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Exclusive interview with ‘Small Hours Serenade’ playwright Laura Heikkinen

Puzzle Piece Theater marks the world debut of Small Hours Serenade.
Puzzle Piece Theater marks the world debut of Small Hours Serenade.
Courtesy of Puzzle Piece Theater

Hilberry Theatre fans will remember Laura Heikkinen as a gifted actress from such plays as “Summer and Smoke” and “Noises Off.” We were first introduced to playwright Laura Heikkinen's work when her one-act play ‘Chiseled’ was selected for presentation as part of WSU’s Louse-Heck Rabi Festival in 2013.

Now she is back with “Small Hours Serenade,” which makes its world-premiere performance at Puzzle Piece Theatre on March 27th.

Ms. Heikkinen was nice enough to give us this inside scoop.

Q) Tell us a little bit about yourself and the path that led you to pursue writing for the theatre.

Laura Heikkinen: A graduate of Wayne State's BFA program, as well as Livonia Churchill's Creative and Performing Arts, I've been acting for over a decade. My contributions to literature have always been rich, but left to academia or private journals. Spring of 2012 a dear friend encouraged me to write a one-act for scholarship consideration, and the rest is the history that has paved this new path.

Q) Is “Small Hours Serenade” your first full-length play to see a full production?

Laura Heikkinen: Small Hours Serenade is the first full-length play I've written, let alone seen produced. The one-act mentioned in the previous question, "Chiseled" was awarded a production as part of the Louise Heck-Rabi Festival at WSU, March 2013.

Q) In this play, you deal with romance in a different way, drawing a fine line between reality and perception. Without creating any “Spoiler Alerts”, can you tell us about your concept and the sensibilities you explore here?

Laura Heikkinen: At the time I was writing the script, I was wafting at this existential crossroads, not knowing how or when I was going to make my next big move, or even what it was going to be. The idea that consciousness shapes our lives continued to scream out at me, which is the loudest theme the play tackles: psychosomatic existence. Nothing is but what we think it. Sprinkled around that is losses of innocence, unrequited loves and self-fulfilling prophecies.

Q) Have you adjusted your script after working with the Puzzle Piece Theatre company and seeing how it works on stage?

I've cut some fat and built some more muscle as we've moved along to help with the clarity of the story. We've also been very fortunate to have the keen eye of a gracious dramaturg, Amanda Ewing, to offer insight throughout the process.

Q) What would you like to tell people that will compel them to see this show?

Laura Heikkinen: Each person who walks out of the theatre will have a different idea of the play's meaning. It makes for a very personal experience.

You can see Ms. Heikkinen’s “Small Hours Serenade” at The Box Theater in downtown Mt. Clemens at 90 Macomb Place. It opens Thursday March 27th and runs through Sunday April 13th. Performances begin at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and Sundays at 2 p.m.. Tickets for “Small Hours Serenade” are $20 and can be purchased from Puzzle Piece Theatre's website. Please note that the production contains mature themes and is not recommended for those under the age of 17.

The cast of “Small Hours Serenade” includes Eric Niece as Wesley, Mandy Logsdon as Tara, Linnae Caurdy as Wendy, and London Johnson as Brent.

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