Maybe We’re Just Superstitious

Three Wise Monkeys Looks Ahead

You might have noticed that the Bay One Acts Festival (BOA) has taken a break. It would have been the thirteenth year of the festival, and we’ve taken some time away from the collaboration and fun to reposition BOA and Three Wise Monkeys Theatre for a brand new theatrical journey.


BOA worked with 13 local producing partner theater companies to produce 13 short plays by local playwrights back in 2013. The festival has a long legacy of artists who have been involved, and we have missed telling new stories, creating community, and celebrating the short play form with you.

We hope you’ll join us for the next incarnation of Three Wise Monkeys and the Bay One Acts Festival. Check back here and please visit us                                                         on Facebook for updates.

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Thank You Playwrights!

Thank you to all of the Bay Area playwrights who submitted to the Bay One Acts Festival. The submission window for BOA has now closed. If you submitted a script, but did not receive a script submission confirmation email, then please email .

Stay tuned for BIG BOA news!



BOA 2014 Script Submission Window Extended

In honor of tax day, we are giving you an EXTENSION!

We are now accepting script submissions through MAY 15th. 

Don’t stress Bay Area playwrights. You still have time to submit your one act play to be considered for the 2014 Bay One Acts Festival. So keep those ideas coming! Don’t miss this opportunity to have your voice, your story, your ideas, and your inspiration be a part of this annual celebration of the Bay Area theater community and the short play form. We will also be in touch with all of our playwrights who have already submitted their scripts with confirmation information soon. Click HERE for our BOA 2014 Script Submission Guidelines.


An Interview with “My Year” Director Siobhan Doherty

Marissa Skudlarek, BOA 2013′s Anthology Editor, is conducting interviews with the festival’s playwrights, directors, and actors. Her final interview, for the last day of BOA, is with Siobhan Doherty, director of “My Year.”

Siobhan Doherty appeared in BOA 2011 as “Mommy” in Megan Cohen’s “A Three Little Dumplings Adventure,” but this is her first time directing a BOA play. “My Year,” another play from the prolific Ms. Cohen, is a comedy-drama about six women at a surprise party. The pig in the backyard barbecue pit won’t cook, there’s a party crasher in the kitchen, and the birthday girl doesn’t like surprises.

Marissa: What attracted you to the script of “My Year” and made you select it as the play you’d direct for BOA 2013?

Siobhan: It was exciting to me that Megan was able to fit six women, each with their own arc, in a 15-minute play (this achievement is aided by the lovely rapid-fire pace of her dialogue).  She doesn’t limit the scope of the play because of its short length. I also love the fact that the play doesn’t center around male/female relationships or family drama. I want people to know that plays with female protagonists can be about life in general, and not necessarily “women’s issues.”  They can be gross, existential, awkward, funny, and everything in between.

Lastly, this play had a real personal connection for me, since I celebrated a major birthday myself during the rehearsal process. I think birthdays tend to be a time of personal reflection and serious yearning for release and change. I have had some various frustrations this year, which is clearly also the case for the main character of the play.

Marissa: You and Megan also happen to be housemates—what’s it been like to live with the person whose work you’re directing?

Siobhan: Wonderful. We’re both so busy that we don’t step on each other’s toes. It is extremely convenient to meet up. We also get the luxury of throwing out quick ideas and questions during casual path-crossing in the apartment.  We also live above Zante’s Indian Pizza, so it’s a great excuse to indulge in that.

Marissa: Did the script change at all during rehearsals? (Did Megan come knocking on your door with rewrites at 2 AM?)

Siobhan: Megan sat in on one very early rehearsal, so she could hear the words from these particular actresses, and make a few small adjustments to let their voices shine.  She also tightened some jokes and scene transitions since her original play was written in a 48-hour play festival.  (48 hours!)  She gave us the revised script two weeks later, and that was it.

Marissa: What has been the most wonderful discovery and most frustrating challenge in directing “My Year”?

Siobhan: Getting the cast to really connect and respond between the lines was a great turning point for the play, and so was learning that sometimes you can get the audience to howl with the characters at the end! The most frustrating challenge was getting seven freelance theatre artists in one room at the SAME TIME. Our schedules are all glorious (and horrifying) mosaics that can fluctuate at any moment. Instead of “Every day I’m hustling” I’m pretty sure my life’s anthem is: “Every day I’m scheduling.”

