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I have been working all year to write The Vault, commissioned by Flat Earth Theatre in collaboration with the Museum of Science Boston, exploring the intersection of climate change justice and theatre: The Greenhouse Playlab: a Climate Change Theatre Incubator.
I’m writing a play inspired by Climate Change commissioned by Flat Earth Theatre and the Boston Museum of Science – they have collaborated to create the Greenhouse Playlab, which is developing four new plays that focus on issues of climate change by MJ Halberstadt, Kevin Mullins, Francisca Da Silveira, and myself. The plays these guys are writing are so fresh, funny, devastating, and smart – and each tackle the vast issue of climate change in different ways. And we get to work with the best dramaturgs and directors as well, it’s been such a treat. Shout out to my director Josh Glenn-Kayden and dramaturg Phaedra Scott!
The play I’m developing is called The Vault, which is inspired by the science of seed diversity, the Global Seed Bank, the Vavilov seed bank scientists who died of starvation to protect the seeds during the Nazi occupation of Leningrad, and predictions that climate change will eventually cause widespread food insecurity and war. In the near future, in the northernmost town in the world, a lost tourist and a local baker find themselves inside a cave in a mountain of ice in the middle of the night. The world outside is at war, ravaged by climate change, and they are each bent on saving it in their own way. Nothing and no one is what they seem in this icy fever-dream….I’m still writing it so we’ll see where it goes! If you want to find out, check out the free readings at the Museum of Science on May 4, 2018.
222 More Comedy Monologues was published by Smith and Kraus this summer. Check it out on Amazon — in it, you can find my monologue “Jenny’s Gigantic Freak Out.” I wrote it as raw materials to get to know Jenny better (she’s in my play Forever Home), but it never had a place in that play. Fun to see it in print – may it land some fabulously funny ladies some plum roles (please let me know if it does!!).
I am so grateful to live in a state that supports the arts and to have been named a 2017 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellow in Dramatic Writing. And I am in such inspiring company. Here is the announcement from MCC. Congrats to all the fellows and finalists and see you in June at the State House!
The big news right now is that I have been commissioned by SpeakEasy Stage Company to write a new play called Born Naked for the inaugural Boston Project, with a workshop and staged reading in February 2016. I am so honored and excited to be working with them, and to be developing this play with their support. So far the play is proving to be a scary, funny, ambitious new endeavor that is feeling really great to sink my teeth into – researching and scribbling, planning and questioning… and as the world outside is slowly getting colder and darker I am inside writing writing writing. Happy fall!
After you close a show, you can feel bereft. No more late nights hanging lights, no more communal snacks, no more emergency-dragon-puppet-making. But you can take little bits of wisdom with you for the next project. Here is a line from SHIVER that sticks with me. It boils down the message of the play, and was poignantly delivered by the brilliant Scot Colford as Wilhelm Grimm to the delightful Louise Hamill (also “one of most tireless forces in the Boston theatre scene” –Edge Boston) playing the heroine Charlotte , a character who was so caught up in her own fears she was pushing the people in her life away. This is a mantra I will carry with me far beyond this one production. Project: Project, this one is for you.
Sometimes, when making devised theatre on a shoestring budget, you work for two long years to see your production premiere for just two short weekends. You make postcards and posters, you promote your show through a press release and social media. You even hire an amazing designer willing to work on a tiny piece of that shoestring to help market the show. You hope people will come, that word of mouth will be positive, and that the various ways you promote the show, mostly online, will result in a live audience of humans sitting in seats.
Image courtesy of LidecPhoto.com
Ultimately though, you expect to see your friends, colleagues, people you’ve seen around town at other small theatre companies, a few folks from the press, and that’s about it. It’s about the work, after all, making something you can believe in with your whole soul, and hopefully creating meaningful work for your collaborators and the actors and designers you love.
But sometimes when you are posing with your mom in front of the theatre so you can remember this day and how she got up at 5am to drive to Boston to see your show, a stranger comes up to you. And he has an accent and he says he’s new to Boston, and you say welcome! And he wants to know – how do you buy tickets? Is the show any good? And of course you say it’s great and that you in fact made it and that the theatre will be open soon and he should come!
And then an hour later just as you begin to wonder if he will actually find his way back to the theatre – he walks in and buys a ticket! And as you walk him down the hall to the theatre you find out, yes, he’s a student. But you kick yourself later for not asking him more – a name, what he’s studying? Who is this guy who just wandered in with so much interest and curiosity?
And after the show, the audience is flushed from laughing and also from the heat, and you are thanking people for coming as they file out. And he comes up to you, his hair seems to have become – wild – and you think, did the show do that? It is a wild show. And he is BEAMING. He’s SO happy!! And he says the show was great!
And you think: Did we do that? Did we really make this stranger flushed with laughter and heat and happiness? And you think: Yes! Yes we did!
And that, my friends, feels like success.
Five more chances to see Shiver: A Fairytale of Anxious Proportions
Thursday, June 25, 8:00pm
Friday, June 26, 8:00pm
Saturday, June 27, 2:00pm (use SHIVER10 at checkout for $10 tickets)
Saturday, June 27, 8:00pm (POST-SHOW TALKBACK)
Sunday, June 28, 2:00pm
Things I love: The gorgeous light, the fascinating sacred space as it unfolds, his strong floating, heavy falling, the rip on his thigh, the focus, the feeling, the way he turns, the way he runs to the corner full out you think he’ll tear through the wall, the way he might leap so high he’ll be on the balcony. The moments between incidental and artistic gestures, technical and symbol, high and low.