JENNIE WEBB // artist profile
All Photos by Peter Konerko for @ This Stage Magazine
What energizes you as an artist?
When my work — or ideas — connect with someone else. Pretty much any writer will tell you, “I spend so much time alone…” I actually need more alone-time than the average bear, so that’s not always a bad thing for me. But I do think we all reach a point with a project where we hit a “Wait. Could anyone else even possibly find this interesting/funny/heartbreaking/important…?” wall. So whenever I get a “YES!” in whatever way, shape, or form, that gives me a reason to keep going.
What’s been inspiring you lately?
Other artists. I’ve been kind of blown away by directors and actors, and also the work of other playwrights. By the talent that’s out there in LA and, maybe even more so, the generosity of these world-class artists.
“If I wasn’t an artist…”
I’d have a lot more money.
“As a child, I was…”
Probably way too serious.
Who are your artist allies?
How much time do I get? I feel very lucky to have found the amazing people at The Inkwell Theatre; another group I’ve recently become involved with is The Blank Theatre’s Living Room Series crew. I’ve been up at Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga for, like, ever; have run the new play program Seedlings for the past (gulp) 15 years. I send enormous gratitude to the LA companies that have supported my work, including Rogue Machine, Road Theatre Company, EST/LA, Santa Monica Rep, Green Light Productions… Of course I’m thrilled to be part of groups full of brilliant and supportive writers like the Playwrights Union, PlayGround-LA and Fell Swoop Playwrights. Then there are the incredible women (and more than a few men) I’ve met through LA Female Playwrights Initiative (LA FPI), a grass-roots organization I run which supports, promotes, and connects women playwrights. LA FPI, and being an instigator within the global gender parity community, feeds me in just so many surprising ways.
Who are your artistic heroes?
In general, the people who show up and do the work and don’t get the limelight. The people who put a priority on being there for other artists. And specifically, the artists and theater-makers who are taking action to put more women’s voices onstage and hire women; breaking the old-school rules to create a theater that’s more diverse and, I think, viable and valuable as we move forward.
What’s your favorite (or go-to) LA “spot?”
I’m giving myself away as the most boring person in LA, here, because it’s my house. I was trying to think of some other place that would make me sound even remotely cool but can’t even come up with a name. I’m that un-hip.
Okay. Define art. Go!
A creation that changes/expands your mind or perceptions/opens up doors. I guess that could also be a piece of medical equipment.
What are you currently working on?
I’m beyond excited that Inkwell is producing my play Currency after workshopping it last year. It runs April 15-May 21. Currency is a love story, but it’s written in a style that I call “domestic absurdism,” so it’s not what you might expect. And I do have to say that director Annie McVey, the producers, and a cast to die for are making this process such a blast that it will almost be a let-down when it opens.
What’s your creative goal for the next year?
To get back on the creative track. For a while now, I’ve been pulled in other directions and I haven’t really created anything new. So I hope to re-group and circle around some ideas I have for new plays and get them out there! (Undoubtedly, with a little help from my many creative friends.)