Ammie Jergenson is from La Crescent, Minnesota. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre with an English minor from Viterbo University in 2018. Since graduating, she has worked as an apprentice at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and as a temporary program assistant for the Viterbo University Fine Arts Center, and she is currently saving up to hopefully attend graduate school within the next few years. Although playwriting is her main focus, she also enjoys writing poetry and creative nonfiction, and her work has been published in the Albion Review and Touchstone, Viterbo’s literary magazine. Being one of the 2019 National Young Playwrights in Residence has been wonderful, and she is very grateful to the Echo Theater Company for the experience and for pairing her up with her awesome mentor, Molly Smith Metzler.
Can you describe a theater moment that particularly inspired you?
Oh, so many! Recently, I’ve been rereading Paula Vogel’s Indecent. I remember when the filmed performance came on PBS late one right. I had to get up early for work the next morning, but I couldn’t stop watching it. It’s such a hauntingly beautiful play. For shows I’ve worked on, nothing makes me happier than being in a rehearsal space and learning from everyone every day.
What draws you to writing for the theater?
There’s nothing like it. It’s a way to both teach and entertain. There’s no greater thrill for me. And I love how theatre brings people together. Creating a piece of theatre is such a cool collaborative effort—from the first reading, to strangers in the audience sitting together and sharing a moment.
What first drew you to the theater?
My mom was watching The Phantom of the Opera on TV one night when I was twelve. I came in part of the way through the movie and was hooked. She took me to see it live a year later, and I knew I wanted to be involved in theatre in some way. I began participating in my school’s drama club on the tech side of things. I haven’t stopped thinking about theatre since. All of the arts have been such a bright spot in my life. I’m really glad my mom was flipping through channels and decided to watch The Phantom of the Opera that one night.
What is one particularly inspiring thing you’ve learned/experienced in theater/writing? Either in a show/class/workshop/rehearsal/from another person?
I’ve always had a lot of doubt about my writing. I’ve had the honor of having Molly Smith Metzler as my mentor during my time as a National Young Playwright in Residence. One of the first things Molly said to me was, “I’m not going to let you get in your own way,” and that’s something I’ll never forget. I love what I do, and I can’t let myself get in my own way.