The second playwright we are presenting is Dagney Kerr. Her play “Deanna and Paul” is a quirky non-linear romance between an unconventional waitress and an uptight customer who just wants to have a cup of coffee and read his newspaper. These seemingly opposite personalities learn to dance together and try to make a go of it.
Here’s what Dagney has to say:
What was the inspiration or motivation to write the play selected for Page to Stage: That’s What She Said?
I didn’t really have one. When I write I usually start from an emotional place. A mood. A feeling. This particular piece I was feeling lonely. Isolated. I was lucky enough to channel those emotions and my imagination took over from there. I write stream of consciousness taking turns writing from each characters point of view and then I put it all together. When I’m proud of what I wrote I look back and say, ‘How did I write that?’ That means I was in my artistic flow. I also wrote this piece in a small coffee shop so I’m sure that setting had some influence as well.
How long have you been writing and who encourages you to write? Who are your influences?
About ten years ago I wrote a monologue and performed it in my acting class. I remember the teacher saying, ‘You found your voice. Keep going.’ After that I wrote a couple successful one-women shows. But my work really took off when I joined a writing group four years ago. That’s where I wrote my first full play. My audiences encourage me to write. When people tell me they were moved or entertained by my work that’s always a good reminder to keep creating. My influences come from people I meet and observe in life. I draw from my own experiences as well.
What do you find gratifying or freeing by writing for theater that you don’t find in writing for other mediums?
Oh man I love writing for theater. Dialogue can go on forever. Monologues can rattle on. I love telling a full story in one night rather thinking how can I sustain a story over several seasons of a TV show. Or tell the story visually like in Film. I also love writing for theater because of the relationship with the audience. In theater it’s just the actors, the words and the audience. No editing. No cameras. It’s spontaneous. A unique experience that lasts only one night and can never be duplicated again.
What are five things you can’t live without?
Wow. Five is a lot! Oddly I’m a person that feels they can live without much. I guess that 's revealing about my personality. Animals come to mind. I don’t have any at the moment, but I adore them. I’d be a little lost without my overpriced Shea butter chap stick. You’ve never seen someone freak out like I do when they can’t find it. I suppose I could try other brands if they ever discontinued mine. But it really is a weird obsession. I buy it in bulk so I never run out. Dancing is important to me. I feel like if I keep going my answers are going to be super lame….like TV and Food. So I’ll stop here.
What was the last book you read?
A friend recommended, ‘All The Light We Cannot See’. I get ten pages in and fall asleep. Then I start again. I keep falling asleep. It’s not the book. It’s me. I never fall asleep reading plays. But books make me really sleepy. So that’s what I’m attempting to read at the moment. Check back with me in 2020 and see if I’ve finished it.
What do you have coming up next?
I have a film that I wrote that’s doing the festival circuit. It will premiere at LA Shorts International Festival. I’m also an actor and continue to work in TV, Film and theater. I’m working on a book about my experience on jury duty. I’m constantly trying to stay busy and inspired.
“Deanna and Paul” is directed by Angela Cruz Martinez and will be performed Saturday, August 31 at 3pm along with “The Paper Hangers” by Emily Brauer Rogers. To purchase tickets for this show, please visit https://www.ci.brea.ca.us/1236/Page-to-Stage-Playwrights-Festival-2019