Marissa: “My Year” takes place at a birthday barbecue, and I know from personal experience that you and Megan throw great parties in real life. Got any party-planning tips for us? Do you think there’s a connection between being a good party host and being a good director?

Siobhan: Tips: Don’t throw parties too often.  You’ll lose specialness.  But throw them often enough so that people remember how wonderful your last one was, and you can maintain momentum. Once every 2-3 months is best.

Theme, theme, theme. (Our next one is a surrealist ball to celebrate the start of 13 Pennies, Megan’s ghost project.) Always have something unusual and interactive: e.g. a pinata, or an Easter egg hunt with predictions inside. Having a ride-able dinosaur is a big plus.  :)

Being a hostess is like being a director in that you have to sense moods, and be able to turn the tide in another direction if need be.

Marissa: What do you hope the audience will get out of “”My Year”?

Siobhan: I think “My Year” is chock full of interesting themes: the role of friendships, the perception of time, the desire for escape, our dreams/expectations, connection/ disconnection, the struggle for self-acceptance, growing older, etc.  If the audience picks up on a few of those in between laughs, I’ll be happy. I also hope they leave thinking that they should give themselves permission to howl at the moon if they feel like it. I think we could all stand to vent our  inevitable human frustration at the stars a little more. And if we do it together, even better.

Marissa: You’re also acting in Program 1 of BOA (as Sylvia Plath in “Write Dirty to Me”)—what’s it been like to wear two different hats this year? Do you think your background as an actor affected the approach that you took to directing “My Year”?

Siobhan: Wearing two different hats has been very fun (minus the crazy schedule part). I think my approach to directing is very actor-centric. I tried to use language that was active and motivation-based, since it is always difficult to get a direction like “have more energy” without a reason behind it. You can usually get a lot more out of an actor if you say something like “let the excitement of your idea shine through more.” It will also hopefully be more specific to who they are.

Marissa: What’s up next for you?

Siobhan: I am (a small) part of Megan’s transmedia haunting project, “13 Pennies.”  Get your smartphone haunted by a ghost during the month of October! Sign up at I will also be acting in “The Greatest Christmas Story Ever Told” out at Town Hall Theatre in November & December. If you want to stay connected I (try to) tweet at @DohertyMonster on the ol’ Twitterpater.

Marissa: Siobhan, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to me about “My Year”! You never fail to impress me as a performer, a party hostess, and now as a director—I think it really is your year.

“My Year” plays its final performance tonight, October 5, as part of Program 2 of BOA 2013, at Tides Theatre.

An Interview with “Desiree” Director Rob Ready

Marissa Skudlarek, BOA 2013′s Anthology Editor, is conducting interviews with the festival’s playwrights, directors, and actors. Next up is Rob Ready, director of “Desiree.”

Rob Ready is a frequent BOA participant, having directed Sam Leichter’s “The Philadelphian” in 2010, Tim Bauer’s “Hot Spot” in 2011, and Leichter’s “In Bed” in 2012. Rob and Sam team up yet again in BOA 2013 with “Desiree,” a dark drama about a woman who managed to escape kidnapping and captivity–but can’t escape her past.

Marissa: What attracted you to the script of “Desiree” and made you select it as the play you’d direct for BOA 2013?

Rob: I actually asked Sam for a script. We’ve collaborated a bunch and I knew whatever he wrote would be solid and that we could work out the kinks together. So I guess Sam being awesome is the answer.

Marissa: Sam’s currently on the East Coast for grad school (he’s getting an MFA in Acting at Rutgers). What was it like to direct a new play with the playwright 3000 miles away? Did this have an effect on whether or not the script could change during rehearsals?

Rob: Sam and I went back and forth via email and phone over 5 drafts before rehearsals started — [he cut] 27 pages down to 13. By then, it was pretty set and we’d cut or changed all the wonky parts.

