Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Anonymous Theater in Philadelphia

Having kept the secret long enough, I can now reveal that I contributed (along with a number of Philadelphia playwrights--- none of whom knew who the other contributors were!) to a really fun theater event, Anonymous Theater, produced by the Philadelphia Dramatists Center (PDC) at the Wilma Theater on Monday, July 13th.

I was unfortunately unable to attend (I am still at The O'Neill), but the early responses I've received have all been very enthusiastic. From what I understand, it was a hugely fun evening and I was happy to contribute to the good times.

It was a sincere blast to find my inner Tennessee Williams, allowing me to return to my southern roots and my love for Williams' writing. I only wish I could have seen and heard the performance out loud.

But I am encouraged by the responses, and I am hopeful that this event will continue to contribute to forward momentum being created by PDC (and others) in the effort to more deeply transform Philadelphia into a more dynamic, creative, highly fun new-play city.

Big thank yous to Richard Kutolski for producing the event, Wally Zialcita for his organizing and dramaturgy (and for inviting me to participate), Daniel Student for directing what must have been an impossible (and impossibly fun) process, and to the other writers and the performers for taking such a bold and risky creative leap into the void.

Below is a description of the event:


Anonymous Theatre:
The World Premiere of a Play by
(a group of writers writing in the style of)
Tennessee Williams.

A play is written in secret by a group of playwrights whose identities are kept secret--even to each other.

The play is cast with actors whose identities are kept secret--especially from each other.

The actors rehearse one-on-one with their director, but never with each other, and never in the theatre.

On the night of the performance, the actors arrive in street clothes, indistinguishable from the audience members. As you wait in the lobby, then take your seat in the house, you wonder ... who among us is in the play? Is it that nervous fellow sitting on the aisle? Is it this quiet woman sitting right in front of me? Is it someone in my party?

The actors in the play are thinking the very same thing. As each of them comes to their entrance cue, they will stand and start speaking their opening lines as they make their way to the stage. And only on the stage, in front of a live audience, will they discover for the first time their collaborators in drama, romance, conflict, redemption .... or the actor's nightmare.

For the first time ever, PDC is presenting an original play, raising the stakes even higher for a concept that was already full of risk. All of the playwrights involved are PDC members save one -- the adopted muse for this play.

For one night only, come see the spirit of Tennessee Williams brought back to life in this world premiere event.