Monday, November 30, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
This season includes:
- TREE -- written by Julie Hebert and directed by Jessica Kubzansky, produced by Ensemble Studio Theater. "Three generations divided by race, culture and time connect when a white Southern woman discovers old love letters leading her to an African-American half-brother."
- bobrauschenbergamerica -- written by Charles L. Mee, and produced by TheSpyAnts. "A fantastical voyage through the heart of small town America as seen through the eyes of visionary artist Robert Rauschenberg."
- LASCIVIOUS SOMETHING -- written by Sheila Callahan, and produced by Circle X. "It's 1980 and Reagan has just been elected. On a secluded Greek island, an American ex-pat pursues his passions: wine making and his breathtaking young bride. On the eve of his first tasting, an old lover reappears, and with her, a wild and violent past."
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Go here to see more lovely pictures of our production of FLIGHT -- all the shows -- taken by photographer Jay Lawton! Love my actors!! Love my directors! Love my stage manager and producer and designers! Everybody has worked so hard to make the show a success.
Go to www.movingarts.org for tickets and info to FLIGHT (my plays) and all the other fun and fabulous events in Moving Arts' One-Act Play Festival!
Wednesday, October 21st and Wednesday, October 28th at 8pm
- Leonard's Voice
- This Isn't About Love
- Sing Me That Leonard Cohen Song Again
- The Incident Report
- Six Bottles of Heineken After the Silverado
Monday, October 19, 2009
DENVER POST: "...a gripping fictional drama that raises important questions about our times."
NORTH DENVER TRIBUNE: "Heads shows us four people, each put in an unbearable situation, each reacting differently but appropriately for who they are. The four actors convincingly deliver the raw emotions of fear, anger, desperation, despair, and denial – but also something more – a deeper look at our own humanity."
DENVER EXAMINER: "...I am still haunted by the images that played out on the intimate Denver Victorian stage.... Heads is not easy to watch. The material is difficult, terrifying, and often heart wrenching – and this is the point. If you are looking for an evening of theatre that will get you thinking, that will leave an indelible impression long after the show has ended, and that will move you to tears – then this is for you.... In a season filled with bright musicals and silly comedies – Heads is a welcome, intelligent, and moving drama that is a must see."
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
On Wednesday, October 14th, FLIGHT opens -- an evening of six of my short plays, directed and acted by a bunch of my favorite directors and actors. We've been having a lot of fun putting this together, led by top-notch producer Kim Glann. I hope Los Angeles folks can come check it out!
- Leonard's Voice, directed by Darin Anthony
- This Isn't About Love, directed by Michael Shutt
- Sing Me That Leonard Cohen Song Again, directed by Emilie Beck
- Reveille, directed by Julie Briggs
- The Incident Report (a world premiere), directed by Lee Wochner
- Six Bottles of Heineken After the Silverado, directed by Melissa Thomas/Julie Briggs
Info and tickets can be found at www.movingarts.org. Three nights only!! Come on out and see what we're up to.
Friday, September 25, 2009
HEADS, my four-character hostage drama, set during the early days of the Iraq War, is being produced by And Toto Too Theater Company in Denver, Colorado. I'm flying in next week to attend opening night, and do a talk-back after the second performance. Looking forward to visiting Denver for the first time!
Check out the promotional video for the production on YouTube!
written by EM LEWIS
directed by Susan Lyles
Featuring: Sam Gilstrap, Paige L. Larson, Lorenzo Sarinana and Wade P. Wood
September 30 – October 29, 2009
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 7:30
The Regional Premiere of the Francesca Primus Prize-winning play for 2008. HEADS is the story of a British Embassy worker, an American engineer, a network journalist and a freelance photographer who are being held captive in Iraq; as death draws close, each hostage must decide what he’ll do to survive.
And Toto too Theatre Company is a nonprofit, 501 (c) (3) theatre company whose focus is on promoting women in the arts, with an emphasis on producing plays by women playwrights.
Performances will be held at the Denver Victorian Playhouse at 4201 Hooker Street. The Victorian is an intimate 75-seat space in the basement of an old Victorian home with a rich history of theatrical productions.
To order tickets by phone, call 212-352-3101 or 1-866-811-4111. To order online, visit www.TheaterMania.com.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The reading will feature a bunch of wonderful actors from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Returning actors from last year's reading include Cristofer Jean (as biology teacher Khim Phan), Liisa Ivary, Jeff King and Brad Whitmore. They'll be joined by Blaine Johnston (as young Max Forrestal) and Anil Margsahayam.
