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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