Monday, June 4, 2018

Spotlight On...Liza Birkenmeier

Name: Liza Birkenmeier

Hometown: Olivette, MO

Education: BA Washington University in St. Louis. MFA Carnegie Mellon

Favorite Credits: Tragedy in Spades: A Crime Documentary with Katherine Brook as part of the Artist-in-Residence program at University Settlement.

Why theater?: I’m not exactly sure, but I think it has something to do with wanting to be able to physically participate in the film "A League of Their Own."

Tell us about the hollower: It’s meant to be about how we perform gender and sexuality in our moralist patriarchy! So it’s a horror and a comedy, I hope. 

What inspired you to write the hollower?: I heard a podcast about a seventeenth century colonizing program where Parisian women were sent to New France Canada to help populate the invaded territory. I was curious about how femininity has been shaped by imperialism. This seemed to demand a piece that was formally anti-Aristotelian.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I love almost all theatergoing experiences in some way. Performances featuring human bodies in real time are so exciting. Visual art, Suzan-Lori Parks, novels.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I would love to write the book for a St. Vincent musical.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: "Dance Nation" by Clare Barron.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Kathy Najimi would play me as a child; Kathy Bates would play me as an adult. Title: "Magic Kathy." It probably wouldn’t be about me at all.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Cloud Nine by Caryl Churchill, 1979. 

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Naming cats and children I don’t have.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Naming my cats and children.

What’s up next?: radio island at NYSAF Powerhouse at Vassar: June 28-July 8.

For more on Liza, visit