- "Two Rooms" by Lee Blessing (two different productions)
- "The Hostage" by Brendan Behan (Friday before last, at Theater Banshee)
- "Someone Who'll Watch Over Me" by Frank McGuiness (which I particularly like)
- "The Unseen" by Craig Wright
- "Heads" by EM Lewis (a multitude of readings, and two productions, soon to be three)
I've also been "collecting" Craig Wright plays (by seeing them), in part because some of my favorite local theater companies keep producing them, and producing them exceptionally well. So far, Craig Wright plays I've seen include:
- "Grace" at Furious Theater Company
- "Orange Flower Water" at the Victory
- "The Unseen" at the Road
- "Recent Tragic Events" at... somewhere...
- "Lady" at the Road
It's not my question, as a playwright. (I seem to be tending toward the existential in my quixotic playwrighterly quests.) But it's a good question.
Watching "The Unseen" reminded me strongly of reading CS Lewis (no relation) as a kid. I remember reading "The Screwtape Letters" over the course of one entire summer, when I was getting up at an ungodly hour to babysit while my mom worked on a neighbor's berry picker. Before that, I'd read "The Chronicles of Narnia" over and over again -- I think I read "The Last Battle" about fourteen times. (Really. I liked to read.)
I appreciate the struggle to make sense of faith that both these writers engage in. It's a difficult world to be a believer in.
It's a difficult world.
What do I believe in?
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
from the Hartford evening news, who does not yet have dust
on his combat boots..
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Attending the festival was great fun. I met Artistic Director Tony Adams and his wife, my director, Jess Hutchinson, and my actors. The festival was held over six weeks, in a theater in the basement of a church. Not only did I get to see my play, but also "Fucking Parasites," by Swedish playwright Ninna Tersman. I loved it! A wonderful two-hander about two teenagers in limbo in an immigrant detention center. Great to meet all the passionate folks involved with making this festival happen -- productions of six plays on the subject of terrorism, all written by women. Thanks so much for including my little play in the mix, Tony!
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
This unique site specific theater event was originally created by Paul Nicholai Stein, Moving Arts' former artistic director. It was performed this year at Woodbury University, up in Burbank -- a great location, quiet and spacious, just off I-5. I'm hoping it's going to be a yearly signature event for our company. It's just too much fun not to do it again! Plus I can't stop writing them...
Gearing up! Julie Briggs -- Moving Arts co-founder, actress and LA Stage Alliance staff person -- kindly loaned us her wonderful Oldsmobile to be featured in "Leonard's Voice." Other cars this year included a dilapidated rock band's old black van, a crash test dummy car, a clown car and a car that was "under water." The cars were carefully arranged in rows of five. Audience members bought a ticket for one row -- which was five plays, or approximately an hour's worth of theater.
My director, Darin Anthony, talks to our actors on Wednesday night's dress rehearsal. From left to right: director Darin Anthony, Michael Lorre (Leonard), Helen Slayton Hughes (Leonard's mother) and Stephanie Erb (Leonard's voice). Not pictured, but a wonderful help to this production was our sound designer, Dave Mickey. He rigged up a sound system so the audience could hear the voices in Leonard's head (played by Stephanie Erb, who was talking back and forth with him from a hidden car nearby).
Leonard's head hurts. His mother is con- cerned...
"Have to is have to, Leonard."
My wonderful actors! Michael Lorre, Stephanie Erb and Helen Slayton Hughes.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Gabe is a 19-year old playwright from Florida who just graduated from high school, and is on his way to Harvard. A smart young man! And a good writer. His play is called "Who Is Morrie Rothline?" -- and it's an intriguing exploration of both madness and guilt. One of my favorite actors, Jeremy Gabriel, was in it. I worked with him in the original workshop production of "Infinite Black Suitcase" at Moving Arts, and in the Blank's production of "Heads." He's outstanding! So was Tom Lenk, who played the more than moderately unhinged titular character...
A great night of theater, and a great cause. Check it out next year! Support young playwrights!
Playwright Gabriel Neustadt (Who Is Morrie Rothline?) with actors Tom Lenk and Jeremy Gabriel at the Young Playwrights Festival 2009!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Pictures from the Chicago production of Heads -- in the Alcyone Festival 2009, produced by Halcyon Theater. This is Arch Harmon as Harold Wolfe and Kerry Cahill as Caroline Conway.
This is Patrick King as Michael Apres and Miguel Nunez as Jack Velazquez.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
If you don't know about The Car Plays... well, where have you been? (Just kidding!) The Car Plays are the most intimate of site specific theater -- short plays that are performed in cars, for an audience of two people at a time. You buy a ticket for one hour's worth of plays -- five all together -- and move from car to car to experience each one. There are multiple rows of cars, all with plays happening inside them. All the plays were written specifically for this event. It's pretty darn cool!