Marissa: Even though this is the third dark, harrowing Sam Leichter play you’ve directed for BOA, I feel like people often think of you as a comedic actor/director and your theater company, PianoFight, as a group of hilarious, party-loving people. How do you feel about this disconnect between the perception and the reality of “a PianoFight play”? Is “Desiree” a conscious attempt to diversify the PianoFight brand?

Rob: I’m down with being perceived as “hilarious party-loving people.” But that or any perception doesn’t drive decisions on what art to make. PianoFight’s first show was a full-length dramedy about college kids dealing with mental disorders. And we’ve been pretty all over the map since then. The main thing is to make art you’d want to see. If it fits that, we do it.

Marissa: What has been the most wonderful discovery and most frustrating challenge in directing “Desiree”?

Rob: Most frustrating: the play wants to be about half an hour longer than it is. Most fulfilling: working with [actors] Dave Levine, Sarah Rose Butler, and Nkechi Emeruwa.

Marissa: In “Desiree,” the plot gets set in motion when the main character, Grace, starts receiving mysterious packages in the mail. Have you ever received anything mysterious in your mailbox?

Rob: No, but in high school, some friends and I once stole a mailbox shaped like a house. Does that count?

Marissa: What do you hope the audience will get out of “Desiree”?

Rob: Empathy. The world can be really shitty, especially for certain people. And a lot of the time it’s out of their control—like, there is just one terrible fucking thing after another. As functioning humans, we tend to put our guard up without really thinking about it. For example, if you stopped and really took in every homeless person you passed on the street, you’d be a crumpled teary-eyed mess who’d never get through the day. So we block stuff out and rationalize so that we can function. As we do that, it gets easier to look at someone who’s having a rough time and casually think, “Well, they fucked up. They’re responsible for their own problems.” And, yes, a lot of times that is the case. But sometimes it’s just not. Sometimes people have been dealt the shittiest hand imaginable and I hope this play reminds us to give other humans the benefit of the doubt.

Marissa: What’s up next for you and for PianoFight?

Rob: We’re going to open an awesome creative art hub in the Tenderloin that serves up shows and booze and food and tech. Full restaurant and bar in the front of the house, plus two small theaters in the back of the house, decked out with cameras to record or live-stream shows made by local, indie artists. More info at

Marissa: Yes, a lot of us San Francisco indie theater-makers are eagerly anticipating the opening of the new PianoFight complex! In the meantime, though, thanks for taking the time to talk to me about your work on “Desiree.”

The final performance of “Desiree” occurs tonight, October 4, 2013, at Tides Theatre.

An Interview with “Red All Over” Director Rem Myers

Marissa Skudlarek, BOA 2013′s Anthology Editor, is conducting interviews with the festival’s playwrights, directors, and actors. Next up is Rem Myers, director of “Red All Over.”

This is Rem Myers’ BOA debut, as well as the debut of his new production company, Sponge Theater. “Red All Over,” a play about two biohazard workers cleaning up after an elementary-school shooting, is playwright Bennett “Ben” Fisher’s fifth consecutive appearance in BOA.

Marissa: What attracted you to the script of “Red All Over” and made you select it as the play you’d direct for BOA 2013?

Rem: Ben and I knew we wanted to work together, so it was more a question of what exactly we would work on. He tossed around a few ideas for plays—nuns waiting for white smoke in the Vatican, an accountant visiting a stock-aiding shaman—but our favorite was a dark comedy of menace involving a cleaning crew in the aftermath of a shooting. I’ve enjoyed Ben’s mix of humor and sensitivity and was excited to see what could come from this.

Marissa: Ben wrote “Red All Over” as a gender-neutral play: the cast could be two men, two women, or one of each. At what point in the process did you make the decision to cast it with two women? (For instance, did you go into the audition specifically knowing that you wanted to cast two women, or did you make that decision after watching the auditions and seeing the available talent pool?)

Rem: Yes, the script isn’t gender-specific, but we did envision the two characters as women. We specifically looked for two women at auditions, but knew men could play the roles if need be.

Marissa: There’s an interesting tension in “Red All Over” between its form and its content: it’s a short, naturalistic play that gestures toward a huge, tragic topic (a school shooting). Was it hard to keep those two qualities balanced as you directed the play?

