Meet Our Interns: Franziska Lee

August 15, 2023
PlayCo is proud to introduce emerging artists and young professionals to the kaleidoscopic world of a professional producing theater through our paid internship program! Under the guidance of staff members and mentors, interns are embedded deeply within the day-to-day operations of their chosen department and are given the opportunity to pursue projects of their own design. This summer, we asked PlayCo's interns to interview each other for The HUB.
Meet the Participants

Daria Yashnyk (she/her) is a rising senior studying Theatre Arts and Media Communications at Drew University. She has starred in Ukrainian movies such as "The Sixties" and "Cult". Daria is extremely excited to be a part of PlayCo as a Marketing Intern.

Franziska Lee (she/they) is a rising senior studying English & Comparative Literature and Ethnicity & Race Studies at Columbia University. During the school year, she serves as a staff editor on 4 x 4 Literary Magazine and the Columbia Journal of Literary Criticism. She was previously the summer 2023 Artistic & Literary Intern at PlayCo.

Tell me about yourself. Where are you from? Where do you call home?

My name is Franziska Lee. I’m from Connecticut near New Haven. I have 2 brothers and a sister, and I’m the oldest of 4. My father is Korean and my mother is German.

Wow, that’s fascinating. What about your major/minor?

Well, my major is English, and my minor - race and ethnicity studies

Why did you choose to major in English?

I always liked reading the most out of everything. And writing, but writing—I did a lot of creative writing workshops in high school, and the deadlines were helpful, but I felt like, when I was picking a major, I can get more academically out of literature

I think I have to ask about your minor since it’s quite a specific field of study. What motivated you to choose it?

I took an introductory class in ethnic studies freshman year, and I really, really liked it. I think that it’s the only department in Columbia where everyone was on board with, like, leftism and critical race theory. And so everyone starts with a base level of political awareness and concern, versus some other classes—Columbia has all these core required classes, so you end up with people from all different majors, which is cool, in one sense, because you get to meet different kinds of people—and it’s not like everybody in the majors is the same kind of person—but if you're trying to have a discussion about history or something, and people are like, “Well, I don't think colonization is bad,” or something like that…It's like you can't get that far with that. So I like the Ethnic Studies department, because everybody is to an extent on board; you can argue at a level where it’s productive.

What eventually brought you to PlayCo after all the process of finding an internship?

I saw on a Handshake the available position as an Artistic & Literary Intern in a theatre company, PlayCo. I haven’t done anything with theatre since elementary school but I was excited to learn.

What excited you about this internship position?

I was really excited about the prospect of getting to read plays all summer--it's something I would do for fun. I've also gotten to see a lot of performances and readings I wouldn't have even known about otherwise, much less been able to attend. I was excited about PlayCo specifically because of its commitment to producing plays from other countries and simultaneously to being accessible to and in dialogue with the community here in New York.

What are your responsibilities in this internship?

Mainly: researching, reading, and evaluating plays; maintaining the script database; researching and reaching out to playwrights and other theatremakers; calendaring and writing articles for the Hub; and participating in the readers’ meetings. I get to meet playwrights with Annie [Jin Wang, Assoc. Director for Programming] and Kate [Loewald, Founding Producer]. PlayCo has been working to reestablish its international theater network in the wake of the pandemic, so I've primarily been doing research with regards to that. The internship also includes the opportunity to pursue an independent project. I chose to create a dramaturgical casebook for a specific play from our database (Amir Gudarzi's The Assassins' Castle), which has been really fun.

What’s next? Where do you see yourself going once it's over?

For the future in general--I want to write. I would like to write a novel, although I don't know how realistic that is; and I'm applying for a playwriting class in the fall, which is exciting--I have never tried to write a play before, so that's my short-term goal. I want to do it when all the plays I’ve read and seen this summer are still fresh on my mind.

I need to figure out what I'm doing after I graduate. I think my main goal right now is clarity. I've been kind of poised to go into academia, but this internship has opened an entire avenue of possibility. Especially through working so much with Annie, I've learned a lot about dramaturgy, which I knew absolutely nothing about before--I didn't know it was a career you could have. I'm drawn to how it's a bit like literary analysis put into direct practice. And it's intrinsically so collaborative, unlike publishing an article in an academic journal.

Any final words of wisdom or advice for candidates who might be interested in applying for the internship?

Don't be too concerned about lack of experience within the specific field! The particular perspective and background you bring to the table are valuable in and of themselves.

Written by

Daria Yashnyk