FROM THE PRESS RELEASE: The Car Plays, originally conceived by Paul Nicolai Stein, is a unique, theatrical event that puts both actors and audience INSIDE actual vehicles.
In Los Angeles, we constantly break up in cars, make up in cars, live, die and laugh in cars. Moving Arts explores these moments through a series of original ten-minute plays written by their Resident Artists and other local playwrights.
"This is the best thing that’s happened to cars since the invention of the wheel!” –Review Plays
MOVING ARTS PRESENTS THE CAR PLAYS 2009
Originally Conceived by Paul Nicolai Stein,
Event Producer Matt Scarpino
Artistic Producer Terence Anthony
THE CAR PLAYS is a unique, theatrical event where audiences see five 10-minute plays in five different cars. Choose between four different simultaneous series of plays (Ventura Blvd., Hollywood Blvd., Figueroa Ave., and Ocean Ave.) that run nightly at 7pm, 8pm, & 9pm. Tickets can be purchased for Individual Performances (One Hour, One Series) or Multiple Performance (Three Hours, Three Different Series.)
DATES: Friday, June 26th and Saturday, June 27th
LOCATION: Woodbury University in Burbank, CA
Tickets can be purchased by phone at: 1-866-811-4111 or online: www.movingarts.org.
Thank you and see you at THE CAR PLAYS 2009!
DIRECTIONS TO WOODBURY UNIVERSITY: Coming from the North on the Golden State Freeway (5): Exit Hollywood Way north to Glenoaks and turn right. If you're coming from the South on the Golden State Freeway (5): Exit Buena Vista Street north to Glenoaks and turn left.
Zhang Yimou starts shooting Coen brothers remake
By MIN LEE
HONG KONG (AP) — "Zhang Yimou has started shooting a remake of the Coen brothers' debut "Blood Simple," the Chinese director's first film since designing the opening and closing ceremonies of last year's Beijing Olympics, a publicist said Tuesday.
Filming on the Chinese-language film "San Qiang Pai An Jing Qi" — which roughly translates as "The Stunning Case of the Three Gun Shots" — kicked off on June 9, Ping Xue, a publicist at Zhang's Beijing New Picture Film Co., told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Beijing."
I will definitely be seeing this one on the big screen. Check out the full story here. (Didn't know I liked Hong Kong flicks? What can I say. I'm eclectic...)
"In The Chimes, Nicholas Ross returns to his boarding school still haunted by the decisions he made forty years ago. As the past overtakes the present, the play flashes back to four young friends drawn together by their knack for Shakespeare and torn apart by the onset of World War II."
I looked Kevin up after seeing a production of his wonderful short play "Party Lights" at the Secret Rose Theater in North Hollywood, on the same bill as me for their annual 10-minute play festival. It was just the kind of writing I like -- subtle, but strong, and roomy (by which I mean he gives the actors room to breathe in their roles).
I wish I was closer to New York, so I could see this presentation of "The Chimes." SPF is tough to get into, and I like this play a lot. The back and forth in time, people haunted by their past, literary banter... good stuff! Check it out, New Yorkers.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I started writing "Heads" around 2004, as near as I can remember. I ought to write these things down. The war in Iraq was well underway, and as Caroline Conway (my character) says, "Everything is 'quite all right,' but there are more bombings every day. Lots of bombings." Casualties were high on our side and much, much higher on the Iraqis'. Many of us felt conflicted (or downright angry) about the war, but enmired we were. It was happening, with or without our lefty-liberal blessing. We were there.
But of course, we weren't there. We were all the way back here. And trying to make sense of things. Trying to be angry at our government for starting a war we didn't believe in or agree with without being angry at the American soldiers who were being sent over there to fight it. Trying to keep from conflating terrorism and the Muslim faith. Reeling, still, from 9/11 and this (this?) response to it. Wondering what voice we had in a world where GW had been re-elected. Our country? Was it our country still?
I didn't leave, did I?
So there I was trying to figure out how to own this war, (amongst other ugly personal arguments with self), and the hostage-taking began. And the threats of beheading. And the beheading. And the videos of the beheading. And whether or not you think this is a more awful way to die than all the other ways there are to die, it has the particularity of an affixed date.
"What if it was me?" I thought. What if I had... say seven days... to sort out everything about the war and about myself? And about myself. And about myself. Have I done any good here? Have I done any harm here? What the hell have I been doing with my life? And... if every moment is a new moment where we are able to act to define ourselves... what do I do now with this very last moment?
Last Monday, I went to New York for a reading of "Heads" at Emerging Artists Theater. Sitting in rehearsals with the director and actors, listening to the reading, and then participating in an impromptu talk-back afterwards was a strange experience, like being visited by my own ghosts. I adore Jack and Michael. I am Harold and Caroline. My heart wrenched a bit. But it was lovely, too, hearing that the play has (perhaps... I hope...) human questions in it that remain, even as some of the war questions have been answered.
