SPF 9: An Interview with Playwright Liz Kerin
LIZ KERIN: A graduate of the Dramatic Writing Department at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Liz has a background in screenwriting as well as live theatre. Last year, her full-length play Stop-Motion was selected as one of two projects for the Botanicum Seedlings development workshop at Theatricum Botanicum and was also shortlisted as a semi-finalist at Premiere Stages. Her work has been seen onstage at New York University, FringeNYC, 440 Studios, The Producer’s Club, with the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, and here in LA with the Athena Cats. On the film and television side, Liz was featured on the Tracking Board’s Young and Hungry List, which names the top up-and-coming screenwriters in Hollywood, and her feature script PYONGYANG HOME VIDEO made the 2016 Hit List. She’s currently adapting a YA novel to the screen as well as rebooting Roger Corman’s BLACK SCORPION for television. She is represented by Verve and Grandview and divides her time between New York and LA.
An Interview with Playwright Liz Kerin
1: What is the name of your play?
2: What was your first job in the theatre?
I started acting when I was 7, and my first “job” in the theatre was playing Gracie Shinn in The Music Man (AKA the kid who runs out onstage and shrieks that the Wells Fargo Wagon is comin’).
3: Do you ever model characters after real life people?
I’m more inspired by the way certain people make me feel than the people themselves. When I write what I “know,” I write about feelings I know. However, I think Stop-Motion is certainly my most personal piece, and there are shades of my family members in each of these characters. They’re all fictional, though. I have never done something purely autobiographical.
4: As an artist, what subjects tend to draw your interest?
I tend to write and respond to stories that feel grounded but have a slight whimsical twist – family stories infused with magical realism, for example. I’m really interested in how heightened worlds and concepts can help us contextualize our everyday problems. I also love a really good, twisted psychological drama.
5: Do you have other passions aside from playwriting?
I love to sing and will crash your karaoke night anytime, anywhere. You can guarantee my presence if this karaoke night also happens to have a musical theatre theme.
6: Are you currently working on any new projects?
I’m in the early stages of writing the book for a musical with a really exciting composer I’ve come to know, based on the life of this remarkable but unsung feminist icon. Can’t wait to get going on that! I’m also working on a number of film and TV projects and have a novel coming out called “The Phantom Forest.”
7: Here’s a fun question! What is your favorite dessert?
My grandma’s two-pound cake (notice that’s TWO pounds, not just regular ‘pound’ cake). At least one of those two pounds is probably straight melted butter.
8: Any acknowledgements or words of encouragement?
I’d love to acknowledge my awesome director Ana Liza, who came to an early reading of Stop-Motion and gave me such enthusiastic encouragement that I knew I simply had to involve her next time we put it up! I’m really grateful to have her perspective on the material. She’s such a wise woman and has an insanely bright future ahead as a director!
9: Describe your play in 3 words!
Mom. Animator. Badgers.