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We continue our 17th Writer/Director Lab with Kate Benson’s new play DESERT (FOR NOW) directed by Will Davis. This is the eight installment in a series of interviews with the participants of this year’s Lab. Come and join us for the third Lab reading at Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center, 107 Suffolk Street, April 24th at 3PM!

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1. Briefly tell us about your play.

Desert (for now) is a play about 3 people (an activist, a writer, and a photographer) traveling through the desert, from Los Alamos, NM to Nellis Air Force Base in NV. They are on their way to an anti-nuclear testing demonstration at Nellis Air Force Base and camping along the way. The desert has things to tell them about the American Nuclear project.

2. Who are your greatest influences in your writing?

Greatest influences: Samuel Beckett, Mac Wellman, Erin Courtney, Anne Washburn, WIlliam Burke, Jess Almasy, Cara Scarmack, and then a bunch of novelists: Pynchon, David Foster Wallace, Proust, Joyce.

3. What part of the Writer/Director Lab process was the most instructive and entertaining?

All of it, although: the conversations about directing—those were very interesting in terms of the opportunity those conversations offered to think about the whole project from a different point of view; the readings the directors brought in, and the feedback on mine and everyone else’s plays.

4. How have your dramaturgical skills developed over the course of the past nine months?

I have become more aware of ways to balance regarding where the play is now with the writer’s need to continue writing.

5. Seventeen years in the Lab has produced some pretty great plays. Looking over them, do any stand out to you?

Apparition by Anne Washburn
This Storm is What We Call Progress by Jason Grote
The Thugs by Adam Bock
Do Not Do This Ever Again by Karine Kiethley
Purity by Thomas Bradshaw
Somewhere Fun by Jenny Schwartz
Creature by Heidi Schreck
Trigger Warning by Matt Korahais
How to Get Into Buildings by Trish Harnetiaux
You Got Older by Clare Barron

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