Donna Latham’s play Lunch Lady was written as a monologue for one actor, but with her agreement, we’ve modified it slightly to include three lunch ladies, all dealing with the challenges of working during the Pandemic.
Latham is a feminist playwright from Chicago whose plays have been produced coast to coast and around the world. A recipient of the Kennedy Center David Mark Cohen Playwriting Award, she’s a script reader for Houston’s Alley Theatre and a proud member of the Dramatists Guild.
Here, we ask Donna to discuss her play, herself and the future of theater post-Covid.
1. What inspired you to write this play?
I’m in awe of and grateful for essential workers, everyday heroes who risked their lives on the frontlines of the pandemic.
2. What do you think the audience will take away from it, what will they be talking about after seeing it?
I hope they’ll discuss silent struggles people face and take action to combat food insecurity. MealsForGood.org defines food insecurity as: “When you don’t have enough money to buy the healthy foods you need, or if you have to skip meals because you don’t have enough money to buy more food.” According to FeedingAmerica.org, “In Illinois, 1,283,550 people struggle with hunger–and of them 363,900 are children.”
How can we help? Donate funds to local food banks. Organize a food drive, or volunteer to assist in distribution. Donate non-perishable, healthy foods like proteins and whole grains. Call a pantry to ask what they need most.
3. How and when did you start writing plays?
I’ve always loved inventing stories, writing them down, and acting them out. So theatre was a perfect fit for my education, teaching, and writing. I’m also a nonfiction author, so I constantly tumble into rabbit holes of intriguing research. Sparks of theatrical inspiration!
4. What do you expect from a post-Covid theater scene?
I’m a resident playwright at Rising Sun Performance Company in New York. We’re exploring outdoor productions as we speak. The tenacity, resilience, and ingenuity theatre makers displayed during this moment in time are inspirational.
To read more about all the plays in our spring production, Pandemic Stories, click here.