so I want to go here. So I’m applying. So I have to write a letter thing telling them why I want to, which is hard, cause I feel like it should just be a giant word document that just says ‘DUH.’ But I guess I will ellaborate and provide other reasons, so I tried to do so. I’m so bad at these things. There’s no way to be genuine and not sound like a tard.
Juilliard – Playwriting Application / Statement of Interest / Bekah Brunstetter
In the smallest of nutshells, hello, I’m Bekah, a delicately/desperately emerging NYC – based playwright. In May, I finished my MFA in Dramatic Writing at the New School for Drama. Since graduation, I have worked a slew of strange jobs, had a few good and bad plays Happen, and persevered through Student Loan Payments and White Wine Stupor to Keep the Faith, as it Were, that I am indeed a playwright, not just a person pretending to be.
I’ve been very fortunate thusfar with in terms of the honors I’ve received, and the accomplishments I’ve mustered up: To highlight a few, I was a Semi-Finalist for the 2007 Alliance Theater’s Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Award, winner of the 2006 Samuel French short play Festival, winner of the 2006 New York Innovative Theater Award for Best New Play, and had two shows nominated for this year’s Mentorship at the Cherry Lane. I’ve been jazzed to have plays read at NYU, The Rattlestick, Boston Theatre Works, and at the Ohio Theater; and honored by Actor’s Theater of Louisville and the O’Neill. Most recently, I am a proud new member of the Ars Nova Play Group.
But to be honest, I’m a little bit dissatisfied with where I am right now as a playwright. I entered the New School for Drama with no formal training; three years later, I emerged, head swimming with the brilliant things I learned about how to truly structure a play and the actual art of DRAMATICS (not just your verbal whimsys, or characters being lifeless robots for your poetry.) The thing is: At the New School, I feel I barely scratched the surface of how to truly write a good play. This task is daunting, terrifying, but invigorating. I’ve had 3 productions since I finished school, and while I relish in the fact that I’m being brave with my words, writing honestly, and telling good stories – they always seem to fall short. Something does not add up; something is structurally amiss. I desperately seek the opportunity to keep studying this thing that I am so in love with. I feel close to some sort of excellence; to a level of storytelling that is universal, touching and original.
I like to think that my plays are delightfully weird stories that quietly contain the whole world. I don’t ascribe to the terms comedy or drama; I don’t want to write anything that is strictly one or the other. The good play accomplishes both, that lovely crying through your tears. I also like to think that I’m funny and honest; I like to think that I’m poetic and a player with words. But: If I were just these things, if I just wanted to be clever or funny or sexy or slutty or whatever, I think that I would choose another medium as my first love. More importantly, my plays are theatrical. I see a play as an opportunity to, well, play: time periods should be juxtaposed, the dead should speak, impossible things should and could happen, guns and cigarettes and elephants should and will come to life. I
In terms of material/subject matter, I write about my own ignorance, joy, things that frighten me, and ways in which I feel I’ve erred in my own life. Specifically, I very much write what I know Right Now, with some element of something I know nothing about. I find myself lately writing a lot about women seeking desperately love (le duh) and how far they will go to obtain it. My Dad is a Republican Senator, my family is Southern Baptist, all of my brothers are Marines; my stories oftentimes touch on these worlds, and my general bewilderment inside of them. Most recently, I’m writing about elephant violence and Sunday School. If I were to compare myself to my successful contemporaries, I would say something like ‘Brunstetter combines the absurdly touching whimsy of Albaire with Rapp’s grit and humor, and Ruhl’s poetic imagination.’ I write from somewhere in between the earth and the pulpit; I absorb convention and successful, time-honored technique, but also do my own thing. I aim to learn and forget.
So why Juilliard? Um – I have to say the question truly is – why not? I am serious about continuing to write good plays – committed to this frustrating, absurdly revitalizing life – so why not get down on a knee, and humbly present myself to the best of the best, with these words: I like to do this. Nay, love it. I am young and new. I feel like I might have something going here, something good. I need your help. I would honored by the instructors and their input. I feel like at this point in my life, I would benefit so much from the varied curriculum, as I feel like I’m stuck in a bit of a rut in terms of the questions I ask myself when I write. I would be honored by the opportunity to keep studying in such a prestigious environment which truly seems to nuture its students creatively, producing artists who are ready for a earnest, profitable career.