The play has certainly had an upswing in interest lately. Lawrence Harbison at Smith & Kraus will be publishing a scene from the play in one of his "Best Scenes" anthologies -- look for that at the end of the year. Halcyon Theater in Chicago has included the play in its 2009 Alcyone Festival -- six plays, written by women, on the subject of terrorism -- running through June and July. And a small theater in Denver, called "And Toto Too," will be producing the play in October -- a month-long run. I'm delighted that the play is finding these beautiful new homes, and can't wait to see what these nice folks in Chicago and Denver do with my play -- how they make it their own.
Everything is resonating with the play right now. I've been talking with all these people -- figuring out contracts, discussing travel plans, attending the New York reading rehearsals, e-mailing back and forth with directors and artistic directors and actors about the play and inviting people to the reading and shows. I have seen the artistic director, all four actors, the director and the set designer from the world premiere production at the Blank theater in the last week at a new play my director is directing at the Odyssey, at a Young Playwrights Festival kick-off party and at my New York reading after not seeing most of them for ages. My LA Michael came to my NY reading, and at one point I turned around and he was pow-wowing with the NY Michael -- odd seeing them together. My Chicago artistic director (Tony Adams) asked for and received information on how they created the moss-like substance in the boys' cell from my generous Los Angeles director (Darin Anthony) and set designer (Dan Jenkins). On Saturday, I'm meeting with a couple actors to do a table read of a sequel to "Heads" that I've been mucking about with that may or may not ever become a full-fledged play. I had this notion about a trilogy...
Anyway... I'm new to this. This resonance. It was so grand and amazing having someone do my play once, it felt greedy (necessary, but greedy) to ask for more from the world. But here it is. More has arrived, in a bushel basket.
The Chicago folks have their first performance of "Heads" on Saturday night. My thoughts will be with them. I can't wait to meet them all at some point during the run, when I fly out there! I hope they are enjoying working on my play.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
The set under the lights. The set needed to work for both my play, "Song of Extinction," and C. Denby Swanson's play "Atomic Farmgirl." Because the thrust of the conference was ecological issues (and because they're good, ecologically minded people), the designers chose to use only re-used materials for their set construction. I really liked what they did -- the "forest" of table legs and rescued two-by-fours, the rolling bed/boat from which sittables could be extricated, and the beautifully painted floor... (Bolivia, maybe Cambodia).
Max, writing music in his head again...
Terrible truths from Mom and Dr. Joshua.
Max is missing, you're no help, and he is my husband.
Max goes to talk to his biology teacher, Khim Phan. They discuss extinction...
Lily is on her journey now. Khim helps all he can. This is a terrible thing to be an expert in.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
$2 Validated Parking at Hollywood & Highland Center
This Week's Plays
Thurs-Sun: June 4-7
WHAT ALL SCHOOL CHILDREN LEARN
by Benjamin Sprung Keyser (Age 16 Los Angeles,CA)
Starring Tristen Bankston, Elena Campbell-Martinez, Spencer Daniels, Warren Davis, Angela Gibbs, Elaine Hendrix, Jack Laufer, Braeden Lemasters, Pam Levin, Austin O’Rell, Lori Quinn, Lance Shigematsu, Myk Watford
I GET KNOCKED DOWN
by Patrick Howley (Age 19 Avon, CT)
Starring Newton Kaneshiro, Henderson Wade, Adam Wylie
A. & A.
by Alexander Nunnelly (Age 17 St. Petersburg, FL)
Starring Emmy-winner Gordon Clapp and Khary Payton
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Autism's False Prophet's author Paul Offit blames "the media for keeping the myth alive by following the journalistic mantra of ‘balance,’ perpetually presenting two sides of an issue even when only one side is supported by the science. And shows like “Larry King Live” have been “just awful on this issue,” he adds, placing ratings and controversy above public health by repeatedly giving McCarthy and other “true believers” a platform to peddle fear and misinformation."He ends the article talking about whether or not scientists should try to use the power of story-telling to help them get their important messages across. Playwrights (including me) have been writing more and more about science lately, it seems. Perhaps the scientists are going to start writing plays... More power to 'em.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Unfortunately, my dear friends Stephanie and Bob have been deeply impacted by the current financial crisis (recession? depression?). They're losing their house -- but they're finding strength in themselves that I'm sure they never knew they had in them. Tune in to Steph's blog, entitled Love in the Time of Foreclosure, to see how this couple is coping with these challenging times. The blog is full of grace and humor and anger and hope... and well worth a read.
Referenced today on NPR's Planet Money!