Trista Baldwin

Author of The Pick-up (Quickies, 2010) 

Trista Baldwin is the recipient of two Jerome Fellowships (04-05 and 05-06), a 2006-2007 McKnight Advancement Grant. Her work has been developed and produced by companies including The Guthrie, Women’s Project, The Lark, Bay Area Playwrights’ Foundation, New Georges, Bricolage, Perishable Theater, Hypothetical Theatre Company, La Mama, HERE, Urban Stages, Synchronicity, Live Girls!, Eternal Spiral Project, The Red Eye, Bloomington Playwrights’ Project, Circle X, The Empty Space Theatre and National New Play Network.

Recent plays include American Sexy (Bay Area Playwrights’ Rough series, Guthrie Singled Out festival), Forgetting (PlayLabs, Tofte Residency), and the premiers of Sand (Women’s Project, available through Playscripts), Doe (Tokyo Internaational Festival, HB Playwrights), and Patty Red Pants with Live Girls! (now available through Playscripts). Screenplays include the shorts Climbing Trees (Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival) and Side Effects (Ripfest/Anthology Film Archives/NUEA/RiverRun).

Currently in development is Mesujika Doe, a bi-lingual, cross cultural piece created collaboratively with Tokyo theatre artist Shirotama Hitsujiya of Yubiwa Hotel.. Mesujika Doe was presented under the title Doe 2.0 at Morishita Studios in Tokyo this December ’09, following an initial workshop at the Playwrights Center last summer. We will be returning to the Playwrights’ Center to present the next phase of the project in August 2010.

A native of the woods of Washington State, and sometime-New Yorker, she currently makes her home in Minneapolis, where she teaches at SCSU, is a co-founder of the Workhaus Collective, a Core Writer of The Playwrights’ Center, and mother of 4 year old Ila.

  Where did the idea for The Pick-up come from?
Watching male pigeons trying to get the attention of female pigeons. Which led me to thinking about people dressing up to go out on Friday night. Which led me to think about how fancy matadors dress up for their bullfights. 

What is your favorite moment in the play?
The play is moving along as Realism and then suddenly there’s a moment where this smooth guy does a word-association pick-up line series that ends in an animal noise. I giggle at that part.  

Who is your current playwright talent crush?
Well, I’m super hot for Suzan-Lori Parks. Sparks for sure. My old man crush is still Pinter. Some of Young Jean Lee’s work has me crushing big time. Love the work of my friends Carson Kreitzer and Melanie Marnich. And lot of other friends, too. I’m really lucky to know playwrights whose work inspires me.  

What advice would you give to aspiring playwrights?
Don’t do it if you don’t have to. If you have to write plays, don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t know what you are doing. Write until you DO know what you’re doing. You just have to make it happen. Don’t let the rejection letters tell you who you are. Go out and make your plays happen.  

What kind of theater do you love?
Theatre that scares me. Theatre that makes my thighs quake, taps my fears and my secret desires and makes me want more from humanity…. I wish there was more of that kind of theatre.  

What are you currently working on?
A few things. Up next is the third creation-workshop of Mesujika DOE (formerly DOE 2.0),a play I’m co-creating with Japanese theatre-maker Shirotama Hitusjiya. The play is based off my play DOE, which serves as a kind of base, and we’re creating this new piece together in both English and Japanese, with a translator/dramaturg/composer Tomoko Momiyama acting as a bridge for both language and culture.  

Outside of theater, what are you really into right now?
Reading Early American History. Learning from my four year old daughter.

Do you have a favorite and least favorite word?
Oy Vey is one of my favorite “words.” I don’t have a least favorite word. Maybe “gash.” That’s not a nice way of looking at your ladyparts.


Is there a question you would like to see posed to playwrights featured in future spotlights?
Maybe something like: what is your favorite way to make an audience feel? Dunno.