Natalie Zutter

Natalie Zutter

Natalie Zutter is a playwright, audio dramatist, pop culture critic, and screenwriter living in New York City. Her work utilizes science fiction tropes and pop culture trends to explore feminist issues, cultural shifts, and how storytelling evolves. Her work has been developed/performed on the Amtrak Residency, at The Brick’s Comic Book Theater Festival, The Tank, Caps Lock Theatre’s Sex With Robots Festival at...
Natalie Zutter is a playwright, audio dramatist, pop culture critic, and screenwriter living in New York City. Her work utilizes science fiction tropes and pop culture trends to explore feminist issues, cultural shifts, and how storytelling evolves. Her work has been developed/performed on the Amtrak Residency, at The Brick’s Comic Book Theater Festival, The Tank, Caps Lock Theatre’s Sex With Robots Festival at The Secret Theatre, Fresh Ground Pepper's BRB at Judson Memorial Church, The Navigators’ Lift-Off Festival, True False Theatre, and TinyRhino in New York City; with Quantum Dragon Theatre in Berkeley; with Sacred Fools in Los Angeles; and with Otherworld Theatre Company and The Arc Theatre in Chicago.

Her radio play Not Your (Final) Girl, in which two true-crime podcasters write their own horror-story endings, was broadcast in 2017 as part of Distilled Theatre Company’s dtc radio season 5. Proxies, her radio play about emotional labor and the gig economy in 2023, will be part of dtc radio season 6. Her podcast audio drama Message in a Bottle was a Second Rounder at Austin Film Festival’s inaugural Podcast Competition.

By day she is a staff writer for sci-fi/fantasy and pop culture site Tor.com. You can find her online @nataliezutter (Twitter), @zutsuit (Instagram), and on the New Play Exchange.

Plays

  • Split Second
    Thanks to a particular recessive gene, men can time travel, while women struggle to keep up with biological implants. But why won’t they consider the rumors of infertility, or the children that need protecting? And the recent shootings at the implant Centers surely prove that women are better off staying grounded.

    Penelope, the perennial girlfriend of travelers, has just gotten her time travel...
    Thanks to a particular recessive gene, men can time travel, while women struggle to keep up with biological implants. But why won’t they consider the rumors of infertility, or the children that need protecting? And the recent shootings at the implant Centers surely prove that women are better off staying grounded.

    Penelope, the perennial girlfriend of travelers, has just gotten her time travel implant when an active shooter sends the Center into lockdown. Barricaded in an examination room with the nurse and with her best friend Dana popping in and out of time, Penelope must unravel the timestream of her own life (not unlike her unintentional namesake, Penelope from The Odyssey) to figure out what brought all of them here.

    Play is on its first draft--seeking development opportunities.
  • An Awful Waste of Space
    "Take us to your leader."
    "...About that."

    In the days after Hurricane Maria, a rogue park ranger makes first contact at SETI's Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Part of The Navigators' Lift-Off New Play Festival in 2017.
  • Garters
    In a run-down brothel on a little-trafficked road, Sir Yvain—a disgraced knight on a desperate quest—reunites with the last person they ever expected to find in the middle of nowhere: Hedy, who once followed Yvain in a mad plan to disguise themselves as boys to train as knights a lifetime ago.

    Part of Otherworld Theatre Company's Paragon: A Sci-Fi & Fantasy Play Festival in 2018.
  • Proxies
    Five years from now, the gig economy has expanded to include emotional labor: just as you can catch an Uber or outsource your errands to TaskRabbit, you can hire an emotional labor proxy to break up with someone, educate people to be more “woke,” and cut toxic people out of your life. When Jo takes on the proxy gig of cutting off contact between Frank and his estranged daughter, she never imagines that she will...
    Five years from now, the gig economy has expanded to include emotional labor: just as you can catch an Uber or outsource your errands to TaskRabbit, you can hire an emotional labor proxy to break up with someone, educate people to be more “woke,” and cut toxic people out of your life. When Jo takes on the proxy gig of cutting off contact between Frank and his estranged daughter, she never imagines that she will see him through anyone else’s eyes, least of all her own.
  • Not Your (Final) Girl
    This week on Murder Is My Jam, the only true-crime podcast with serial killers and self-care, Sidney is anxious and Ellen isn’t here. Or, Sidney knows exactly where Ellen is, but first she has to navigate this week’s horror story, about what happens to two female podcasters who dare to talk about murder. But Sidney has a message for the listeners: No matter what you say, she is “Not Your (Final) Girl.”...
    This week on Murder Is My Jam, the only true-crime podcast with serial killers and self-care, Sidney is anxious and Ellen isn’t here. Or, Sidney knows exactly where Ellen is, but first she has to navigate this week’s horror story, about what happens to two female podcasters who dare to talk about murder. But Sidney has a message for the listeners: No matter what you say, she is “Not Your (Final) Girl.” Broadcast as part of dtc radio season 5 (link under Music Samples).
  • A Real Boy
    Robert learns that, for a human, Zora is eerily good at compartmentalizing. Part of Caps Lock Theatre's Sex With Robots Festival.
  • Denial and Other Safe Spaces
    When a larp (live-action role-playing game) and kink convention accidentally book the same campsite for the same weekend, secret identities are exposed, boundaries are blurred, and biases about communities of weirdos are challenged.

