Rose Heising on writing for the Student One Act Play Festival
The One Act Play Festival is around the corner! We were lucky to meet the face behind one of the selected plays titled spoon by Amelia Rate–theatre major Rose Heising ‘20.
NC: What compels you to write for the One Act Play Festival and how did you get started?
RH: I have always loved writing. When I was younger, I used to write gigantic, like fantasy novels, and my interest in stories got me into acting in middle high school. Then I got into directing my senior year in high school, but I have never tried playwriting. My first year at Whitman, I saw the One Act Festival and I thought I could do that too. I was writing my one act while I was in Mr. Kolpert, so it shares a similar style of dark comedy and being fast-paced. I just had an idea of what I wanted to see on the stage that is very active and funny and reflects my own family’s dynamics in a way. The writing came out really easily through some rough edits, and generally just felt like my friends and family.
NC: Which part in the script do you feel most contented with? Is there any part that challenges you?
RH: I was really struggling with how to end it because I had several drafts that went on way too long and got really dark and that’s not what I wanted. I wanted to go for something like people who have issues in their lives, but in a very light, comedic tone. I think when all three of them are on stage interacting is my favorite part. Also, it’s very strange to be done with the process before it begins, to have written the script and not be able to act it, not be able to direct it, just let go and watch it come together without doing anymore work – that’s a very strange experience for an actor.
NC: Could you tell us more about the inspiration for the play?
RH: So the young man in the script was trying to work for NASA, and that is personally important because my grandpa worked for NASA and being a theatre and music person I have never really connected my science heritage, and thus I want to have that different perspective on stage. The mom character has a lot of similarities to my mom. She’s a very interesting person, a very warm, loving goddess. She is an amazing editor, very very bright, and when she was reading it, she just kept laughing and laughing. I asked: “What’s so funny mom?” to which she replied: “I’m hilarious, I’m the best character ever!” She immediately knew this mom was her. The daughter, Leann, she’s just all the things that I want to be able to say. She might come across as very mean, sarcastic, but I think it’s coming from a place of humour and love.
NC: Can you tell us more about the pen name Amelia Rate?
RH: I just think it’s funny, because “ameliorate” is a word that means to improve, to heal, to get better, and I think of growing up in a dysfunctional family. I’m working and healing that through writing.
NC: Do you have any favorite playwright/ writer?
RH: I love Sarah Ruhl. She writes very real and funny plays about women and relationships. I feel like she is able to capture an enhanced version of reality, all the funniest bits of reality. And Shakespeare, I have a passion for Shakespeare because that is how I started acting. I was Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. I think my dad read us plays when we were way too young to understand. I was 3 and my sister was 5 and he was reading us Othello as a bedtime story, so I have to say that’s been part of my life.