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LDTE Playwright’s Corner: WENDY GRAF

We love our writers. We wouldn’t be here without them! To get to know them better and to help other playwrights become inspired (and to hopefully sharpen their craft), we are launching a new series entitled “LDTE Playwright’s Corner”. Wendy Graf is our first and fabulous writer for the series.

1) What are you working on now and why?

I’m very grateful to the Gods or the Universe or whatever power right now to have my plate so full. I’m opening new stuff and revisiting old stuff!

In December 2017 I did the first workshop of a brand new play of mine, Exit Wounds, which is sadly timely. It is my main project in development right now. Exit Wounds asks the questions: What do you do with the rest of your life, when your brother/son has committed a horrific act of a school shooting? How does the fallout affect the family of the shooter years later? Can they ever live a normal life again? These are some of the questions asked in Exit Wounds, about three generations attempting to come to terms with their painful past.

My 2012 GLAAD Award winning play, No Word in Guyanese For Me, just opened at the Rainbow Theatre Project in Washington DC as part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival. No Word follows the journey of a young Muslim immigrant struggling to reconcile her faith and her sexuality. I was so honored to be included in this list of wonderful, influential women playwrights and thrilled to be able to revisit the play. I travelled back to DC for the opening. The production is beautifully realized in every way and has been receiving rave reviews as well as Helen Hayes Awards Recommended. Everyone involved was just wonderful. Sadly this play as well is more timely now than when I wrote it.

There is also a local production of No Word in Guyanese For Me that opens March 10 and is designed to be taken around to high schools and colleges. I am honored and glad to be able to stimulate further discussion and conversation about these pressing issues of our day.

My newest play, Unemployed Elephants – A Love Story opens March 9 at the Victory Theater here in North Hollywood. Unemployed Elephants is a huge departure for me – it is a romantic comedy in which a chance meeting in an airport lounge leads to a Burmese odyssey and a search for a missing monk. And maybe love. I have to say with all the turmoil and violence and unrest these days it was a welcomed respite to work on something fun. I think right now we need to laugh!

Finally, a very early play of mine, Lessons, has been brought out of mothballs by a theater company in Victoria, British Columbia and they are opening a production in April.

So I feel very blessed to be able to revisit old stuff and create new stuff!

2) What is the most important thing to you as a writer?

It’s hard to say one thing is the most important thing to me, but if I had to, I’d say to be truthful. I am constantly asked “what do you want the audience to take away with them?” I don’t not presume to offer answers, only questions. I have no agenda for what I want the audience to take away with them except to see the truth of human behavior and something of their own humanity. To see something of themselves reflected on the stage and in one way or another understand it, not necessarily condone nor accept it, but understand it. It is important to me to leave it up to the audience to answer the questions. I hope it will start conversations about why, and maybe if we can talk about why and try to understand it, then maybe we can start to change it.

I actually have a production company and the mission of it is really what my mission as a writer is:

(I am) dedicated to creating, developing, and producing daring new theatrical works that probe the social and political landscape of our time.  I am committed to the idea that the best theater should be provocative as well as entertaining, challenging complacency and the status quo. With understanding comes change–and hope for a better future.

3) Why do you write?

Why do I breathe! No, really!



Learn more about Wendy Graf at: