Hey y’all! Who is getting excited for the Seabury Quinn Playfest this April!!! Next in our interview series is the First Year playwright, Rachel Bykowski! Rachel has become well known in the playwriting program for her richly layered monologues, her incredible organizing skills and her passion for playwriting and activism! Read my full interview with her below and learn more about her and her awesome new play that will be featured in the Seabury Quinn, TIGHT END.
Rumor on the street is that you aren’t the biggest sports fan, so what inspired you to write a play about a girl wanting to join an all male football team? I don’t know where that rumor got started. I like sports, well Chicago sports (the Bulls, the Bears, the Hawks, the Cubs, and any team that plays the Sox). But I guess the initial inspiration came from a variety of sources. First, I remember when I was in high school there was a girl who actually joined the football team. I remember talking to her a few times, but nothing really too personal. I regret not asking her questions about her experience on the team. Another part of my inspiration for the play derives from my mission as a writer and an activist to raise awareness to social issues, particularly those involving women. Rape culture is something that is always on the forefront of my mind since it involves every woman, everywhere. I knew I wanted to construct a play that shows how rape culture effects even young women high school and how society chooses to deal with it, or illustrate the consequences when we use excuses to turn a blind eye.
If your play could be any shoe, what would it be and why?
Ha! This is a fitting question for me! (I love shoes…. Like a lot) I think the appropriate/obvious answer would be a cleat…but for me it would be a pair of pony heels. When you see a girl walking in pony heels, you think to yourself “How the hell is she doing that?” “That’s impossible! How can she keep her balance?” And yet, there she goes, strutting down the street like it’s her own personal runway.
Who are some of your favorite artists/playwrights?
I am greatly inspired by the works of Eve Ensler, Suzan Lori Parks, Caryl Churchill, and Amiri Baraka, as well as activists like Zerlina Maxwell, Gloria Steinem, Malala Yusufzai, Amie Kandeh, and so many more. Basically, anyone who uses their artistic strengths and talents to dedicate their lives to giving a voice to the voiceless.
What is a fun fact most people don’t know about you?
I wrote TIGHT END in like a week. Normally, I start with an image of a character or scene and I let it sit and marinade in my mind for weeks, sometimes months. The character, Ash Miller, just exploded onto the page.
You’ve read about and now fallen in love with RACHEL and want to be her BFF! Now Come check out the reading for her play TIGHT END at the 21st Annual Seabury Quinn PlayFest: Saturday April 25th at 1pm in Baker Theater!
Here is the blurb for it:
Ash (believe me, you do not want to call her “Ashley”) Miller’s dream is to catch the winning touchdown pass for the Westmont High Titans’ Homecoming game. Football is in her blood, but in order to make the team, Ash will have to prove she is one of the guys even if that means sacrificing her body for the love of the game.
More about Rachel
Rachel Bykowski was born and raised in Chicago. She writes plays that examine the masks people wear to conceal their true identities to blend into society and explores the repercussions when the masks are ripped off. Her work often includes proactive female characters that raise awareness to issues surrounding women. Rachel received her BFA in Playwriting from The Theatre School of DePaul University. Her playwriting credits include her full length plays: Original Recipe produced by DePaul University; staged reading of Got to Kill Bitch presented by Cock and Bull Theatre in Chicago; and staged reading of Glory vs. The Wolves presented by 20% Theatre Company Chicago and hosted by Women and Children First Bookstore as part of an event to raise awareness about rape culture. Her one act plays include: The Best Three Minutes of My Life produced by Bradley University; Break-Up Court and Pay Phone produced by 20% Theatre Company Chicago; The Invisible Onesproduced by Fury Theatre in Chicago; and She Sings For You produced and published by Commedia Beauregard in Chicago. Rachel is also a proud company member of 20% Theatre Company Chicago. She is very excited to continue her writing career and pursuing her MFA in Playwriting under the tutelage of Ohio University. For more information about Rachel, please visit her website at www.rachelbykowski.com