Playwright Profile: Jenny Lyn Bader


Playwright – Found and Lost (Quickies 17, June/July 2015)

BIO: JENNY LYN BADER  has published twelve 10-minute plays in Smith & Kraus’ annual Best 10-Minute Play book series. Short works include Worldness (Humana Festival) published by Dramatists Play Service in Heaven and Hell; Miss America (NY Int’l Fringe Festival, “Best of Fringe” selection), and The Joint Collection (Mile Sq. Productions). Full-length plays include Mona Lisa Speaks (Core Ensemble); In Flight (Turn to Flesh Productions); Manhattan Casanova, winner of the Edith Oliver Award (O’Neill Center); and None of the Above  (New Georges), available from Dramatists Play Service. She co-founded Theatre 167, where she is currently producing Tina Howe’s Singing Beach. Her newest work, a podplay set on the 7 train, is now available on the app Subway Plays.

Where did the idea for your play come from?

I have a fascination with discarded furniture that was sparked years ago when I spotted a large sofa sitting on a street corner. I managed to alert a furniture-less friend who’d just moved to town, in time for her to snag it. Two weeks later, I saw a smaller sofa of the same color on another sidewalk in another neighborhood — the loveseat version! — but that one vanished before we could send any friend to sit on it or get it… Since then, I’ve noticed how the experience of walking down the street, and our feelings about abandoned objects, have changed over time.  That was the impetus for the play.

What was your favorite moment in working on this piece?

When I realized it was not a two-character play but a three-character play.

What’s the most interesting thing you have found on the street?

A door.

If you could instantly find something today that you have lost in the past, what would it be?

I have a long history of losing things but I think the worst is always losing words or notes… starting with the time I lost a folder of about 20 short stories I wrote when I was nine, potentially my most prolific creative period to date. I feel my 9-year-old self and I would have a lot to learn from each other, were the folder to turn up.

What projects are you currently working on?

I am Artistic Producer at Theatre 167, a company I co-founded, and we are thrilled to be presenting the world premiere of Tina Howe’s new play Singing Beach in New York, July 22-August 12, directed by Ari Laura Kreith.  I’m producing that right now. I’m also writing a new play called Equally Divine which is being workshopped this month by Core Ensemble… and completing a short play called Afternoon Prayers inspired by a moment in a novel by Marina Budhos for the Park Plays festival at Queens Theatre… and working on a new piece for This Is Not a Theatre Company, a group that puts up theatre in non-traditional spaces. That company is now releasing my play The International Local, directed by Erin Mee, in their app Subway Plays. It’s a site-specific podplay set on the 7 train and marks my smartphone debut!

Finish this sentence- “I love theater that…”

…transcends stereotypes.

What was the best advice you were given as a theater artist?

Don’t hide or pace in the back at every performance of a play you’ve written. Sit among the audience members; sit close to the stage; feel what it’s like to be there. This advice, which surprised me at the time because I’d seen more than one distinguished playwright hiding or pacing, came from Lloyd Richards, at the O’Neill Center.

What is your favorite and least favorite word?

Sublime; tho.

Outside of theater, what are you really into right now?

Crossword puzzles.

Any other thoughts you’d like to share? (About Live Girls! Theater, Love, Life, Puppies, …really – anything at all?)

I love the theme “Lost and Found.” It’s moving to think about all the “Lost and Found”’s that exist at schools, police stations, taxi companies… and about the mountains of items that people are desperately trying to find, and all the things they don’t even realize they misplaced. I’m delighted to be part of this “meticulously collected set of short plays” with such an inspirational theme. Thank you!