San Diego Playwrights

Getting San Diego Playwrights Produced on San Diego Stages

Cygnet Theatre’s Playwrights in Process: An Interview with Ross Tedford Kendall

on October 25, 2013

Tell us about yourself.

I’m originally from Kansas, but moved to Southern California for college. I attended USC for both undergraduate and graduate studies, earning two degrees in writing. By my estimate, I’ve been writing for about twenty years, but only recently seen success in playwriting. I don’t kid myself, it’s been a long, slow process. I have a full length production of my play, Gambit, in Chicago in November. It will be produced by Artemisia, directed by their artistic director Julie Proudfoot. I am a member of Moving Arts Theatre Company in Silver Lake, near downtown Los Angeles. They’ve produced a couple of my short plays and have helped me organize a few readings of my work, including this play. We’ve also recently hired a new artistic director, Darin Anthony, so we’re excited about that. I’m also a regular member of Lee Wochner’s Words That Speak playwriting workshop, where I’ve developed just about all my theatrical work.

Tell us about Pleasure and Pain.

I got the idea while watching another play. One scene in particular seemed to stand out, where a wife has confronted her husband over an affair, with the husband’s mistress present. The mistress would not leave without stating her case. I started thinking what would happen if that scene was the whole play. I had already written the Clementine character before, and she was complex enough to become involved in more than one story, due to her ability to generate conflict in any situation. Not only could she be the mistress who stated her position, she would not be easy to shut up, presenting a formidable challenge to the wife who dared to stand up to her. The other two characters came about from thinking about this situation taken to its breaking point. Who would the husband be? Why does he need to experiment with S&M? Why does he seek out Clementine? What would happen if the wife unexpectedly walked in on them? Come see the play and find out.

What are your challenges and successes with Pleasure and Pain?

Writing isn’t easy, at least not for me. In addition to creating characters and situations that are entertaining, theatre demands that the story work in a unique and yet universal theme; to make the story prove its worth in a larger context. It’s maddening, because I think once you start thinking about how all this works, your writing suffers. And yet, you can’t not think about it, either. Finding that balance is the real challenge, and it’s different every time. I have to do many, many rewrites, and I hate it, but it is how I work, and this play is no exception. In the end, if there is an end, it does seem to pay off. Pleasure and Pain was awarded honorable mention by Ohio State Newark’s New Play contest. That does feel good. So does collaborating with individuals and groups such as Derek Livingston, D Candis Paule and Robert May with Playwrights in Process. That makes all the trouble worthwhile, and reminds you why you do this.

What is your next step for Pleasure and Pain?

If the play is well received, I would like to send it out to production opportunities. Beyond that, just getting through the next rewrite. Just like all the others.

Ross Tedford Kendall's Mascot

Ross Tedford Kendall’s Mascot

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