S.P. Miskowski

The world premiere of Miskowski’s Emerald City runs March 9 – April 2! Tickets still available!


S.P. Miskowski graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Washington. The same year she received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship for playwriting. Since then UW, Youth Theatre Northwest, Seattle Theatre Project, New City Theater, New Image, Northwest Actors Studio and Mae West Festival have produced her plays. A Contemporary Theatre’s FirstACT program and New City Theater have commissioned her, and she has been invited to workshop plays at Asylum Theatre and at GEVA in Rochester. Watusi, a coming-of-age story about a girl living in Decatur, Georgia in the mid-1960s, was included in the Cherry Lane Alternative reading series in New York City. Her play about cyberbullying, my new friends (are so much better than you), was nominated for the 2009 American Theatre Critics Association/ Steinberg New Play Award. Published by The Absent Willow Review, Identity Theory, The Stranger, Horror Bound Online Magazine, Other Voices, Fine Madness, Black Ice and other journals, Miskowski has won two Swarthout prizes and received an NEA fellowship for short fiction.


Where did the idea for Emerald City
come from?
The idea was sparked by a conversation with Artistic Director Meghan Arnette about ongoing cultural changes in Seattle. We didn’t set out to create a play on the subject, but we found that our views of the city were similar and were shared by many other long-term residents. The more people I’ve talked with the more I confirmed that a strong love-hate attitude prevails. Where there is conflict, you find drama. Soon the characters began to tell me their feelings about the city, and the play started to take shape.

What is your favorite moment in the play?
Tina is a typical Seattleite. Transplanted from the southwest, Tina came to the city with a lot of emotional baggage. She has been trying to heal her broken heart while harboring hopes and dreams out of proportion with reality. She is in denial about her pain and disappointment. While the landscape is in constant flux around her, Tina is unable to make some much-needed changes to her personal and professional life. Her underlying frustration leaks out in the form of hateful online comments about a neighbor. Then, at a crucial point in the play, Tina loses all control. I find the ensuing rush of honest emotion to be quite liberating and funny.

Who is your current playwright talent crush?
Ki Gottberg and Kelleen Conway Blanchard. These playwrights have great wit and inimitable voices. Every time I see their work I make a resolution to write better plays!

What advice would you give to aspiring playwrights?
Write plays and stage them. Join a theater company, or start your own company. No one knows what will work on stage until you try it out. Don’t be discouraged by failure, it is a necessary part of every artist’s life. Keep working.

What kind of theater do you love?
My favorite kind of theater takes for granted the intelligence of the audience, and doesn’t pander. I have an intense dislike for plays that tell the audience what to think, or that display all of their ideas on the surface where they’re easy to see. Great writing has ideas built into the marrow. Great writing has elements that are mysterious and open to interpretation. Great writing offers us characters that lie to themselves and to the audience. It is up to the viewer to decide what is real and what the play is about.

What are you currently working on?
I am revising a horror novel about mother-daughter relationships. The story is set in Washington State, and begins when three girls take a strange oath in the woods. They inadvertently cross paths with an entity that has been waiting a long time to find the proper vehicle for escape.

Outside of theater, what are you really into right now?
My current passion is horror (fiction and films). I write reviews and interviews at my reader blog Shock Room Horror, which is published online at the Seattle P-I site.

Horror is the only popular genre that takes us to the heights and depths of human longing. Horror expresses our core fear of mortality better than any other genre.

Do you have a favorite and least favorite word?
My favorite word is “work,” because it’s what I love. My least favorite word is “favorite,” because every time I hear it my mind goes blank.

Is there a question you would like to see posed to playwrights featured in future spotlights?
Yes. I would ask: If no one came to see your work would you keep writing, and why or why not?