SPOTLIGHT Series: Kristin Idaszak, Resident Playwright
Monday Night Drama gives me an opportunity to spend time with some incredibly talented and inspiring playwrights. With so many, I've seen or read their work before I ever get to meet them. So I figured what better way to get to nerd out on these playwrights than to interview them.
I want to get to know the person behind the play.
So I asked.
Tara Branham, Artistic Producer: What are 5 adjectives that describe yourself.
Kristin Idaszak, Resident Playwright: Cerebral, Ambitious, Tenacious, Arboreal, Blue
TB: (I definitely just googled "arboreal" and it means "of or relating to trees". So she's "treelike".) What made you decide to become a playwright?
KI: I started doing theatre when I was in grade school, and I've loved reading and writing for as long as I can remember. It seems inevitable that those two facets of myself would come together.
TB: If you weren't in theatre, what would you be up to right now?
KI: I'd be a private detective. Or a professional rock climber. Or a neurologist. But really I need to be a writer to have all the lives I dream about.
TB: Who are your theatrical heroes?
KI: Caryl Churchill, Naomi Iizuka, Young Jean Lee, Christopher Marlowe, 13P
TB: If you could eliminate one thing about theater, what would it be?
KI: I would eliminate class-based barriers to entry for both artists and audience members.
TB: What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?
KI: Figure out what you value and build your life and work in service to that. Cultivate a life outside of playwriting for moments when everything seems insurmountable.
Cultivate a life outside of playwriting for moments when everything seems insurmountable.
TB: What inspired you to write Tar and Feather?
KI: Tar and Feather was originally commissioned by Westmont College in Santa Barbara, and the director and I had discussed my writing a play that used Greek tragedy as its formal inspiration. So I was attuned to contemporary stories that resonated with a tragic structure. We knew we wanted to center the story on complex, deeply flawed female characters. I was thinking a lot about the intersection of shame and misogyny at the time. I was in Krakow, at MOCAK, when all the disparate ideas I’d been mulling over came together to incept the play.
TB: What was the last picture you took on your phone?
KI: We all contain multitudes.
Kristin Idaszak, Playwright
"We All Contain Multitudes"
TB: How has your experience at Chicago Dramatists benefitted you?
KI: A nexus. We can't make theatre without space to come together.
We can't make theatre without space to come together.