Pint Sized Plays Interviews 1: Tom Bruett and Leah Winery

This year’s Pint Sized Plays interviews have begun! First up, we have a pair of this year’s playwrights, Tom Bruett and Leah Winery, both of whom will be participating in Pint Sized, and Theater Pub, for the first time. To find out more about this year’s festival, and the people behind it, make sure you keep your eye on the website- and don’t miss the Pint Sized Play Festival III when it opens at the Cafe Royale this July 16th!

So how did you hear about Theater Pub’s Pint-Sized Play Festival and what possessed you to send something in?

Tom Bruett:
I heard about the Theater Pub’s Pint-Sized Play Festival on Facebook through many friends that were sharing info about it. I had this crazy play about selling sex toys that I thought would be perfect for the venue and thankfully the folks at the Theater Pub agreed!

Leah Winery:
I’d gone to a Christmas theatre pub with a friend and really felt that I wanted to have my voice heard in such an eclectic mix of people. There are some theatre companies in this town that are ostensibly open to the entire community, but are actually incredibly insular and exclusive. I love that as a relative unknown, my piece was accepted into the festival. It really shows that the producers of Theatre Pub are more concerned with the quality of the writing than the reputations of its writers.

What’s the hardest thing about writing a short play?

Tom Bruett:
I think the hardest thing about writing short plays is coming up with a unique and interesting situation and then creating characters that people care about and have something to say in ten pages.

Leah Winery: You run the risk of falling in love with the characters and the story and wanting to know more about their world. God forbid; it inspires you to write a one act or a full length in order to flesh out their journey.

What’s the best thing about writing a short play?

Leah Winery:
It forces you to be concise. There’s zero time for exposition or introduction. It’s almost like walking into a random movie theatre half way into the film, watching a single scene, then walking out. In a very tight framework, you have to trim the fat and get to the meat of the story immediately in the name of efficiency.

Tom Bruett:
I love short plays because it allows you to have an evening of work by a bunch of different writers, covering a ton of different subject matters. I love the sense of community that is created.

Who do you think is a major influence on your work?

Tom Bruett:
Nicki Silver, Edward Albee, Thornton Wilder

Leah Winery:
Jack Daniels.

If you could pick one celebrity to be cast in your show, who would it be and why?

Tom Bruett:
Jennifer Coolidge. Come on! Wouldn’t you love to hear her try and sell sex toys?

Leah Winery:
Steve Carell. He’s the master of the repressed, ticking time bomb type of guy who wouldn’t be able to vent his true feelings about his horrible wife until she was dead.

What is a writing project you are currently working on?

Leah Winery:
I’m working on filling out a lovely little Q&A for Pint Sized…

Tom Bruett:
I’m working on a play about fighting time and aging. I love comedy, but I’m trying to tackle some bigger subjects.

What’s next for you?

Tom Bruett: I’m starting grad school part time in the fall at SFSU. Looking to round out my BFA in a theatre a bit.

Leah Winery: I’ll probably step away from writing for a while and focus on raising my toddler. I’m sure my next piece will have something to do with poop, and the profound implication that everybody does it…Or zombies from outer space. Or pooping zombies from outer space. That’s never been done on stage, right?

So what upcoming shows or events are you most excited about in the Bay Area Theater Scene?

Leah Winery: I can’t wait to see Truffaldino Says No at Shotgun Players. Ken Slattery is a fantastically funny writer, and the concept of an Italian harlequin clown who ends up in the States in a bizzaro sitcom world is brilliant.

Tom Bruett: I’m very excited about Upright Grand, by Laura Schellhardt, that is opening at TheatreWorks in July. It’s a beautiful play about the relationship between parent and child directed by the fantastic Meredith McDonough.

What’s your favorite beer?

Tom Bruett:
Blue Moon!

Leah Winery
: I’m actually not much of a beer drinker. (spoken in a gruff, Spanish accent) I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis…And yes, that was the most interesting response in the world.

Don’t miss the Pint Sized plays, opening July 16 and playing July 17, 23, 30 and 31 with a special performance at the Plough and the Stars on July 18. All the rest are at our usual stomping grounds, Cafe Royale, located at the corner of Post and Leavenworth in San Francisco’s lovely Tendernob neighborhood. Performances are free, no reservations necessary, but show up early and stay late- we’re bound to be sold out and the crowd is always the best part of Theater Pub!