Playwright, writer and theater maker Heidi Kraay examines the connection between brain and body, seeking empathy with fractured characters. Her work pulls myth, metaphor and monsters together to attempt connections across difference.
Her plays, including see in the dark, How to Hide Your Monster, New Eden, Me and My Shadow, Kilgore, Rajpurr: Tale of a Tiger, Slap! A Beaver Tale, Polar Opposites: An Impossible Tale, CloudMelt, lift, The Way Up, Ways Not to Drown, Somewhere on the Pacific, Hoarse, Cut Here, The Good Life, The Pond, Robots in the Ring, Survivors and Carny Veil have been presented in Boise, regionally, in NYC and internationally, most recently through Trinity Street Players, Tomo Suru Players, Thingamajig Theatre Company, the Alternative Theater Company, The American Playbook, Boise Contemporary Theater (BCT), the National Winter Playwrights Retreat & Workshop and HomeGrown Theatre (HGT).
Co-devised work includes small matters and SuperSecretSiteSpecificSomething (S5) for Migration Theory (S5 also for BCT), and HGT’S DIRT. Currently she and her sister Kate Kraay are co-devising a piece that examines the human body's physical response to stress, and the women's body in particular, in connection with the earth's responses to stress. Kraay is a member Dramatists Guild of America, Inc.
Selected poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction has been published through Z Publishing, Willow Creek Journal, Timshel Magazine, Before/After Godwink Journal, ZO Magazine, Black Heart Magazine, Limn Literary & Arts Journal, Boise 150, Ascent Aspirations, GEM Magazine, Anastomoo, The Zodiac Review, The 5-2, Bewildering Stories and The Cabin's Writers in the Attic anthologies.
She holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Boise State University, with emphases in Dramatic Writing and Design, and an MFA in Creative Inquiry, Interdisciplinary Arts from California Institute of Integral Studies. Heidi is an adjunct professor through the Department of Theatre, Film and Creative Writing at Boise State University. Also a teaching artist through The Cabin, she is available to lead writing and theater-making workshops, as well as one-on-one mentorships.
From SuperSecretSiteSpecificSomething. Photo by Andy Lawless, 2015.
What I Do
As a playwright and theater maker, I love the space between words. I bridge gaps dividing genres, humans and my own disjointed fragments. Studying the distance between us, I seek true connection. I write to root into earth and find present weight in each moment. Aiming to the global impossible through the immediate, tangible here/now, my plays examine how we meet our nature in time/space. Using diverse media to develop dramatic blueprints, I play with text, image, video, music, movement and puppets. As several aesthetic languages inform my work, so do the brain, the body, relationships, landscapes and intricate complexities of human behavior. I physicalize my hardest moments and pour in stories collected through devised collaborations, interviews and observations, submerging our rawest parts together. Cathartic release brings breath.
My art looks at the worst of us to locate the best in us. I rip into past with controlled passion, for future’s sake, so I can hold out a hand and sit with you through your own struggle. It's hard being human. My plays are quests for empathy. On each page, I long for so much muchness swimming beneath every word like an ocean. I want to feel the volcano underneath while standing grounded on shore. Orchestral dynamism and rhythm builds to choreographed enormity that accelerates to a stop.
Through theater, I want to connect with strangers, loved ones, people I don’t like and people who turn away from me, leaning in and asking how we can live better.