Laura King is the playwright of Fallout, the first play that we'll be reading in our New Works Series this Saturday, September 10, 2016, at 8 PM. Fallout was the first place winner of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, National Playwriting Project, Region IV, One-Act Play Competition 2014, winner of this year's (2016) Georgia Theatre Conference one-act play competition, and featured play at the Atlantic Stage Third Annual (2014) New Voices Playfest, Myrtle Beach, SC. Join us on Saturday at Out of Box Theatre for the staged reading and talkback with the playwright so that you can #MakeArtHappen.
OOB: What was school like for you? Were you good at English?
LK: English and Theatre were always my best subjects, although it took me many years before I realized that I could combine the two into a playwriting career.
OOB: How did you discover that you wanted to be a playwright?
LK: That knowledge came to me later in life. I was always a theatre person, mostly acting and directing. However, as I got older, looking for jobs and the travel and time involved began to wear on me. That's when I started to experiment with playwriting. Here was a way I could still do theatre, but most of my time would be spent in my own home working by myself.
OOB: Have you written any other genre than plays?
LK: So far, I've really only been interested in writing plays. I love writing for the theatre!
OOB: What draws you to the genre of plays?
LK: I think subject matter dictates genre. If I want to write about wacky women (as in my plays Independence Day at Happy Meadows and The Harmony Baptist Church Ladies Auxiliary Christmas Jubilee), it's going to be a comedy. If I'm thinking about more serious, interpersonal issues (as in my plays The Memory Box and Blood Will Out), it's going to be a drama. I've even experimented with political absurdism in my plays Fact Check and Check Mate, which I find incredibly fun and freeing.
OOB: Are you inspired by any authors in particular?
LK: I fell in love with the works of Eugene O'Neill when I was a senior in high school. O'Neill inspired me to read as many plays as I could. Recently, I've been enamored with the plays of Annie Baker, particularly The Flick. I saw The Flick produced at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago and was blown away by it.
OOB: Do you have a specific process that you like to follow when writing a new play?
LK: My process is to just starting writing whatever pops into my mind. I fight against stopping or censoring myself during the first draft. I write anything, no matter how crazy. After I have completed the first draft, I consider what I truly want the play to be about, and then I start to revise.
OOB: What is the hardest thing about writing?
LK: Starting. It's a huge commitment to write a play, and sometimes writing those first words is very daunting.
OOB: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
LK: Read as much as possible. If you are writing plays, go to play readings and listen to the talkback sessions. Try not to be defensive. Take with you what resonates and what angers you. There's truths to be found in both these things.
OOB: What inspired you to write Fallout or what muses did you look to while writing it?
LK: I wrote Fallout as an assignment for a playwriting class I took in the Hollins University MFA in playwriting program. It's a seminal class in the program where you write a new play in four days every week for six weeks. The first draft was a bit of a mess, but there was something about the characters that I wanted to keep exploring. I've always loved to trap my characters together without a chance for escape to see what comes out of them. What better place then a fallout shelter? I've been revising this play for about three years. It's gone through many readings. Currently, I'm looking for a place to have it produced for the first time.
OOB: Why did you think that Fallout would be a good fit for Out of Box Theatre's New Works Series?
LK: I love the intimacy of the Out of Box space and the honesty I've seen in many OOB productions. Intimacy and honesty are the two most important things to me in Fallout, and I thought OOB was a perfect fit for the play.
Come and hear Laura's play Fallout at Out of Box Theatre on Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 8 PM at Out of Box Theatre. Admission is by donation/pay-what-you-can at the door so that as many people as possible can attend and take part in the artistic process. The talkback will follow the reading. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.