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

not this, but

June 8th, 2017 by Bekah Brunstetter

One of the most valuable things I’ve learned about writing from the process of writing for TV is the concept of ‘not this, but.’ It allows a writer to say ‘here is the terrible version of my idea,’ and then present something obvious and bald and not great, but chances are, there’s something there that can be finessed into something more elegant. If you slave over the perfect version before you even present the idea, you will not only drive yourself insane but also probably slowly grow ulcers if not brain tumors and / or resentment for the creative process over time. But if you can be brave enough to present the inelegant version of the idea, with the neurotic disclaimer that it’s SO VERY BAD, chances are you will stumble your way towards something brilliant, if not palatable, if not mediocrity’s slightly taller, more attractive cousin.

Posted in I write for television?, hmmmmm, how interesting, i am a grown up, the writing of drama plays, words, working | No Comments »

The End Feeling

June 4th, 2017 by Bekah Brunstetter

Did you know that even if you’re not really a theater person, you still have an innate sense of when a play should End? I’ve felt it so many times: I’m watching a play with some 30-200 strangers, some regular theater goers, some not, and towards The End of the play, there is the feeling of, well, The End. We can all actually feel it coming. There’s what we perceive to be the penultimate scene — the crescendo — and then there better be The End, or we get restless, our attention drifts, we feel sort of lied to, as we were made to feel like it was The End, and yet these people keep emoting, talking too much with their hands. Since humans have this inborn sense of story, it’s then the playwright’s job to make sure the play Ends just a moment right before or after it feels like it should, subverting that End feeling ever so slightly. I say this mostly to myself, as a typical Bekah play Ends for approximately 30 to 57  minutes.

Posted in generally, history, hmmmmm, how interesting, the whole world, the writing of drama plays, theater | No Comments »

in an image

May 28th, 2017 by Bekah Brunstetter

When I have a play in production, I tend to become fixated on two elements: the scene change music, which can NOT be female vocalists earnestly playing guitars and singing about strawberries which for some reason, some sound designers like to do with any play written by a woman, and two, the poster, which you really don’t want to get wrong, as you must look at it for months. It must be subtle but clear, and grab you without shouting. All of this to say, I am so far completely obsessed with  The Cake’s production sound design AND poster.

It’s soft but strong. Inviting but subversive. There’s a cake on it being cut by WORDS.  PERFECT. POSTER.

Posted in YAY, generally, i am lucky, the writing of drama plays, theater, things | No Comments »

wordgiver

May 26th, 2017 by Bekah Brunstetter

A synonym for playwright is wordgiver. We sit in rehearsal and watch the actors read scenes, and if we watch closely, we can actually feel the moments when they wish they had more or different words. It’s the playwright’s job to spot those moments and ask the actors, do you need words there? Because I just to happen to have a few of them, and then also find the right ones, and when you do, and the actor feels like they now have the words to match how they’re feeling, that is a play. Other synonyms include momentmaker, hairchewer, snackeater, and of course feelingshaver.

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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 »

Plays n Pie

April 3rd, 2017 by Bekah Brunstetter

People who love plays to tend to also love food and when people gather to eat food. If when people gather to eat food there is also a play, EVEN BETTER. This lovely genius girl in Brooklyn, Jessica Giannone, hosts a reading series at a bar in which she pairs plays with PIES THAT SHE BAKES.  Tonight they’re reading my play, Le Fou,  about a bunch of women writing love letters in the first ever department store in Paris. I could not possibly be more delighted. WHAT IS IN THE PIE? IS IT FULL OF FLOWERS AND FRANCE?  IF I’M THERE IN SPIRIT IS IT POSSIBLE TO ALSO EAT PIE? CAN SPIRITS EAT?

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

with alacrity

March 24th, 2017 by Bekah Brunstetter

I woke up REALLY needing to find a picture of the book I learned words from as a kid, and HERE IT BE:

I think this was all of elementary school, opening this owl and shoving its contents into my head. I was always good at memorizing, not so much internalizing. And so when my vocabulary sort of froze at the age, of, what, 24? Is that when the brain stops growing? I ended up with a moderate but far from impressive collection of words. I know no fancy synonyms for moderate or impressive. For a writer, my arsenal is limited. When I read I do so with Dictionary. But every now and then, I meet a word that I like, and it sticks in my head like gum I can’t see. And so I try and trot it out, and it’s usually awkward like trying to make a friend as a grown up, HOW IS YOUR LIFE TODAY, PERSON? But if I persevere (a word that I know ONLY because I have a cousin named Perseverance) I can normalize it and stop saying it surrounded by question marks, like I’m on stage at a spelling bee. And so today, I declare to you, I will use my new words with alacrity, which is just a sharp and beautiful little word that I always say in my normal life, by which I mean, with willingness and cheerfulness.

Posted in YAY, a lot, the future, the whole world, the writing of drama plays, things, things that I Have, tout, trying too hard, whining, words | 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 »

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