Four amazing B Street women!
Read an interview with the playwrights of Treatment, and an insightful blog post by our Resident Scenic Director!
#1. Interview with Tara Sissom, Stephanie Altholz, and Amy Kelly
The Women of ‘Treatment’
Conducted by Playwriting/Literary Intern Sean Patrick Nill
Sean: So how did this whole thing come about?
Stephanie: I can tell you that, I was there at its conception. (Looking at Tara, who’s laughing) Stop it! (They laugh) I was driving home during a break, and I got a call from Buck, and he said, “I’m right behind you.” And I looked and he was right behind me. And he said, “Pull over, let’s get coffee.” And at coffee he said, “I love you, Tara, and Amy. And I want you to write a play.” And I said, “Oh, ok!” And he organized a meeting at Shine Coffee Shop (E and 14th) with the three of us and Buck and Dave (Pierini), and he said, “You’re all funny, despite the horrible things that happened to you. And I want you to write a play about how funny came out of it.” So that was the seed. And that was a year ago.
Sean: How’s the process been?
Tara: Well, we’re not strangers. We’re three artists that have all collaborated before, in comedy and sketch and we’ve done several plays together. But writing a play was a whole new thing. So what we had to do was find a new system, a new vocabulary so that we could respect each other as artists, writers, individuals. And so Stephanie kind of set up the structure, and then we’d come together and read it. And then Amy and I would take passes at the draft. And we came up with this first draft and read it for Dave, and he was like, ‘Ok, it’s like 140 pages!’
Stephanie: It was our vomit draft.
Tara: Right, you know we threw it up on the page, and then after that meeting we came together as a group and started ‘building the cake’ one layer at a time, we cut off the unneeded corners and we re-iced and now we have a lean, tight 100 page script; the sexy version.
Amy: But that first draft was awesome. And what Stephanie did was brilliant. We ended up going on a camping trip. You know, ‘We have to write this play, let’s get to really know each other, let’s sit around a camp fire and go nuts’. And what Stephanie did, was literally almost word for word re-created this night that we had on this camping trip.
Stephanie: I had my notebook and a pen with me the entire time we were camping.
Tara: You were also more sober than the two of us.
Stephanie: Yeah that’s true.
Tara: She was the documentarian of that night
Amy: And that first draft, it was beautiful, because it was this long conversation about each other, about how we react to things, secrets we didn’t know, a lot of fun things.
Stephanie: And Amy’s great at creating action, moving the plot forward.
Amy: We all gave important ingredients to make sure that cake tasted goooood!
Stephanie: Well, and Tara’s from The New Colony, a theatre company that builds plays from the ground up. So she had a lot of experience with structure, so she you know, she cut that cake up to make sure that the layers were in the right order.
Tara: I’ve finally gotten the cake metaphor, it’s, so Stephanie baked the cake, I put on the frosting, and then Amy ate it.
(the whole room laughs)
Stephanie: (Laughing) Oh my gosh!
Tara: And after eating it she would be like, she’d say, “It needs more vanilla.”
Amy: (In a funny voice) Just needs a little more vanilla.
Sean: How important is it that this play, a play written and starring three women, is being produced right now?
Tara: I mean, yeah, it’s important. It’s a play by young women, that’s always good, but it’s themes and core are human: learning, how to cope with grief, the language of saying goodbye, hurting the one you love most, keeping secrets. These aren’t just female issues, these are human issues, told through our point of view.
Tara: ‘Green’s my favorite too’
Stephanie: ‘Highland Park, Illinois’
Amy: Sacramento, California
Tara: ‘Baltimore, Maryland’
Favorite Thing about the B Street Theatre:
Stephanie: It’s a second family. Buck’s the Dad that works too much, Dave’s the Mom that takes care of all of us emotionally, and feeds us, and we’re all the highly dysfunctional, but deeply loved and loving siblings, who occasionally have to make out with each other onstage. What an awful but incredibly apt metaphor.
Tara: Earlier in my career, B Street was always a home base, a place to re-center myself as an actor and ground my technique. Now it’s home, a place where I’m given permission and opportunity to create and push myself as not only an actor, but as an artist.
Amy: The B Street has reinforced my love of live theatre, I have been given countless opportunities to showcase my talent, and perform alongside some extremely gifted people. Buck was my mentor when I was 14 years old, and has continued to mentor me, and my fellow company members, he is the reason I took so many creative chances in my life and succeeded. His continued belief in my abilities, in our abilities is astounding. I truly feel that I am at home under the lights of the B Street stage, and I’m excited to make my debut as a co-creator of Treatment. My favorite part of working here is that the possibilities are endless not only through acting, but now writing. There’s no place like it on earth.
#2. “The Whirlwind of Rep at B Street Theatre”
Samantha Reno, resident scenic designer