Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: The Year in Review -- Stuff I Did

This has been a very different year.  Big things have happened.  (Publications.  Productions.  A fellowship.  A big move!)  Risks have been taken.  Fun has been had.  All in all, I feel like I can confidently say that the day has been seized!

I always feel like I need to be doing more.  But I'd like to take a moment, now, to celebrate what I did accomplish in 2010 -- and to thank everyone who helped to make this such a wonderful year.  
Me and everything I own, in the back of a U-Haul Truck.
Changes in 2010

Quit day job at USC in the spring, where I had worked for nine years as a "Documentation Specialist" -- doing user support, teaching training classes and writing documentation for their Student Information System.  I miss all my friends there!

Gave myself a summer vacation, and spent that time back on the farm, in Oregon.  Nice to spend some time with my family!  And in close proximity to Dad's vegetable garden...

Moved across the country, into the cutest little cottage in Princeton, New Jersey in the fall -- accepting a year-long writing fellowship at Princeton University.

The cottage.
Accomplishments in 2010

Song of Extinction, by EM Lewis - published by Dramatics Magazine.

Began the year with a two-week long writing residency at Soapstone in Nehalem, Oregon.  What a beautiful place!  Set deep in the woods, overlooking a river.  A writing aerie, where I could work on my new play, "Magellanica: A New and Accurate Map of the World." 

Completed one last round of Lee Wochner's "Words That Speak" playwriting workshop, where I began a new full-length play called "Magellanica."  (Lee has been a wonderful mentor, teacher and friend to me.  Thank you, Lee!)  This was my workhorse of a workshop for... so many years that I'm having trouble calculating.  I met a bunch of my very favorite playwrights there.  You know who you are.

Took two day-long playwriting workshops from Los Angeles playwright Aaron Henne.  Great stuff!  I got a good bit done on a rather elliptical new full-length called "The Year I Don't Remember."

Attended an early meeting of the new organization LAFPI -- the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative.  Check it out!

Publications!  A scene from "Heads" was published in Smith & Kraus' "Best Men's Monologues and Scenes 2009" anthology.  My short play "The Edge of Ross Island" was published in the literary magazine "Eleven Eleven."  And best of all, "Song of Extinction" was published in Dramatics Magazine, and then by Samuel French.   Yay!

Song of Extinction, by EM Lewis - published by Samuel French.

Had a reading of my ten-minute play "The Manuscript" in "Shorts & Briefs" -- a festival of short plays produced by the Los Angeles Women's Theater Project.

Directed a reading of Part I of my play Magellanica in the Dramatists Guild's "Friday Night Footlights," and then again at [Inside] the Ford, as part of the Words That Speak workshop readings.  Had an outstanding cast!  It is so amazing to hear something out loud for the first time.

Got my first passport.  Just in case I get the chance to go someplace wonderful and far away.

Had a reading of "Song of Extinction" at TimeLine Theater in Chicago.

Had a production of "Song of Extinction" at Ion Theater in San Diego, California.

Song of Extinction at Ion Theater in San Diego, CA.
Matthew Alexander and Robin Christ in Song of Extinction. 
Celebrated my fellowship (and said goodbye) with parties at my work (USC) and my theater company (Moving Arts).  I appreciate all the love and support so much!

Was talked about in a lovely article by my mentor, teacher and friend Lee Wochner.  Thank you, Lee!  You are the best.


Spent the summer back in Oregon, on the farm.

The farm.
Hiking in Oregon.  On top of the world, on Table Rock.
Had a production of "Song of Extinction" in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, produced by Rio Hondo College.

Wrote (and was paid for) an hour-long screenplay for a publishing company, creating a new story based on the work of one of their non-fiction writers.  It was an interesting challenge!

Was interviewed by Theresa May, University of Oregon theater professor and director of the Earth Matters on Stage Conference and Theater Festival.  ("Song of Extinction" was the winning play in the festival in 2008.)

Was interviewed by Theresa Dudeck, University of Oregon doctoral student and director of the workshop production of "Song of Extinction" in the Earth Matters on Stage Conference in 2008.