Rem: Finding the right balance was the main challenge of the play. On one hand, we didn’t want to present a preachy play about the horrors and tragedy of a mass shooting. It was have been unnecessary; everybody already knows mass shootings are horrible and tragic. On the other hand, we didn’t want to give a big middle finger to the audience with a “screw you, we’re going to be sensational and shocking and belittle murder because theater” attitude. Focusing on the relationship between the characters and individual moments actually helped find this dynamic balance. The balance grew and found itself.

Marissa: What kind of work did you do with the actors on developing their characters? (As written, they are not only gender-neutral but age-neutral, race-neutral, etc.) Did the actors invent backstories for their characters, or are they letting the words on the page speak for themselves?

Rem: We did a fair amount of research on Hazmat workers in the initial stages and found that they, too, need to find a similar balance. They must be sensitive and emotionally present when speaking with the families of the victims, but also cannot be too emotionally invested during the actual clean-up, or they’ll risk breaking down. We found that Hazmat workers will often employ morbid humor and a matter-of-fact attitude to get through a cleanup. While we didn’t invent detailed backstories for the characters, we did use the text to extrapolate simple recent histories. Shafer (Juliana Egley) has probably been working as a cleaner for some time and has learned that disassociation works as a coping tool. O’Hare (Erika Bakse) seems newer and will still talk about the situation at hand.

Marissa: What has been the most wonderful discovery and most frustrating challenge in directing “Red All Over”?

Rem: The biggest discovery was that this play is really more about the relationship between these two women, and not about a mass shooting. Besides finding a balance between comedy and tragedy, the most difficult aspect was actually creating the bloody props. My first blood solution, while it looked great, would not dry and stuck to everything. It was a huge mess. The night before tech, I rubbed coffee grounds and paprika into each and every prop in order to stop them from sticking to everything they touched, while still remaining red. Thankfully, the blood ended up looking great without leaving a red trail behind.

Marissa: What do you hope the audience will get out of “”Red All Over”?

Rem: It is difficult for people to be open to talking and listening about mass shootings, even when using theater as a medium. But I hope that by focusing on the relationship, the humor, and the characters’ response to the drawings and by not focusing on the actual shooting, that the audience is able to take in this play in a natural and unexpected manner.

Marissa: What’s up next for you and the inaugural season of Sponge Theater?

Rem: You just wait and see! But this is not the last time you’ll see Sponge Theater.

Marissa: Okay, Rem, I’ll be on the lookout! In the meantime, thank you for taking the time to discuss your work on “Red All Over” with me.

The final performance of “Red All Over” is tonight, October 4, at Tides Theatre.

An Interview with “Two Pigeons Talk Politics” Actors Melvign Badiola & Shaun Plander

Marissa Skudlarek, BOA 2013′s Anthology Editor, is conducting interviews with the festival’s playwrights, directors, and actors. Next up are actors Melvign Badiola and Shaun Plander, who star as the Pigeons in “Two Pigeons Talk Politics.”

Melvign Badiola and Shaun Plander are both making their BOA debuts. The play they’re performing in, “Two Pigeons Talk Politics,” by Lauren Gunderson, concerns two savvy New York City pigeons struggling with ethics, morality, and existential angst… you know, typical bird stuff.

Marissa: First things first: what is it like to wear those amazing pigeon costumes? Are they comfortable? Itchy? Hot? What was your first reaction when you saw the costumes?

Melvign: It’s amazing what not having control over your arms can do for your performance! It’s semi-comfortable, hot, and itchy! My first reaction was, “Uhhh, y’all for real?”

Shaun: The pigeon costumes are definitely little heat boxes, but at this point it’s more like a warm down comforter. I could probably sleep in it.

Marissa: How do you get into character to play a bird? Did you observe pigeons in the wild? Was there a lot of physical/vocal work involved in creating that pigeon physique and squawk?

Shaun: I used to work as a tour salesman at Fisherman’s Wharf, and I got a lot of quality alone time hanging with the pigeons down there. I didn’t know how much of their behavior had seeped into my subconscious until doing this play though!

