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The Subtext: Ike Holter

The prolific playwright talks about his newest play ‘Rightlynd,’ his adopted hometown of Chicago, and how he handles rejection.

The Subtext is a podcast where playwrights talk to playwrights about the things usually left unsaid. In a conversation that dives into life’s muck, we learn what irks, agitates, motivates, inspires, and ultimately what makes writers tick.

On this episode, Brian meets Ike Holter, author of Exit Strategy, Hit the Wall, Wolf at the End of the Block, and Lottery Day. A Minneapolis native, he is now one of Chicago’s most renowned playwrights. His newest play Rightlynd is currently running at Victory Gardens through Dec. 23.

As a child Ike knew he was going to be a writer. Indeed he says there was nothing else he was good at, which is why he moved to Chicago for college completely focused on becoming a playwright.

Ike immediately became aware of Chicago’s theatre allure and knew he would be staying to forge a career after graduation. He spent his first few years in two collaborating with a close grew of theatremakers, but it didn’t take long for Ike’s plays to connect with the community. At the nudging of one of his professors, Chicago playwright Brett Neveu, Ike checked out the work of A Red Orchid Theatre and immediately became hooked.

He has since cultivated relationships with theatre companies all over town and has begun developing work that connects deeply with the Chicago community and its concerns, eventually creating a seven-part saga of plays set in the fictional 51st Ward of Chicago.

In this interview Ike makes clear that the hustle never ends, even when a playwright seems to have the world at their fingertips. He describes the pitching and rejection process he goes through constantly. But he doesn’t get cynical, reasoning, “A rejection for me is something really good for someone else.”

Download the episode here.

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