Hi everyone! Welcome to our interview series with the current rockin MFA playwrights, leading up to Seabury Quinn! Rachel Bykowski is a 2nd year MFA playwright and wrote “Making Charlie” She is known in the playwriting department for passionate activist spirit, her goodlooking shoes and her hard working attitude! Check out the interview below and then see her play, Thursday April 19th!! Also watch out for all 7 of the other interviews with our other writers!
1.Tell me about your process for creating “Making Charlie”? Was it a fun and sexy process or a harder one?
I was inspired by this non-fiction book I read that interviewed a village of people in rural Albania. Within this culture, it is important to give birth to sons for various reasons: men are allowed to fight and protect the family from “blood feuds” and men make the business/economic/political decisions for their home and village. Women in this culture are relegated to domestic work and cannot engage in social activities like drinking and eating with men. If a family happens to have all daughters, that family can decide to raise one daughter as a son and she is called a “sworn virgin.” She is then raised and treated as a man. She even adopts the male gender clothing and hairstyles. This daughter can now take charge of her family and engage in political and social discussions with men. However, the sworn virgin does have to sacrifice intimacy/her sexuality. She cannot marry or engage in sexual activities with men or women.
What intrigued me the most about this belief is when the interviewers asked the sworn virgins if they missed publicly being women and the intimacy/sexuality that comes with that, unanimously the sworn virgins replied they absolutely didn’t. Being a man with those privileges is far better.
2. In your play you do not shy away from big issues: why do you think sexual violence is an issue people need to understand better and how can making art about it help people to get a better understanding?
I want people to understand that sexual violence just doesn’t come from out of nowhere. It is something that is developed and conditioned over time in a person’s life. With this play, I am looking at how male privilege is a factor that creates sexual violence, especially when it goes unchecked. But the power is intoxicating.
3. If your play was a shoe, what kinda shoe would it be and why?
I guess for this one, a baseball cleat.
4. what’s a fun fact about you?
Last summer and this summer I will be working at a feminist bookstore in Chicago called “Women and Children First.”….If you are a fan of of the series Portlandia, the answer is, yes, its kind of similar and all amazing!
Now that you love Rachel, come see Rachel’s reading!
MAKING CHARLIE or CUTTER
Directed by Allison Epperson
Written by Rachel Bykowski
4:00 pm, Thursday April 21st, Elizabeth Baker Theater, Kantner Hall
Charlie is finally the starting pitcher for the St. Joseph’s Wolves high school baseball team. Pitching is all Charlie wants to do. Pitching a no-hitter means control and all Charlie wants is control of that mound. But Charlie has a secret that makes him different from the rest of the boys on the field. Charlie is actually a girl who has been pretending to be a boy since childhood. When St. Joe’s welcomes Amy, an ace softball pitcher with the fastest pitch in their division as the first and only girl on the team, Charlie must now defend her place on the mound.
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.