Amy Drake talks about theater with playwright Patricia Rumble
What inspired me to become a playwright? I was pregnant with my son, talking to the head of the children’s theatre program at Main Street Theater in Houston. I mentioned that I was reading some folktales and one that interested me in particular was a Russian folktale “Go There I Know Not Where, Fetch That I Know Not What.” He said, “That would make a great children’s show, can you write that?” I said, “sure.” Of course, I had never written a real play in my life. But I was interested in writing.
Although I had no official training in writing plays, I had taught German and wrote stuff for my students. In fact, the first thing I ever wrote was in German, “Goldilocks und die drei Baeren.” My students got first place for the German competition with the Goldilocks sketch. It was also my first time directing, which I discovered is not something I really like to do.
Back to Main Street Theatre. So, I turned in my play, which now was called The Archer and the Princess. Main Street said yes that they would produce my play but not for nine more months. Three days after Main Street said yes, I had my son and while waiting those nine months for my second child I wrote A Mother Goose Comedy and Aesop’s Funny Fables.
My degree is in Biology and German, but I have read many, many plays and gone to the theatre often. I taught myself how to write comedy sketches by taping the Carol Burnett show and then transcribing the funny sketches in a teleplay format. For a year I wrote for the late Comedy Workshop in Houston in 1988.
How did I get my work to the stage? A lot of cold calls in the beginning, which meant I was always on the outside looking in. In order to motivate myself to finish a project, I would find competitions and use the deadline for the competition as my deadline for writing the piece. I won a few children’s play competitions in the beginning of my writing career.
I don’t think of myself as a woman playwright, I think of myself as a playwright. I also think of myself as a business person. Go where you’re not. By that I mean, join business groups. You will be the only playwright and people will be intrigued. Do readings of your work but work with good actors. Enter competitions and submit to competitions and workshops. Also, help others. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. I hope that helps. This is my sage advice from my thirty years of writing. Break a leg.
Patricia’s play, BREAKING OUT OF SUNSET PLACE, runs Jan 24 and runs thru Feb. 10, 2019 at the Queensbury Theatre in Houston. Tickets are available at https://www.queensburytheatre.org/ She also has five published plays and five works in progress: Stuck in RV Land to premier in Port Arthur Texas at the Max Bowl August 16 and 17, 2019, Crazy the Musical premiering in San Angelo TBA in 2019 A Shamrock in Vietnam premiering at the Bastrop Opera House TX in March 2020 Cowboy and Cajun drama Au Revoir Cher Bébé (Goodbye Sweet Baby). In 2019 her publishing and production company Check out Patricia’s PlayItStore here: https://playitstore.com/about/
(Images above are 1. Patricia Rumble with Donna Cole; and 2. Patricia Rumble with one of the staff at Dramatic Publishing)You can contact Amy Drake at: firstname.lastname@example.org