Getting to Know RNPF Playwrights: Caleigh Derreberry

Rockford New Play Festival: Congratulations on being one of two 18 and under playwrights selected for the Festival! Can you tell us where you’re from and where you live now? 
Caleigh Derreberry: I’m from Lilburn, Georgia, but, as of next week, I’ll be living in Atlanta.
RNPF: Can you tell us a little about Late Bloomer?
Caleigh: I was at a theatre conference when I started Late Bloomer. I was surrounded by lots of passionate/artistic people and it occurred to me that passion and artistic inspiration are always attributed to young people. I was curious about people that might discover they have artistic tendencies later on in life, and what that would signify for their life as a whole.
RNPF: What playwrights, authors or other artists do you consider as major influences of your own work? 
Caleigh: This question is so hard. I’ve been inspired by so many playwrights/artists, and it kinda feels like cheating not to mention all of them. Neil Simon and Sondheim are the two that come to mind first though, because they were the two that introduced me to theatre as an art form. I remember seeing Into the Woods and being aware of the fact that there was something more then entertainment happening onstage—there were themes and character arcs and subtext. It was art, and that was such a new concept to me, that theatre could be art. And Brighton Beach Memoirs was the first script I read for fun, and it opened me up to what a wonderful thing a script, by itself, is.
RNPF: What appeals to you about writing for the stage vs. other forms of dramatic storytelling? 
Caleigh: Writing for the stage is making poetry out of conversation. A novelist can always resort to pretty sentences to convey truth, but a playwright has to figure out how to insert truth into normal human speech and action, and that’s much harder.
It’s the art form that most accurately reflects our lives. 
RNPF: What’s next for you? Any projects you’re currently working on or plans for the near future? 
Caleigh: Right now, the near future for me is mostly about watching older projects coming to fruition. Late Bloomer is going to be produced as part of the Young Voices with New Visions festival in November, and my one-act play This Play is About Pirates is going to be published in Dramatics magazine in September and by Samuel French as part of an anthology (which Derick Edgren’s wonderful show, Skin, is also going to be a part of) early next year. 
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