Me and Stephanie kayaking in Friday Harbor!
Took a trip up to Washington state and visited playwright pals Babs Lindsay (Seattle) and Stephanie Walker (San Juan Islands).  So much fun!
Actors Michael Shutt, Peter James Smith and Stephanie Erb, director Darin Anthony, and me -- having lots of fun with "The Incident Report" at the Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway Short Play Festival
Produced "The Incident Report" in the Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway Short Play Festival.  We made the finals!  I was very proud of our intrepid Los Angeles crew:  director Darin Anthony, and actors Peter James Smith, Michael Shutt and Stephanie Erb.

My new mascot -- the Princeton Tiger!
Began 2010-2011 Hodder Fellowship in Playwriting at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey.

Did a reading with the other two Hodder Fellows -- Cynthia Cruz and ZZ Packer -- at Princeton University.  Actor Mark Nelson was kind enough to read with me, and we did two monologues (one from "Song of Extinction" and one from "Magellanica") and a scene from "Heads."

Had a reading of a scene from "Heads" in a fundraiser for friend Monica Bauer's upcoming production of "Balls:  The Testosterone Plays."

Sat in on a History of Science Seminar at Princeton University.

ANPF board president Fred Wright and me.
Acted as Host Playwright for the 2010 Ashland New Plays Festival in Ashland, Oregon -- welcoming the four winning playwrights, introducing the plays, conducting talk-backs and teaching a playwriting workshop.  It was a fabulous week!

Joined the Ashland New Plays Festival Advisory Board.

Had a reading of a new 10-minute play called "Apple Season" at Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon, California.  The theater asked a number of playwrights who had been lucky enough to have plays developed in their "Botanicum Seedlings" development program to write new short plays on the theme of "backyard fruit" that they could read on their lovely outdoor stage.

Participated in "Drunken Careening Writers" by reading short play "Seven Bottles of Heineken After the Silverado" with Aaron Simms.  Thanks for asking me to come out and play, Kathleen Warnock!

Joined a new playwriting workshop!

Had a reading of "Song of Extinction" at Briccolage Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, followed by my first "Skyped" talk-back.  Technology, for the win!

Was asked to write an adaptation for Halcyon Theater's annual festival of plays by women playwrights in 2011, and began work on the project.  Keep an eye out for "Strong Voice" in Chicago this summer!

I'm very thankful for all the opportunities that have come my way this year -- and am looking forward to lots of work, fun and theater-going in 2011!

2010: The Year in Review -- Shows I Saw

No wonder I have no time to see movies anymore!  Here is a list of the theater I saw in 2010, along with a few music events, poetry events and talks.  I don't think I missed any, but...

Los Angeles, CA (and thereabouts)
·      Carousel at Reprise
·      Readings of plays from Lee Wochner's "Words That Speak" Playwriting Workshop at [Inside] the Ford
·      Exiles at the Hayworth
·      Sidhe at the Road, directed by Darin Anthony
·      Reading of Stephanie Walker's new play American Home at the Blank
·      bobrauschenbergamerica at [Inside] the Ford, produced by TheSpyAnts
·      Reading by poet Mary Oliver at Royce Hall.
·      A Wrinkle in Time at South Coast Repertory Theater
·      Stage Door at Open Fist
·      Reading of Rick Setlowe's new play at the Blank
·      Reading of Apogee +26 at Palisades Theater
·      Reading of my play Magellanica (Part I) in the Dramatists Guild's "Friday Night Footlights"
·      Men of Tortuga at Furious
·      Reading of Jami Brandli's play "Technicolor Life" at the Blank
·      Lacsivious Something at [Inside] the Ford, produced by Circle X
·      The Wake at the Kirk Douglas
·      Loyalties at Pacific Resident Theater
·      Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights Party
·      Workshop production of Stranger Things at Bootleg, produced by Ghost Road
·      Getting Frankie Married... and Afterwards at Open Fist
·      Reading of my play Magellanica (Part I) at [Inside] the Ford, in Words That Speak workshop readings
·      The Twentieth Century Way at The Theater @ Boston Court
·      Workshop mates' readings at [Inside] the Ford, produced by Words That Speak
·      London's Scars at the Odyssey
·      South Pacific at the Ahmanson

