In the season of gift-giving, it is a fitting time to announce that my project, The Travel Plays, will be presented in January 2009, at The Kelly Writers House.
In the spring of 2008, I was raising money to travel to Dallas, Texas for the production of my play, The Most Beautiful Lullaby You've Ever Heard (produced by Audacity Theater Lab). I approached a number of friends and told them if they donated money, I would re-pay their gift by writing a play just for them.
31 generous friends responded, giving me the task of writing 31 custom-made plays.
And because I wanted to honor the theme of traveling, I figured out a process by which these plays themselves could travel through the country. I did the math, figuring out how much money I needed to get to Dallas, and then calculated how many miles a dollar could earn (one dollar equaled five miles). Then I mapped out gifts chronologically by receipt date, and figured out which cities these gifts landed on. I determined I would write a play for that particular donor about the particular place their gift traveled me to.
For example, the first gifts I got were two single dollar bills in an envelope, a dollar each from Philadelphia theater artists Sarah Bowden and Christiana Molldrem. Mapping out the first five miles from my house got me to the Walt Whitman Bridge, which became the setting for Sarah's play. Five miles beyond that, Christiana's gift traveled me to The George C. Platt Memorial Bridge.
And so on.
At the time of this blog, I've written 16 of the 31 plays, and have had an extraordinarily fun time with them. It has my pleasure to create these theatrical gifts for friends, and I am thrilled that they will be presented to the public (which is another gift-exchange).
It is my hope that we have a full audience, and I hope the audience is full of as many of the 31 folks for whom this project is inspired by.
I am collaborating with two organizations on this project-- The Kelly Writers House, and Philadelphia Dramatists Center, who will act as co-producers.
The plays, as a collection, have become a really fun journey through place and time and American history.
The project will be as much of an exploration as it will be a presentation (we have no idea what form some of these plays will take), and is being directed by Wally Zialcita.
Wally and I are currently putting together an ensemble of brave actors to play roles such as Walt Whitman, An Oriole, A Faceless Man, Robert E. Lee, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Ulysses Grant, Ted DiBiase, Willlie Nelson, Martha Washington, Hercules, Jimmie Rodgers, Howlin' Wolf, Alexander Pope, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Bjork, and a Giant Elephant.
We are performing at the following time and place:
Thursday, January 22nd. 7:30 pm
The Kelly Writers House
3805 Locust Walk
The event is FREE and there will be snacks!!
Big thank yous again to all of the gift-givers:
Sarah Bowden Megan Breen, Ilana Brownstein, Kristy Chouiniere, Stephen Collela, Joy Cutler, Ruth Engel, Tim Errickson, Tim Fawkes, Shelby, Jessica and J.P. Goggin, Jamie and Brian Grace-Duff, Richard Kotulski, Kristin Leahey, Tim Long, Larry McGonigal, Jess McMichael, Andy Merkel, Christiana Molldrem, Nancy Mouton, Gigi Naglak, Lee Pucklis, Marshall "Spaz" Richard, Cherie A. Roberts, Robin Rodriguez, Genevieve Saenz, Jason Tremblay, Eve Tulbert, Timothy Verret, Leah Walton, and Wally Zialcita.
And thank you to The Kelly Writers House for their continued support of my work.