Interview: Russian Playwright Ksenia Dragunskaya

Russian Ksenia Dragunskaya is a busy writer of plays for childen and young people, plays for adults, and books for children.  She's a member of the Russian Writers Association, the PEN Center, and her plays have been translated into English, French, German, Serbian, Bulgarian, Czech, Finnish  and Japanese.  WLPG was fortunate that she found time for a short interview.

WLPG: Was there something in particular that motivated you to start writing for young audiences?

KSENIA: When my son was a little kid, we both relentlessly invented stories, dialogues, and characters. So one day, I collected some of these in a play and my career started.  The first play i wrote was produced immediately in a few theaters and it's being produced still.
WLPG: Is there a production, playwright, or theatre company that has been influential on your work?

WLPG: Why is it important to write for children and young people?

KSENIA: To give them the opportunity to be more open-minded. To tell them things they will never hear/see at school, on TV or on the internet. But here in the Russian Federation, the situation is very special: Thirty per cent of our kids (mostly in the villages) have never been to a theater nor have any theater companies come to their villages.
WLPG: What is your typical writing process?

KSENIA: I wait till the story is competely ready in my mind  - then i just sit down and write it carefully.  
WLPG: Is there any real difference between writing for young audiences and writing for adult audiences?

KSENIA: For me personally - definitely NO.  My stories are for everyone who has brains and a good sense of humor.

WLPG: Is there something about writing for children and young people in your country that is notable?

KSENIA: The big state theaters for young audiences in the Russian Federation are interested just in Christmas shows or stupid comedies, but small amateur/family studios/companies step by step are trying to do something more actual and interesting.

WLPG: And, in the hopes of provoking some discussion:  What question would you like to ask your fellow playwrights making plays for young audiences?

KSENIA: Should theater prepare a child or young person for a hard, tough life with a lot of problems and dark sides, or should it give them an example of "ideal model" of relationships between people and between a person and the entire world? 

WLPG: Please click on 'post a comment' to respond to Ksenia's question

KSENIA: And, as a final word, I'd like to tell to my fellow playwrights about our "Live Theater" project - actors and writers come to a kids club, a school or a libruary to communicate with kids.

For Ksenia's biography, click here.