cara has a hole in her head


Elise Wien



Cara and Sam wait in line for Barbecue Wednesday at a camp for people who have survived mass shootings. It has all the regular camp stuff, like tie-dye and fireside sing-alongs, and some of the nonregular stuff, like the terror of a guiltful existence.




Elise Wien is a playwright from New Rochelle, NY, who likes funny, formally unusual, heart-wrenching work. Her plays have been developed with Corkscrew Theater Festival, Pete’s Candy Store, The 24 Hour Plays: Nationals, Dixon Place, and the Hopkins Center for the Arts. Her play [cowboy face] was a Finalist for the Leah Ryan FEWW Prize. She is an MFA candidate at Boston University.



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


I started writing during college – like many others, I first came into the theater through acting, then directing, then writing. Early in college, I did some spoken word poetry – it sort of became a journey to have more control over what we get to say onstage.


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


I first wrote this play for an outdoor reading series, set to take place on Halloween. I knew I wanted to write something spooky, with blood and candy. I love plays that deal with heartbreaking topics through comedy, that let us in on peoples’ secrets. I developed the play with Liza Couser, Robert Leverett, and Diane Chen, actors and a director who have keen ears and excellent comedic sensibilities.


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


Sad, earnest, playful, hopeful, hungry


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


I’m big on eavesdropping and falling into Wikipedia wormholes, on following an impulse to its most bizarre conclusion. I read Suzan Lori-Parks’ ‘Elements of Style’ once every three months or so—I love her conviction that a play can be dead serious while still being play – make believe. I haven’t found a piece of writing that moves me to write as much as that one. If you have one, let me know! I’d love to read it.


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


I own the domain https://www.fastlipoandgundepot.com/


6. What are some of your favorite plays?


The Year of the Rooster and The Tomb of King Tot by Olivia Dufault, You For Me For You by Mia Chung, Eclipsed by Danai Gurira, Polar Bear in a Fish Tank in a Mall in China by Dan Giles – plays that refuse to hold back.


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


I’m currently working on expanding this play into a full-length! It’s not currently tied to any development opportunities, but if you’d like to help develop it…let me know.