(Directed by Maureen Heffernan, featuring Rachel Burttram, Sara Morsey, and me with stage directions and other voices by Liz Abbott; photos by Joe Dafeldecker)
This new play (formerly titled LADY OF THE HOUSE) for one actor has been a challenge and adventure to create. The play unfolds in real-time, and the audience shifts between being a classroom, a mother, a support group, and even a squirrel. Music–particularly classical–figures in strongly along with atmospheric sounds for a soundscape that is truly a second character.
I workshopped it as both playwright and actor for a week at Actor’s Express in their 2019 Threshold New Play Festival. The performance was at the Atlanta Contemporary gallery. Nothing like exposing your soul in full light!
(directed by Rachel Parish, with stage directions by Tori Thompson)
Percy Wright has always had an active imagination. Maybe that’s why her real life never fully launched. Now she finds herself back in the tiny Missouri town where she lived out her miserable teenage years. Because her mother is dying. But not fast enough. For either one of them. While Percy struggles with her mother’s needs, not to mention teaching night classes in horticulture at the junior college extension for adult learners, she unexpectedly frees memories from her stressed, fertile brain. As the past comes into focus and truths she used to take for granted start to fall apart, Percy finds herself at a crossroads. A play about how wonder and empathy can help us transcend the unthinkable.
I’ve got a new three-woman play—called SAFETY NET—about the opioid crisis in Alabama. It’s intimate and intense. And, as always for my stuff, funny. It takes on addiction, first responders, mothers and daughters, cooking as therapy, and the ways of strong women in the Deep South.
I’ve written myself into this one and will be working with fellow actor/collaborator, Carolyn Cook, and director, Karen Robinson, on development in a 16-month residency at the Alliance Theatre.
READ MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT AND THE ALLIANCE’S YEAR OF DEVELOPMENT HERE
From the Alliance:
The ALLIANCE THEATRE is pleased to announce the three artistic projects chosen for development during its 5th Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab. Each project will receive $10,000 to use toward further exploration and development, as well as access to the Alliance’s artistic, educational, and production staffs, and rehearsal spaces. The lab productions will be presented in free performances in 2019. It is the goal of the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab to celebrate the breadth and vision of Atlanta-based artists, to encourage collaboration among Atlanta’s artistic community, and to seed projects that will be produced here in Atlanta.
After a developmental workshop with Working Title Playwrights in November of 2017, I took MEDICA down to the studs and rebuilt it. The resulting draft just finished a week-long rehearsal process and reading with Atlanta’s Synchronicity Theatre as part of their SheWRITES Festival, which involves a national call-for-entries. The Fest includes three lady-writers, the other two hailing from New York and California.
Here’s the Broadway World article.
I went into full-on rewrite mode for the full week. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.
The reading was February 21, 2018 at Synchronicity Theatre. It was directed by Rachel May, with directing assistance and dramaturgy by Rebekah Suellau, stage management by Britt Sharer, and featuring Mary Lynn Owen (appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association), Caitlin Hargraves, Theroun Patterson, and Dakota Adams.
THANK YOU FOR THE OPPORTUNITY AND THE KICK IN THE PANTS, SYNCHRO!
READ THE AMERICAN THEATRE ARTICLE
After a rousing reading as part of their Threshold New Play Series, The Flower Room secures a slot in Actor’s Express’s upcoming 30th anniversary season. With its commitment to new work and material with a certain edge, Actor’s Express is the perfect theatre to give this little sexual awakening comedy its world premiere. Thanks to Emory University for launching the play with its write-a-play-in-two-days project and continuing to support its development with their Brave New Works project. And thanks to Freddie Ashley and AE for embracing sex, orgies, nudity, and, in this case, women of a certain age. It sure is gonna be fun.
Florida Rep produced my play SPLIT IN THREE after choosing it for the first-ever PlayLab back in 2014—and did a damn fine job of it.
This season, they selected THE FLOWER ROOM to be included in their 4th Annual PlayLab, along with plays by an impressive roster of writers, and I headed down for the fest at the end of April.
It was directed by Annette Trossbach and featuring Kate Hampton, Kody C. Jones, Nate Ritesma, and Marissa Toogood with stage directions by Dillion Everett. Here are some pics, including one of the talkback where I look like I’m boring the folks on stage so much, they’re trying to open a hole in the floor with their eyes.
If any of my plays ever needed a developmental workshop, it’s MEDICA. And thanks to Working Title Playwrights, this surreal, sci-fi, darkly funny, bloody, relentless alternate reality play about female surgeons in wartime got one as part of The Ethel Woolson Lab.
“The Woolson,” is a super opportunity, providing a juried selection process, several months with a dramaturg and a full week of rehearsal (and rewrites) and discussion with top-tier Atlanta actors and directors, culminating in a staged reading for an audience.
And I couldn’t be more thrilled to have director Amber Bradshaw at the wheel, with dramaturg Patricia Henritze helping me help the play find its road.
UPDATE: The workshop was the week of November 13, with the public reading on November 19. I learned a lot about the script and wrote a new draft during that time. The reading featured Shayla Love, Jacob McKee, Kathleen McManus, and Chad Martin.
It was 90 degrees, half the cast was wearing wool or a corset, and fire ants attacked the majority of the crew while they wrangled props, light shields, and hundreds of feet of extension cords.
It’s a strange and special moment when you first see—in the flesh—characters you’ve been creating in writing for four years.
Thanks to photographer BreeAnne Clowdus and the staff and artists at Horizon Theatre.