Interview with Tori Rice, Dramaturg of “Like Father, Like Daughter”

Playwrights Project will produce its 35th annual festival of Plays by Young Writers at The Joan B. Kroc Theatre on January 29 – February 1, 2020. The festival will feature winning scripts from its California Young Playwrights Contest for ages 18 and under.

Contest winners were selected from 561 plays submitted by students from across the state. Three scripts will receive full professional productions, and one script will receive a staged reading in this highly regarded festival of new voices.

Tori Rice is an award-winning playwright, actress and teaching artist. She is honored to be involved with this wonderfully talented group. Plays include Devil-in-a-Box and Like Ivy (Scripteasers, 1st place); The Hunt(s) and Tiny (Scripps Ranch Theatre); Sisters in the System (commission, Playwrights Project); and The More Men Weigh (Edmonton Fringe critic’s pick).

What caught your attention when you first read the script?
The richness of the characters, the authentic dialogue, and the complexity of the relationship! Izzy paints a portrait of two compelling people—a father and a daughter–struggling to understand one another and navigating family changes while each of them “grows up.” She details their interpersonal struggles so vividly and with such compassion, that I immediately became invested in their story. Izzy’s wit also throughout the script.

Can you please share any details about your vision for the play?
I could immediately picture what this play would look like onstage. Izzy’s character-driven story has two delicious roles for actors to dig into. I can see the audience as a ‘fly on the wall,’ eavesdropping on the twists and turns of this relationship. I am eager for people to see it!

What are a few of the highlights of working with young writers?
I am always inspired by the incredible storytelling of young writers. It is such a joy to be a part of their journey and see the growth of the script—from first draft to table read to rewrites (and then performance)!

Tori and the Ster Family visit during our Lights Up! event

Like Father, Like Daughter features a daughter’s relationship with her father throughout different points in time. When working with a script that includes transitions through time such as these, what challenges arise?
A few challenges: the importance of showing the lapse in time, rather than telling, and also finding the right pivotal moments for these characters that keeps the story moving forward. Izzy does a fabulous job showing the time change through the behavior and dialogue of the characters. During the revision process, we discovered that a few quick costume changes were going to be particularly challenging for the actors. Izzy rewrote sections of the script with this in mind, keeping the moments that lent to the overall arc of her story. She also has specific wardrobe changes for Daughter as she matures from middle-schooler to high-schooler. The play takes place in one setting so the design elements—and she has a top notch director and design team—will also aid in the transition of time.

Please feel free to include any other information or insights you wish!
With only two characters, Izzy allows the audience to focus intimately on their internal and interpersonal journeys. We feel like we know these people. It is a gift to have that level of writing insight at such a young age—to focus on the poetry of people. She also embraced the revision process. She has such a fantastic energy and dedication to her words—she’s inspiring!


The Plays by Young Writers Festival’s public performance will take place February 1, 2020 at 7:30pm.

For more information, please contact Playwrights Project at (858) 384-2970 or at write@playwrightsproject.org.
Tickets can be purchased on Playwrights Project’s website.

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