Pamela Hobart Carter

Author of The Ventriloquist [Quickies 11, June 2010]
Growing up American in Montreal gave Pamela Hobart Carter a great French accent and an outsider’s take. Although she studied geology in college and grad school, for over twenty-five years she has been teaching everything from preschool to science pedagogy, mostly in Seattle. She lives with her husband and two teenagers. LiveGirls! selected her first full-length script, Rondo, to read in their new works festival in 2008. In 2009, North Seattle Community College produced It’s not in the P-I, a play Carter co-wrote with five other locals. She also writes poems (one in Barrow Street) and short shorts (one in Quick Fiction.)


Where did you get the idea for The Ventriloquist?
I like to take familiar situations to extremes.  I started it while in the midst of a family visit over the winter holidays. I promise I took no direct dictation.

What is your favorite moment in the play?
I like that some of the characters can be adults or children, depending on the action—so the moments when they switch between one and the other. For me, that’s what makes it theater. You can’t do that in any other medium.

Who is your current playwright talent crush?
Caryl Churchill.

What advice would you give to aspiring playwrights?
Such as myself?

What kind of theater do you love?
Plays that make me argue or laugh or feel desperate. Oleana by David Mamet. The Tempest is my favorite Shakespeare. Readings, workshops by some talented friends—Amontaine Woods’ The Trouble with Desiree and Louise Pemberthy’s In the Spirits of our Lord. I like risky and smart.

What are you currently working on? ?
Blood Princess a gory fairytale-love story, full-length play; an article about preschoolers and monkey bars and a short story about a student and her male professor.

Outside of theater, what are you really into right now?
Climbing plastic at Vertical World, mitigating the nadirs of teenage hood, the garden, the dog, my preschool classroom, baking with buttermilk.

Do you have a favorite and least favorite word?
These change, depending on what I’m reading. I love BOUSTROPHEDON – that describes text that reads left to right, then right to left, or top to bottom, then bottom to top—and the pathway of an ox plowing a field. I learned it last summer in a book about the brain and reading. My least favorite word is CAN’T—so whiney and nasal and negative. That’s not just my teacher reaction, either.

Is there a question you would like to see posed to playwrights featured in future spotlights? ?
Why plays?