    (Play is on its second draft--seeking development opportunities.)
  • Finished For Love
    In 1759, milliner-turned-courtesan Kitty Fisher approaches painter Joshua Reynolds with a business proposition: help her repair her ruined reputation through a series of paintings, and her fame will elevate his standing. In 1767, Kitty dies at the age of 26, leaving behind a legacy as Reynolds’ muse and the first person famous for being famous. Through six key portraits, Finished For Love traces the less-than-a...
    In 1759, milliner-turned-courtesan Kitty Fisher approaches painter Joshua Reynolds with a business proposition: help her repair her ruined reputation through a series of paintings, and her fame will elevate his standing. In 1767, Kitty dies at the age of 26, leaving behind a legacy as Reynolds’ muse and the first person famous for being famous. Through six key portraits, Finished For Love traces the less-than-a-decade of Kitty and Reynolds’ professional partnership and close friendship. As their collaborations disseminate Kitty’s image into every newspaper and snuffbox in London, the controversial courtesan begins to wonder if fame and fortune are worth the price of giving up a normal life.

    (Play is on its second draft--seeking development opportunities.)
  • RETCONtroversy
    Stinger (a.k.a. Nora Echolls) was everyone's favorite girl-wonder, rooftop-jumping sidekick, until a tragic attack left her partially paralyzed. Slowly and painfully, Eleanor recreated herself as Echo, a brainy superhero support system. But twenty years later, she's being retconned: Stinger is back, shiny and new, and was never paralyzed to begin with! Now, Echo has to use that big brain of hers to...
    Stinger (a.k.a. Nora Echolls) was everyone's favorite girl-wonder, rooftop-jumping sidekick, until a tragic attack left her partially paralyzed. Slowly and painfully, Eleanor recreated herself as Echo, a brainy superhero support system. But twenty years later, she's being retconned: Stinger is back, shiny and new, and was never paralyzed to begin with! Now, Echo has to use that big brain of hers to keep the canon from changing. Unfortunately, her smartest idea was to kidnap her younger self. (Presented at The Brick's Comic Book Theater Festival 2014.) (Play is currently being expanded into a full-length--seeking development opportunities.)
  • Crush Hour
    Teresa confronts a manspreader and explains why those of us with vaginas need our space, too.

    Monologue written for Caps Lock Theatre's Pussyfest III: The Reckoning.
  • Power-Ups
    Opal, a video-game sprite who exists solely to provide power-ups to travelers along the way, confronts you, the protagonist of this adventure. And she's had it with chasing after you.

    Written for Fresh Ground Pepper's Runway, in which fashion designers provide a sketch as the prompt for a monologue.
  • Can't Unsee
    Regan, Julie, and Hannah are trying to recreate the sleepovers of their adolescence as twentysomethings, complete with wine and looking at the nude photos of celebrities released by the hack. But Hannah doesn't want to look.

    Written for UglyRhino's TinyRhino: A Theatrical Drinking Game: Back to School Edition, incorporating the following rules: someone says the pledge of allegiance | a...
    Regan, Julie, and Hannah are trying to recreate the sleepovers of their adolescence as twentysomethings, complete with wine and looking at the nude photos of celebrities released by the hack. But Hannah doesn't want to look.

    Written for UglyRhino's TinyRhino: A Theatrical Drinking Game: Back to School Edition, incorporating the following rules: someone says the pledge of allegiance | a bell rings | someone bites an apple | someone is peer-pressured | someone uses a classic school supply.
  • Stealthy Starbucks
    CIA HQ Starbucks, 3 a.m. Barista Lenore and the Agent both work the night shifts, but despite their many late-night chats (and the secret extra shots on the house), Lenore still doesn't know her friend's real name.

    Written for The Tank's Rule of 7x7: Summer Edition, incorporating the following rules: each playwright is a character in his/her own play | a prayer on page two | a...
    CIA HQ Starbucks, 3 a.m. Barista Lenore and the Agent both work the night shifts, but despite their many late-night chats (and the secret extra shots on the house), Lenore still doesn't know her friend's real name.

    Written for The Tank's Rule of 7x7: Summer Edition, incorporating the following rules: each playwright is a character in his/her own play | a prayer on page two | a broken iPhone | 3 a.m. | "You know what your problem is? _______" | spit-take or triple-take | the play must end with the title of a Beatles song.
  • Taking Inventory
    Inspired by the prompt "a widower, his son, and the meaning of life" and real-life tragedy. In Her Room: Before, Warren packs for his daughter's sleepover; in Her Room: After, Seth packs for her funeral.