C. Kay “Andy” Landis’ passion for music, writing and people made for a successful and exciting three years as Tennessee’s inaugural Representative for the Dramatists Guild. During her term, she established initiatives and presence, warmly welcomed members, organized happenings in Nashville and beyond, and created two Ambassador relationships in Murfreesboro and Knoxville. Let’s catch up with Landis, post Regional Rep!
Arabelle Pollick: Middle Tennessee State University, has a program called: MTSU Write, in which you’re a mentor. I know first-hand, you’re the best. What’s your favorite part about mentoring?
C. Kay “Andy” Landis: Sharing what I’ve learned from the brilliant people who’ve mentored me. Playwrights like Gary Garrison, Marsha Norman, Arthur Kopit, and Kate Snodgrass. Sharing what I’ve learned from them helps my mentees, reminds me what I’ve learned and makes me look really smart.
When asking Landis when she has time to write, she said deadlines help motivate her.
Arabelle Pollick: What’s the current deadline?
C. Kay “Andy” Landis: A staged reading of Take a Breath with the In Process Series.
In Process is another unique program at MTSU, inviting writers in all genres to share their creative process with students and the community, initiated and facilitated by member Dr. Claudia Barnett. The deadline has allowed Landis to draft pages of a long-time exploration of friendship and addiction.
Arabelle Pollick: How long have you been writing this piece?
C. Kay “Andy” Landis: Years. Ten years. Seriously.
Arabelle Pollick: Is this the first-time actors are reading it?
C. Kay “Andy” Landis: I’ve only heard 20 pages before this. And it’s not complete—just 65 pages. Gotta hear it this far before I can write the end.
Arabelle Pollick: Is that part of your writing process?
C. Kay “Andy” Landis: Since the inspiration is in real life, I wanted to wait for some completion in real life so I could write it from the depths of my experience. That’s why this play is so personal ... painfully so. It’s like ripping apart a precious beating heart to get to the core of the love that makes it beat. I hate it but I cannot turn away. And so, I write it.
Sharing knowledge, sharing pages, what will the new year bring for Landis? In January 2020, the Murfreesboro Little Theatre will regionally premiere Landis’ all-female play, The Volunteer, based on her experience helping in a women’s prison. The Volunteer has won several awards and reviews celebrated Landis’ work after the 2016 world premiere at Centre Stage.
Arabelle Pollick: What excites you about this production?
C. Kay “Andy” Landis: I’m excited and nervous! Since this play has its roots in Middle Tennessee, it feels awesome for it to be seen here. After all, there really is no place like home.
The Volunteer focuses on three female-identifying characters. Landis is passionate about writing dynamic roles for women and encourages women’s efforts in all she does. She’s also working with the Rutherford County Arts Alliance and the Center for the Arts on a historic piece celebrating women’s centennial right to vote!
Arabelle Pollick: How has your experience as DG Rep helped in all of your current projects?
C. Kay “Andy” Landis: I loved being a Rep because I got to support playwrights and be inspired by their ideas, their passion and hard work. Although I didn’t work as much on my own plays during my three years of service—because I’m a weenie and couldn’t seem to do that at the same time—I tucked away my admiration for my treasured playwrights and now utilize my respect for them to motivate me to do my own work. And even more important to me, I’ve made amazing like-minded friends, Playwrights and theatre lovers who are funny and wise and generous. It’s Love. I love them.
Arabelle Pollick: I know that’s true.
C. Kay “Andy” Landis: And if I can have more love in my life, I count myself as being a very lucky lass.
Anyone who knows Andy, knows they are the lucky ones. To writing, love, and theatre arts in Middle Tennessee!