Holly Arsenault

Holly Arsenault

Holly Arsenault is a Montreal-born, Seattle-based playwright. She is the recipient of the 2013 Theater Puget Sound Gregory Award Outstanding New Play and the 2013 Seattle Theater Writers Gypsy Rose Lee Award for Excellence in Local Playwriting for her play, UNDO, which premiered at Annex Theatre in Seattle in January, 2013. UNDO was also a short-list nominee for the American Theatre Critics Association New Play...
Holly Arsenault is a Montreal-born, Seattle-based playwright. She is the recipient of the 2013 Theater Puget Sound Gregory Award Outstanding New Play and the 2013 Seattle Theater Writers Gypsy Rose Lee Award for Excellence in Local Playwriting for her play, UNDO, which premiered at Annex Theatre in Seattle in January, 2013. UNDO was also a short-list nominee for the American Theatre Critics Association New Play Awards, and a semi-finalist for the Princess Grace Award. UNDO is published in Rain City Projects' Manifesto v.4, edited by Chay Yew.

Holly's short play, 24 PICTURES OF A PILOT was a finalist for the Heideman Award at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and is published in Rain City Projects' Manifesto v.2, edited by Steven Dietz.

Holly's other full-length plays are MARVELOUS, an original adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen" set in a depression-era circus (premiere: The Drama School at Seattle Children's Theatre, 2014), THE CUT, a two-hander about love and death, and THE MANOR, a play about dementia, sexual consent, and Nicki Minaj, which were both developed and read at Seattle Repertory Theatre.

Holly is an alum of the Seattle Repertory Theatre Writers Group and a member of the Dramatists Guild of America. She holds a BA from the University of Washington School of Drama, where she also works. She lives in Seattle with her husband, Matthew Richter, the Cultural Space Liaison for the City of Seattle, and their son.

Plays

  • Marvelous
    The year is 1932. Kai and Gertie are best friends who've grown up together in a traveling circus. Gertie's mom is the famous trapeze artist Lula Lane, Kai is the famous Boy Wonder, whose angelic voice is said to heal any ailment, and Gertie is...not famous. Kai and Gertie both live in terror of the evil boss lady, Ms. Maudie Blackmore, who keeps Kai--an orphan--in indentured servitude, forcing him to...
    The year is 1932. Kai and Gertie are best friends who've grown up together in a traveling circus. Gertie's mom is the famous trapeze artist Lula Lane, Kai is the famous Boy Wonder, whose angelic voice is said to heal any ailment, and Gertie is...not famous. Kai and Gertie both live in terror of the evil boss lady, Ms. Maudie Blackmore, who keeps Kai--an orphan--in indentured servitude, forcing him to eat table scraps and sleep with the pigs.

    One morning when Gertie goes to find Kai, he is gone. And Gertie's in for another shock: Kai's bunk mate, Sal the Educated Pig, can talk--and so can all the other animals in the circus. Sal believes that Kai has been kidnapped, but he knows that there's only one person in the circus who can find out for sure: Goleta the Snake Charmer. Scared, but determined to help Kai, Gertie and Sal visit Goleta, who sends her snakes out to search the vast snake network for information on Kai's disappearance. After a long night of waiting, Virgil the Snake returns with the news that Kai has, indeed, been taken, and by none other than the world's most nefarious sorceress: The Snow Queen.

    Gertie and Sal go on a quest to rescue Kai. Along the way, they are captured (and then befriended) by Lou, the robber kid, who helps them talk their way into another circus where they plan to put Gertie up as a magic kid in an effort to tempt The Snow Queen's henchmen into kidnapping her, too.

    But here, things go a little sideways. The henchman does show up, but in a surprising form, and Gertie does make it to The Snow Queen's camp, but she finds something very different there than what she was expecting.

    In the end, Gertie learns that there's more than one way to be special and that even the most "unmagical" of us can make a difference in the world.

    Note: MARVELOUS is based on Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen". This version was written to be performed by young actors. I am currently at work on adapting MARVELOUS for adult performers.
  • Undo
    "The premise is so simple and brilliant—what if a divorce were a public event precisely like your wedding, with guests and presents and an officiant and tons of booze?—that it threatens to overpower the show itself. But Arsenault’s sharp wit and ear for honest dialogue, which focuses on realistically mundane details and then telescopes to huge family drama, makes the concept work beautifully. Bring someone...
    "The premise is so simple and brilliant—what if a divorce were a public event precisely like your wedding, with guests and presents and an officiant and tons of booze?—that it threatens to overpower the show itself. But Arsenault’s sharp wit and ear for honest dialogue, which focuses on realistically mundane details and then telescopes to huge family drama, makes the concept work beautifully. Bring someone to talk it over with after; you’ll surely want to." - THE STRANGER

    UNDO takes place in a universe that is exactly like our own with one important difference: in order to get a divorce, you must go through a backwards version of your own wedding ceremony.

    We meet Rachel, the "bride," and Joe, the "groom," on the morning of their undoing. As their families gather, it becomes clear that the burden of the occasion is weighing on them all, drawing old wounds and secrets to the surface. A religious proscription that, though alcohol is allowed, food is not, further fuels the group unraveling. While Joe resorts to extreme measures to halt the proceedings and Rachel doubles down on questionable choices, the matriarch enlists the best man as her reluctant confessor, a long-deferred romance is rekindled, and the youngest sister emerges as the family’s moral backbone.

    UNDO is the recipient of the 2013 Theatre Puget Sound Gregory Award for Outstanding New Play and the 2013 Seattle Theatre Writers' Gypsy Rose Lee Award for Excellence in Local Playwriting. It was nominated for the 2013 American Theatre Critics Association New Play Awards and was a semi-finalist for the 2014 Princess Grace Award.