writing can be confessional and cathartic and funny yet also break your heart in an instant. I also am a major Wendy Wasserstein fan because her plays are funny AF yet also have so much heart and truth-she’s underrated and a the patron saint of jewish chick playwrights!
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
I was in a hip hop dance team in high school and we performed for the 76ers. I was way cooler then.
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
“Dance Nation,” and “You Got Older,” by Clare Barron,
“Frankie and Johnny at the Claire De Lune,” by Terrence McNally “
“A Streetcar Named Desire,” by Tennessee Williams
“Uncommon Women and Others,” by Wendy Wasserstein
Christopher Durang’s “Dentity Crisis”
“Is God is” by Aleasha Harris
“blks” by Aziza Barnes
“The African Mean Girls Play” by Jocelyn Bioh
I freak for plays that are bold, theatrical and tell us something about what it means to be alive.
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
I wrote an angsty Jewish play called, “Jew Vibing” about using dating apps badly that I’m pretty excited about. I’m currently rewriting it and hope to do a public reading or presentation in the future.