We’ve unveiled the program for our Playwriting Festival on Saturday 29 March, directed by acclaimed playwright Vanessa Bates (P*rn Cake, The Magic Hour). The festival will open with a keynote address by Lally Katz (Neighbourhood Watch, Stories I Want to Tell You in Person), so we took the chance to catch up with Lally to talk about her work.
I liked how you didn’t have to do all the description that a novel seems to have to have. Though as time goes on, I get pretty into description too! Also, I always loved making up plays and putting them on with friends or the other kids in my neighbourhood. I always loved the spark of fire between the stage and the audience.
Do you have a special routine or ritual to help you write?
I clean the house. I return all the emails that I haven’t returned in a long while. I call all the people that I’ve promised to call, but haven’t. I exercise obsessively. Then when the guilt really builds up, I print out every note and bit or piece of dialogue or story that I’ve ever written about or for the piece – or that could be for it – and I read them all and then put them into order. That’s the rough shape of the play. Then I print out how to write a three act structure from Wikipedia and I match that with the document I have and with other notes about characters and what they want and how them following their desires creates the story.
Which play or playwright do you think has had the most influence on your writing?
The play Our Town by Thorton Wilder because it taught me that when the universal and the personal are tied together, there is room for something really special to happen.