Meet Savannah Reich, Author of “Paradise Park Zoo” the CCA Theatre Spring Production

Image of Savannah reich, Paradise Park Zoo authorHave you ever wondered about if we are truly free – or whether we are all trapped in a cage?

And are we trapped in a cage of our own creation or someone else’s creation?

Chicago-based playwright Savannah Reich had those same questions but turned her ponderings into “Paradise Park Zoo”, the Community College of Aurora Spring Theatre Department production.

Now it’s your turn to meet Savannah your questions about “Paradise Park Zoo”, playwriting, and how to make political art that isn’t simply propaganda. (Also be sure to get your tickets for “Paradise Park Zoo!” CCA students you can attend for free by registering!)

Savannah will visit CCA from March 15 to March 17 and host a variety of panels and sessions – some open to the public and others open only to CCA students. See below for a full list of events.

Before Savannah visits CCA, we wanted to briefly talk with her about “Paradise Park Zoo”, playwriting, and what got her interested in writing.

  1. Could you provide a brief summary of what “Paradise Park Zoo” is about?

The play takes place in a kind of dream-like, illogical zoo of the mind. All of the animals seem only semi-aware that they are in cages, and unsure of whether or not it is a problem. There is a great quote from the anarchist Emma Goldman where she talks about how studying animals in captivity is different than observing them in the wild: “Their character, their habits, their appetites undergo a complete transformation when torn from their soil in field and forest. With human nature caged in a narrow space, whipped daily into submission, how can we speak of its potentialities?” This play is a kind of loose and goofy meditation about human nature in its caged state.

  1. What inspired you to write “Paradise Park Zoo”?

The prompt I gave to myself was “write about how capitalism feels”. I wanted to write something on political themes without talking about ideas or theory or proposing any action; I just wanted to look inward and ask myself how capitalism, patriarchy, and a culture built on institutional oppression feels to the people living inside it, both those actively experiencing oppression and those in positions of power. That still makes it sound so intellectual; it’s really just all about feelings.


Opportunities to Meet with Savannah

Wednesday, March 15

CentreTech Campus – Fine Arts Building – Larry D. Carter Theater

11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. – Discuss Paradise Park Zoo with Savannah Reich through the lens of a theater artist and interpreter.

12:45 – 2:00 p.m. – Fine Arts Building – Larry D. Carter Theater

Join Savannah Reich for lunch and ask questions about her most recent play, Paradise Park Zoo. Food and drinks will be provided. Hosted by LGBT Student Alliance. ONLY open to CCA community

Thursday, March 16

CentreTech Campus – Fine Arts Building – Larry D. Carter Theater

9:30 – 10:45 a.m. – Savannah Reich will meet with CCA’s American Literature Post-Civil War students to discuss the purpose of American literature and the responsibility, inherently, that American authors hold.

CentreTech Campus – Fine Arts Building – Larry D. Carter Theater

11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. – Another opportunity to discuss Paradise Park Zoo with Savannah Reich through the lens of a theater artist and interpreter.

CentreTech Campus – Fine Arts Building – Larry D. Carter Theater

2:00 – 3:15 p.m. – Dialogue with Savannah Reich discussing the sociology of diversity and exploration of how people convey complex ideas about diverse experiences.

CentreTech Campus – Fine Arts Building – Larry D. Carter Theater

7:30 p.m. (curtain) – Attend opening night for an opportunity to discuss Paradise Park Zoo and CCA’s production with Savannah Reich.

Friday, March 17

CentreTech Campus – Fine Arts Building – F100

10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Playwriting workshop with Savannah Reich about the purpose of art and how to make political art that doesn’t become propaganda. The workshop will include conversations and series of exercises to explore these ideas together. Lunch will be provided. Email Stacey D’Angelo atStacey.dangelo@ccaurora.edu to register for the event. ONLY open to CCA community


  1. What was the most challenging part of writing “Paradise Park Zoo”?

I had a really hard time finding the ending. There are three or four alternate endings that I wrote and then threw away. I have a hard time with endings, because I feel like they are supposed to solve the equation or sum up what the play is about, and a lot of times when I’m writing I have no idea what the play is about.

  1. What motivated you to become a playwright and pursue this field as a career?

It’s something I’ve done since I was a small child. I was very bossy and wanted to tell everyone where to stand and what to say. Now I’m just addicted.

  1. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to write a play?

Writing plays is really hard. You have to do battle with the voice in your head that keeps trying to find out if what you’re writing is any good or not; the voice in your head is terrified of bad writing. But you have to do a lot of bad writing to get through a play. So my advice is, don’t worry if it feels hard, it’s hard for everybody; don’t worry if the writing is bad, it’s just a draft; and don’t worry if you get stuck. Just keep muddling through it however you can and then eventually, you’ll have a play.

Even if you can’t make it to meet with Savannah, don’t forget to attend “Paradise Park Zoo”! Ticket details are below.

Show Information

March 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25 at 7:30 PM

Larry D. Carter Theater
Community College of Aurora
Fine Arts Building
16000 E. CentreTech Parkway, Aurora, CO 80011

CCA Students are Free; Register for Your Free Tickets
General Admission Ticket: $7 – Cash, check, or credit accepted at the door 

Box office opens 1/2 hour prior to curtain. General seating, first come first served. The play is not intended for young audience members. Suggested age is 12 and up.

Refreshments will be available for purchase during intermission. Running time approximately 2 hours with three short acts.

For more information contact Stacey D’Angelo at 303-340-7529 or email Stacey.dangelo@ccaurora.edu

About the Author

Joe Florkowski is the web content specialist in CCA's Communications Department. He received his B.A. in communications - journalism from California State University, Fullerton in 2002 and his M.S. in leadership and management from the University of LaVerne in 2011. He has more than 15 years of experience as a writer and editor in a variety of print and online fields.