Actor’s Express here in Atlanta is in their second year of this expertly-run little festival of new works by mostly area writers. Pleased to be a part of it in December 2016 with this play that started out as 48-hour play project (4:48, thanks to Edith Freni and Paula Vogel) through Emory University’s Breaking Ground in the summer of 2015.
December 2, 2016, 8pm
Directed by Lisa Paulsen
Featuring Jennifer Alice Acker, Stacy Melich, Stephen Ruffin, and Joe Sykes
Couldn’t be more honored than to be on the docket with two other lady playwrights and also to get to work on this play at a theatre with guts and heart and a beautiful aesthetic. Read The American Theatre article here.
My play, THE FLOWER ROOM, which was hatched as part of the 4:48 Bake-Off at Emory University in August of 2015, was workshopped with the other 4:48 plays (by Johnny Drago, Edith Freni, and Michael Winn) as part of Emory’s Brave New Works in February 2016. We all started with the same source material—a book called SEX AT DAWN—and after the initial summer drafts, took off in our own directions. One fact that won’t be surprising: the play is about sex.
My musical (with composer, Aaron McAllister), lift, was presented, along with seven other musicals, at the National Alliance of Musical Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals in October. This opportunity was more about the exposure than the production, as we presented just 45 minutes of the show with the hopes that a producer or theatre dug what they saw. We got the cream-of-NYC’s-crop of musical theatre actors, a great team of passionate advocates for new musicals, and an audience made up of 400 industry invitees and attendees from around the world. This is a big deal in the musical theatre writers’ world, and we were pretty darn excited to be a part of it.
I’ll be participating in two different sessions of Emory’s collaborative and developmental theatre workshop event, Breaking Ground 2015, this June and July. Click the link for a full schedule of public performances. Though this project is much more about the process than the product.
One, INSIDE VOICE, is helmed by two of my favorite artists, David Crowe and Patricia Henritze, and puts women at the forefront. I’m bringing in a short piece that, set on the frontlines of no-man’s-land, imagines a world where all doctors are female.
The other, 4:48, proves writers are nuts. We have to write a whole play in 48 hours, and we don’t get the specifics of the assignment until the morning of the first day. Read more about it here.
After a chance meeting on LinkedIn of all places, Dr. Erik Abbott, AD of Actors Repertory Theatre of Luxembourg, and I embarked on a production of the first play I ever wrote: GREYHOUNDS (originally produced in NYC in 2006). Erik’s English-speaking company was looking for a play for two women, and mine fit the bill. They performed it in a great little cafe in the city center and, apparently, a good time was had by all. The theatre was a dream to work with—I only wish I could have been there to cheer them on in person.
Here are a couple of reviews (in English):
Luxemburger Wort (June/2015): Greyhounds, by Actors Repertory Theatre, A Journey You Won’t Forget (PDF)
Luxembourg Chronicle (June/2015) (PDF)
Christmastime in Florida. A magical yet very confusing combination. Luckily, I couldn’t focus on the 80-degree weather because I was in a rehearsal room with a truck-load of talent all trying to take SPLIT IN THREE’s script to the next plateau. The passionate, smart, hilarious collaborations that occurred around that table, under the leadership of my bud, Justin Anderson, will get this play in fighting shape for its April world premiere.
We worked for three days, I wedged in a very late night of rewrites, there were designer meetings, and then we did another public reading followed by a talkback.
There was crying and a lot of laughing.
Thanks for snapping these shots, Janine Wochna.
Now on to the next draft!
So Florida Rep was a sensational host, doing a brilliant job of casting and choosing a director for SPLIT IN THREE (thank you, Jason Parrish). We had about nine hours together and, though I made this play ridiculously layered and impossible to investigate fully in that amount of time, the team was game for the process and gave a mesmerizing performance. Throughout rehearsal, we laughed a lot, talked about the meaning of life in Mississippi, and discovered the magic of the “hard R” when doing a country dialect. I have a bunch of new friends now, which is one of my favorite things about thee-at-ur to begin with.
The southwest Florida patrons were the most hospitable I’ve ever encountered and were responsible for a rousing talkback. Their excitement about the play got ME excited!
And I can’t not mention the fascinating fella playwrights who shared the lab process with me–Bob Clyman, William Missouri Downs, Christopher Parks, and Mo Stephen Hannan have a bonkers list of credits between them and definitely learned me a thing or two about writing and being articulate in talkbacks.
FLORIDA WEEKLY newspaper did a preview article about the PlayLab (and decided to interview me, so my talkin’ is in there a lot, for better or worse). PLUS they did a follow-up sort of review of all the plays.
This was the kind of experience after which I could die happy. Though, I’m pleased to say, I’m not dead.
My Mississippi Delta drama, SPLIT IN THREE, will get another developmental reading process, this time with Florida Repertory Theatre in Fort Myers on May 3, as part of their First Annual PlayLab. I’m proud to be included in this line-up of writers (and have already noted that I’m the lone lady in the bunch, though I’m told there is a plenitude of fine roles for women in the fest). I’ll be flown down on May 1 to start rehearsals and also meet the lovely Florida Rep folk in person. They hope to choose one of the festival plays to fill a World Premiere slot in the 2014-2015 season. Now wouldn’t that be cool.