A Sprinkle of Grace
Jasmine’s close family and maid of honor come together for her surprise bridal shower (sorry, “sprinkle”) but the family bickering and gossip threatens to tear the party asunder before it even starts. The sister is pregnant and bitter, the mom highly opinionated, the cousin distant, and the aunt unhinged. Brooke, the best friend, tries to make them all get along, but stepping into this family battlefield will fully test her patience. What is this family’s love language, anyway?
Eric Craft is a playwright, director, and actor proudly based in New Jersey. He has written two full-length plays and a full-length musical, The Blank Page, for which he wrote the book and lyrics and self-produced out of college. His play And Every Creeping Thing was selected for a residency with the New Jersey Play Lab in 2022. He has multiple one-act plays and monologues for young actors, including his plays Finding the Root and The Struggle Bus. Other one-acts include The Edge of Infinity, which received a staged reading with the Chaotic Good Collective, and Whoa There, Grandma, which was a featured finalist of The Summit Playhouse’s Summer 2020 bake-off. He holds a B.A. in Theatre Studies from Montclair State 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?
My first play was a short musical about a girl being bullied for bringing her teddy bear to first grade. I was sixteen at the time, and kept writing here and there until I was writing plays in college more than I was directing them, despite directing being my focus. One day, during a post-college summer internship, I was in a meeting where a director I highly respected was railing against directors who twist the text to their own vision instead of honoring the story in the script. She concluded that these kinds of directors should write their own plays instead of messing up other people’s work, and I realized that I had been that kind of director. I wanted to tell my own stories more than I wanted to present someone else’s. So I took her advice.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
“A Sprinkle of Grace” started with a single joke. My cousin joked that if she was pregnant everyone would know the moment she abstained from drinking. I then took it one step further and thought “well, what if you didn’t drink because you were pregnant, but then everyone congratulated you for finally getting the help you needed?” The play blossomed from there, drawing inspiration from real-life family gossip and punched up with the guiding question of “how do I make it worse?”. The bridal event was the final framing device that kept the characters grounded and, more importantly, locked in the room.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Ridiculous, serious, silly, mystical, and earnest.
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
Some of my favorite contemporary playwrights include Annie Baker, Sarah Ruhl, and Lauren Gunderson. I am a huge nerd for classics and mythology, and Shakespeare is a consistent presence in my writing and reading. Many of my other artistic inspirations come from old sitcoms, cartoons, anime, video games, and table top role playing games. Earthbound is my favorite video game of all time specifically for its unique brand of humor (if you’re familiar, it stinks).
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
I have never read or watched a Tom Stoppard play or movie. The closest I have gotten (and I googled this) is watching the play adaptation of “Shakespeare in Love”, but I will argue it doesn’t count because the adaptation was written by Lee Hall.
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
King Lear, The Pillowman, The Aliens, Melancholy Play, Exit the King, Endgame, and Tartuffe. Not sure how I landed on those seven, but hey.
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
I am wrapping up my residency with the New Jersey Play Lab on the development of my play “And Every Creeping Thing”, which is an office comedy about the angels deciding which animals should get into creation. It’s an exploration of why and how we create and I’m excited to send it out to anyone who will read it, so keep an eye out for that title. Additionally, I want to shout out the Play Lab itself for being such an incredible resource for New Jersey playwrights. Finally, I am also on the board for In Death’s Company, a relatively new theatre company out in Jersey that is dedicated to exploring the unexplored in theatre, and makes equity and inclusion part of its mission statement. We have a few projects going on at the moment that are going up in September so check us out on our website/socials!