Portland, OR and Ashland, OR
·      Reading of Gnit at the JAW Festival at Portland Center Stage
·      Hamlet at Oregon Shakespeare Festival
·      Readings of Ashland New Plays Festival winning plays: The Exceptionals, by Bob Clyman; Technicolor Life, by Jami Brandli; The Insidious Impact of Anton, by David Hilder; and The Gold Star in the Window by Harlene Goodrich
·      American Nights at Oregon Shakespeare Festival

New York and New Jersey
·      Oh, Deer at Princeton University
·      Band of Changes (music!) at BT Bistro
·      Aurelia's Oratorio at the McCarter
·      The Living Newspaper presents: Google Rising at Le Poisson Rouge
·      Lost Boy at Premiere Stages
·      Reading of The Mneumonist at Naked Angels, directed by Laura Savia
·      "The Wicked Women of Off-Broadway" talk -- Annie Baker, Lisa Kron, Theresa Rebeck and Sarah Ruhl
·      Paul Muldoon and Michael Wood (poet/critic) discussion at Labrinth Books
·      Love and Communication at Passage Theater in Trenton
·      Wings at Second Stage
·      That Hopey Changey Thing at the Public
·      An Iliad at the McCarter
·      EST event for playwrights
·      Anne Carson and S. Bynum (poet/fiction writer) at Princeton University
·      Edward Albee talk at NYPSI
·      La Bete on Broadway
·      Reading of Oedipus El Rey at the Lark
·      Princeton Symphony Orchestra (music)
·      Princeton University Triangle Show
·      Play Dead at the Players Theater
·      Middletown at the Vineyard
·      The Great Game at the Public
·      Reading of David Hilder's new play
·      Princeton University Orchestra's Shostakovich concert (music)
·      La Cage au Faux at the LongAcre
·      Next to Normal at the Booth Theater

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Plays from Coast to Coast this Week!

Oh, blog... since we last spoke, I've quit my job, sold my car, packed up my stuff, spent the summer at home on the farm, and moved to central New Jersey.  This is my year of CHANGE!

I miss my friends and colleagues in Los Angeles, but have been enjoying being in lovely Princeton, where I'm the lucky recipient of the Hodder Fellowship in Playwriting for this academic year.  I've also been enjoying being New York adjacent.  I can go see a world-class museum, a Broadway show, and a panel discussion with a bunch of my favorite playwrights, then stroll through Central Park on my way back to the train station, eating a bagel and trying to remember which pocket I hid my Metrocard in.

This post is not about my new life, though.  It's about WHAT'S HAPPENING THIS WEEK!!  Which is really the best of both worlds, as I have readings happening in both New York and Los Angeles.  I hope you will check one or the other out, if you're in the vicinity! 

Thursday, November 18th at 7pm

KGB Bar in New York, NY

Featuring yours truly, reading with Aaron Simms!

Saturday and Sunday, November 20-21 at 2pm

Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon, CA

APPLE SEASON in "Backyard Fruit"

Directed by Jen Bloom, and starring Victoria Hilyard and Carl Palmer.

Let me know if you can attend either event!  They both should be lots of fun.


Ferber, Lewis, Warnock at Drunken! Careening! Writers!
Thursday, November 18 · 7:00pm - 8:30pm

85 E. 4th St.
New York, NY

Drunken! Careening! Writers! is a reading series based on the proposition that readings should be by 1) good writers; 2) who read their work well; and 3) something in it makes people laugh (nervous laughter counts). And 15 minutes tops.

