thanksgiving day. 11:45am. stuart and joanie are at the morning matinee. there’s popcorn and mike ‘n’ ike’s, plus some other treats. will they go home for their annual family dinners? or will they sneak into other movies. all. day?
Amanda Keating lives in Brooklyn and is a playwright. Her plays include RETREAT (Ensemble Studio Theatre and Two Headed Rep), TARTUFFE (Two Headed Rep), GO THAT WAY (Williams College Summer Theatre Lab), ROAST (The Plowmen), of solitude, and The Cleanup Crew. She is a member of EST/Youngblood and the Literary Manager of Two Headed Rep. Her short plays have been produced by EST, Serials @The Flea, Tiny Rhino, and Rule of 7×7. An alumna of The MacDuffie School, Williams College, and the National Theater Institute, Amanda grew up in Western Massachusetts and her best friend is a cat named Wilbur.
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 started writing plays when I was six years old, and staged them with my best friend Erin either in my living room or her basement. There’s one I remember where we circled my living room table over and over, wearing makeshift monk’s robes while chanting and holding candles (they were real, my mom supervised). Who knows what that one was about – clearly I was working out some complicated feelings about my family’s staunch atheism. Then I took a break from writing for a long time and directed, designed, and acted in any play I could get within spitting distance of. Eventually, after college, I went to the National Theatre Institute and realized I loved writing plays more than any of the other options combined, and stuck with it.
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 member of EST/Youngblood, and we do a short play series called ‘Brunch’ on the first Sunday of every month. This play was written for last December’s brunch, which was holiday themed but also right on the heels of the last presidential election. So the play came a bit from the loneliness I think we all felt in that moment. The character of Joanie is also from another full length play of mine, of solitude. I love writing from her perspective, and included her in this play to probe a little deeper into her life and learn more about her.
3. What are 5 words that describe who you are as a playwright?
have fun and also cry
4. What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?
I’m hugely inspired by my fellow writers – Lawrence Dial, Jacob Perkins, Lizzie Stern, Mara Nelson-Greenberg, Cary Gitter, Sylvia Khoury, Abby Rosebrock, Gina Femia, Jahna Ferron-Smith, Claire Kiechel, Brittany Allen, Catya McMullen, Christina Quintana, Jean Ann Douglass, and so very many more. I’m also always moved to write for specific actors – Will Dagger, Lizzie Fox, Akyiia Wilson, Sarah Chalfie, Max Reinhardsen, and Caitlin Morris among them. And my very dear friend, frequent collaborator, and incredible director Molly Clifford has pushed me to write some of my very favorite and most cogent stuff.
5. What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?
My favorite instrument is the cello. I tried to take lessons when I was growing up but was so terrible I couldn’t stand practicing and gave up. I played piano instead (though I’m not very good at that either).
6. What are some of your favorite plays?
Great God Pan by Amy Herzog, Home Church Play by Jacob Perkins, Assholes in Gas Stations by Catya McMullen, The Whale by Sam Hunter, In the Room by Lawrence Dial, The Aliens by Annie Baker.
7. Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?
Please come see anything Two Headed Rep does! I’m the literary manager for this incredibly prolific young company – we produce plays in rep (one classic play and a brand new play written in response) twice per year. The plays are undeniably scrappy but, if I do say so myself, really really excellent. We work with incredibly talented writers, actors, and designers, and the incomparable Molly Clifford and Lily Riopelle direct. Our next rep is coming up this fall – stay tuned! twoheadedrep.com