Playwright learns from ATI reading


Emma Rund was delighted when she learned Actors Theatre of Indiana wanted to include her play in its Lab Series.

“In the playwriting world, there’s a lot of submitting and never hearing back, so when you finally get that 1-in-50 that is interested in working on your play, it’s extremely exciting,” the 2015 Guerin Catholic High School graduate said. “With this play, it was especially gratifying because I wrote it back in 2017. I submitted it to ATI in 2019, and then let it sit untouched for four years. Getting to pull it back out of the drawer to work on it again as a more experienced playwright was an absolute blast.”

ND ATI LAB 0530 Rund head shot

The reading of “Rosemary & Time” was held May 20 at the Carmel Clay Public Library. The play is about Rosemary struggling with early onset Alzheimer’s. When her daughters come home for Thanksgiving, she must face the fact she is losing her grip on reality.”

“The actors in this reading were absolutely fantastic talents and they did a marvelous job with the play,” Rund said. “My favorite moment as a playwright is hearing audiences talk about how the play affected them. If the play sparks conversation, that’s a good sign in my book, so I think the reading went very well because the talkback afterwards was full of conversation.”

Rund, who grew up in Lebanon, was active in Carmel-based Civic Theatre’s Young Artists Program, appearing in three musicals. After graduating from Ball State University, she moved to Chicago to pursue her playwriting career. She works at the University of Chicago in central communications.

The reading helped Rund learn about the audience’s response to some of the comedic moments and their tolerance for the challenging characters.

“The character of Sophia is pretty complex and rough around the edges,” Rund said. “I was thrilled to hear that the audience found empathy for her, and many actually seemed to relate to her and feel for her the most. The talkback definitely also planted some seeds for revisions. Some of them are larger questions and I’ll need to marinate on them for a little while before I tackle another draft of the play.

“I don’t think much will change, but there is a possible new scene I’m mulling over in my head.”