The Lost Girls – Reflection on the Process


In our final week of rehearsals, dramaturg Sara Keats took a few moments to reflect with playwright Courtney Meaker and director Kaytlin McIntyre. This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Sara Keats: The three of us have been working on this play for a while now—I think you guys first invited me to the team last October [2015]—but I wasn’t around for the early drafts or the initial pitch to Annex. Tell me a little bit about how this play got started.

Courtney Meaker: After I graduated college in 2008, I worked at a summer camp in Vermont for a very small stipend. The counselors were all recent college graduates and all about to begin our lost year—that/those time(s) when you’re directionless, when before you’d known exactly where you were going. Summer camp was a great distraction from thinking about the future, but it occurred to me that each of us quickly realized the economic situation we were all in, the fact that we were working ridiculous hours for not much break time, and a very small stipend, and I saw each of us start to devolve into the teenagers we were watching. We were like them. They had rubbed off on us. We were annoyed and snippy with our bosses. We wanted to hook up with each other in secret and shirk all of our duties. Many years later, I decided to write about that time, but to focus it on queer women at all girls summer camp, and their economic situation. Naturally, it became it a horror.

Kaytlin McIntyre: Courtney and I first started working together when she joined the Seattle Rep Writers’ Group.

CM: Kaytlin was leading it the year I started and I was still playing with what I wanted The Lost Girls to be. She read an incomplete draft and wanted to take it to Annex.

KM: I’d admired Courtney’s work for a while, but I was particularly drawn to The Lost Girls’ combination of humor and high stakes, both the supernatural and ultra-familiar. Not to mention, it’s an ensemble of women, and these women are complex and flawed and brave—the characters in this play feel more connected to the people I see in my world than some other plays.

SK: And how refreshing to have a play with a bunch of queer characters that’s not overtly about being queer. That’s something I was excited about by this play from the get-go: Courtney, you’re so good at weaving your politics into the fabric of the play, without it being all issue, issue, issue.

KM: Right, and those issues do sometimes pop into the foreground, like the conversations in the play around student debt and college-educated people looking for work in the ressions, plus some of the moments in the play that deal directly with the rock-and-hard-place-ness of being a woman in this patriarchal world.

CM: The thing I’ve always loved most about this play is seeing the relationships between these women unfold in its humor, sadness, and psychological torture.

SK: This time last year, there were seven characters in this play and we lost one. What else has changed in the development of the play in the past year we’ve been talking about it?

CM: This draft is light years ahead of where I started. There used to be many more characters, for one. In one draft, the kids were visible. In another draft, there was a magic coat. In a lot of the drafts the haunting was hinted at without any explanation whatsoever, and also without being that scary. And there used to be dot matrix printer at the center of the action. So, yeah. It’s changed a lot.

KM: RIP, dot matrix printer sequence.

SK: It was sad to see it go, but I think where you landed with that sequence it better.

KM: Absolutely.

SK: I’ll say for me, one of the great joys of working on this project has been getting an upclose view of both of your untangling of the multitude of things going on in this play. And it’s also been so great to see it come to life in this space; I’m so excited for you to see it.

CM: Having to work on this play in Iowa City while [the cast and production team] toil away in rehearsals in Seattle has been really hard for me. I’m excited to see everything that’s happened under Kaytlin’s direction, the actors’ talent, and the designers’ thrilling spectacles.

KM: As a director, I’m excited to get to the point in the process where I hand this story over entirely to the actors. So much of the very root of this story—both the serious parts and the humor—are so personal. I can’t wait for the actors to fully own it on opening night and throughout the run.

