Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spotlight On...Lisi DeHaas

Name: Lisi DeHaas

Hometown: New York, New York

Education: BA in Theater and Dance from Amherst College. Tamalpa Institute, Anna Halprin Life/Art process. Warner Bros Writers Workshop/One-Hour Drama.

Favorite Credits: Solo-performance: Et Tu Barbie, Recipe For Grief, Studly. Plays: Three Ring, Balloon Man and Cat Lady, Minerva.

Why theater?: I crave the intimacy of creative collaboration. I am shy so prefer to share my truth and hear other’s truth in relative safety of a theater. I believe in the magical transformation of strangers into community as they see a show together.  I love the ritual of sharing what matters to us in each other’s presence. The mysterious persistence of that desire is comforting to my soul.

Tell us about Leave Me Green: Leave Me Green explores the relationships among a group of New Yorkers touched by loss. It takes place in the winter of 2009 in New York City: when Gay marriage was not yet legal in New York. It centers on Rebecca Green, and her son Gus, who have just lost their third family member, Inez, to the war in Iraq. It addresses issues I have written and performed about over the last two decades: gender and sexual identity, how the personal is political, GLBT rights- specifically marriage equality and the importance of speaking openly about our families. It’s a good old American “kitchen sink” drama. It’s a story about a non-traditional family struggling with grief, in a traditional dramatic container.

What inspired you to write Leave Me Green?: Leave Me Green, is a dramatic reflection of my worst fears. What if I lost my life partner and was left a single parent? What if grief overcame me and I became an active alcoholic? What if my son felt betrayed by not knowing the origins of his birth story? The play formed out of my recent experience mourning three sudden deaths in my family, one of which left my nephew without his mother. As I struggled with my own grief, and my family’s grief, writing the play became an affirmation of the fullness of life. It was in and of itself a practice, a commitment to living.

What kind of theatre speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Theatre that isn’t afraid to get personally political in service of the greater good.  Lisa Kron’s, Well, Fun Home. Doug Wright’s I am My Own Wife. Suzan Lori Parks, Father Comes Home From The Wars. I like theatre that is physical, embodied, an emotional journey for the performers and the audience. I loved the Anne Washburn and the Civilians', Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play. I love virtuosic spectacle. Musicals. Melodrama. Theatre of the Absurd. Drag. Transformation. Catharsis.  Work that opens our mind and heart simultaneously.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I would love to study playwriting with Paula Vogel, Marsha Norman, Kara Lee Corthran. I’d also love to work with The Civilians and Anne Bogart & SITI company. Also Bill T. Jones. I love his artistic activism and community based work especially. He’s a hero of mine.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Fun Home. Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play. Father Comes Home from The Wars.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Connie Britton. “The Prodigal Redhead.”

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed what would it be?: The original 1957 production of West Side Story because my dance teacher/musical theatre guru Lee Theodore played Anybodys.

What is your biggest guilty pleasure?: New York City Diner cake. Multiple layers. Excessive frosting.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Miserable

What’s up next?: Back to writing my next play.  One day at a time.

For more on Leave Me Green, visit