Meet the Playwright: Randy Reinholz

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Randy Reinholz (Choctaw)
"MEASURE FOR MEASURE adaptation" 2015 Retreat

What is your favorite thing about playwriting?
Time – time to think, to capture what I am thinking about.  The quite in my mind as I imagine the moments I am writing in the play.  Everything else stops, and I enter a trance.  For a brief moment I can see the future and all the details that inform it.  I love the choices of language to best describe and refine the thinking of the characters.  The actions and conflict come quickly. The polish is the thing that takes time.

What is your least favorite thing about playwriting?
Interruptions from people and events that are not connected to the writing project are a problem.  They are eternal, but when I really need to be creative, I unplug, get away from the people I love and focus.  I like ambient music at the beginning of the process, but even that gets turned off.
What is your favorite play?
My favorite play is the one I am working on now.  It is always my favorite play.  Today it is They Don’t Talk Back by Frank Henry Kaash Katasse.  I love to discuss classic texts with students.  Hamlet, Death of a Salesman, Streetcar Named Desire, Rez Sisters, Measure for Measure, Antigone, and the list goes on and on
What’s a production that you’ve seen recently and think everyone should see?
I liked a recent production of Come From Away at La Jolla Playhouse this summer.  Looking forward to seeing Blue Prints to Freedom. I loved Off the Rails
What’s the best cure for writer’s block?

To write.  Just choose a prompt.  For instance, “One time with my back against the wall I ….”  Just fill in the prompt and see where the story takes you.  If it runs out quickly, repeat the prompt.  A book with lots of these prompts is Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg.  You can also find them in the newspaper.  Find a headline that moves you – maybe one like “Child in SUV as suspected DUI mom crashes in Santee” Then use it as a prompt, by adding Why does it matter that a … Child in SUV as suspected DUI mom crashes in Santee.   Then follow your thoughts.  Explore / create the people in the story.  Who what where when WHY.  Then push those characters further than you ever thoughts was possible.

What would the title be of the play/movie based on your life?
Who Would’ve Thought or Really?
What play do you wish you had written and why?
No regrets here – I love so many plays – now I want to work with those texts.  I have so many to write still
Where do you get your inspiration for your work?
Inspiration comes from the artists and stories around me.  There is such wonder at every turn.  I feel blessed.  As a young actor I had to tell stories about myself during audition for commercials.  I could tell right away when people listened or stopped listening.  I found out what about my life and past interested people.  It was a challenge at the time, and now it is a treasure trove of gifts.
I love Tennessee Williams quote from The Glass Menagerie, “Memory takes a lot of poetic license.  It omits some details; others are exaggerated according to the emotional value of the articles it touches, for memory is seated predominantly in the heart.”  My memories come from the heart – both the ache and bliss.   
What are you most looking forward to during the workshop and festival?
 I love the time in the room with the team is all-together, when we find the key to make the play sing.  It is a magic moment when the play comes alive. 


From Ensemble photos
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Meet the Playwright: Joseph Valdez

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Joseph Valdez (Navajo)
"Timestop" 2015 Playwrights Retreat

What is your favorite thing about playwriting? 
My favorite thing about playwriting is the creation itself. I love the process of taking endless possibility and whittling it down to a specific choice.

What is your least favorite thing about playwriting? 
Getting started.

What is your favorite play?
The Motherfucker with the Hat by Stephen Adly Guirgis

What’s the best cure for writer’s block?
Snacks! Whenever I get into a writing funk—I eat something that has a crunch to it—chips or crackers are the best. It helps me find my rhythm.

What would the title be of the play/movie based on your life? 
Little Big Joe

What play do you wish you had written and why? 
I won’t know the answer to this question until I die.

Where do you get your inspiration for your work? 
I get inspiration from the idea that my work may inspire change in someone someday.

What are you most looking forward to during the workshop and festival?
Working with an amazing group of artists!


From Ensemble photos
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Thoughts from an Actor - Boarding School Stories

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This was actually my second time working on 'Stories from the Indian Boarding School'. My first go-around was during the Fringe Festival. We were a cast of 7, and I played the character 'Yellow'. I found out I was cast again, this time with a cast of 4, and as the character "Jesse". I got an email detailing our rehearsal, and show schedule and I was shocked at the amount of time we had to rehearse: 12 hours. I'm used to about a 4 week rehearsal process, so this was definitely terrifying for me. It meant I had to go in with all pistons firing, and ready to work. Which, I felt, everyone came into the room with. At the Q&A session at UCSD, I had mentioned how heavily we had to rely on each other to do the work, and I stand by that. My fellow cast members have been phenomenal, and I'm thrilled to have them in this with me. Touring has been a great experience. I love how the show adapts to each new space, and I love hearing how this show affects people. Many people, I've found, haven't really heard about the Indian boarding schools, and I'm grateful that I get to be a vessel for them to learn this part of our history.
boarding school stories
UCSD

By Alyssa Anderson

If you had the chance to see one of the performances, we'd love to hear your thoughts.  Leave a comment here, or on our Facebook page and if you'd like to see the performance live, consider Booking us to come to you!

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Meet the Playwright: Frank Henry Kaash Katasse

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Frank Henry Kaash Katasse (Tlingit-Eagle/Tsaagweidí*)
"They Don't Talk Back" 2015 Playwrights Retreat

What is your favorite thing about playwriting?
Since They Don't Talk Back was really the first play I ever wrote, I can basically answer what my favorite thing about writing that particular play was. I really enjoy hearing how people process and interpret what I wrote. They will say with such certainty "Oh in that moment you meant blah blah blah," when actually I hadn't even thought about that. I think that is so cool. It is also awesome when they totally 'get' something I wrote. Like when I'm writing it I'm like, "Does this even make sense?!" Then when someone reads or hears a part and it is right on the money, I'm like, "Oh sweet, it did make sense!"

What is your least favorite thing about playwriting?
It is always hard trying to cut anything from your play. Like I know that scene, or monologue, or whatever doesn't fit in this play, but it still feels like my baby, ya know? 

What is your favorite play?
My favorite play is probably The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh.

What’s a production that you’ve seen recently and think everyone should see?
I think the play that has stuck with me the most from the last couple of years has been Warriors by Dave Hunsaker. A really powerful piece that had its world premiere at Perseverance Theatre in the summer of 2014. 

What’s the best cure for writer’s block?
I have a very slow process to begin with, so I generally don't even start writing until I have a good idea on what has to be written next. I have never been one to sit in front of my keyboard and hope for inspiration. I wait for ideas to pop into my head, then I flesh it out, then I type it all out.

What would the title be of the play/movie based on your life?
Half 'n Half

Where do you get your inspiration for your work?
I get it mostly from stories people tell me, or things I have seen. Then I sort of mold them to fit whatever narrative I had been planning.

Frank Henry Kaash Katasse



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