I re-post it here also to become my reminder and watchdog for those days when I don't live up to my own pronouncements.
Big thank yous to the selection committee of Wally Zialcita, Daniel Student, and Rebecca Wright for their trust, and to Philadelphia Dramatists Center and Plays & Players Theater for offering their vision and the opportunity to grow.
PDC Playwright-in-Residence at Plays & Players
Statement of Purpose
My goal is to ignite an explosion of possibility for at least the next 100 years.
To explain—I ask:
What is more exciting than a disaster on stage?
I don’t know, so my plan is to continue to create the possibility for them, knowing that disaster is often a doorway to the profound.
And maybe the disaster becomes more interesting if we remove (take the stage away) or re-move (shift where our idea of the stage is) it? Is the disaster is more glorious if the audience participates? How many languages does a good disaster consume? How is this danger theatrical? And how can I make these disasters go from the live event into your bones?
And is this a play?
These are only a few of the questions that haunt me.
For the past ten years I have worked tirelessly as a playwright, creating live works that explore memory, imagination, pain, dreams, rites of passage, transformation, transportation, and the flawed and fascinating guts and souls of human beings. My characters are troubled, resilient, scarred, searching, trapped, tied to chairs, historical icons, lovers, killers, magicians, ghosts, beauty queens, animals, musicians, children, time travelers, dreamers—all bravely taking on impossible, necessary journeys. They speak to each other through time, dimension, ocean waves, black holes, gesture, lines in their bodies, holes in their chests, silences, holograms, and their deepest regrets. I have created work performed in theaters, elevators, porches, warehouses, loft apartments, punk stages, museums, sidewalks, hotels, basement crawl spaces, and public bathrooms in New York, Philadelphia, Austin, Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, Louisville, as well as in Toronto and Zurich.
I have worked many times with electronic music composer Mike Vernusky on live performance projects including The Book of Remembrance and Forgetting (with choreographer Ray Eliot Schwarz, 2004), The Eulogy Project (with opera-trained performer Jorge Sermini, 2005), Radio Ghosts (2008), and, currently, The Babel Project, in a form we are calling “electro-theater”, a performance limbus between written text, recorded electronic sound, and live performance.
My work has been honored as a finalist for the Heideman Award, a semi-finalist for the Princess Grace Award, and a nomination for the F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Theater Artist in Philadelphia. In 2008, I was selected as the first-ever Resident Writer for ArtsEdge, a year-long residency created by The Kelly Writers House and the University of Pennsylvania.
However, I have now reached a place in my creative development where I’m trying to further explode the framework of what I call a play, and to create something that more deeply blurs the boundaries between what is real and what is make-believe, what is performance and what is experience, what is a gift, and what is the point. I am searching the flashpoint for the most dynamic, most powerful, deepest- cutting performance vessel for humans to connect to one another and to themselves—or, to borrow from Zeami, I want to create live events that help us all awaken the flower.
For these reasons, I am applying to be the PDC Playwright-in-Residence at Plays & Players.
Specifically, these two stated gifts offer me seeds for the fire:
· The providing of a safe space for experimentation
· The focus of this program is artist development, not the development of an individual work.
It is through these offerings that I intend to continue to explore the ideas of performance as gift-exchange, the depth of expression without using words, the impression and intimacy of memory (individual and shared), the complexities within the creative use of space and place, the volume of a gunshot, the limits of transformation, a further (and with your help, an assisted) self-education into artists I am inspired by (Meyerhold, Artaud, Grotowksi, Foreman, Oliveros, Bausch, Wilson) and deeper exploration into forms I am seduced by but not completely familiar with (Noh, Kabuki, Bunraku, Kathakali, and the Circus).
Specifically, I would use the 13-month residency to continue work on at least three boundary-stretching projects already in-progress (The Babel Project: a collaboration with an electronic music composer exploring language through the real-time construction of a present-day Tower of Babel made up of words, quarry stones, gestures, and lost memories; Tugboat Headache: a non-narrative about a Mermaid’s journey through loss, bodily voids, and 10,000 flying arrows while traveling up The Traum River; and the on-going development of Material v. Memory: a site-specific performance experience in which audience walks through a gauntlet of perishable writing events, each of which is non-replicable, intentionally ephemeral, and disappears while being viewed) all while exploring things I love but don’t fully understand, risking everything all the time, as well as beginning work on whatever new obsessions consume my listening process.
In short, I expect to use the next year (and beyond) having as much fun as possible creating the most exciting live projects imaginable, all while deepening my skills, understanding, awareness, and sensitivities as an artist. It is my hope that I will be able to have fun listening, growing and creating with you.