Rachael Carnes



A relatable little tale about the surprising moment when the earth, moon and sun line up, or, the best part of air travel.




After spending two+ decades as founder and director of a nonprofit dedicated to inclusive dance education for children with disabilities, while moonlighting as a freelance journalist and being a mom, Rachael Carnes decided to try playwriting, stumbling into a class at her local theatre in 2017 and — WHOOSH! — dance and writing came together in playwriting and she never looked back. Rachael received a 2020 Oregon Literary Fellowship, a 2020 Oregon Arts Commission Grant, a 2021 Lighthouse Writers Workshop Advanced Dramatic Writing Fellowship, and is the recipient of the 2021 Jane Stevens Award in Theatre. Rachael has had productions of her work across the US, UK, the Middle East, Canada and Asia. She’s published in many literary journals and has enjoyed developing work at many theater and writing festivals and conferences. Rachael’s thrilled to return to NYC and the Samuel French OOB Festival. Rachael and her family live in Oregon. www.rachaelcarnes.com



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


I began writing as a child, mostly short stories about watching “Love Boat” and eating hot dogs with Shawn Cassidy. Though I majored in Dance Theatre in college in the Paleozoic era, my career turned towards dance, and just I began writing plays in 2017. I realized I wanted to write them the moment I started to do so.


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


I was coming home from back-to-back theatre residency in one city, rehearsal in another, a conference in yet another, and in none of those places, was I sleeping particularly well. The last leg, my hotel roommate snored. I was exhausted, spacing out, in the San Francisco airport. Stuff happened. They say writers live things twice, once when they experience it, and once when they write about it. Maybe this is an example of that.


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


Curious, wide-ranging, unflinching, funny, humane.


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


TV sitcoms of the Golden Age, music, visual art, things that anger me, big words I like that I can’t use much.


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


I spent the night in Central Park in the rain, in a garbage bag, to try to get a good spot at the August 15, 1991 Paul Simon concert. It worked, my friends and I were in, like, the fourth row. Watch the VHS tape. You’ll see us.


6. What are some of your favorite plays?


Aristophanes — All the nouns, Chekhov when people let it breathe and be silly, Caryl Churchill — Everything, Sarah Kane, same, all-time favorite if I had to have just one play, like we’re on an island and it’s either this play or a volleyball (and I hate volleyball) — Can’t pick. My favorite play is whatever new play by an author I’ve never heard of that I just read. (Thanks, NPX.)


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


I’m looking forward to developmental workshops and readings of my play Practice House at several theatres around the country, and a full production in 2023. My play Windberry Creek heads into its first full production this fall. After a COVID pivot turned a play premiere into a movie, now my play Binders will be developed for audio format. I’m grateful for continuing collaborative projects and the people who make them happen.