It’s a tragicomic world premier with a title that causes one to pause, and it’s running January 13 – 28, 2017 at the Creative Space at Waterloo Arts in Cleveland, Ohio.
Just days before her debut, actor and playwright AMY SCHWABAUER provides some insight into “This is NOT About My Dead Dog.”
What? “In this comedic one-woman show, Amy Schwabauer combines reflections on love, sex, and alcohol with loud-out-loud stories from an awkward girlhood. Tackling German shepherds, boyfriends, and other attachments, this playwright/performer takes the audience through her journey from young partier to young adult. “This is NOT About My Dead Dog” is part pain journal and part offbeat rumination on aquatic life. It is heartbreaking, but always bracingly honest and funny.” (playwrightslocal.org).
Kate Klotzbach: What percentage of the show is auto-biographical?
Amy Schwabauer: Hmmm… this is a hard one to answer. Let’s put it this way, all of this show lives in my truth, this show is a part of who I am. That being said all the events may or may not have happened in my life (see what I did there?)
KK: When you were growing up, is writing what you wanted to do? Or did you find that outlet later?
AS: I was always a story teller—some might say I had quite the imagination as a child… or a large capacity to expand on the truth. But yeah, I was always writing and telling stories. The stories I wrote as a child were much more in a book format however I did play a lot of imaginary games and would later regale or write down the adventure I would have in my imaginary worlds. It wasn’t until I was in junior high that I really discovered acting and started pursuing theatre; but I always kept writing. I took a break for a while in college but my last semester at CSU I took the Playwriting Workshop with Professor [Mike] Geither and I wrote my senior thesis project. What was cool about that piece was that I combined a lot of the physical acting work I had created in my CSU Voice and Movement class with Professor [Holly] Holsinger—this is all to say that a lot of my playwriting comes from doing, improvising, or incorporating the things I find interesting in the everyday.
KK: Are there specific writers (famous, not famous, local, abroad) who inspire you?
AS: Oh man… so many. Stephen King’s book “On Writing” was a great resource for me and Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” is really what inspired me to take my writing to the professional level, that book completely reformatted my artistry which was awesome—I recommend it to all artists who feel lost or struggling with their craft.
Locally, I have an amazing group of writers and playwrights who are not only my mentors but very close friends. Eric Coble, Arwen Mitchell, Juliette Regnier, Les Hunter, Mike Geither, Rachel Lerner Ley, Catie O’Keefe. I’m sure I’m forgetting someone… sorry, writing friends! Basically, Cleveland has a great writing community and luckily all of those lovely people mentioned above have always been willing to read my work and give me helpful feedback or give me writing advice when I am lost. Oh, and someone who really believed in my writing before I even did was Emily Ritger, she was a big inspiration for me.
KK: What is the meaning behind the title, “This is NOT About My Dead Dog”?
AS: Spoiler Alert… it’s about my dead dog. Hah! (that’s my favorite joke to say when telling people the title of the show). Titles are incredibly difficult for me to come up with, and when I thought of this one I was like, “yeah that’s it.” It’s a title that makes people laugh or invokes some curiosity. And honestly, it just feels right, when you find your title— you find your title. If I over think it, I’ll make myself crazy. You’ll have to tell me if you think it fits after you see the show.
KK: What do you want audiences to take away from this production?
AS: Hmmm… this is a tough one. I’ve told David Todd (the Producer) this: the only thing I can ask from an audience is to be present with me in that room during the performance. People will see what they want to see, I hope they see the beauty and hard work put in from an incredible artistic team led by an amazing director, Dale Heinen. I hope the audience takes away a sense of seeking their own truth. Perhaps the ability to find the joy in the awkward moments we all experience. And having compassion for ourselves and others when trapped in our moments of chaos. Most of all I just really hope people laugh, am I right?
According to Playwrights Local, “This is NOT About My Dead Dog” was developed in their inaugural Play Lab new-work incubator in 2016, with initial dramaturgy by Arwen Mitchell and production dramaturgy by Dale Heinen. The goal of this annual Play Lab program is to usher works-in-progress from the early draft phase to being performance-ready.
The fabulous Amy Schwabauer will be presenting “This is NOT About My Dead Dog” at the Creative Space at Waterloo Arts (397 E. 156th Street, Cleveland, OH 44110) January 13 – 28, 2017. Shows are on Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m., and tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $10 for students. Group packages are available.
MORE INFO: http://playwrightslocal.org or call (216) 302-8856.