Mai oh my what a writer! 

By Katy Nally

Mai oh my what a writer! 

Have you ever met a playwright? I hear there aren’t as many as there used to be. So, if you’re fortunate enough to cross paths with one, consider carving out a moment to chat. If Mai Sennaar is any indication, they’re fascinating.

At 2A we’re always looking to grow our crew of creative minds, so we jumped at the chance to add Mai’s talent to the mix. Mai wowed us with the fact that she ran her own production company and wrote, directed, and produced several plays. Her first production, The Broken Window Theory, starred a Tony Award winner. In addition, her play The Arsonist was performed at both the Smithsonian Affiliate Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco and the Berkeley Art Museum.

A natural-born creative with an immense ability to wield words, Mai takes the storyteller position to new heights. Much like one of her plays, Mai’s work at 2A builds the story arc, pulls the audience in, and influences the reader’s point of view.

Building the story arc

Mai comes from a creative household. Her mother was a founding member of Sweet Honey in the Rock and went on to compose music for the Broadway show, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf. While at Howard Community College, Mai started channeling her creative streak into theater and even picked up an award for one of her early works. By then she’d caught the playwrighting bug and applied to NYU Tisch School of the Arts to study with the greats.

At Tisch she learned the ancient art of storytelling and practiced building stories to follow a narrative arc. Euripides and Sophocles taught her the origins of dramatic writing, and mentors like Richard Wesley encouraged her own burgeoning voice. After graduating, Mai wrote The Fall of the Kings, which debuted at the Andrew Freedman Home in the Bronx.

Pulling the audience in

Mai knows how to expertly uncover cherished soundbites so characters can woo an audience and marketers can connect with customers. Just before joining 2A, Mai worked for the U.S. Senate democrats as a digital creative director, writing commercials to promote mid-term election candidates. In that role she faced a new challenge of marrying scripted and unscripted moments into a piece that won over viewers. Today, she uses those same skills to write compelling blogs and build customer-evidence videos.

Mai also has a knack for interviewing, which she honed through her work for the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) in Washington DC. She interviewed dozens of high-profile individuals and published the conversations in the CLEO Edge magazine to attract more people of color to the legal profession. At 2A she puts her Q-and-A skills to use during customer interviews for case studies.

Influencing your point of view

No matter what she pens, Mai shines when she’s tasked with influencing the audience. Her plays have a way of making you pause and evaluate, while her case studies and videos compel customers to act. Wherever she goes, Mai lets her values lead her. Her most fulfilling experiences have been when her writing has mobilized people who were disenfranchised. When her work was performed for a New York City high school group, they told Mai how they’d connected with her characters, especially around issues like gentrification and displaced families. Seeing those students relate to her work was one of her high points as a writer.

At 2A she’s found a place where she can tackle new writing challenges and push the boundaries of storytelling. We can’t wait to see where she’ll take us next.