Elizabeth DeSchryver is a published poet and short story writer as well as a playwright. Her short plays have been performed at Chicago Dramatists, Cold Basement Dramatics, and 2nd Act Players. Now that she is retired, she is looking forward to writing more.
Here’s what Beth has to say about her play and her thoughts on theater during the pandemic and beyond.
1. How do you describe the essence of your play to those who haven’t seen it?
A recently widowed 63 year-old woman suddenly decides to join a year-long research project in Africa, to the delight of her grandson and the concern of her daughter.
2. What was your inspiration to write this script?
I wrote this play specifically for this competition, so in a way, 2nd Act players was the inspiration. As for the subject, I’ve written several stories centering on people trying to find their way after the traditional path has failed them or come to an end. I think everyone wants to make their mark in the world, somehow.
3. How and why did you become a playwright?
I have always loved theatre. But I didn’t start writing for it until I had my fiction critiqued by multiple editors. They identified my strengths as dialog, having a very spare style of writing, and a number of other things that pointed me to playwriting.
4. What are your hopes and expectations for theater in a post-Covid world?
I’ve been introduced to a lot of new theatre during this home-hugging period that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise, from New York, London, as well as Chicago. I hope a hybrid form remains—performance on stage, in front of an audience, but also online broadcasts at a reduced price to reach more people. Not recorded, necessarily, but live broadcasts from an audience seat, as if you were sitting in the theatre.
5. Have you been writing during the Covid quarantine? If so, what projects do you have underway? If not, how have you been filling your days?
I’ve been writing, but mostly short pieces, as my concentration hasn’t been great. Fortunately, I’ve found some classes that have helped me focus on longer work. And, like everyone, I’ve been trying to help those who need it and stay in touch with friends I can’t visit.