Keri Healey

Author of Todd Schuster, Hero, [Quickies volume 13, June 2012]

Keri Healey is a playwright, director, and actor living in Seattle. Her plays include TORSO, CHERRY CHERRY LEMON, THE IKEA CYCLE: TINY DOMESTIC DRAMAS (co-written with Bret Fetzer), PARROT FEVER (OR, LIES I’VE TOLD IN CHAT ROOMS), and DON’T YOU DARE LOVE ME. She is a company member at Printer’s Devil Theater. Recently, she directed the Seattle premiere of EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR by playwright Lauren Gunderson at ArtsWest. Currently, she is working in collaboration with 4Culture and the White River Valley Museum to create a new site specific play, GENTLEMAN DESPERADO, which will place at the Mary Olson Farm in Auburn this fall.


Where did the idea for Todd Schuster, Hero come from?
At its heart, this play is an ode to my mom. My mother died a few years ago close to Christmas and I flew toTexas for a couple of weeks for the funeral and to be with my family. When I got back to Seattle, I had to jump right into writing for the 14/48 festival–which I had thought about dropping out of. For some reason, though, I convinced myself that just pressing on and doing it anyway would normalize things. The theme was “what the world needs now.” Barack Obama had just been elected President, my mom was dead, and all I could think of was that the world needed a hero.

What was your favorite moment in working on this piece?
Actually, my favorite part was the thought process that led me to the idea for the play. I remember thinking thinking thinking for hours about what to write about and coming up with nothing and then when the word “hero” came to me, things started to flow. It went from “hero” to “Superman” to Luke Burbank’s famous “This American Life” story about meeting a guy on a plane in a Superman costume to the little boys who lived in my neighborhood when I was a kid. Then I knew where to go. That moment when you realize you ABSOLUTELY KNOW what the story is…THAT moment is exhilarating.

What projects are you currently working on?
I’m writing a site specific theater piece that I’ll direct at the Mary Olson Farm in Auburn this fall. It’s based on a true story about the outlaw Harry Tracy and a hostage-taking that took place on a family farm. It’s part of 4Culture’s Site Specific program.

Finish the sentance- “I love theater that…”
trusts its audience to connect the dots.

Who is your current artist crush (any discipline)?
Matthew Weiner (“Mad Men”)

What was the best advice you were even given as a theater artist?
Always develop a secondary skill. Seriously, if you want to act, you better also sew or write press releases.

Outside of theater, what are you really into right now?
The sun’s coming out, it’s almost summer. All I want to do is hang out in backyards when I’m not working.

What is your favorite and least favorite word?
Fave: scintilla (pretty + needs to be used more)
Least: amazing (needs to be used less)