Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"The Other Room" to be Published by Penn Review

A couple years ago, one of my Creative Writing students handed me a scrap of paper that said, "the other room".  This was the prompt for a piece of writing I was to create for the end-of-semester anthology my students and I were making.

I chose to write a story, rather than a play, just because I thought, being a playwright, a short story might be a more fun challenge.

And, years later, this story, "The Other Room", will be published in the Spring 2012 Penn Review Literary Magazine, a development I never imagined.

Cover art for the 2012 Spring Penn Review

To celebrate, there is a book launch event at 2:00 pm on Saturday, April 28th, at The Rotunda (4014 Walnut St), where I (and other authors) will read our contributions to this volume.  The event is Free, and I hear there will be donuts.

Big thank yous to Penn Review, to the Kelly Writers House (whose ArtsEdge Residency led to this opportunity), and to the student who scrawled "the other room" on that fateful scrap.  Thank you as well to all my students, who provided such fruitful terrain from which to write.



Monday, April 16, 2012

SCHUYLKILL RIVER to Become a Book-Object

The ending moment of the 37 "Travel Plays" that compose my epic gift-exchange road-trip play, American Potlatch Road-trip, will take on a unique journey as a "book-object" as part of the project, Philos Adelphos Irrealis-- a handmade book collection of alternate historical texts about Philadelphias that never were.

What would happen if the Walt Whitman Bridge stretched over The Schuylkill?

Schuylkill River, which features the characters The Faceless Man, Walt Whitman, The SS United States, and The Walt Whitman Bridge, was originally written for playwright and bon vivant Richard Kotulski during 2008 - 2009.

As these "travel plays" were all about journeys, gift-exchange, and transformation, I am thrilled that this short play will experience all these things through this project, becoming something newly expressive.

I am also thrilled that the launch of this project will take place at Kelly Writers House, which was so generous to me as I was writing The Travel Plays (and also because it means there will be fun snacks there).


The Kelly Writers House and Creative Ventures present


Friday, April 20, at 2:00 PM in the Arts Café
Kelly Writers House | 3805 Locust Walk
No registration required - this event is free & open to the public


The Creative Ventures series supports creative collaborations across discipline, emphasizing evolution and innovation, convergence, creative process, and imagination.


Big thank yous to the creative folks making this possible, to the Kelly Writers House, and to all the generous people who contributed to the creation of American Potlatch Road-trip: The Travel Plays.



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

DALLAS Returns to the Shubin Theatre

The journey for Dallas continues, returning on April 13th and 15th (2012), to one of the first places it ever performed, Philadelphia's Shubin Theatre. Originally presented as a "staged reading" for Philly's Primary Stages in November 2009, Dallas was selected as one of a handful of projects to be included in the production, "Best of Philly's Primary Stages", celebrating the 25th Anniversary of The Shubin Theatre.

Clinton Hill and Jacqueline Kennedy (Dallas, Texas)

I continue to be thrilled with the opportunities to share this project, the upcoming production at the Shubin marking the sixth different performance of this work with an audience.

Big congratulations (and thank yous) again to collaborator Mike Vernusky, whose electronic music composition continues to haunt me and expand the worlds around me.

This performance is directed by Ken Kaissar (who directed the original staged reading two-and-a-half years ago) and includes performers Aram Alan Aghazarian, Rick Horner, Dana Marcus, John C. Nagy III, and Lynnia Shanley (who performed in The Undead production of Dallas in the 2011 Philly Fringe). The creative team also includes Assistant Director/Dramaturg Zachary Scovish. I am very happy with the thoughtful, detailed, and smart work being done by this team, and look forward to experiencing everyone's work in the intimate and unique environment of the Shubin.

Thank yous to the Shubin Theater, and Philly's Primary Stages for making this production possible. Thank you also to Drexel University, whose continued support of my creative work makes all of these projects more fun.

Continued thanks to Cody R. Kirk and Michael Kranes, whose voices continue to come through the walls, to Dianna Schoenborn, for whom this work was originally written, and to all the artists who have contributed to this work over the past few years.

For more information about this project, you can visit the event page here.



Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Princess Grace & Personal Statements/Emerging

Each year, Princess Grace offers the gift of reflection-- a moment to look into the river and ask questions about where I am, what I am doing, and what is important to me. And also, at least to myself, an opportunity to shape this word "emerging", which troubles me when it precedes the description "artist".

Specifically, this is what Princess Grace asks me:

Please describe, in your own words, your views and expectations of your role as a theater artist now and in the future. Please elaborate on your “emerging status” and how you plan to utilize this fellowship.

I am not certain my answers in response (more questions) are what she is looking for, but they come from the images that formed when I first read the prompt above.

I post my statement here because it might reveal something personal about me, but, more importantly, maybe it offers a beginning place to think about what "emerging" means (a small ripple in the water?).

In any case, I am thankful to the Princess Grace Foundation for their continued support of artists, for the opportunity to share my work with them, and for the questions they lead me to.

Thank you as well to all of the wonderful people (souls?) who have worked on Radio Ghosts with me, which is the work I applied with this year, and the inspiration for some of my statement below.


I started running recently, and the world has become bigger.

Also: “Please share with us a story or illustration of something or someone you have lost. Thank you.”

The running wasn’t planned. Last summer I turned 35, compelling my commitment to take better care of myself. So I started walking and stretching. After walking, daily, for several months, my body wanted more—it wanted to surpass its present limit. I could feel my muscles pitching me forward, harder. So I got some running shoes, because what is more important than listening to our bodies?

This invitation of sharing loss, described above, was hand-written on a single, folded, piece of paper, which we placed on each of the 25 chairs set out for the audience of New Leaf Theater’s workshop staging of Radio Ghosts. We wanted everyone in the room to participate deeply— to be listened to while risking something profoundly personal. It wasn’t enough that we were all in the room together—I wanted us all to go through something, for the conversation to work in all directions. Through shared expression, I wanted the full communitas of the event to bring us all someplace new.

And this running has taught me that I wasn’t working as hard as I thought I was at my writing—a disappointing discovery and a moment of hope. Because now, even when that knife is in my side, even when I have nothing left, I keep going. And each time, I can carry the pain a little further than last time. Am I still talking about running? I know that my body is different.

The audience handed their stories and illustrations of loss to two of the actors, who placed them in a lidded box, setting the box carefully on two sides of the playing space. Later in the play, the audience, seated in an intimate circle around the performers, directly experienced the journey of their stories. This time, the actors pulled the stories from their safe place, lovingly placing each one on the ground, leaning their faces close to each story, listening deeply to each gift of loss. This is how two of the characters then spoke to each other—through the paper that held the audience’s stories. And how two of the characters were kept from reaching each other—the papers on the ground creating an ocean they are unable to traverse. From this moment, the audience was different. They were profoundly engaged, they were nervous, they were thrilled, they were terrified, they were deeply inside of it because they were creating it.

And this is how I want each thing, running and creating, to continue reminding the other: committed, difficult challenge leads to purposeful, surprising transformation.

And this is what emerging means to me—the continued struggle of growing, a deeper discovery of personal truth, an exhausted body breaking-open, clearing the way for an ever-expanding version of self. Within this dedicated journey (and with the Princess Grace Foundation’s support) is my hope that the most truthful way of creating/sharing art emerges, a way that is likely very different from something I presently know, a way I am only beginning to imagine.