Leila Teitelman is an up-and-coming playwright from the east coast. Just in her mid-20’s, Leila’s work has already been seen at the National Theatre Institute, the Kennedy Center, the National Playwright’s Conference, and the Hearth Theatre Company. Her most recent work, Baby Cakes, will be the first play to kick off our New Comedies Festival, starting June 28. Artistic Associate Sean Patrick Nill sat down with the playwright and discussed her process and the festival itself.
Where are you from?
I’m from Keene, New Hampshire.
How did you find playwriting?
I’ve been participating in theater my entire life and had always intended to continue, but I first discovered my love of playwriting while I was a student at The O’Neill Theater Center on a semester away from school.
How did this play come to life?
This play came to life in a unique way. My very good friend, Emma, had a dream of a woman who baked cakes for mothers, and I thought… hmmm… that’d make a good play. So I took it and ran. I guess I should give her the intellectual rights.
Why is this a good play for 2018?
I think we still have a long way to go in terms of holistic representations of women, and more specifically mothers, on stage. There are tropes of the experience of motherhood that I see over and over again and are truthful, but don’t really encompass the intimacy, loneliness and humanity of this particular experience. Along with that, here in America, we are still struggling with maternity leave, unfair treatment or penalization of mothers in the workplace, and the unequal division of home labor.
How did you find out about New Comedies Festival at B Street Theatre?
I am connected with a couple people who work at B Street and I saw a post about this opportunity. I was unsure of submitting this play because it’s not uproariously funny, but thought the relationships of these women could be a fun thing to explore in a festival like this.
The Cast of Baby Cakes: Lisa Lacy, Margaret Kemp, Tate Hanyok, Taylor Fleer, Darek Riley, Amy Kelly, Elisabeth Nunziato, & Elyse Sharp
What makes this festival different from other New Work Festivals in the country?
What makes this festival different is that the playwright is privy to all the rehearsals and has time to gather information about the piece before the actual performance. It’s also very cool that B Street is considering these plays for full production. That’s a really exciting opportunity that is rarely given.
What’s your favorite time of day to write?
I like writing in the morning, just so I don’t get distracted and forget to do it later on.
Who are the playwrights that inspire you?
As a youngster, I was really inspired by Churchill and Brecht but recently have loved the works of Clare Barron, Sibyl Kempson and Paula Vogel.
What’s a way that you get through writer’s block?
Watching theater always inspires me to write theater. If I’m really stuck, usually I can read a new play or see a production and I’m re-invigorated.
Baby Cakes kicks off the first ever New Comedies Festival at the B Street Theatre today at 5:00 PM and runs on Saturday, June 30 at 2:00 PM. Check out this hysterical, heart felt play, and remember, anyone who sees all four readings will get the chance to vote for which play they’d like to see on the Mainstage next season