Pint Sized Plays Interviews 2: William Bivins and Seanan Palmero

Next up in our series of interviews behind-the-scenes of this year’s Pint-Sized Play Festival, we have two staples of the San Francisco Theater scene. Bill Bivins is a very established Bay Area playwright, with working having appeared in the BOA Festival, at SF Playhouse, PianoFight and Central Works, just to name a few. Seanan Palmero is a real jill-of-all-trades, having worked with a number of companies, including No Nude Men and Atmostheatre, wearing a lot of different hats- writer, assistant director, stage manager, tech. Both are making their Theater Pub writing debuts with this year’s Pint Sized plays!

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

Seanan Palmero: After seeing two hilarious Pint Sized Play Festivals, it dawned on me that submitting something is the way to get in on the fun.

William Bivins: I can’t remember how I heard about The Pint-Sized Play Festival, but I came to it last year for the first time. I love the “bar-specific” aspect: the spontaneity and immediacy of having a dramatic scene not involving my family suddenly occur at the next table. As it happened, I had a play, Celia Sh*ts, that takes place in a bar. The characters in the original draft were drinking bourbon, not beer, so I did have to do a major structural rewrite before submitting the play. I’m glad I did; I’m excited to see it on its feet… or in its corner table.

William Bivins

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

William Bivins: Staying lean. You have only ten minutes to develop full-bodied characters, build a complete story and fit in all those product placements.

Seanan Palmero: Character development.

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

William Bivins: It doesn’t take a year to finish.

Seanan Palmero: Editing. Cut, cut, cut. When in doubt, chuck it out. Unless a really smart person tells you otherwise.

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

William Bivins: Madame Deadline.

Seanan Palmero: I’m not sure yet. I’m still learning to steal, um — borrow, I mean, “find inspiration” from the greats.

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

William Bivins: Woody Allen about thirty years ago.

Seanan Palmero: Allison Janney. She exhibits a higher level of awesome, so much so that I think she has super powers.

What is a writing project you are currently working on? 

William Bivins: I’m finishing final rewrites on The Education of a Rake, which, since you asked, opens at Central Works in Berkeley on July 28th. You can get tickets at http://www.centralworks.org/

Seanan Palmero: I’m co-authoring Hyperion for the San Francisco Olympians Festival this year.

What’s next for you?

Seanan Palmero: One thing at a time.

William Bivins: After Rake, I don’t know. Anyone want to commission me to write a play? Will work for gin.

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

William Bivins: Besides Pint-Sized Plays and The Education of a Rake–which, did I mention, opens July 28th?–I’m excited about PianoFight’s upcoming show, Duck Lake.

Seanan Palmero: Custom Made’s production of Merchant of Venice, which opens July 10th.

Seanan Palmero

What’s your favorite beer?

Seanan Palmero: Redhook, at the moment.

William Bivins: Theakstons Old Peculier. (Yes, that’s how it’s spelled.)

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!

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