Look for Seattle playwright Emily Conbere’s Knocking Bird to be one of four new plays presented during SOAPfest this month.
More formally know as the Sandbox One-Act Play Festival, performances take place at the Erickson Theatre, June 13 to 15. All the works written and directed by members of the Sandbox Artists Collective. This SOAPfest features new work by Scot Augustson, Elizabeth Heffron, Paul Mullin, and Emily Conbere. Tickets are available through the website.
In 2007, the Collective was formed by working theater professionals living in Seattle, Washington. The founding members included Robin Lynn Smith, Liza Comtois, Gin Hammond, Elizabeth Heffron, Amy Thone, and Annette Toutonghi, who invited “mid-career” professional artists to join a discussion.
The new mom got her acceptance for Soapfest during labor and said that gave her something to “concentrate on between breaths.” These days, she also is participating in Seattle Rep’s New Play Program.
First, how did you become involved with Sandbox Artists Collective?
My friend Vince Delaney told me about Sandbox and nominated me to be a member. So far, my experience with it has been amazing- filled with playwriting opportunities, support, and talented friends.
For a playwright, how does a festival like this help you achieve artistic goals?
This play started off as a ten-minute piece I wrote for Live Girls. When I found out about the one act play contest, I expanded the piece to thirty minutes and sent it in. This festival has forced me to rewrite and revise the play so that it is ready for production. I am now expanding the piece again to a full-length, which will be read at Seattle Rep the following weekend (June 21).
So what happens in your play?
Knocking Bird is about the extreme and uncomfortable ways that couples transform and adapt themselves to each other in order to remain together.
How do you see it complimenting or contrasting with the other three plays being presented?
I haven’t read the other plays being produced, but I am aware that all four of us have very different writing styles. My plays are usually centered around metaphor and rhythm… and most people think my writing is very strange. I like to think it’s “theatrical”.
How can a 30-minute play be more powerful that a work that takes an entire evening?
Ideally, the blow of the climax comes quicker and more to the punch.
What would you say to a friend or stranger to get them to try out Soapfest?
What better way to spend an evening than in the company of weird and vulnerable characters, beautiful sets, excited artists, embraced in a soft chair, in the semi- darkness?