Our next playwright is Kate Danley. Her play “Bureaucrazy” is a quick-witted farce in the style of Commedia, two secretaries who hate their jobs navigate office politics and compete for a step up the corporate ladder. When their boss accidentally chokes on an oatmeal cookie in the office right before departing on a trip to Peru, their attempt to hide the truth results in a true comedy of errors.
Here's what Kate had to say:
What was the inspiration or motivation to write the play selected for Page to Stage: That’s What She Said?
I went to the New York Renaissance Festival to do some book research, and saw these two actresses in a random show called The Washing Well Wenches. Their comedic brilliance knocked me off my feet. As I was driving home, I realized I couldn't think of a single script that could put their genius on display. Oh, sure, there were a ton of plays where guys could throw themselves around the stage like Chris Farley, but girls? I was stumped and that made me sad. I'm a firm believer, however, that if you see a problem, it's up to you to come up with a solution. So, I wrote Bureaucrazy.
How long have you been writing and who encourages you to write? Who are your influences?
I started writing in the 4thgrade, but became a full-time author in 2010. I belong to some online writing groups and have weekly phone calls with friends who hold me accountable. But as far as influences… gosh… Pinter… Shakespeare… Gracie Allen… Tina Fey… too many to count! I see live theatre at least every other week, and it is in the darkened auditorium, watching everyone onstage, that my heart goes, "I want to play, too!" Writing seems like the easiest way for me to get into the sandbox.
What do you find gratifying or freeing by writing for theater that you don’t find in writing for other mediums?
I love the fact it is a living, breathing art form and that it succeeds only if it showcases the best of every member on the team. It demands that you look at your fellows and ask yourself, "What delights me about you? What is it that fills me with a sense of love and wonder and excitement? What do I see that I wish others could see in you?" As a former actress, there is nothing like getting a script that allows you to finally show off a hidden corner of your soul, and as a playwright, I have the power to make that happen. And what happens in theatre is magic! I have a play called Building Madnessthat had a premiere up in Canada. A guy and a girl met for the first time as they auditioned for the comedic leads, and they landed the roles. And they fell in love. And now they are engaged to be married. I have yet to have someone say, "I was spouting on about your 300-page book on vampires at a job interview and now we're getting married!"
Nowhere else but theatre, you know?
What are five things you can’t live without?
Live theatre, British television, loveliness, travel, and coffee
What was the last book you read?
I read several terrible books a week that are not even worth mentioning, but the last great book that I’m still swooning over is The Toy Makersby Robert Dinsdale. It's really good, yo.
What do you have coming up next?
I wrote an adaptation of my Victorian penny dreadful, A Spirited Manor, and I'm hoping to bring it to the stage (somehow!) in 2020. Probably doesn't have a ghost of a chance *nudge nudge* but I won't be scared off from trying! Boo!
“Bureaucrazy” is directed by Rose London and will be performed Saturday, August 31 at 8pm. For more information on Kate, please visit her website at www.katedanley.com. To purchase tickets for this show, please visit https://www.ci.brea.ca.us/1236/Page-to-Stage-Playwrights-Festival-2019