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Claire Kiechel is a member of the writing staff on the House of the Dragon prequel TV series.

Her name is pronounced "Key-shull" / "Quiche-'L' " (rhymes with "Herschel"), not "KYE-shell".[1]


Biography

A young playwright out of New York, she came to House of the Dragon after working as a writer on Netflix's The OA and HBO's Watchmen.[2]

Her father was a "roving journalist", so Kiechel moved around frequently during her childhood, so she doesn't really consider herself to have one "hometown".[3] She spent eight years outside of the United States during her childhood before returning.[4] She wanted to be a writer since she was a child, growing up around journalists and story-tellers, and her parents were very supportive of this. [5]

She received commissions from Actors Theatre of Louisville, South Coast Rep, and the Alley Theatre, and has a BA from Amherst College and an MFA from the New School for Drama.

Her plays include Paul Swan is Dead & Gone (The Civilians at Torn Page), Sophia (Alley Theatre All-New Festival 2019); the haunted (City Theatre's Momentum Festival, additional development at Seattle Rep); Pilgrims (The Gift Theatre; Alley All New Reading Series; The Lark's Playwrights' Week 2016; The Kilroys' The List 2016); Lulu Is Hungry with composer Avi Amon at Ars Nova’s ANT Fest 2016; and Some Dark Places of the Earth at The New School for Drama.

She has openly remarked that she has dated both men and women.[6] Claire Kiechel is also the great-grand-niece of gay camp film icon Paul Swan, who starred in several Andy Warhol projects, and about whom she later wrote a play.[7]

Kiechel has epilepsy, and is intrigued with how past cultures linked this with divine visions and mysticism.[8]

Though she had been a successful playwright for years, she never thought of writing for television until she saw TheOA Season 1, after which she auditioned for and succeeding in joining their writing staff for Season 2.[9]

Netflix cancelled TheOA after its second season. Many critics pointed out that Netflix cancelled no less than eight female-led shows in 2019, among them TheOA, while at the same time signing a huge five year development contract with David Benioff & Dan Weiss themselves. After the cancellation, Kiechel urged fans to campaign for its renewal, and wrote a lengthy reaction essay on Reddit, highlights of which include:[10]

"Hollywood has spent 100 years laying the groundwork for us to empathize with white straight men, and to understand the singular, individual hero's journey. Broken white men and their anger are Hollywood's bread and butter, as is revenge. The fantasy that something can be solved with a heroic demonstration violence is the ur-myth upon which Hollywood capitalism feeds, that our politicians prey upon, that our discontented white supremacists seize on as origin stories."
"With 8 series from women creators canceled so far, Netflix reveals the danger of only "following the numbers." But it makes sense because with more vertical integration in Hollywood, everyone is looking for the most mainstream, popular show. And because of how our narrative brains have been conditioned by years of television and film, that is ALWAYS going to be a straightforward hero's journey or anti-hero's journey. If shows like the OA don't get given the space and time and money to change those narratives, then how will the audience's taste ever change? We have to demand another way -- otherwise this strategy will always result in shows like The OA and Tuca & Bertie being canceled way too soon, even as these companies perform wokeness and say they want more female, POC, queer, and trans creators. The OA is trying to tell a heroine's journey."
"...You get socialized by whatever society you’re brought up into, and some of the staunchest defenders of patriarchal structures are women. We are brought up to want our Prince Charming to save us and have no desire to reimagine a narrative that demands us to save ourselves."
"...We're living in a culture that has emphasized the white male hero's journey above all else, that it's hard to empathize with other kinds of narratives and protagonists. I can't tell you how many times I am brought scripts written by men with "badass" women characters at the center who literally are not active protagonists, things are done to them, not by them. It's not that these writers are sexist or trying to write passive women characters, it's that they don't notice they're doing it because our culture doesn't show female protagonists with quests and missions."

Series Credits

Writer

House of the Dragon - Season 1

  • (TBA)

See Also

References

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