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Meet 15yr old Andy Ladenburg

Andy Ladenburg is a fifteen year-old writer from New Jersey. Using advanced knowledge on historical settings and themes, one would call Andy's work decades beyond their age—towards both the future and the past.

Instagram: @spookyteenager

What is your name? What do you go by? How old are you? Where are you from?

A: My birth name is Angelina, but for my pen name I chose Andy Ladenburg. I am fifteen years old - (currently a sophomore in high school) - and I live in the New Jersey suburbs.

What is your thing? What is it that you do?
A: Overall I am a writer, but the form of writing I mainly focus on is playwriting. I also like writing realistic fictional prompts that correlate to my own personal experiences. That is more of a journalistic type of writing that I do occasionally.
Aside from writing, I like collecting old things such as postcards, clothes, and books. I do not have a collection of old photographs, but I follow blogs that post anatomy / anthropology diagrams, family pictures, etc. from the early 1900s. I like to screenshot those images and put them into a folder into my phone so I can look back to it for inspiration. That sounds kind of weird, but I think that exposing myself to these things has helped me with my own work.

What do you like to write about the most? How do those images influence that?

A: That's a good question. I usually go through phases of what I like to write about. My first play, "Lilac", is about a woman who is in love with her husband's sister. It is based in the late 1930s of Berlin, Germany, and homosexuality is illegal there at that time. While I was writing it, I was almost sure that writing the history of a queer person, (using the medium of theatre), was what I wanted to write about for several plays to come. I realized that no matter how much light I want to shed on this community of people, I do not want to be labeled as a political writer. I am a political person, but I do not feel that my work is political. It is supposed to execute feeling and emotion rather than politics. I think that is what I like to write mostly about: anything that I think will tell a story that has been left in the dark or a story that will cause a reader or an audience to identify with a particular character.

The old photographs & things that I collect influence the character-building part of the play, and eventually, (I hope), the costume-making.

In five years, where do you, ideally, see yourself?
A: In five years I see myself, well, twenty years old and in college studying journalism and play writing. I would like to think that by then, I would have had a few opportunities where I got my work staged, and my plays officially published. Who knows what might happen? I am eager for the longterm future, but I'm more eager to see what I will end up doing now during my time in high school.

How does being young impact your process? Are the adults in your life (parents, teachers, etc.) supportive?
A: I think that being young impacts what I do in both negative and positive ways. Sometimes I feel held back because I am not able to go to New York City, (which is the closest big city to me), consistently enough to join teen artist programs that my own area does not offer. Other times I feel lucky that my parents moved us from the city, (when I was very young), to live in the incredibly serene suburbs. I get upset at the fact that I live in such a small place sometimes, but I remember to step back and realize how lucky I am, and how many ways living in the suburbs actually positively impacts my thought process and work.
They do not show it to me very much, but I think that my parents admire my drive to find places outside of the small town I live in to get resources and mentorship. They have always been very, very supportive. They may not understand why I write what I write, but without them exposing me to all of the books I could ever want, I would have never found a love for writing. That sounds really cheesy, but I mean it.

What's your favorite piece of work, not by you?
A: My favorite piece of work in terms of film is Annie Hall. Anyone who knows me knows that I love Annie Hall. I never get tired of watching it, really. For a while I put Woody Allen on a pedestal, but it has been registering in my mind that he is a problematic person, so I have put his work on a pedestal in my mind instead of him as a person.
In terms of theatre, my favorite work is The Normal Heart. Larry Kramer will definitely be my favorite playwright for a long time for reasons I cannot really justify or put into words, but I can't help but wonder how in the world I am going to get a copy of Lilac sent to him. I do not care if he reads only one page or reads the plot and throws it away. Having Larry Kramer know that I exist as a playwright is a dream, haha! Now that I am really thinking about it, I don't know if I want to bother my favorite writers with my work. They have all been artists for ages and ages, and I am sure they have gotten tons of fan-mail and inquiries from aspiring writers.

What's your favorite piece of work that you've written?
A: I do not think that I have a favorite piece of my own work yet. Yes, I have work that I have felt satisfied with, but I have not made something that I feel incredibly in love with. I think that when I am finished with something, I just want to print it all out, put it in a folder, (probably publish it onto the internet), and put it away to start on something new again. I have been writing for seven years, but I have not held something in my hands and stated, "Wow, this is my favorite, and I do not think that I could make anything better." I feel as if I am always growing, and my writing is always changing.

Where can we find/read your work?
A: I have my most recent play up on Wattpad, and I plan on publishing future plays on there too. I haven't been writing many essays, but if I do, I usually put the link for it in the bio of my instagram.

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