Dennis Chowenhill Interviews Carol Lashof

Works by Women San Francisco

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Dennis Chowenhill, Resident Dramaturg at the Virago Theatre Company, shares the transcript of this illuminating interview of librettist, playwright, and educator Carol Lashof.

DC:  How did you get into playwriting?

Lashof:  I probably should credit my 4th Grade teacher.  I was at the Laboratory Schools in Chicago, a pre-K through high school, run by the University of Chicago in association with their Ed. School. There were a lot of “faculty brats” there. It’s the school the Obama kids went to when they were living in Chicago.  My 4th Grade teacher, Louise Pliss, had us write and produce a play, as a class. Actually, there were two teachers, Faye Abrams and Louise Pliss, who shared their classrooms.  Miss Pliss, who was also a children’s book writer, taught English, and that is where I was also introduced to Greek mythology. I can still remember the opening lines of…

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2 thoughts on “Dennis Chowenhill Interviews Carol Lashof

  1. Ms. Louise Pliss was my 4th grade teacher too, but in the mid 50’s at Lincoln School in Calumet City. She was my favorite of all teachers. We learned the beauty of books and taking the initiative to create and write as well. She would read aloud daily and THE SECRET GARDEN made my treasure list. She lived and commuted from 50th and South Shore Dr. her entire career. I went into
    nursing, married, family and discovered her name/number in phone book in late 1980’s. I called her and after only a few words she paused and stated my first and last name as a student in her class. AMAZING. She identified my voice and remembered that I loved to write poetry in her class. She was truly and educator from her soul. She always had her hair pulled straight back and styled in a “bun”. She loved wearing jumpers with white long sleeved blouses and black pumps with a tiny heel. Ms. Pliss will forever be in my heart. Sally Stockdale Hudson.

  2. Sally,

    How wonderful to know. Miss Pliss (as she was known to us then) was my first model of who I wanted to be when I grew up: a writer and a teacher. I wonder how many writers she has inspired. Quite a few years ago, I was reading a column in the Oakland Tribune by one of my favorite columnists: Brenda Payton. It was about her 3rd/4th grade teacher. A paragraph or two into the piece, I thought: sounds like Miss Pliss! And sure enough, a few sentences later, Ms. Payton gave the name of the teacher …

    If there happen to be any other fans of Louise Pliss out there reading this, please tell your stories!


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