Instructions for a Séance

A photo of the playwright Katie Bender
by Katie Bender
Available online: Thursday, February 16 – Wednesday, February 22

Instructions for a Séance is a DIY séance hosted by writer/performer Katie Bender. It invites a small audience to conjure escape artist Harry Houdini, in order to learn how to escape our own lives. But another presence haunts the edges of the séance; a figure overlooked for far too long, who set aside her own needs for others, who has things she still wants to say, and dammit, she’s going to get her say. Part magic show, part historical drag, Instructions for a Séance explores the gauntlet that is motherhood, artistic ambition, and escapism. 

From Katie: “More theatrically ambitious and personal than previous plays I’ve written, Instructions for a Séance combines sleight-of-hand with personal narrative. The Ruth Easton series at the Playwrights’ Center gives me the rare and necessary opportunity as writer and performer to try out pieces of the performance before a live audience.”


Originally featured in the 2022-23 Ruth Easton New Play Series in November 2022, Instructions for a Séance by Katie Bender will be available to stream again for a limited time following Katie's appearance in Artists in Conversation: Beyond the Box. No need to RSVP. To join the séance, follow the link below.


Watch Instructions for a Séance

The Funders of the Ruth Easton New Play Series

The funders of the Ruth Easton New Play Series
Actress Ruth Easton (nee Edelstein) was born in North Branch, Minnesota and graduated from North Branch High School. She attended the University of Minnesota for one year and the following year attended Macalester College before finishing her collegiate career at Cumnock School in Los Angeles. She went on to New York where she studied acting with Oliver Morosco. Mr. Morosco opened a stock theater company in upstate New York where Ms. Easton starred in several plays. After performing with other stock theater companies she returned to New York City where she appeared in five Broadway plays over a period of seven years. They included Exceedingly Small, Privilege Car, Town Bay, Buckaroo and Charlie Chan. Exceedingly Small was directed by Ethel Barrymore and Easton played opposite Eric Dressler. New York critics praised her performance as “thoroughly touching” and “highly spirited and excellent.” She starred in radio dramas on the Rudy Vallee Hour and the Fleischmann’s Yeast Hour opposite such actors as Walter Huston, Judith Anderson and Lionel Barrymore. She also appeared with Clark Gable, Eddie Cantor and Al Jolson during the course of her career. Ms. Easton’s legacy, her commitment to theater and the development of new works continues through the charitable gifts made by the Ruth Easton Fund of the Edelstein Family Foundation.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.