As mentioned, I write every summer for the Candlelight Tours at Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg, VA. These tours take visitors on a path through the cemetery and feature short monologues and scenes based on the lives of people buried there. I've worked up a bit of a reputation as having some of the more, well, progressive and aggressive pieces in the tour, which a fair amount of people seem to appreciate and which seem to get everyone, regardless of their taste for the pieces, talking…Read More
[This is an old piece of writing from September 2012.]
I went to see a Broadway play tonight. When I first moved to New York, I saw many a Broadway play, mostly because I was getting free ticket offers for them. Slowly, as I spent more time here in New York City, as my work became about doing different things than the things being done on Broadway, I stopped seeing Broadway plays. In an act of bad theatre studentship, I couldn’t remember the last thing I’d seen before tonight--but whatever it was, it definitely wasn’t on Broadway.
I won’t name the play I saw, because this isn’t a review of a Broadway play. I saw a Broadway play that is incredibly relevant to the times right now, that was an adaptation of a play by a very famous playwright, and that had a cast of people who’ve been doing plays before Broadway. These are the makings of a good night at the theatre.
And it was. It was a good night. It was so fucking good that that’s all it was…Read More
For the past two summers, I've been fortunate to write pieces for Lynchburg, VA's Old City Cemetery Tour. The way it works, in brief: the team at OCC picks a short list of names of real people buried in the cemetery; then they pass that list on to a handful of writers, who select the names that interest them; the writers receive what little (or lot!) of research the cemetery has on the person, and write either 5-6 minute monologues or scenes; the monologues and scenes are performed in October on the grounds of the cemetery in the annual OCC tours.
Last year, I wrote a piece for Luther Brice, a young Black man who was killed in a boiler explosion while serving a 60-day sentence at the City Farm, which was essentially a prison labor farm. He'd been arrested on a "charge of disorder," his mother had potentially been a laundress, and that was about all that was known about him…Read More
I'm a dramaturg, which means I've led my fair share of talkbacks. I'm also a theatre-goer, which means I've sat through more TOTALLY HORRIBLE ONES. You can feel a palpable stomach-lurch in the crowd when the play ends and a talkback is announced. If you're lucky, the organizer gives everyone a moment or two after curtain to choose to leave or stay; if you're unlucky, they catch the audience before anyone can get up and start the talkback immediately, making it awkward for you to sneak out should you so desire. Then, usually someone--the playwright, the director, the actors--joins the organizer on stage. If you're lucky, there's a specific topic at hand to be discussed; if you're unlucky, whoever's up there rambles on about something that may or may not (usually not) be interesting, and then it turns into an incredibly awkward and horribly prompted, "What did you all think?" Then, if you're lucky, a few observant, articulate people make a comment or ask a question or two; if you're unlucky, that one person goes on a 15-minute diatribe that seems to ultimately be about something wholly unrelated to the play…Read More
It's important to observe and analyze power structures, especially in your own field, in the hopes of one day dismantling or overturning them. As a woman, I am painfully aware of the gender hierarchy in the theatre; as a straight white woman, I'm only intellectually aware of the numerous other hierarchies, race and sexuality and disability and on and on.
I try to stay away from the news these days. True, it makes me feel like an uninformed citizen 99% of the time, which makes me feel guilty, but also I find when I stay away from the news, I am generally happier, less anxious, less hopeless. But of course I still check facebook, and twitter, and of course I still see headlines, and of course in the era of Wokeness, no field is safe from the long-needed call-outs.
Edward Albee has a reputation, and it's one I've always had a problem with…Read More