Is this your first Sheherezade?
I'm thrilled that this will be my fourth Sheherezade. My first was in 2011 (a silly play about Paul the psychic octopus).
Which play did you write? What's it about?
This year I wrote "Brew, Drink, Repeat." It's a comedy about a man trapped in a time loop in a coffee shop, and his attempts to find his way out.
What was your inspiration for the play?
I was thinking about how routine our days often become, and how dependent many of us are on our morning coffee. How many times have I stood in line at my local cafe and ordered the same thing? What if someone were to become trapped in an infinite loop -- literally -- so that he or she had to repeat the very same morning routine, on the very same morning, over and over? It's Groundhog Day meets Starbucks.
An emerging theme between these plays that has really jumped out at us is reality and perception. Tell us about an experience that you thought had been one thing only to discover it was completely different.
I've never been mistaken about the nature of reality. Okay, kidding. There have been quite a few times. Our minds can play tricks on us. I've struggled with OCD since I was young, which has sometimes made me anxious about things that have turned out to be no threat at all. I also have a background in psychology and am familiar with some of the biases we have when processing information -- cognitive dissonance, groupthink, denial, etc. I think this has been reflected in my writing, as many of my plays are about people who are not facing reality. Being aware, though, doesn't mean I don't fall into these traps myself. There was also that time I took a big huge mouthful of wasabi paste because I thought it was a piece of tempura.
What has participating in Sheherezade meant to you?
It's been a great way to connect with other playwrights, as well as directors, actors and theatre professionals. My octopus play in 2011 was one of my first productions, and introduced me to people from PCSF and Wily West, which later led to further possibilities for me. I love that this is a festival exclusively for local Bay Area playwrights, whether established or emerging. And it's always a lot of fun. I got to sew an octopus costume.
What other projects are you working on? What can audiences of Sheherezade look forward to next?
I'm taking a bit of a break, as I just had a baby, but I do have some things in the works. Several of my short plays will be featured as part of Wily West's "Superheroes" show, starting July 17. I have a short drama in verse that will be read as part of this year's SF Olympians Festival in November. I am also revising several of my full-length plays, and hope to make headway on a new one I've been planning for some time now -- about a man who is convinced he is possessed by demons and may be the Antichrist (talk about perception vs. reality).