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Stage Door Productions welcomes back a familiar name as this is Donna Hoke’s third year to have a One Act chosen for the festival. This year, Donna presents “Survival Strategy.” This play focuses on Jerry and Jenny – two office mates who take turns telling the story of their respective Valentine’s Day evenings with their spouses. Realizing that neither of their evenings went as planned, Jerry and Jenny devise a plan to get what they are lacking at home from each other at work.

Stage Door Stories recently caught up with Donna to learn more about her inspiration for writing “Survival Strategy,” see what she has been up to since we spoke with her last year, and determine what’s her secret to having her One Acts chosen by Stage Door Productions!

1. This is your third year to have a work selected in Stage Door Productions’ One Act Festival with “Life Lines“ in 2013, “You Haven’t Changed A Bit” in 2014, and now “Survival Strategy.” What’s your secret formula?

I wish I knew! More than that, I wish it worked just as well at every theater I send plays to. I would have guessed that maybe the same person chooses the plays each year and connects with my voice somehow, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, so I’m going to have to chalk it up to just dumb luck. Then again, if I’m on a roll, do you want to read a full-length?

2. What have you been up to since we last spoke to you during last year’s One Act Festival?

Writing and marketing, writing and marketing. I’ve been fortunate to have scheduled 27 productions of short plays and seven productions of full-length plays (one in Luxembourg) so far this year, plus some development opportunities, so I’ve been traveling more this year than ever before, which has been kind of fun. I also won a couple of playwriting prizes in 2014, so it was a good year as far as creating momentum. I also have two new full-length plays and five or six shorts that I’ve been getting out there.

Ms. Donna Hoke

Ms. Donna Hoke

3. What inspired or motivated you to write this One Act?

An advice column! A woman wanted to know if it was cheating if she was hugging her co-worker a couple times a day. And I thought, ‘what a great dramatic question.’ Not that this play really answers it…

4. What do you like about the Stage Door Productions brand that has you submitting new works each year?

I think any playwright will attest that, particularly with short plays, when you can’t attend a production—and of hundreds of short play productions, I’ve attended exactly one that was not local, because there’s usually no money to bring in playwrights—the next best thing is having a production team who keeps you in the loop. It’s invaluable, really. Stage Door is one of the best.

5. What do you hope the audience takes away from your story?

I hope it raises questions about what intimacy really means. Because it’s a comedy, that kind of sneaks up on you. At the end, audiences should feel a vague sense of unease and not really be sure why. Is that too much to put on a ten-minute play?

6. What doors do you expect to be opened for you from this selection and process?

I’d love you to read a full-length. I have one that would be perfect.

7. What’s next for you?

I just got back from Phoenix where I developed CHRISTMAS 2.0 at the Hormel Festival of New Works for a week. In April, Denver for the opening of THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR at Dangerous Theatre. In May, Chicago for the reading of SAFE, a play about the mother of a bully that’s a finalist for the Great Gay Play and Musical Contest (winner to be determined at those readings). (Another LGBT play, ON THE ROOF, has a reading at Buffalo United Artists in May, as well.) In June, I’m participating in the Citywrights Conference in Miami; in July, it’s the Dramatists Guild conference in LaJolla, CA. And, in the fall, I’ll be in residence for a bit at Saginaw Valley State University where they’re producing SAFE in preparation for a world premiere in March 2016 at Road Less Traveled Productions. I can’t even tell you which of those trips I’m most excited about; I’m just thrilled at the opportunities this year has brought.

Are these two surviving - or a little more? Image Courtesy of Shutterstock

Are these two surviving – or a little more?
Image Courtesy of Shutterstock

Come check out this intriguing tale on the 3rd floor of the Kitt Creative Studios at 810 Caroline Street in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Performances will be at 7:30 PM on Thursday, March 26th, Friday, March 27th, and Saturday, March 28th.

Click on any of the dates above to get your tickets now!

Be sure to give Donna your feedback on the show or just say hello to her on Twitter @donnahoke. Also be sure to visit her website and find her on Facebook.