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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