Kyri and Alex are synced. Like literally. They always get their periods at the same time. But Kyri’s got a secret, and it’s going to take an untamed ocean, forgotten tampons, and a little help from a very wise shark, to finally be able to say what’s right for her body and for her life.
Erika Phoebus is a NYC based playwright/performer who often writes magical, messy plays about body stuff and autonomy. Her work has been developed and/or produced at New Ohio Theatre, Fresh Ground Pepper BRB Retreat, The Flamboyán Theater, So-Fi Festival co-produced with Torn Page, Theatre 4the People, Actors Theatre of NY, and with Tessa Faye Talent, and her play RUSALKA won 5 Planet Connections Awards at the 2018 Planet Connections Theatre Festival, including Best Production and Best Script. B.F.A. Creative Writing, Brooklyn College. William Esper Meisner Conservatory alumni. Dramatist Guild Member. For more info, or to just say hi, check out www.erikaphoebus.com; IG: @ephoebs
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’m a classic “actor turned playwright,” and came to writing as a means of claiming agency as a performer. But there was always a certain part of me that felt outside myself when acting and eventually I realized I was unintentionally watching the inner workings of the play happen… like my brain was asking to be with the play as a whole, rather than embody a certain lifeforce within it. That was my a-ha moment, realizing I don’t watch myself write — I just write.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
Have you ever gotten caught in a riptide? I have. It’s terrifying, and also strangely shameful for a person who grew up by the beach and feels very at home in the ocean (also I’m a Pisces so… water is my love language?). I had to have like eight teenage lifeguards swim out to save me, it was MORTIFYING but also I couldn’t breathe? And I felt so betrayed by my body for shutting down and not protecting me, and I felt so betrayed by the ocean, a place I’ve always felt so safe. And somehow that experience turned into this play about… reproductive justice and genderqueer sharks?
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Wild. Ridiculous. Tender. Body stuff.
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
All the playwrights I listed below – Jung, Silverman, Backhaus, Delappe, Booth. I’m also equally soothed and invigorated by the works of Clare Baron, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Annie Baker, Will Arbery, and Sarah Ruhl. I’m also deeply influenced by historical narratives and the renegotiations of them, magic and myths, spoken word poets like Andrea Gibson and Desireé Dallagiacomo, all the writers I’ve had the joy of supporting and learning from, and, of course, the shamelessly playful spirits of my two cats!
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
I have a crippling fear of blood and mayonnaise, sometimes I wonder if it’s somehow all just one fear, but that’s weird, right?
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
Wolf Play by Hansol Jung
The Moors by Jen Silverman
Men on Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus
The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe
A Small World by Eboni Booth
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
I’m currently working on two plays – one is a witchy, queer, beer play about the coexistence of joy and policing of female and queer pleasure, set against the backdrop of the European Witch Craze. The other play is inspired by my grandfather, and is about an old sailor with dementia who sees his dead wife in the ocean’s whales. I’m also gearing up to apply to MFA programs in the fall!