Thank You, Porcupine
A young Alaskan reckons with her family history as she dissects the natural world around her. What does it take for her to break away from her family’s destructive cycle?
Aurora Behlke (she/her) is an Alaska raised, Seattle / St. Louis based playwright and creative. She will be making her professional playwriting debut this September at Echo Theatre in Dallas with her full-length play, “Founders, Keepers.” When she’s not writing, you can find her sharing Seattle’s early history as an underground tour guide. Education: Aurora is currently pursuing a BA in Directing from Webster Conservatory.
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?
When I was young, my mom tried to spark a love of writing by giving me a composition notebook for our long road trips during fishing season. The rules: she would write a page, I would continue the story and pass it back to her, and so on and so forth.
It did not work.
In fact, it failed miserably.
I drew giant bubble words and stick figure animals that only vaguely followed the storyline. My mom didn’t seem to appreciate the avant-garde genius she had on her hands.
I think this is why I’m a playwright. Since the beginning, I’ve loved storytelling that is tangible. From bubble letters to theatre, I’ve needed stories that fly off the page.
2. How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?
Ever since moving away from Alaska, I have wanted to write about the Gold Rush. While I come from a line of (crazy) adventurers, I’ve often had to ask myself: “I’m here… but at what cost?” What did my ancestors do to this land, and why did they stick around? This play is my attempt to answer those questions.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
Every story is a quest.
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Lynn Nottage, Clare Barron, María Irene Fornés, adrienne maree brown, Octavia Butler, Madeline Miller, Britney, my friends, my roommates, my mom.
And all of the femme characters with terrible endings who have lived rent-free in my brain since I first met them in books & movies.
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
I play the accordion!
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
“Mr. Burns: a Post Electric Play” by Anne Washburn, “Fefu and her Friends” by María Irene Fornés, “Dance Nation” by Clare Barron, “12 Ophelias” by Caridad Svich, and “Disappeared” by Phyllis Nagy have been some of my ride-or-dies.
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
Coming up: Echo Theatre in Dallas, TX is producing my play “Founders, Keepers” as part of their mainstage season. Ever wondered what would happen if five 5th grade girls were tasked with rewriting The Constitution? Make your way to Dallas this fall to find out.
And then, I graduate next spring with my BA in directing! For my capstone, I’m directing a new play by Crystal Skillman called “Rain and Zoe Save the World”.