would perform them. I thought it was so cool seeing my work performed so I kept going. I’ve been writing plays ever since.
You’ve had so much work produced. Does it still feel as special as it first did? I think it’s special every time because it’s very, very hard to get produced. For each “yes” you receive you get a 100 rejections. I’m thankful for every one, whether it’s a full production or just a staged reading. What does your writing routine look like? Is it daily, or do you wait for inspiration to hit? I’m the kind of writer who has to have the inspiration. I work full time at a corporation, so there are very few hours in the day that I can actually dedicate to writing. When I get an idea that hits really hard I have to go with it right away. I try to complete one full-length per year, and a handful of smaller plays. When an idea does hit, do you let the writing take you where it does? Or do you go in with specific goals? Most of the time, I start with characters speaking, and I see where they lead me. I usually know the ending ahead of time, and I write towards that ending, but I’m not an “outliner,” by any means.
t h g i r w y a l p l a loc a Hosking Sandr There are few local
playwrights more productive than Sandra Hosking. The University of Idaho and Eastern Washington University MFA graduate has written somewhere close to 40 plays (a mix of fulllengths and one-acts). Prolific by any standard, Hosking has become an icon of Spokane community theater. Her dynamic and heartfelt comedies are female-centric, often borrowing elements of surrealism and absurdism. Now, as the Playwright in Residence for Stage Left Theater, she uses her powers for good, helping produce the work of new and young playwrights. Every season Hosking curates three events for Stage Left Theater, receiving anywhere from 400-500 submissions: Hit & Run, a staged reading of 10-minute comedic plays; Fast & Furious, a staged reading of one-minute plays; and Left Overs, a 24-hour play festival. Was theater something you were always interested in? When did you write your first play? I had always gone to plays, ever since I was a little girl. My grandparents would take me to summer theater and I really enjoyed that. I’m very grateful for my family. I wrote my first play when I was in 7th grade, but I didn’t get serious until after college when I took an acting class. In the class we had to write scenes and our classmates
Writing, they say, takes a community. Does Spokane give you that community? Yes. Playwriting is very collaborative — especially when compared to fiction or poetry. You need people to act out your material and help it develop. It’s why I have always been involved in local theater as much possible, acting, producing and volunteering. Through that, I was able to know actors. So now, I have a trusted group that I call on whenever I finish a script. Both Spokane Civic Theater and Stage Left have a great group of actors and directors as well. Do you identify yourself in any one genre? Who inspires you? My fiction always has an element of surrealism in there, especially magical realism, but I’m hesitant to call myself a surrealist. I’ve always looked at everything a little differently. It’s just how I’ve been since I’ve been born. Caryl Churchill, however, is one of my biggest playwriting influences. Her stuff is so thoughtful yet strange, you really have to think about it. What are you looking forward to this fall? Stage Left’s big event is Hit & Run, a festival of 10-minute comedies (November 6 -7, $10). We’re expanding it from two to three days this year because the audience keeps growing. Its whole purpose is comedy, so if you come you will definitely laugh. We also have a new event called New November (November 14 - 15, $TBA), which is a collaboration with Empire Theater Company. We’ll be presenting staged readings of one-acts from local playwrights. What advice do you give to young playwrights looking to get produced? Keep writing all the time — finish your ideas and get it done. Get involved in your local theatre scene as much as you can. Volunteer backstage and see how theater works. Learn what can be done on stage and what cannot. When you do get involved, use your connections wisely. And please, be open to feedback. Any last thoughts about the Spokane arts community? There is a lot of exciting stuff happening. Theater companies big and small are putting out new and established works with great energy. There is a lot of opportunity to help, too; it’s a great time to be part of the arts community in Spokane.
spokanecda.com • SEPTEMBER • 2015