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.
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
Two fabulous bits of news for this fall:
I am a Huntington Playwriting Fellow at the Huntington Theatre Company! Check out the Boston Globe article HERE.
I am a core member of Project: Project and we are hard at work making our third theatrical experience, and it’s going to be a big magical ride at the Somerville Armory in February. We are currently raising funds for The Shiver Project over at IndieGoGo – check out our VIDEO to catch a glimpse of what we are creating!
Watch the archive of the livestream of the Boston #1MPF HERE. This year there were over 100 plays!
This summer I participated in a crazy, challenging, exciting night of theatre called the Mad Dash, produced by Interim Writers and Fresh Ink Theatre.
Check out the whole story of how it was organized, written, directed, acted and produced in just 24 hours. What a wild, wonderful ride.
Painting Music with Andy Strain
Turns out April really is the month to get inspired to write that new play. Budding playwrights (and dialogue-based script writers of all forms): meet Script Frenzy! Script Frenzy dares you to write 100 pages of a new script in the month of April. So, if November and NaPlWriMo is too far away and you’re ready to get started right away, in fact, you were ready yesterday… www.scriptfrenzy.org looks like the way to go.
They have some great resources on their website, like information about script formatting, a list of all the free and not-so-free software available, and all kinds of articles and advice. I love love love that all this is available for free online. And I love that I can share about it here on this blog of mine.
But dare I say it, the more computerized my everyday world becomes, the more I treasure my work as a playwright. After all, I spend all those hours on my computer alone writing because a play brings people together – bodies, imaginations, emotions, and intellects – in time and space. And because nothing beats being in a room with a bunch of other people hearing the brand new pages of your script you just wrote last night out loud, sharing ideas and feedback, debating and discussing and deliberating and eating brownies while bawling and guffawing and holding our collective breath and leaning in close…. I suppose there’s probably an app for all that now, minus the brownies. And I am indecently attached to my iPhone. But I’ll take a room at Grub Street any day. BYO brownies.