Meet Kitty Felde, our "White House as a Home Walk" playwright.

What’s A Good Way to Present History? Why Not Create A Play About It?

Pickle Pea Walks started because a group of educators passionately wanted to make history interesting and exciting and really come alive for kids, parents, grandparents  --- for everyone. We wanted to capture the history lover and the non-history lover. But we couldn’t decide the best way to do this. We tossed around all sorts of options but nothing felt right until we hit upon the idea of how fun being in history would be. So we decided to create a play that actually included the audience, actually placed the audience into an historic setting with characters of the day. Great idea! But, oh, my!  Where would we find a playwright capable of and interested in writing such a play? We put out a call. We got responses! We read writing samples. We re-read writing samples! And finally we chose not one but three of the most interesting and incredible, local playwrights. And now we have not one but three  --- that’s right --- we have three awesome plays that we love!

We are so impressed by our three playwrights that we want you to meet them as well. So here’s an interview with the first of our incredible wordsmiths:

Kitty Felde, writer of the script for our White House As A Home Walk with Quentin Roosevelt

Pickle Pea:

Did you always want to be a playwright?

Kitty Felde:

Not really. I wanted to be the star of the show! I always entered my elementary school’s talent show and was heartbroken the year my younger brother won for reading the “where’s my golden arm?” ghost story. But I was always writing – journals, fan fiction, letters, even an Alvin and the Chipmunks story with no ending that my third grade teacher let me perform for the class.

At any rate, I was a theatre major in college, mostly acting, though I did write one short play there. It wasn’t until I was stuck at an actor’s day job – collecting rents in a high rise – that I wrote my first real play. Collecting rents is a once a month job, so I had a lot of time on my hands and an old IBM Selectric typewriter at my disposal. When my boss heard the typing, he thought I was busy.

I got serious about it when an old boyfriend – a wonderful actor – told me frankly that I should put my effort into the writing. So I did.

Pickle Pea:

Was there anything special in your childhood that prepared you or inspired you to write plays?

Kitty Felde:

I like to talk. Dialogue came easy for me. Perhaps it was competing for the attention of my folks with six loud brothers.

Pickle Pea:

Do you think in words or pictures?

Kitty Felde:

Definitely words. I am often inspired by visuals, but when I sit down at the laptop, it’s the words that are bouncing around in my head.

Pickle Pea:

What caught your eye about the Pickle Pea Walks request to introduce Quentin Roosevelt to people exploring Washington, DC?

Kitty Felde:

I wrote a one-woman show about Quentin’s older sister Alice Roosevelt Longworth several years ago. (It played at the Capital Fringe and the Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Naples, Florida.) So I had already done some extensive research on the Roosevelt clan. I’d visited Sagamore Hill and the TR birthplace and adored the clan. The opportunity to reacquaint myself with the youngest member of the family – and to share some of the wonderful stories about his hijinks – was too good to pass up.

It’s wonderful to walk around the neighborhood where Quentin created chaos and introduce him to an entirely new generation!

Pickle Pea:

This is not your first go-around with the Theodore Roosevelt Family. Tell us a little bit about your previous involvement with them.

Kitty Felde:

Oops, see above!

Pickle Pea:

President Theodore Roosevelt had a few nicknames such as--- “Teddy” or “TR” --- and I know he did not like all of them. Which ones did he dislike and why?

Kitty Felde:

He preferred TR. He HATED Teddy. I think it’s because when he was a small kid, his sisters called him “Teedy.”

Pickle Pea:

You are one of the most energetic and creative people I know. Tell us a bit about your other current projects.

Kitty Felde:

Next year is the 25th anniversary of the civil unrest in Los Angeles that followed the not guilty verdicts in the Rodney King beating trial. I covered that trial – and the many days of riots that followed - as a journalist and I’ve been haunted by the question of why neighbor turns against neighbor, almost overnight. That question, plus the continuing conflicts between black kids and white cops, ended up in my newest play “Western & 96th.” It had a reading at Theater Alliance in DC this spring and I’d LOVE to get a production in 2017.

I’m working on a modern adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice” set on contemporary Capitol Hill. I have some reworking to do as a result of the election. My Mr. Darcy is a GOP senator from California.

I also write books for kids. My middle grade novel “Welcome to Washington, Fina Mendoza!” is being shopped around to publishers by my agent. And I’m working on a new middle grade novel – a comedy.

Pickle Pea:

Answer a question you have always wanted to be asked.

Kitty Felde:

Here’s the question: tell me three surprising things about yourself.

1)      I’m not really a dancer, but I still put on pointe shoes once a week in ballet class and practice my English Country Dance steps (the kind of dancing in all the Jane Austen movies) in the ballroom where George Washington danced those same dances.

2)      I sew. A lot. There are five bins of fabric under my bed and in my closet, plus a cedar chest full of woolens.

3)      My life goal was to become the first female play-by-play announcer in major league baseball, replacing Vin Scully, calling LA Dodger games. Good thing I found something else to do: he just retired at age 86 or so this past season…

That’s our Kitty Felde! 

Interested in taking Kitty's "White House as a Home Walk with Quentin Roosevelt"?

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