Meet the Playwrights – Zombie Thoughts

May 26, 2021

We wrote Zombie Thoughts together when Oliver was 9 (and Jenny was 37). Ollie’s anxiety made it difficult for him to go to school at that point and he felt really sad and alone. It felt like grownups, especially teachers, didn’t understand him or give him the benefit of the doubt. We decided to write a play to try to help people understand what it feels like to have anxiety or to try to help people who are feeling anxious learn how to cope. Ollie had never written a play before, so it was a lot of hard work. Especially when we had to do a lot of revisions to get Sam and Pig and their story just right. We would take our dogs for walks and come up with ideas for the play, or Ollie would act them out and then Jenny would write things down on the page.

Ollie had the great idea to make it like a video game. We found that as we told Sam and Pig’s story, it gave us a way to make sense of our own experiences. When things went wrong, we could say that like Sam and Pig, we didn’t win this level but we would try again. Ollie says: “It has absolutely helped me grow as a person and a playwright, and I think a lot of people would benefit from trying to write a play.”

Jennifer A. Kokai & Oliver Kokai-Means

from 29 May 2021