Wendy Graf is a film and TV writer and an award winning playwright whose plays have been produced nationally and internationally. Recent plays include: WEDNESDAYS CHILD; EXIT WOUNDS (First Place Gold Medallion Winner Moss Hart and Kitty Carlisle New Play Initiative; Open Fist First Look Festival Winner); UNEMPLOYED ELEPHANTS – A LOVE STORY (Stage Raw Recommended Top Ten; multiple Critic’s Picks; LA Times Pick of the Week; Outstanding Production/2 Hander StageSceneLA); PLEASE DON’T ASK ABOUT BECKET; ALL AMERICAN GIRL (Stage Raw Recommended Top Ten/2015 nom Playwriting and Solo performance; LA Times Pick of the Week; LA Weekly “GO!” StageSceneLA 2015 Outstanding Solo Performance Production; Bitter Lemons 2015 Ten Best; Winner Last Frontier Playwriting Conference); CLOSELY RELATED KEYS (StageSceneLA Best World Premiere Plays of 2013-14/ Best Production Drama/Intimate Theater; NAACP win/nominations); NO WORD IN GUYANESE FOR ME (2012 GLAAD Award Outstanding L.A. Theater; Helen Hayes Awards Recommended); BEHIND THE GATES; LESSONS (L.A. production dir by Gordon Davidson); LEIPZIG (LADCC nomination; Garland award/Playwriting; Dorothy Silver finalist); THE BOOK OF ESTHER (San Fernando Valley Artistic Directors nominations including Best Play; ASK Theater Projects Grant Award); BETHANY/BAKOL (Attic Theater One Act Winner, produced September 2009 and her newest, A SHONDA and THE CROSS AND THE SABER, commissioned by Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble’s BIPOC Voting Plays Series, now developing the full length version.
WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA:
Facebook: Wendy Graf
MORE ABOUT ME:
A life in the theater is never a smooth road. There are high highs and low lows. There are good years (five productions!) and bad (none, the year everything was canceled due to Covid). There are many personalities to deal with. There are zillions of outside voices saying “Don’t” and “No!” it is a challenge to listen to your gut and your inner voice and trust them, stay true to them… There are phases in what’s popular over the years and you must write for yourself and not for what is a la mode or what someone else wants you to write – unless they commission it and are paying you a lot of money! My most gratifying and informative relationship was with the late, great Gordon Davidson - my play, Lessons, was the only play he directed after leaving CTG. He was more than a director - I still hear his words in my head every day. I would say my biggest disappointment is that while I have been very lucky in getting productions, my career has not seemed to follow the course that many male playwrights' has seemed to follow: from smaller productions to LORT productions and larger high profile National theaters and commissions. I have always tried to tell myself what's important is the work, and how I've been so lucky to work with wonderful artists - still it stings when I see mostly male playwrights on this upward path. I write of themes I return to again and again: family, identity, home. In much of my work, these themes have played out against a backdrop or seen through a lens of the social, political and religious landscape of our times. It has been said that I provide a voice for the voiceless. My plays are challenging, provocative, dangerous and always ask hard questions. I do not provide answers but aim to have the audience talk about the play on the way home, argue it out, go across the street and have a drink and discuss. I leave it up to the audience to provide their answers. I am very proud that my plays, while entertaining, are meaningful and challenging. My characters may not always be “nice” and sympathetic, but they are interesting and raise consciousness. I have also promoted diversity in my work – I have won the GLAAD award, NAACP awards and others. I am constantly asked, “what do you want the audience to take away with them?” As always, I don’t not presume to offer answers, only questions. I have no agenda for what I want the audience to take away with them except to see the truth of human behavior and something of their own humanity. To see something of themselves reflected on the stage and in one way or another understand it, not necessarily condone nor accept it, but understand it. I leave it up to the audience to answer the questions. I hope it will start conversations about why, and maybe if we can talk about why and try to understand it, then maybe we can start to change it.
WHAT I'M WORKING ON:
This Fall I have been lucky to have two full productions - CLOSELY RELATED KEYS International City Theatre, Long Beach) and LEIPZIG (Bema Productions, Victoria, BC) - that were cancelled in 2020 revived - Live! A third production, Wednesday's Child, had its live World Premiere in Tampa, Florida in August/September and that was one of the most gratifying experiences I've ever had, despite I had to rehearse virtually and could only see the production virtually. Another play that was to have its World Premiere in D.C. March 2020 but was cancelled due to Covid, has just been chosen to have a staged reading in Miami, hopefully leading to a full production. I will finally get back to writing again after the first of the year - my play THE CROSS AND THE SABER, commissioned as a one act by Lower Depth Theater Ensemble, is being developed as a full length.
Lesbian, Queer, Jewish, Muslim, African American, Family, Multi Generational, Gun violence, Political, Holocaust, Twins, Fundamentalism, White supremacy, Political Science fiction, Mystery, Romance, Burmese Odyssey, Israel, India, Satire.
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