Melvign: I watched birds while trying to memorize lines in the park. I do the “croooing” before any performance. It has become a part of my pre-show warmup. The louder the better, but you must learn control. Damn, those pigeons are good!

Marissa: Have you ever played an animal (or an inanimate object) before, or is this your first time performing as a non-human?

Melvign: I must say this is the first time I am playing an animal.

Shaun: This is my first time playing an animal in a play, though I used to play some weird inanimate objects and animals in scenes for my college directing classes.

Marissa: What has been the most wonderful discovery and most frustrating challenge in performing in “Two Pigeons Talk Politics”?

Shaun: The biggest discovery for me came when I found my character’s balance between “philosopher” and “stoner”. The most frustrating challenge? Probably that I can’t use my hands to gesticulate. Or how itchy my nose gets when I get in costume.

Melvign: What’s wonderful about this particular piece is that the cast came together to make it work. It’s an awesome idea, but executing it was the real challenge. But we did it!

Marissa: What do you hope the audience will get out of “Two Pigeons Talk Politics”?

Melvign: I want them to start thinking about life and how we can leave things better for our families. If these pigeons care that much, we must look dumb as hell in their eyes, what with the things we are doing to the world and each other.

Shaun: I hope the audience will take a little more time to connect and really hear each other. It’s easy to get caught up in the gloom and doom of politics, and even easier to be crippled by fear of your own future. So yeah, chill out. Sign some petitions. Listen to people and get out of your head.

Marissa: It feels very appropriate that BOA is producing this play at a time when the federal government has shut down for the first time in nearly 2 decades and there’s a lot of frustration with politicians. How does it feel for you?

Shaun: There’s a very easy connection–I’m frustrated with the status, I’m frustrated with the quo, I’m frustrated every day with our political-corporate machine, but we’re all kind of pigeons. We’re small and we can’t affect much by ourselves. But we can fly in a big pack and shit all over the corporations that run our country, if we all decide we really want to.

Melvign: I am frustrated! Wish I could take a wet slimy dump on these politicians! Bwahahaha!!! And we say we are more evolved?! C’mon!!! These politicians need to get FIRED! They are in a position to look out for the people, not themselves. And what’s more infuriating is the fact they are still getting paid! FOR DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! How much more broken can a system get?!  I say fire their asses! And put in people that are actually affected by their actions and decisions. After all, the government is for the people! NOT FUCKIN’ POLITICIANS!

Marissa: What’s up next for you?

Shaun: My comedy group, Narcissists Anonymous, is developing two shows right now—a super fast paced and boozy bar-prov show at the 50 Mason Social House, and an hour-long improvisational show, played out in a single location, which will perform at the Actors’ Center in the Mission. And you can see me pretty much every week at Endgames Improv!

Melvign: I am currently under the mercy of the EDD. But fortunately I have the opportunity to be a part of NCTC’s YouthAware Program, which tours middle and high schools, educating youngsters about respect, acceptance, tolerance, love, and how it is to be human. That last part is mine. I am also part of a short film titled Prinsesa, which will premiere in July 2014. Also, check out Bindlestiff Studio, where I first started out and currently serve on their board of directors and production team. It’s the only Filipino-American theater space in the whole U.S.!

Marissa: Melvign and Shaun, thanks for taking the time to talk to me about “Two Pigeons Talk Politics.” Your performances in this show prove that politics is definitely not just for the birds.

“Two Pigeons Talk Politics” appears in Program 2 of BOA 2013, with its final performances on October 3 and 5, at Tides Theatre.

An Interview with “The Last Couples Therapy Session on Earth” Playwright William Bivins

Marissa Skudlarek, BOA 2013′s Anthology Editor, is conducting interviews with the festival’s playwrights, directors, and actors. Next up is William Bivins, writer of “The Last Couples Therapy Session on Earth.”

William Bivins (Bill to his friends) had his play “Altered Landscape” produced in BOA 2010, one of the credits that made him the most produced playwright in the Bay Area in 2009-2010. His 2013 BOA contribution, “The Last Couples Therapy Session on Earth” is a comedy about a squabbling couple who won’t let the zombie apocalypse stop them from attending their weekly therapy appointment.

Marissa: Can you talk a little about the genesis of “The Last Couples Therapy Session on Earth”? What was the initial impetus for writing this script?

