bekah brunstetter
Bekah Brunstetter I care deeply. About a lot of things. Like really, really deep. Ow
playwright in brooklyn, NY
playwright in brooklyn, NY

Long Day’s Journey into why I love Plays

February 22nd, 2017 by Bekah Brunstetter

There are plays you read in undergrad and grad school and watch scenes from and do scenes from, to the point where watching the play actually staged feels like a very long, hazy  moment of deja vu. O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night is definitely one of those plays, and I even though I spent a summer at the O’Neill conference, did a three-night long, all playwright reading of it,  visited the very house in which the play was set — I did not actually see the play until last night, at the Geffen (staring Alfred Molina and Jane Kaczmarek, who were both magnificent.)  Even though I’ve read it so many times,  last night it revealed itself to me as something new — not a play about brothers, about fathers, about grudges you can’t let go of — but a play about a very poetic addiction. It’s really Mary Tyrone’s play, the mother’s play. It’s actually about her withdrawing from and indulging in morphine, hiding it from her family. When she’s on morphine, she just talks and talks and talks, and says the saddest and most beautiful things:

None of us can help the things life has done to us. They’re done before you realize it, and once they’re done they make you do other things until at last everything comes between you and what you’d like to be, and you’ve lost your true self forever.

and:

The past is the present. It’s the future, too.

Her addiction allows the playwright to speak through her.  We have things we want our characters to say. They are the things that we want to say, but can’t. But you can’t just insert the things into the mouth of a character. You have to give them some profound reason to say them, a reason that ideally creates a story. This is something I already knew, but must be reminded of, every time I write a scene. A character is not a robot for your poetry. A character is a human being who must be cared for, who must be motivated, who is usually based on your mom (not really.) (but sometimes.) (HI MOM!)

Posted in a lot, family, famous people stuff, generally, hmmmmm, the writing of drama plays, theater, tout | No Comments »

picked to bits

February 16th, 2017 by Bekah Brunstetter

Looking at my schedule for next week, I realize I’m meeting with four different people so that they might ‘pick my brain.’ As a classic Gemini, I’m of two minds about this. Mind Pt. 1:  I am happy to do it, especially in honor of those who did it for me when I was just starting out. If I can offer any insight that might help a person get to where they want to be, then good on me, good on them, and good on kindness.  Mind. Pt. 2: my brain is currently in a million places. It’s held together by frayed bits of old friendship bracelet and sour punch straws and the subpar bobby pins that really don’t hold any hair in place at all. If anyone were to, at this point, ‘pick my brain,’ it actually might lose its structure entirely.

Posted in a lot, hmmmmm, horn tooting, how interesting, i am lucky, i am scared, the writing of drama plays, theater, things, trying too hard, words, working | No Comments »

BEST STAGE DIRECTION EVER

February 12th, 2017 by Bekah Brunstetter

At some point, I decided to stick these words at the end of the The Cake script:

END OF PLAY.

NOTE: This is the end of the play part of the play. Ideally, upon exiting the theater, the audience is surprised with an actual CAKE, waiting for them. The wonderfully terrible grocery store cake that you never let yourself eat. Ideally, everyone then stands around together, eating cake.

And I will NEVER. REGRET IT.

Posted in I'M SO EXCITED, a lot, food, ha, horn tooting, i am lucky, life, silly, the future, the whole world, the writing of drama plays, theater, things, things that I Have | No Comments »

how to know you’re at a New Play Festival

February 11th, 2017 by Bekah Brunstetter

Say, are you in a city you’ve never been to, surrounded by other theater people all wearing lanyards? You just might be at a New Play Festival! But don’t panic because they’re super fun. First let’s just confirm that you are, in fact, at a New Play Festival. Please label the following statements as True or False.

1.) You don’t fully understand where you are, where you’re supposed to be, even though it’s all been printed out and put in a nice folder for you. You’ve studied it many times, and yet you still don’t really get it it, and so you just wander around hoping someone will lead you to where you are supposed to go.

2.) You don’t fully understand where or when your next meal is coming from, and there doesn’t appear to be food anywhere, so when you spot a bowl of sad bananas on display at your hotel you take one and carry it around in your backpack and forget it’s there and only remember when everything starts to smell vaguely of banana.

3.) You see three to five plays a day, one of them which is usually a mind blowing hip hop musical that makes you question everything.

4.) Your own play that you are there to develop switches from being the best thing you have ever written to the worst thing you have ever written WITHIN SECONDS.

5.) You are making a lot of eye contact with strangers and learning a lot of life stories.

6.) You are uncharacteristically sweaty at all times.

