JACQUELINE LAWTON: If you only had three words to describe Field Trip Theatre Company, what would they be?
AMANDA COFFIN: Fearless, Supportive, Collaborative
JL: What excited you about working with Field Trip Theatre this season?
AC: This season I was a script reader for Field Trip Theatre during their selection process. Danielle Mohlman, the Artistic Director, had also spoken with me about serving as dramaturg for one of the readings, so when I read Fallbeil by Liz Maestri, I immediately asked if I could work on that script if they happened to choose it as part of the season. I was thrilled when Danielle emailed to say that not only were they going to include Fallbeil in the reading series but they were also planning to take it to the Capital Fringe Festival in the summer. I feel very blessed to have been given such a great opportunity to work on such an interesting and compelling script.
JL: Tell us about the play you’re working on and what surprised you most about it.
AC: Fallbeil is a play that deals with war and the effects war can have on the people living back home—those who aren’t necessarily fighting on the front lines but have family or friends who are. But even beyond this, the play explores relationships between brothers and sisters, girlfriends and boyfriends, and friends of all kinds through two different time periods—the 1940s and the early 2000s. Add some ghosts and graveyards to this non-linear story, and it became a piece I couldn’t resist. I was most surprised by the fluidity of the storytelling and the historical characters who led very real lives. They attempted a risky resistance movement, The White Rose, that I was unfamiliar with before reading this play.
JL: What makes Liz Maestri an essential voice in the American Theatre?
AC: Liz represents 20-somethings and 30-somethings in a very real and relatable way, but even beyond this her ability to create dynamic female characters makes her voice a very important one for the American stage. In Fallbeil, Liz gives us two women forced to make independent and life-altering decisions for themselves and their families. The gravity of these choices and the severity of the outcomes give these characters an important maturity that grounds the piece and allows the audience to respect these young female characters.
JL: What do you hope audiences are thinking about after they experience this play?
AC: I hope audiences leave excited by the possibilities of new work! I love working with new playwrights and developing new work because the possibilities are endless in these beginning stages. I definitely hope audiences are excited by the chance to see the play again in a few months at the Fringe Festival. It would also be great if they left the play with an interest in the White Rose movement and a desire to learn more!
JL: Why should audiences attend the reading of Fallbeil?
AC: I think audiences should attend the reading to see a unique piece of theater with compelling and relatable characters. Audiences with an interest in European History or World War II will find things to love as will those who enjoy plays that focus on relationships and families. Most importantly, I hope audiences attend to support a great theater company and to support local playwrights!
About the Dramaturg
AMANDA COFFIN recently moved to the Washington, D.C. area from Boston, MA where she got her BA in Theatre Studies from Emerson College. Here in D.C., Amanda serves as the Artistic Intern at Round House Theatre where she just completed dramaturgy for Glengarry Glen Ross. This past summer she served as the museum theater intern at Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts and also directed the premiere of the ten-minute play "Organic Seed" (Boston Actor's Theatre) which has been selected for Smith & Kraus's upcoming anthology, Best Ten Minute Plays of 2013. Amanda serves as a script reader for Field Trip Theatre in Washington, D.C and Boston Actors Theater and Fresh Ink Theatre in Boston, MA.
About Field Trip Theatre
Field Trip Theatre is committed to supporting emerging artists through development and production of new plays that engage diverse audiences and reflect the perspectives and identities of The District. We value innovative storytelling and uncensored artistry that serves the diverse community of Washington, DC.
On Sunday, March 10th at 8:00pm, Field Trip Theatre will present a reading of Fallbeil by Liz Maestri at the the Wonderland Ballroom. Tickets to this event are sold out, but click here to be added to waitlist.
I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!