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March 23, 2016

Plays of My Life: Bekah Brunstetter


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To mark the world premiere of her upcoming play, Going to a Place where you Already Are, Brunstetter shares her thoughts about her literary picks and what inspires her.

My favorite childhood book.
Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles.

The story I read in secret.
I was really into this series of Christian books by Lurlene McDaniel. They were little books about beautiful girls dying of liver cancer and the boys who loved them.

What made me know I wanted to be a playwright.
When I realized that writing plays was a combination of being alone and in your head while writing, and then collaborating with others.

A classic play that I’ve never seen.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

The best literary adaptation (play or book into movie).
Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus.

My literary hero.
Sarah Ruhl. I’ll never forget when I read her Melancholy Play, in which a character turns into an almond. I just thought that was the weirdest and most beautiful thing I’ve ever read. Even more recently, her book100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write: On Umbrellas and Sword Fights, Parades and Dogs, Fire Alarms, Children, and Theater is an incredible reflection of plays and life and motherhood.

The play that is my touchstone.
Thornton Wilder’s Our Town.

The latest play that made me cry.
I am sad to admit that plays do not really make me cry. They make me think and turn inward, but not cry. However, commercials make me cry. Cell phone commercials, in which a grandparent is waiting by the phone for their grandkid to call them and, finally, the kid does. Also, and this really surprised me: Lady Gaga singing the national anthem made me well up with an odd mixture of fear, regret and pride.

The latest play that made me laugh.
I just saw Barcelona by Bess Wohl at the Geffen. I laughed in a cringe-y sort of way, like, “Oh God, I have definitely said some of those things.”

The first time I saw one of my plays produced.
When I was 18, my first year of college, I wrote my first play and the theater department (at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) produced it in the gorgeous and haunted Old Playmakers Theater. It was called Age in Spanish. I’m still not totally sure why it was called Age in Spanish.

Something I wish I’d written.
Ohhhhh, man—sore subject. I am STILL mad that I didn’t write the movie Enchanted, in which Amy Adams plays a Disney Princess that gets transported to the real world.

The play I would take with me to a desert island.
I would take every play Sam Hunter has written and will write, in a big leather-bound bible-esque book.

My perfect day.
It’s basically exactly like this. But at the end of the day, I eat an entire family sized frozen lasagna and swallow it down with a bottle or rosè, then drift off to the Amelie soundtrack.


Find out more about Brunstetter’s Going to a Place and purchase tickets.

To purchase a copy of Going to a Place Where You Already Are, click here, and to learn more about licensing a production, click here.