Have Another with Nandita Shenoy, ESSPY

(Photo by Isaiah Tanenbaum of Nandita Shenoy and Jen Kipley at the 2014 Flux Retreat reading of ESSPY.)

To prepare for our next Have Another Retreat Harvest (RSVP here), we asked our contributing playwrights some hard-hitting, incisive questions about their work and the Retreat experience. Up next: the brilliant Nandita Shenoy, talking about her play ESSPY.

Tell us a little about your play, ESSPY.

NANDITA: ESSPY is based on my experiences as a Standardized Patient at NYU Medical school.  I have had so many funny encounters in this work that I thought they would make for great scenes in a play.  After experiencing some real life drama with family illness, I realized first-hand how important it was for doctors to be trained in the art of speaking to patients.  So this play is my way of recognizing the gravity of the work while (hopefully) entertaining people.  Also, as an Asian-American artist, I always want to write roles for diverse casts, and a medical school seemed like the perfect place to set an entirely Asian-American play. Growing up in a family of doctors, I spent a lot of time in hospitals and felt like the television shows and movies don’t come close to representing the actual diversity of the medical field.  Wow, this play is doing more stuff than I imagined!

What was your experience like working on this play at the Flux Retreat?

I loved hearing the play at the retreat, particularly because I was able to hear different actors read the role throughout the play. It gave me a great perspective on what works and what doesn’t.

Chester Shaun Kia

(Photo by Isaiah Tanenbaum of Chester Poon, Shaun Fauntleroy and Kia Rogers at the 2014 Flux Retreat reading of ESSPY.)

Please share with us a favorite Flux Retreat memory.

My favorite Flux retreat memory is of staging one of Nat’s plays when Will Lowry was cast as an alien. His commitment was so deep that he did a shoulder roll in a fight sequence that was not called for but much appreciated.

This event is called “Have Another.” If you’re drinking more than one, what’s your drink of choice?

I’m a wine girl!

What projects do you have coming up that we should know about?
Shameless plug: the night before “Have Another,” I have a reading of a commissioned play at the Abingdon Theater. Safe Harbor will be presented with two other one acts on August 9th at 7pm at the Abingdon Theater, 312 West 36th Street, 2nd floor. It seems to be a super writing weekend for me!

Kip n Hip

(Photo by Isaiah Tanenbaum of Jen Kipley and Rachael Hip-Flores at the 2014 Flux Retreat reading of ESSPY.)

NanditaShenoyNandita Shenoy is a writer-actor based in New York City.  Her full-length play, Washer/Dryer will be produced next winter at EastWest Players in Los Angeles.  Another play, Lyme Park, was produced by theHegira in Washington, DC. Her one-acts Marrying Nandini, By Popular Demand, Rules of Engagement, and A More Perfect Date have received full productions in New York City from Green Light Productions, New Perspectives Theater, New Ground Collective, and Eating Theater respectively.  She is also the recipient of the father Hamblin One Act Commission prize from the Abingdon Theater. Nandita’s plays have been read at the Kennedy Center, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Second Generation, Salaam Theater, the Bleecker Street Theater, The Lark Play Development Center, and by the Red Harlem Readers.  She is the President of the Board of Directors for Rising Circle Theater Collective.  Nandita holds a Bachelors Degree in English literature with a distinction in the major from Yale University.

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