Meet the Playwright: Courtney Earl

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Courtney Earl wrote tonight’s Bare Essentials reading, Aposteriori. Read on to learn a little more about tonight’s playwright and play!

Hi Courtney! Can you tell us a little about yourself, both personally and professionally?
I got hooked on playwrighting in college when I entered Kennesaw State University’s “Ten Minute Play Festival.” I have been submitting my work to festivals at professional theatres ever since then. I graduated with a BA in Philosophy and a BA in theatre. I got the philosophy degree to improve my writing, and through the marriage of these two degrees I have tried to produce meaningful work. When I am not writing plays, I’m working as a scenic painter, puppeteer, puppet designer and chef.

In your own words, can you tell us a little about the play we’ll be seeing?
Aposteriori is a term to describe knowledge that can only be understood through experience. This play uses Plato’s Allegory of the Cave as a device to frame the process of learning about the existence of rape culture. The process of escaping the hypothetical cave of ignorance is described as excruciating, but once a prisoner learns the truth, they can never go back to living in the cave of ignorance. Rape culture is often not understood without Aposteriori knowledge. Once someone gains that knowledge, as painful as it is, it is impossible to go back to denying it exists. This play follows a group of college students (the age group most likely to experience rape. 1in 4 women experience rape. Among college students, it is 1 in 2) who discover that there is a serial rapist on campus. In their efforts to discover who the rapist is and stop him, they also discover how rape culture has allowed for these crimes to go unpunished for as long as they have.

Where did you get the idea for this play? What made you want to write it?
My own experiences with rape culture inspired it. I had hoped some good would come out of putting this play on. I wanted people to see that there is very little justice for victims, and in addition realize that victims aren’t usually in a mentally stable enough place, post-incident, to seek what little justice could be available for them. Which is why they need strong allies who understand what it is they are going through enough to help them.

How did you get into playwriting?
I entered a play in the Ten Minute Play Festival at Kennesaw State University. I’ve been hooked ever since.

What is the importance of staged readings in your own creative process and the development of your play?
I need to see where the play doesn’t flow, where details don’t add up, and how to make the play impactful without traumatizing my audience.
What do you hope to gain from this Bare Essentials experience?
I hope I can gain the insight I need to make the final revisions on this play.
Where else can we see your work, either recently, currently or in the coming year(s)?
I’m in the process of writing a few new plays now. If all goes well, I will be submitting my work to festivals in Wisconsin and Atlanta.

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Aposteriori will be read at the West End Performing Arts Center tonight at 7:30pm. Directed by Kati Grace Brown. All readings are free and open to the public, donations gladly accepted.