Bill: “Last Couples” was initially written for PlayGround last December. The topic that month, in keeping with the last day of the Mayan calendar [in December 2012], was “End of Days.” I initially wanted to do a story about the end of a marriage, but I thought that would be too tedious. Then I thought of a zombie apocalypse, but I thought that would be too hackneyed. So I decided to combine the two ideas.

Marissa: Stories about zombies and other disasters seem to be increasingly popular these days. Do you think this has to do with something in our current cultural moment (fear of catastrophe) or because it’s a way to tell exciting high-stakes stories?

Bill: Both, I think. There’s nothing more high-stakes than the impending end of the word; it’s been a go-to theme for humans since the dawn of storytelling. But I also think it’s become part of our zeitgeist lately because of things that are beyond my pay grade to say anything intelligent about: global warming, the fraying social fabric, political polarization, the Kardashians, etc.

Marissa: So what’s your survival plan for the zombie apocalypse?

Bill: My survival plan for the zombie apocalypse is to go to the nearest Costco. Costco has everything you need to survive a zombie onslaught: plenty of food, weapons, camping supplies, entertainment. And Costcos are big enough to house and sustain large groups of humans to repopulate the planet. Just as monasteries saved civilization during the Dark Ages, I predict Costco will save humanity during the zombie apocalypse.

Marissa: What do you hope the audience will get out of “The Last Couples Therapy Session”?

Bill: How to kill zombies. The play goes into detail about that. And also how to save a marriage. But mostly how to kill zombies.

Marissa: What about “The Last Couples Therapy Session,” in your opinion, makes it feel like a “Bill Bivins play”?

Bill: It’s not a “Bill Bivins play;” it’s a “William Bivins play.” Bill Bivins is a computer repair guy in North Carolina who beat me to my preferred domain name, thereby compelling me to go by the more pompous-sounding William (as in But to answer your question, I don’t really know what makes this feel like a William Bivins play, or, indeed, even if there is such a thing as a William Bivins play. Critics have said my plays are characterized by sardonic humor, but I don’t even know what that is.

Marissa: I think that might’ve been some sardonic humor right there. Anyway, I was also wondering how the rehearsal process for “The Last Couples Therapy Session” was. Did the script change at all during the process?

Bill: I only went to the first rehearsal. I did make a few line changes to get rid of repetitive or extraneous beats. I didn’t go to many rehearsals because I had so much confidence in Jon Lowe, the director, that I felt the play was in great hands. I was right! He and the cast did an amazing job—which made me glad I spend all that rehearsal time gambling and drinking.

Marissa: What’s up next for you?

Bill: I am working on a full-length commission for Mad Cap Productions. It’s called “Horseman: The True Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Yes, it’s a retelling of the Washington Irving story. No, I did not know about the effing TV show before I got the commission. “Horseman” goes up in October 2014.

Marissa: Well, but we theater folks will have the last laugh when the zombie apocalypse takes place: everyone’s TVs will stop working, but theater can still happen! In the meantime, thanks for taking the time to discuss your BOA play, “The Last Couples Therapy Session on Earth.”

“The Last Couples Therapy Session on Earth” appears in Program 1 of BOA, with its final performances taking place on October 2 and 4 at Tides Theatre.

An Interview with “Babes” Playwright Michael Phillis

Marissa Skudlarek, BOA 2013′s Anthology Editor, is conducting interviews with the festival’s playwrights, directors, and actors. Next up is Michael Phillis, writer of “Babes.”

Michael Phillis is making his BOA debut with “Babes,” a comedy about two lesbians trying to explain some big topics—gender, sexuality, and love—to their new baby boy.

Marissa: Can you talk a little about the genesis of “Babes”? What was the initial impetus for writing this script?

Michael: With “Babes,” I wanted to tell a story that was unique to the LGBT community but also universal in its themes. Everyone has had some experience of “the talk” (AKA where babies come from) and that experience is just ripe for comedy. When I thought about the unique challenges that face LGBT couples that want to become parents, I realized that there will never be an “accidental” gay pregnancy. LGBT parenting will always be something deliberate, something that both parents must want and plan for, something that involves others outside the parental unit: doctors, surrogates, donors, adoption agencies, etc. It takes a community, so something like “the talk” becomes an even bigger deal for LGBT parents to navigate, especially when our experience of having children is so different.

