Playwright Interview: Phanesia Pharel

Written by Ashleigh Gardner

April 21, 2017

Welcome back to Performer Stuff’s new series that celebrates our playwrights! We feature an interview with a playwright who features their work on, asking them questions about their inspirations, their process, and the craft of playwriting. Our series continues with playwright Phanesia Pharel. Phanesia is a young playwright from Miami, FL who most recently had her play Penelope workshopped at the 2017 International Thespian Festival and published in Dramatics Magazine. Additionally, Penelope has also been published by Samuel French. (Find her monologues here!)

1. What or who (or both) inspired you to become a playwright?

My mother always inspired me to be a writer as she is a great one. I think all the women around me have pushed me to speak up and tell meaningful stories. Suzan-Lori Parks was the spark to playwriting and she continues to push me into it.

2. What themes, images, or relationships appear most frequently in your work and why?

I feel like every play I write is different. I will say that I write about marginalized people who are looking for more but can’t seem to grasp it.

3. Tell us about the play that you are proudest of having written.

Penelope. It is the play that really opened the worlds of playwriting for me. It told my story and helped me come to terms with where I was in my life.

4. If you could have written one play in the history of theatre, which would it be?

I’m torn! There are so many great plays I wish I’d written. I’m going to have to say Topdog/Underdog because its genius is surreal, and to this day I am still learning from it.

Read more about the playwright below:

Phanesia Pharel is a Miami-based writer, director, and actor. She began performing at the age of three in various dance companies. Her playwriting career began when she was selected as a sophomore to be a City Theatre Scholar at the City Wrights festival. Phanesia workshopped a monologue at the festival that was later published in the City Theatre anthology. Her first play, Penelope, was selected as one of four in the nation to be workshopped at the International Thespian Festival. This win in the Playworks competition resulted in her play being published in Dramatics Magazine, and Penelope will be published in a Samuel French collection. One of her plays, Shovel Me Away, was produced at Micro Theater Miami and was selected as the “Best Of The Best 2016”. She also has poetry published in various anthologies. She will be attending Barnard College of Columbia University this coming fall.

Hungry for more theatre history? Check out our other stories below!

Ashleigh Gardner received her AA in Theatre/Drama/Dramatic Arts from Valencia College and her Bachelors Degree in English Literature and Masters Degree in Literary, Cultural, and Textual Studies from the University of Central Florida. She is a playwright, an actor, and’s Editor.