Kill The Beast
A storyteller tries to rehearse their presentation – a happy little story about a baby dragon. Their director, however, has other ideas. “Kill The Beast” interrogates the desire for trans joy in a world hell-bent on trans misery.
D.A. Mindell is an MFA candidate in playwriting at Columbia University. He’s worked as a teaching artist with the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta for the past three summers, and teaches gender education workshops with the queer, Jewish nonprofit SOJOURN. Through SOJOURN, he has also produced “Quest Ed,” a sex education Dungeons and Dragons podcast. Past recognition includes the David L. Shelton Award through the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival, the Georgia Theatre Conference’s One-Act Play Competition, the Powerstories Voices of Truth Theatre Festival, and semifinalist status at the Austin Film Festival. He would like to thank Lynn Nottage for the mentorship under which “Kill The Beast” was first cultivated, as well as Avi Klipfel, Eli Wassertzug, Elliot Hoke, and his MFA cohort for their participation in the development process.
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 realized I wanted to be a playwright in high school, but I didn’t know for sure that I’d made the right choice until I got to my first college workshop. The first time I had my words read out loud, I cried – because I was embarrassed, and also because I knew that I wanted to be embarrassed and vulnerable and exposed in that kind of glorious way 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?
“Kill The Beast” was developed as part of Lynn Nottage’s American Spectacle class at Columbia University. It came to be during a unit on politics and dissent, on a gloomy Tuesday afternoon in the most quintessential of libraries. When I presented it, Lynn looked me in the eye and said, “Thank you for bringing this to us,” and I knew in that moment that I’d done something special.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Generous, eager, quick, metaphorical, authentic.
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
Lynn Nottage, Rogelio Martinez, and Leslie Ayvazian have had the most direct influence on my writing as of late as educational mentors. Kimberly Belflower and Dr. Michael Evenden have my eternal thanks for helping me develop my artistic voice, as well as my skills of self-advocacy. And above all, I would not be where I am today without every collaborator with whom I’ve shared a class, a rehearsal room, or a good drink.
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
I’m a pretty good cook/baker, if I do say so myself! I say you’d never guess it about me, but I never pass up a chance to feed a new friend, so I guess you’d learn it pretty quickly.
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
“The Baltimore Waltz” by Paula Vogel, “English” by Sanaz Toossi (mazel tov of the Pulitzer win!!!), “The God of Vengeance” by Sholem Asch, all three Brother/Sister Plays by Tarell Alvin McCraney… so many more. Too many more!
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
“On the Evolutionary Function of Shame” is an interrogation of how far love can carry tolerance, and will be my second year play at Columbia University! Additionally, “Quest Ed” is available to stream wherever you get your podcasts.