Marissa: Well, because “Babes” is about the difficulty adults can experience when explaining tough stuff to their kids, I was wondering if you had a story from your own childhood that relates to this? A time when an adult explained something to you really well/wisely, or, if not, a time when an adult explained something really poorly/confusingly.

Michael: I remember a sex ed instructor coming to my elementary school when I was young and separating out the students by their genders. The boys stayed in our own classroom to learn about boy anatomy, while the girls went to another classroom to learn about their anatomy. The whole time I could barely focus on my own lesson because I really wanted to know the other one: I mean I already had a grasp of my own anatomy, sometimes literally (sorry, I had to), so I couldn’t stop thinking about that mysterious talk going on in the next room. I knew I was going to have to learn about that stuff at some point anyway, so why delay the inevitable and draw a big line between us? When the girls came back they seemed a little shell-shocked; I think their lesson was very different from ours.

Marissa: According to your bio, you don’t have any kids—but if you did (or if you do have them in future) what would be the conversation you’d dread having with them?

Michael: I don’t have kids and at this point I’m pretty sure I’ll keep it that way, but I think if I were to be a dad I would dread the “first broken heart” talk the most. No parent ever wants to see their child in pain, and a broken heart is just one of those things you know they’re going to go through and you can’t necessarily protect them from. I would hate to have to talk my son or daughter through that, no matter what their age. I think my goal would be to make them laugh about it; as long as you can laugh about it you know it will be okay, eventually.

Marissa: What do you hope the audience will get out of “Babes”?

Michael: Laughter. I always want to make an audience laugh, but it’s important that the comedy comes from a place of connection. I love the comedies that make you laugh so hard you don’t even realize you’re thinking, feeling, maybe learning something along the way. I think the best way to connect with each other is to laugh with each other, and that’s what I love about live theater. A room full of people laughing can change the world.

Marissa: What about “Babes,” in your opinion, makes it feel like a “Michael Phillis play”?

Michael: I want my plays to feature characters that are real and engaging, going through something relatable and in-the-moment. I’m a fan of classical and abstract art of all kinds, but in my own work I strive to present something of the world we’re living in now. “Babes” feels real to me. Sure, it has its moments of ridiculousness, but what these women are going through is something that every LGBT parent will go through at some point in their experience, though hopefully with better luck. And I hope that parents who don’t identify as LGBT will also connect to the moms in this play, and realize that the Babes’ experience (and their love) really isn’t all that different from anyone else’s.

Marissa: How has the rehearsal process for “Babes” been? Has the script changed at all during the process?

Michael: I attended the first reading of “Babes” with director Sara Staley and our wonderful cast. Then I attended the show itself after opening night. So based on the first meeting and the final product I’d say the rehearsal process was fantastic! The show really blossomed under Sara’s smart direction and the cast, Emma Rose Shelton and Luna Malbroux, really made the play their own. At the reading I encouraged them to add in their own embellishments, repetitions, baby talk, etc, the kinds of things that make it sound like more of a lived-in relationship. Couples have their own languages and I love the way Emma and Luna found their way to that and made the script so much more than it was on the page.

Marissa: What’s up next for you?

Michael: My next play is coming up in December at the Children’s Creativity Museum. It’s called “It’s Christmas, Carole!” and it re-imagines Charles Dickens’ holiday tale as a modern-day physical comedy, featuring a female protagonist (Carole, a Jewish secretary working for Scrooge) and a cast of unexpected Christmas ghosts. Lots of fun for children of all ages, directed by Andrew Nance and featuring Sara Moore, Rory Davis, Dawn Meredith Smith, Dave Garrett, and myself. More info posted soon on my website,

Marissa: Ooh, that sounds like one more reason to look forward to the holidays. In the meantime, thank you for taking the time to talk to me about your BOA play, “Babes.”

“Babes” appears in Program 2 of BOA 2013, with upcoming performances on October 3 and 5, at Tides Theatre.