Hi everyone! Welcome to our interview series with the current rockin MFA playwrights, leading up to Seabury Quinn! Catherine Weingarten is a 2nd year MFA playwright and wrote the new play “Shut Up, I’m on a Diet!” She is known in the playwriting program for her girly plays, her intense imagery and her fun personality ! Check out the interview below and then see her playthis Saturday the 21st at 4pm!! Also watch out for all 7 of the other interviews with our other writers!
1.This year your play deals with issues of eating disorders. What made you pursue this subject?
I have been interested in how people develop eating disorders and dieting pressure ever since I was a helpline intern at the National Eating Disorder Association in NYC. I am interested in my writing in exploring society’s expectations for women to look a certain way and that effect on us. Body image is a subject that many people have tons of awkward, intense, torturous feelings about but are scared to articulate them. Before I got to Ohio University, I had written a few short plays about body image including a weird, girly one act called “Whipped Dream”, about three girls binging, making out with each other and dealing with their bodies. But “Shut Up, I’m on a Diet!” is my first full length play looking at the pressure young people are faced with to be beautiful and to have the ideal body.
2.Everyone in the program knows you have colorful and expressive language in your plays. How did you implement it in this play and can you give us an example?
Well as I writer, I always have been obsessed with language and writing it how I really hear it. I like to twist words, makes them up and explode them until they feel real to me. Each play is another chance to explore and experiment. I think specifically in this play, the treatment center is wild, over the top but has creepy roots to reality and how we conduct therapy. I love creating sexy feminine dream worlds that kinda make sense and are also kinda too girly for the average person to fully understand.
Here’s a little excerpt from my play,where Tess has finally got at the treatment center, “Little Mermaids in Distress”:
But just so you guys know,
I’m not some fancy intern robot,
I’m a person also!
When I’m not an intern at “Little Mermaids in Distress”,
I am pursuing my PHD at Pennsylvania Dreams University,
It’s a school created from a large endowment by Burger King
Just 20 mins from here,
And I also have a passion for lady bugs
And have a big collection in my dorm
You ladies care to share anything about yourselves??
Break da ice!!!
So about mee…
I love friendship as a concept,
And Watching as many Disney movies
In one day as I possibly can handleee
And pleasing everyone
And making every possible person
Happy at all times oh yaaa!
That’s a hobby?
We are not here to judge Tess,
But to transform our bodies
From ugly cocoons to
Sexy…, powerful, teen butterflies,
3.At the heart of your play lies a close father/daughter relationship. Why did you want to explore this father/daughter dynamic and what’s important about it in your play?
I have a habit of writing about older man and younger women;but this relationship is super interesting and complicated within a family. How does a girl get influenced by her father? Does it affect the kind of people she wants to date? What kind of ideas of womanhood does a man pass on to his daughter? This relationship can be super fun, great, confusing or really depressing:or all those things at once. In “Shut Up, I’m on a Diet!” Tess is getting sent to an eating disorder treatment center by her father who recently got out of prison. When writing this relationship, I wanted to explore parents being too needy to exists and needing their kids more than their kids needed them. I wanted to explore the idea of blame, overdependence and hidden connection. I think at the heart of this play is this frayed connection between Tess and her dad. Can their relationship be smooth after so much turmoil has entered their life? See the play and find out!! Bam!!
- Since your play deals with eating disorders, obviously food is talked about a lot. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
What a great question!! Well I really have the most insane sweet tooth, so it would be twizzlers, candy is a food right??
Now that you love Catherine, come see her reading!
SHUT UP, I’M ON A DIET!
Written by Catherine Weingarten
4:00 pm, Saturday April 23rd, Elizabeth Baker Theater, Kantner Hall
When 16-year-old Tess gets sent to a sketchy mermaid-themed eating disorder treatment center, her whole life is turned around. With intense pressure from her overbearingly needy father, Tess’s goal of actually take control of her life and being a real live adult seems like it’s never gunna happen. But when Tess meets Digby, a random kinda douchey guy who works at the center, it seems like things might finally get sexier!
More about Catherine
Catherine Weingarten hails from Ardmore, PA also known as the area that inspired the preppy sexy TV show “Pretty Little Liars.” Catherine’s comedic plays delve into the societal pressure placed on young women to be both impossibly good looking as well as ridiculously intellectual, humble, kind as can be but sexy. Her plays usually include some hot fantasy sequences which helps attract the common man into the theater! She recently graduated from Bennington College in Vermont where she studied playwriting(with Sherry Kramer) as well as gender, mediation and environmental studies. Her short plays have been done at such theaters as Ugly Rhino Productions, Fresh Ground Pepper, Wishbone Theater Collective and Nylon Fusion Collective. She is currently the playwright in residence for “Realize Your Beauty Inc” which promotes positive body image for kids by way of theater arts. Catherine is thrilled to pursue her MFA at OU and thankful for the awesome opportunity for baller mentorship. catherine-weingarten.squarespace.com