7.) You allow your life to look like this:

ALL TRUE? HEY WAY TO GO, YOU’RE AT A NEW PLAY FESTIVAL! NOW GO HAVE SOME FUN! (Howdy from Houston / TX / Alley New Play Festival and also from my sad banana!)

Posted in a lot, hmmmmm, i am lucky, the writing of drama plays, theater | No Comments »

a few sage thoughts re: Reviews

January 25th, 2017 by Bekah Brunstetter

I’ve been playing this drama play writing game for some time now, and have, at this point, received a fair number of reviews. I’ve never been much of a critical darling, so I figured that I’d share some advice on how to read and process reviews of ones own work.

1.) A review is one person’s attempt to interpret and assign meaning to a piece of art, which is basically impossible. It’s a moving target. There is no one answer. So it’s all an attempt. Your work is an attempt, as is theirs.

2.) Even if the review is unfavorable, you cannot let it detract from how YOU feel about your work. You have to approach your work with at least SOME confidence, some solid command of what you are intending to say. It can’t be fragile, or a review will easily knock it down. If this happens — revisit what you meant to do in the first place, and think about how to make it stronger.

3.) A reviewer is a human being engaged in their own life, stepping into your life, just for a minute. You must take whatever they have to say in the context of their own life, which again, is not yours.

4.) A review should not affect how you perceive your own work.

5.) JUST KIDDING THEY ARE EVERYTHING EVERYTHING THEY SAY ABOUT YOU IS RIGHT AND SHOULD BE INTERNALIZED AND THOUGHT ABOUT OVER AND OVER UNTIL YOU FIGURE OUT EXACTLY HOW TO FIX THE FLAWS IN YOUR OWN WORK TO THE LIKING OF AFOREMENTIONED CRITIC AND IF YOU CAN’T FIGURE IT OUT WELL YOU SHOULD PROBABLY JUST QUIT AND WORK AT A YOGURT STORE

6.) I would actually really enjoy working at a yogurt store

Posted in YAY, a lot, generally, ha, hmmmmm, i am lucky, i am scared, the writing of drama plays, theater, whining, words | No Comments »

IT HAPPENED

January 22nd, 2017 by Bekah Brunstetter

I always wondered when I might have a day that I am actually so engaged in my actual life that I COMPLETELY FORGET TO BLOG. It’s embarrassing to admit but it truly shoots through my brain as soon as I wake up, what to blog about today? Today that did not happen. I joined a gazillion other Americans in a beautiful, peaceful march up to Trump Towers, I saw a beautiful, life-affirming musical with two of my favorite gals, and then saw a performance of a play that I wrote. I was, in fact, so engaged in my own life, that I had nothing to say. And I still don’t. Happy, today, to be alive, and able to march and watch and write things at all.

Posted in awesome, ha, hmmmmm, i am lucky, the writing of drama plays, theater | No Comments »

Kilroyaoke

January 15th, 2017 by Bekah Brunstetter

The Kilroys went on a retreat this weekend to a giant golf resort / conference center in the City of Industry, which is an actual name of a place about 20 miles outside of LA. We picked it at random, but little did we know that it was the perfect place for gathering and scheming up plans for the coming years (hot tub / chocolate fountain / two weddings / one child’s math competition). What do thirteen lady theater nerds need nightly? A safe place to sing, by which I mean, a DEEPLY SERIOUS KARAOKE NIGHT HELD IN A CONFERENCE ROOM FEATURING PEOPLE IN THEIR 60S WITH STUNNING VOICES THAT CLEARLY COME TO THIS CONFERENCE ROOM EVERY WEEKEND TO BELT OUT UNCHAINED MELODY AND ALSO THE THEME TO LOVE BOAT. We sang not one, not two, but approximately thirty songs, a decent split between musical theater, Alanis, and completely unrecognizable but very personal numbers. We were at first met with trepidation, but eventually welcomed into the fold of regulars, until that time Sheila accidentally scratched one of them with her shoe while line dancing, at which point we could have been kicked out,  but then someone revealed we were TV writers, and suddenly, we were heroes, not activists, per se, just girls who used to sing in closets, and then cars, and now, in conference rooms. Also we made plans for the future. That, too. We need movements for gender parity now more than ever. STAY TUNED…..

Posted in YAY, a lot, generally, ha, i am a grown up, the writing of drama plays, theater, women, working | No Comments »

Best of 2016.

