Inspired by the horror shorts of EC Comics, Duckass focuses on two sisters who invite a local boy to their family’s storm cellar.
Dan Caffrey graduated from UT Austin’s M.F.A. Playwriting program in 2020, and is now based in Brooklyn after a stint teaching playwriting at the Tony Award-winning Alliance Theatre. He was a 2022 Semi-Finalist for the Jerome Fellowship, shortlisted for the Alpine Fellowship’s 2021 Theatre Prize, has been a Finalist and Semi-Finalist at the O’Neill, a Semi-Finalist for the Princess Grace Awards Playwriting Fellowship, a Semi-Finalist for The Civilians’ R&D Group, a Resident Artist at Tofte Lake Center, an M.F.A. Scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and his work has been published in several anthologies by Smith & Kraus. His plays have recently been developed/produced by The Workshop Theater, American Records, Mixily Presents, Jarrott Productions, Kitchen Dog Theater, and Pegasus PlayLab at UCF. His play “A Seed” was part of the 46th Annual Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival, produced by Concord Theatricals.
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 didn’t start writing plays until high school, but I knew I wanted to be a writer after seeing Jurassic Park for the first time. My first story was a total ripoff of it. Strangely enough, I’ve met a lot of writers my age who have a similar JP origin story.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
I’m a big horror fan and am pretty much always consuming it, so I wanted to write something that felt old-school and indebted to the classic anthology stories from EC Comics (the publisher behind Tales From the Crypt, Vault of Horror, etc.). But I also wanted it to work easily onstage, so I knew the scares had to rely more on the characters’ internal worlds, as opposed to just spectacle. Which is just a fancy way of saying that I really wanted the audience to care about these people so that they’d be emotionally invested once bad things started to happen to them.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Ecology, economy, escalation, extroversion, escapism
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
Wildlife, horror, any kind of otherworldly/non-human element that can inform or upend my characters’ own views of humanity. I like using these big forces as a means of examining more private issues like secrecy, repression, insecurity, fear. etc.
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
I use the word “pathos” all the time without knowing what it actually means.
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
If it’s alright, I’d instead just like to list some playwrights who are very near and dear to my heart. Everyone should check out their incredible work!</p
Lena Barnard, i-chia chiu, I.B. Hopkins, Renae Jarrett, Nick Kaidoo, Gursimrat Kaur, Hannah Kenah, Hee-won Kim, Jenny Krick, Paul William Kruse, Sam Mayer, Daria Miyeko Marinelli, Thom May, Paz Pardo, Drew Paryzer, Cecelia Raker, Jaymes Sanchez, Jess Shoemaker, Lane Michael Stanley, travis tate, Danny Tejera, Josiah Turner, Minghao Tu
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
I’m the co-host of two shows on the Bloody Disgusting Podcast Network—The Losers’ Club: A Stephen King Podcast and Halloweenies: A Horror Franchise Podcast. Check us out!