The Lost Girls

Written by Courtney Meaker
Directed by Kaytlin McIntyre
October 28 – November 19, 2016
Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30PM
PWYC Preview*: Wednesday, Oct. 26
PWYC Industry Night*: Monday, Nov. 7
run time: 2 hours, including intermission
At an all-girls summer camp, five recent college grads are charged with keeping a slew of hormonal teenagers alive. Saddled with crippling student loans and paid a pitiful stipend for ninety-one days of babysitting, the counselors forego their actual work to have one last hurrah before adulthood kicks in. But when campers start to disappear, the party is over. Our heroes turn to a mysterious teen who seems to have the answers. but will they solve the puzzle in time to escape? The Lost Girls is a new horror-comedy from celebrated local playwright Courtney Meaker about privilege and purpose, feminism and fear.

An Interview with Director and Playwright

Alysha Curry
Rachel Guyer-Mafune
Shermona Mitchell
Jordi Montes
Zenaida Smith
Dayo Vice

Design/Production Team
Dramaturg: Sara Keats
Assistant Director: Maggie Rogers
Stage Manager: Liza Vaughn
Assistant Stage Manager: Laura Owens
Scenic Designer: Jenny Littlefield
Props Designer: Emma Ambacher
Costume Designer: Corinne Magin
Lighting Designer: Gwyn Skone
Sound Designer: Erin Bednarz
Fight Choreographer: Ryan Higgins

*Pay-What-You-Can performances. Pre-order full-price tickets online, or name your price at the door.


Written by Quinn Armstrong
Directed by Kaytlin McIntyre

Jan 30 – Feb 21
Thu, Fri & Sat at 8pm | Mon, Feb 9 industry night
All Thurs PWYC
$20 general/$18 advance tickets
$12 senior, military, TPS / $5 student

Fleeing the censorship of Soviet Russia, a brilliant composer stumbles upon a strange town where all of Russian history is happening at once. Saints and spies, performing bears and falling cosmonauts — all collide in the shadow of the candy factory in this dark and delicious phantasmagoria.

“‘Zapoi’ is Russian slang, dating back to at least the 19th century, for the national habit of going on days-long benders so catastrophic that, as one ethnographer reported to the Anthropological Society of London in 1870, they ‘are regarded as a disease.’ The word doesn’t appear anywhere besides the title in Quinn Armstrong’s world-premiere comedy at Annex Theatre, but it could be a one-word summary of a sprawling fantasia that treats Russian suffering and derangement as an endemic sickness…. It’s a delirious and damaged run at Our Town, filtered through the battered kidneys of Russian history…. Kayla Walker gives a commanding performance as the KGB agent Oksana, a woman with 1940s Hollywood glamour and torture chambers hidden behind her meticulously charming smile…. Zapoi! tends to be funniest when things are at their worst…. its darkness is delightful.” – The Stranger

Zapoi!, the new play from writer Quinn Armstrong that is playing at Annex Theatre through February 21, is surrealist and ambitious…. it is a play that I hope a lot of people see and think and talk about. It’s what Annex Theatre likes to call a ‘#BoldNewWork.’ Armstrong and director Kaytlin McIntyre deserve credit for creating a work that never feels predictable…. What I found so timely and relevant about Zapoi!, was that the subjects of free speech and free will come up and they’re impossible to ignore…. there are so many ideas coming out of Zapoi! in its two and a half hours, that they all can’t be explored fully, and really shouldn’t be. It leaves a lot to the audience to continue the conversation afterward.” – The Journal of Precipitation

Kevin Bordi Matvei, Yuri the Cosmonaut
Nathan Brockett Alexei, Violin Bear
Ben Burris Andrei, Comedy Bear, Man in Black
Sophia Franzella Anastasia
Frank Lawler Kiril
Jordi Montes Anna, Joan
Carol Thompson Sobaka
Kayla Walker Oksana
James Weidman Pericolo
Scenic Designer Catherine Cornell
Lighting Designer Ryan Dunn
Sound Designer Alex Potter
Properties Designer Brandon Estrella
Costume Designer Arin Larson
Assistant Director Zoe Wilson
Stage Manager Mike Hennessy
Poster Designer Keara Burton
Musical Director Matt Giles
Fight Choreographer Caleb Penn
Voice Over Actor Alex Matthews
Technical Director Ian Johnston
Production Manager Kaeline Kine