The Subtext - Brian James Polak

The Subtext. Episode 20: Deb Hiett

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A podcast where playwrights talk to playwrights about the things usually left unsaid. In a conversation that dives into life’s muck, we learn what irks, agitates, motivates, inspires and — ultimately — what makes writers tick. 

In this episode, Brian and Deb Hiett talk about about growing up in Alabama, what it means to have “earned” a production, and performing in “Lil Abner” with (the former) Bruce Jenner.

deb_party22DEB HIETT:
Rogue Machine Theatre recently produced the World Premiere of Deb Hiett’s play “The Super Variety Match Bonus Round!” which The Los Angeles Times called “ingenious.” Deb’s play “Miss Keller Has No Second Book” was recently selected for Gulfshore Playhouse’s New Works Festival. It was also a Semifinalist in the 2016 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, the 2016 PlayPenn New Play Workshop, and the 2016 Princess Grace Playwrights Fellowship, and was a Finalist in Chicago’s Route 66 New Play Workshop and Boulder’s LOCAL Theatre New Play Festival 2017. Deb’s play “Holding” was a Semifinalist in the 2015 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, and her short play “The Presentation” is a Finalist for the 2017 Heideman Award. Her short play “Chain Link” is a Finalist in Nylon Fusion Theater Company’s 10 Year Anniversary “Best Of” Festival in New York City in 2017.

Deb’s short film “Open House” won Los Angeles Film Festival/FunnyorDie’s “Make ‘Em LAFF” Showcase, Best Comedy Short at the 2015 Women in Comedy Festival Film Night, and Best Short at iOWest’s Funny Women LA Festival. She co-wrote and co-starred in the short comedy film “A Bit of Counseling” which won the Audience Choice Awards at the Palm Beach International Film Festival, the L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival, the Over the Fence Short Film Festival (Australia), and the Ojai Film Festival.
As an actress, she has appeared on many television shows including “Veep,” “American Crime,” “Arrested Development, ” “Documentary Now!,” “Love,” “Parks and Recreation,” “The Office,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Prison Break,” “Boston Legal,” and has appeared in many sketches on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” as well as several films (including Brie Larson’s upcoming “Unicorn Store”), and countless theater plays and musicals.

Deb is a proud member of the Dramatist’s Guild, The Playwrights Union, Antaeus Playwrights Lab, Actors’ Equity, and SAG-AFTRA.

Find more online at and please for the love of all that’s holy, follow her on Twitter @debhiett.

Reach The Subtext at, or on Twitter @SubtextPodcast.

Brian James Polak

Brian James Polak

Brian is originally from New Hampshire and he has a tattoo to prove it. Some of his plays have been published in Smith & Kraus anthologies, and his embarrassing childhood poetry has been published in Mortified: Love is a Battlefield. He is a member of The Playwrights Union and received his MFA from the USC School of Dramatic Arts. Go to to learn more about his work. Follow him on Twitter @bejaypea.