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

lady vs. woman

May 11th, 2017 by Bekah Brunstetter

Part of an actor’s job is to hunt for meaning and subtext in a writer’s words. The really good and intuitive ones tend to  find something complicated and rich in your play that you did not even know was there. Naturally, it is then your job to pretend that you totally meant to put that there, so that you remain mysterious and painfully intelligent. The actor playing Della (the baker / the hero)  in the upcoming production of my play The Cake asked why  her character sometimes calls herself and other gals Ladies, and other times Women. My initial reaction was that it was just sort of a random choice, as the two are practically interchangeable. BUT ARE THEY?  Kind of not. I looked back through the script and when Della says lady, it’s more casual, colloquial, and when she says woman, she is referring more to herself or other women in the biblical sense, like a woman as wife, a woman as mother, a woman as sex.  Lady is sort of dismissive and quick, while woman has this breadth and depth, like the word itself bears the weight of the entire Role. I think this is explains why every time I hear or see myself described as a woman I feel I immediately feel like I need a better bra but also  that I should start my own business because I could but also I should be washing my husband’s clothes in the river all at once. It might be the biggest word there is. LADIES AMIRIGHT?

Posted in a lot, hmmmmm, the writing of drama plays, theater, women, words | No Comments »

those who can’t sing / write and stare

May 10th, 2017 by Bekah Brunstetter


First I loved writing stories, then poems, then plays, then movies, then TV, then emails to high schoolers who just discovered they love plays, then the occasional succinct note in Morrison’s lunch, but most recently: MUSICALS. I’m currently working on a few, workshopping one in NYC then week, and it my NEW FAVORITE THING.  I would give multiple limbs for any sort of musical talent, so writing the book for one is a way to be a part of it without reading sheet music or having vocal vibrato ever at all. It’s the most fun. It’s not easy, as the book must elegantly support the song and never draw too much attention to itself, but it’s my new favorite thing to attempt to master. THOSE WHO CAN’T SING WRITE THE BOOK AND STARE IN AWE AT THE ACTORS AS THEY SING LIKE VERY HIP ANGELS AND LIFT US ALL UP FROM OUR EARTHLY PROBLEMS AND INTO THE AIR.

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

scriptpiphanies

April 13th, 2017 by Bekah Brunstetter

I would just like to formally apologize to every actor who came to callbacks for The Cake last night for how much I was frantically writing during every read. If I were you, I would of course assume that I was making a long list of everything that was annoying about my body and voice and just me as a human, in general. But actually,  when a playwright sits in on auditions for their play, suddenly all of the emotional holes in the scenes become clear, and the playwright must frantically write these holes downs along with any ideas re: how to fix them before they escape. Unfortunately sometimes this must happen while an actor is beautifully emoting. Basically La La Land is a documentary, and sometimes, I AM THE VILLAIN IN THE ROOM I’M SORRY.

Posted in a lot, the writing of drama plays, theater, things, tout, trying too hard, words, working | No Comments »

Girl #2!

March 15th, 2017 by Bekah Brunstetter

Every year I write a short play for Theater Breaking Through Barriers, an NYC based company that works mainly with disabled actors — on plays sometimes related to issues of disability, but sometimes not. Their work is both inclusive AND irrelevant. They are always the hardest plays to write but also the most rewarding. This year was no different — I attempted to write a short play about the ickiness of diverse casting which forced me to confront a lot of the gross but true things that shoot through my head as a white person. I can’t see the play as I am shackled to LA with thick ropes of Kale, but if you’re in NYC, YOU SHOULD! Running through March 26th. INFO HERE!

Posted in the writing of drama plays, theater, what my friends are doing, women | No Comments »

re: Accessibility

March 9th, 2017 by Bekah Brunstetter

Me as little as two years ago: “I put my email address on my blog because I really like to be able to share plays upon request, and answer questions, and in general just be very accessible as opposed to mysterious and hard to reach.” Bekah as little as two years ago, let me be the first to say, aw, that is so sweet, and you are so cute. Me today: “AHHHH MORRISON PLEASE HELP ME TAKE MY EMAIL ADDRESS OFF MY BLOG, AS MUCH AS I WOULD LOVE TO HELP EVERY THEATER STUDENT, no but really I would love that,  IF I GET ONE MORE POLITE REQUEST FOR A PIECE OF MY BRAIN  I AM GOING TO DIG A HOLE IN THE GROUND FOR ME TO CRAWL INTO WHILE SOBBING

Posted in I am a teacher (?), a lot, generally, ha, hmmmmm, how interesting, i am a grown up, life, the whole world, the writing of drama plays, theater, things, whining, words, worrying | No Comments »

Temeculand

March 1st, 2017 by Bekah Brunstetter

Tucked somewhere south east of LA that I still don’t fully understand but I am Here so hats off to that — We find Temecula, another beautiful wine country, as if California did not have enough already. Here, a girl can escape to write and actually sleep ON a vineyard and allow her panic to meet relaxation and sample their wines until the Malbec flicks her off to sleep, safely tucked inside of one of her own ideas which will change completely by the time she wakes up.

Posted in YAY, a lot, i am lucky, the writing of drama plays, theater, trying too hard, vacay's, vices, whining | No Comments »

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 »

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