Friday, August 21, 2020

"The Third Prisoner" - a new short play commissioned by Portland Center Stage for "Play at Home"

 A big thank you to Portland Center Stage!  They commissioned me to write something for the national "Play at Home" program -- "a series of short plays commissioned specifically for this moment of unprecedented isolation to inspire joy and connection for all."  

"The Third Prisoner" is about finding connection despite isolation, humanity and empathy in the face of despair, and hope in the darkness.  It was written in this moment, for this moment.

Thank you to actors Jimmy Garcia, Eric Pargac, Andrea White, and Davis Gilmartin for their lovely reading of my little play!  You can give it a listen by clicking here.

If you'd like to read the script for this or any of the other "Play at Home" plays, click here!


Monday, June 22, 2020

Mellon Foundation Announces Third Cohort of National Playwright Residency Program

I'm so excited to have been selected to be part of the Mellon Foundation and Howlround's National Playwright Residency Program! For the next three years, I'll be able to call Artists Repertory Theater in Portland, Oregon my home with the help and support of this program. I can't wait to see what we're going to create together!

HowlRound Theatre Commons, with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, has announced the third cohort of the National Playwright Residency Program. The Mellon grant funds three years of full-time salary and benefits for awarded playwrights, as well as for discretionary artistic development.

NPRP was launched in 2013. In addition to developing meaningful collaboration and relationships with resident writers, host theatres commit to mounting at least one full production by the playwright.

The New York residencies include Betty Shamieh with the The Classical Theatre of Harlem, Basil Kreimendahl with Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Murielle Borst-Tarrant with La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, and Cori Thomas with WP Theater. Across the country, the cohort also includes J. Nicole Brooks, with Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago, Illinois; Carlyle Brown with Illusion Theater and School in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Star Finch with Crowded Fire Theater & Campo Santo in San Francisco, California; Virginia Grise with Cara Mía Theatre Co. in Dallas, Texas; E. M. Lewis with Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, Oregon; Psalmeyene 24 with Mosaic Theater Company in Washington, D.C.; Regina Taylor with Repertory Theatre of St. Louis in St. Louis, Missouri; UNIVERSES (Mildred Ruiz-Sapp and Steven Sapp) with Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut; and Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay with Theater Mu in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Friday, May 15, 2020

"How the Light Gets In" wins Steinberg Award!

I'm delighted to share that "How the Light Gets In," which premiered last year at Boston Court Pasadena in California, has won the Steinberg Award from the American Theater Critics Association! I'm so proud and so grateful!

The Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award and Citations, presented by Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust and the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA), recognize playwrights for exceptional plays that premiered professionally outside New York City. The 2020 prizes, which celebrate works produced in 2019, were presented online May 13. The 2020 finalists, selected by members of ATCA, were culled from a submission of 32 scripts by playwrights across the U.S. This year’s winner was How the Light Gets In by E.M. Lewis, which premiered at Boston Court Pasadena in Pasadena, California. Lewis was awarded a $25,000 cash prize.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Teaching Playwriting Workshops in April!

I'll be teaching two playwriting workshops in April 2020, both through Artists Repertory Theater in Portland, Oregon, where I'm a resident artist.

I'll take a four class "Introduction to Playwriting" course to high school students at Vancouver School of Arts and Academics in Washington State.  My colleagues Sarah Lucht, Michael Mendelson, Chris Harder, Barbie Wu, and and Lynda Hayden will also be providing workshops and classes to students there in Shakespeare, Meisner, clowning and movement, and acting styles.

If you're an adult interested in taking a playwriting course from me, I hope you'll sign up for "Rage on Stage" a three-hour workshop I'll be teaching at Artists Rep on April 22nd, from 6:30-9:30pm!


Do you feel anger? Anxiety? Depression? Fear? White hot rage? You are not alone. Join us for this workshop in which we will explore how playwrights through the ages have purged their strongest personal and political rage in their work for the stage. And come prepared to write out your own primal screams, and then shape and share them!

Click here for more information on how to sign up!  All are welcome!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Gun Show goes to Michigan!

My thoughts are with actor Jala Jackson, a student at Michigan State University, as she takes my play "The Gun Show" across the state for multiple performances in multiple venues in February and March.

For more information, click here!

For tickets, click here!

Willamette Week's "Can't Miss" Spring Art Picks includes Song of Extinction

Big thanks to Willamette Week, for including Twilight Theater's upcoming production of Song of Extinction in Portland, Oregon in its "Can't Miss!" spring art picks.

Image result for song of extinction

Song of Extinction

At the center of this play is the bond between a biology teacher who survived the Cambodian genocide and a student whose mother is dying of stomach cancer.  It was written by E. M. Lewis, the Oregon playwright who wrote the Antarctic epic Magellanica. Like that masterpiece, Song of Extinction is about the intersection of science and grief.  Twilight Theater Company, 7515 N Brandon Ave., 8 pm. Through May 17. $18-$24. 

Click here to find out what else they recommend!

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant! The Opera!

I've just returned from an amazing ten days in New York City, in which composer Evan Meier and I had an orchestral workshop of our opera Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant at American Lyric Theater. 

We've been working on this commission for several years now.  Writing a full-length opera is no small matter!  But this was a huge leap for us -- our first opportunity to share the piece now that Evan has completed the orchestration.  I LOVE his music!  And our conductor, Andrew Bisantz, brought the best out of our delightful cast of eight singers, and the orchestra.  

Evan and I are so grateful to everyone who has supported our creation of this new family-friendly piece, including Larry Edelson who runs ALT, and commissioned us to write it, our colleagues Theo Popov and Tony Asaro who are working on their own beautiful new opera alongside us, called The Halloween Tree, our mentors Cori Ellison, Paul Morevic, Mark Campbell, and Mark Adamo, maestro Andrew Bisantz, and our glorious singers and orchestra.  It takes a really large village to create a new opera, and we're so lucky to have the continuing support of all of these people as we move forward, doing a few final revisions of the piece now, and searching for an opera company that wants to put this piece on their main stage.  We can't wait to see it fully produced!

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant is an original story that Evan and I created, which mashes up the logical world of Sherlock Holmes with the magical world of Jack and the Beanstalk.  There are angry giants and magic harps and a whole lot of fun for kids and grown-ups alike.  

We even had an announcement of the InsightALT Festival in the New Yorker, which was exciting!  And a nice little feature on our opera written by Gabrielle Ferrari, in her Parterre opera blog, which you can read here. "Readers, it was simply charming— nicely performed and perfect for young audiences without talking down to them or to their older counterparts," she says in her article. She gives lots of love to our delightful singers, and then shares, "I won’t spoil the mystery (hint: Jack didn’t do it), but I will say I found this a captivating 90 minutes... The score is varied and interesting, the libretto funny and full of warmth. The opera quotes were a nice way both the introduce kids to the concept of leitmotiv and to appeal to an opera-nerd audience, with a mix of really famous tunes with some lesser known ones."

Would you like to hear what we've been up to?  Tell your local opera company to bring Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant to your community!