BEHIND THE SCENES: Meet Wendy Schmidt

Wendy Schmidt. Photo by Andrew Collings.Wendy Schmidt is a Network Playwright with Chicago Dramatists, a member of Courier 12 Collective, and a Dramatists Guild member. Her ten-­‐minute play Tornado Alleyis a finalist for the 2015 Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Heideman Award, and was produced as part of 20% Theater Company’s 2013 Snapshots Festival at The Cornservatory, Chicago. Her full-­‐length play The Newlyweds was workshopped in Three Cat Productions’ Chicago New Works Festival with a staged reading at Berger Park in May, 2013. Her radio plays Goose Noirand A Great Cabbage were recorded live at Chicago Dramatists as part of the February 2013 and March 2014 episodes of Small Fish Radio Theatre, and were included in Small Fish’s Atlanta Fringe Festival programs both years. In 2011, her 10-­‐minute play ChuckleChips was produced as part of 20%’s Snapshots Festival at Oracle Theater, Chicago.

Wendy has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in drawing and makes her living as a freelance graphic designer. She lives in Chicago.

Creating The Angel Blues

Why did you choose the theme of your play?

For Holiday Stories, I wanted to write about people who were part of the dominant culture, but felt left out because they were no longer getting the spiritual meaning from their tradition they longed for. For a lot of people, the religious traditions they grew up with have come to offer few tools to face the very real spiritual challenges of contemporary life. At the same time, contemporary culture has warped their tradition into something that is not spiritual in the least. This play is about wanting Christmas to mean something, and trying to make it mean something.

What have you learned from the process of the Holiday Stories? Why was this a valuable experience?

There are tons of opportunities out there for staged readings and workshops for playwrights. But unless they get a production themselves, there are almost no opportunities for them to see what goes into a production – auditions, rehearsal, tech, lighting, sound, even how the show evolves throughout the run. Since the playwrights only contributed pieces for the director’s concept, the pressure was low. It gave the playwrights production experience that they can take into their full-length work.

Learn More about Holiday Stories: The Other Side of Christmas here.

(Previews are December 4 & 5. The regular run is December 6 – January 3. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30pm and Saturday matinees at 4:00pm at the Berger Park Coach House Theater at 6205 N. Sheridan in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago.   Doors open 30 minutes prior to curtain.  Learn more here.)