In honor of Wild Weekend opening on Friday our production team all agreed this month’s blog should be a note from the playwright. Now the difficult part of this particular post is that we like to keep this blog funny and only about a third of what I have to say about it could be considered funny so for your convenience I’ve divided it into two sections “The Funny Shit” and “The Mushy Shit” -read what you will my friends!
“The Funny Shit”
Let’s jump right in with why I wrote the play -Do ya’ll have any idea how f***ing impossible it is to find a female driven comedy featuring at least 5 strong female comedic roles, with limited self deprecation, specifically written for the stage?? I’ll give you a hint -I had to write it myself. (Sidebar, if you have any leads on strong female driven comedies please send them our way! We’re still planning 2019 and for fucksakes, we can’t write EVERYTHING.)
I saw films like the new Ghostbusters and Girls Trip and Rough Night and I thought “We need more of this on stage.” I wanted to take a group of close friends and put them in a new and potentially terrifying experience together. I love puns -they’ve never let me down, they always make me laugh, they speak to my very soul, they’ve kept me company on long, otherwise lonely nights -Oh God, I’m just realizing the love of my life may not be a person but a double entendre, better unpack that with a professional later- so when it came to the title of the show I wanted to build in a joke, “Wild” is both a nod to the debauchery that takes place and the wilderness the friends find themselves lost in.
“The Mushy Shit”
This play is a love letter to my girlfriends. Each character was inspired by different women in my life from my grade school years in Illinois all the way up to my best friend who made me coffee this morning. I took pieces from each of these brilliant, kind, powerful, unique, and wonderful people and I created a collage of characters that represent the women in my life who most affected me. I put them all in a sorority together as a nod to the close bonds I felt in my own sorority, Kappa Tau.
In order of appearance, here are the women who inspired each character:
Gretchen is a nod to my lifelong friend, Caroline, and my comedy pal Amanda. Like these two women I wanted to create a character who was fiercely supportive of her bestie but just like… a little ditsy (sorry Care) and a little silly (not sorry Amanda).
Every group needs a Devyn. Personally, I have two: Allison and Katherine. I was inspired by both of their kind hearts and their loyalty. Like Allison, Devyn is very aware of her surroundings especially the emotions of those around her. Katherine is perhaps one of the strongest women I know. She has been very open about her struggles with infertility. I find her strength and grace through her journey to be inspiring and empowering and I wanted to share those characteristics with the audience.
Monica is a mix between my Omega -Marissa, and my “original” friend Kate. Monica is a badass bitch who is entirely self made, independent, protective of those she holds closest, and she doesn’t take no for an answer. Marissa and Kate have both inspired me to my core, despite heart-wrenching setbacks these two incredible women forged their own paths and created a life for themselves. This is a strength I wanted to share.
Amber is modeled after just one woman, my mother, Wendy. She gave up her career to be a stay at home mom. She never knew this -guess you do now, sorry mom!- but when I was younger I was looking for a notebook and I found a journal entry from my mom circa 1995. She wrote about struggling with the idea that staying at home sometimes made her question whether or not she was providing enough for her family. I see this struggle now in some online media posts from old high school friends as well and I wanted to create a character that was not only empowered by her choice but empowered those around her as I feel my mother has done. Oddly enough, this is the role Jenna Pulkrabek cast me in and I have felt incredibly touched to honor my mother in this way. I hope she sees my portrayal of this character as a lens through which to view how I have always seen her.
Every girl needs a GBF (Gay Best Friend), I’ve been lucky enough to have several come in and out of my life but I have found my own personal soulmate in Brandon. The most notable characteristic that I took from Brandon and breathed into Mitchell was Brandon’s fiercely supportive nature. Like Brandon, Mitchell is constantly lifting the women around him up -cheering them up, making them laugh, and supporting their opinion.
Social media bitches… If we’re friends on social media and you’re as single as I am Becky is for you. During a read through I received feedback that perhaps I could round out Becky’s character more by unpacking the struggles of being single. Though I ALWAYS appreciate feedback being single is not a struggle -life is a struggle and I will be damned if I write a character who feels they are in any way “less” because of their relationship status. The woman in my life who most perfectly exemplifies this for me is my friend from college, the Amy to my Tina, Brittany. Becky is also hilarious… I can’t model anything after Brittany without making said character pee-your-pants funny.
I modeled Mandy after myself. This is the first I’m sharing of this but the opening scene is a direct take from my life. I have been curled up on a couch (the very couch we use in this show, actually) cradling a bottle of rum and listening to Chopin on repeat. In my darkest moments it was the girlfriends in my life, the women listed above in fact, who burst into my sorrow and shed light on my sadness. Every time I’ve needed to fall apart it has been my girlfriends who swooped in and held me together. They made me look strong to everyone else and I will spend all of my life paying their love forward.
Running a female driven comedy company has left me with no shortage of amazing women so I want to be clear, if you didn’t see your name listed above that doesn’t mean you didn’t provide me with some inspiration most notably my fellow producers in Smartmouth who believed in me when I said I could write this show in 4 months. Producing theatre with these women has been the greatest joy of my life.
And because I genuinely mean this and I need to cover all of my bases:
- Have we shared a drink? I wrote this play for you.
- Have we laughed together? I wrote this play for you.
- Have we shared some inner struggles? I wrote this play for you.
- Have we talked shit together? I wrote this play for you.
- Were you a strong female role model and educator to me? I wrote this play for you.
- Do you have a close girlfriend in your life who is essentially your other half? I wrote this play for both of you, you should see it together.
To quote Mandy, “I love you guys, you’re the breath in my lungs.”
Thank you for reading all of this, thank you for inspiring me, and thank you for holding me up every time I need to fall. Behind every strong woman is an army of females supporting her. I am nothing without my girlfriends.
Ok, enough of this mushy shit, get your tickets below and LET’S GET DRUNK AND IRRESPONSIBLE!!!!!!!!!! #kelliannout