December 31st, 2016 by Bekah Brunstetter

There’s a thing going around instagram, Best 9, in which people post a grid of their best nine pictures from 2016, summing up a year in their lives. Whenever everyone is doing something it kind of makes me not want to do it, as I am no sheep,  by which I mean BAAAAAAAA I’LL JUST DO IT HERE INSTEAD but with 24 pictures because I LIVE MY OWN LIFE (IN GRIDS.) And so with no further ado, it has been a magnificent year! I:

Ate that chicken pot pie in a blizzard, wrote for American Gods, had a beautiful production of my Heaven play at South Coast Rep, found the perfect overalls and wore them approximately 170 times, washed them about 3 times, took a surfing lesson with Elizabeth, had a Dewey’s pink lemonade cake to call my own at my Easter pot luck thanks to my Mom, ran a 5K with a little girl Monet who ate gummy savers the whole way thanks to Blaine, celebrated 2 years with Mo at Red Lobster,  patroned Ru Paul’s drag con, got after that no speaking above a whisper resort life in Joshua Tree, spent some time writing at Space on Ryder farm in upstate New York, went to Carrie’s Beyonce themed beybe shower (then later welcomed and met her dear little Sebastian who I am now calling Bash / 2017 let’s see if we can get that going), and then also:

Had the most perfect of bridal showers complete with hats and tiny sandwiches, spun for 3 hours in YAS-a-thon for cancer research, made Ina Garten’s flag cake, welcomed little nephew Mojo, worked on The Cake at the Alliance, Echo and Ojai, did Vegas so hard bachelorette style, tried on a bunch of white dresses / picked one had a bunch dress fittings / obsessed over its details and its accessories namely did I ever mentioned that Ferris Bueller cropped leather coat? / GOT MARRIED / cast my vote for a woman president for the first time, attended Blaine and Jason’s non baby shower baby shower, read Vivian Howard’s incredible cookbook, and started writing for This is Us. And so, a great many things.

Last week I started to have dreams that I was left out of something creative, being mocked for output or performance. Personal favorite:  I dreamt I had to  play a drunk dog onstage and the reviews were terrible (this dream brought to you by the first night in Hong Kong, surrounded by every stimulus possible.)  I think the dreams  stem from a feeling that I haven’t accomplished enough creatively this year, like I haven’t dug enough into my own heart / brain. I’ve been working, yes, but I feel, in general, sort of uninspired, like the questioning part of my brain has been numbed. It’s most likely because the majority of all extra time and emotional brainspace I had went to wedding planning. And so, I will forgive myself, hope that 2017 brings characters / moments / stories / questions, big new ideas, but ALSO, more cakes / adult onesies / trips / love, FOR BALANCE.

Posted in MAWWAGE., TV, YAY, a lot, life, love, memories, oh nooo, optimism, silly, the future, the whole world, the writing of drama plays, theater, things, things that I Have, tout, trying too hard, what I'm wearing, whining, words, working, worrying | No Comments »

NOT SAFE PLACE

November 20th, 2016 by Bekah Brunstetter

An already irate group of theater people got to get EVEN MORE IRATER Friday night when Pence attended Hamilton. He was briefly booed by the audience, but was then given a kind and gracious message by the cast, asking that he, as VP, serve the country’s people. TRUMP THEN TOOK TO TWITTER SCOLDING THE ACTORS, DECLARING THAT THE THEATER IS A SAFE PLACE AND SHAME ON THEM FOR MAKING IT NOT SO.  I would like to issue my two prong response that is now surely being felt in every actor and director and playwright there ever was.

1.) SAFE PLACE? OH, BY WHICH YOU MEAN, UNLIKE AMERICA NOW FOR MILLIONS OF PEOPLE, WHO WILL NOW LIVE IN FEAR,  YOU BIG DUMMY? YOU WALKED RIGHT INTO THAT ONE JUST AS YOU DO YOUR HAIR EVERY MORNING AS YOU PEEL YOURSELF FROM THE ABSURDIST COLORING BOOK AND STEP INTO YOUR HAIR

2.) I keep mulling over this idea that the theater is a ‘safe place.’ I mean, is it? I mean, sure. Yes. It’s a place where people are meant to come together and hear stories. But also, it’s a place bravery and exploration of difficult ideas. That’s what it should be, especially now. I say we strive to make the theater less safe. Less and less and less until he finds himself in a Box seat and cannot look away. He is forced to see.

Posted in ....ew, a lot, factual smarts, famous people stuff, generally, ha, hmmmmm, how interesting, the future, the whole world, the writing of drama plays, theater | No Comments »

heaven for sale!

November 18th, 2016 by Bekah Brunstetter

GLORY! My heaven play is now published and licensed by Sam French! Available in human size, and also for mouse theater companies:

Can’t wait to see where this play goes. Buy it HERE!

Posted in a lot, i am lucky, the writing of drama plays, theater | No Comments »

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