Lisa Ferber
EM Lewis
Kathleen Warnock

"The Write Stuff"

Lisa Ferber is a multidisciplinary satirist. Her paintings and illustrations have shown at National Arts Club, Location One, Governors Island Art Fair, Manhattan Borough President's Office, and other galleries, and have sold to private collectors. Her plays and songs have been performed at La Mama, The Duplex, The Brick, Theater for the New City, and other venerable locations, and her play "Bonbons for Breakfast" was a New York magazine "notable production." Her play "Lisa Ferber's 'An Evening With Molly Hadafew'" is published in "The Book of Estrogenius 2008." Her film "The Celery Stalker" toured US film festivals. Her stories have been read at Dirty Laundry, Barbes, and she was featured in the KGB evening "People Who Get More Done Than I Do." She made her singing debut in the musical "Whimsellica's Grand Inheritance," which she wrote with Emmy-nominated composer Robert Firpo-Cappiello. She co-composed the music to match her lyrics on "You Left Me for a Tranny and I'm Still Drinkin'" and "Married Don't Mean Unavailable." She was a guest celebrity on WVOX Radio and was profiled on She experiences frequent bursts of gratitude for living in New York City.

EM Lewis won the 2009 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for her play "Song of Extinction" (published by Samuel French, and playing at the Guthrie early next year) and the 2008 Francesca Primus Prize for an emerging woman theater artist for "Heads" from the American Theater Critics Association. Her work has been produced across the country, as well as in Canada, China, South Africa, and at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. She is currently working on a new play called "Magellanica: A New and Accurate Map of the World" at Princeton University, where she is the 2010-2011 Hodder Fellow in Playwriting.


Kathleen Warnock is a New York City-based playwright and editor. She has curated Drunken! Careening! Writers! since 2004 and enjoys it more and more each year. Her plays have been produced in New York City, regionally, and in London and Dublin, Ireland. She is Playwrights Company Manager for Emerging Artists Theatre, and Curator of the Robert Chesley/Jane Chambers Playwrights Project at TOSOS Theatre. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild. She is series editor for Best Lesbian Erotica (Cleis). By day, she edits travel guides for Frommer's. 

Botanicum Seedlings Fall (short) Playreading Festival
Eight new plays by emerging and award-winning playwrights
November 20 & 21
TOPANGA, CA – November 3, 2010 – Theatricum’s play development program, Botanicum Seedlings, continues to foster its relationship with local playwrights by producing its first ever festival of new short plays.The Fall (short) Playreading Festival features the works of emerging and award-winning writers based in the L.A. area, all of whom have been involved with Seedlings. A harvest of eight short plays based on the theme “backyard fruit,” along with gourmet seasonal refreshments, The Fall (short) Playreading Festival takes place Saturday and Sunday, November 20 & 21, at 2 pm. Admission is Free; donations gratefully accepted.
“Although our program supports the work of playwrights from across the country, we’re always on the lookout for ‘locally grown’ writers we can nurture in new ways,” says Seedlings literary manager Julie Retzlaff. “With this festival, we wanted to reach out to LA-area writers we’ve worked with in the past, and at the same time plan an event that would bring together the community of Topanga and Theatricum artists. The summer season of classics is over, so we’re offering something fresh and different to our audiences.” Retzlaff is producing the Festival together with Theatricum playwright-in-residence Jennie Webb.
The plays composing “Backyard Fruit” on both performance dates are:
  • Night” by Ella Martin - Bathed in moonlight, a garden is full of possibilities. Especially to a young, impressionable radish. Ella Martin is a writer, director and actor whose plays have been developed by Rubicon International Theatre Festival, Theater Charity, and PianoFight LA. She is founder and artistic director of Theatre Mab.
  • Apple Season” by EM Lewis – Lissie has no problem selling the family farm she’s inherited.  But Billy hadn’t bargained on her asking price. EM Lewis is the recipient of numerous awards including the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, Francesca Primus Prize and LADCC Ted Schmitt Award. She is currently a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University.
  • The Fruits of Their Labor” by Michael Premsriart – Not everyone in Russia is ready to turn their piece of the motherland over to an American real estate speculator. Michael Premsriart has had plays presented at the Public Theatre, Asian American Theater Company and the Asian American Repertory Theatre in San Diego. He’s a member of LA’s Playwrights Arena.
  • Trick Ride” by Mary F. Casey – Life is like a rodeo. The saddle gets harder, the competition gets younger and your memory starts to play tricks on you. But what a ride. Mary F. Casey’s plays, including Unspeakable Acts, have won the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award and Zane Gray Playwriting Contest. She received the Butcher Scholar Award from the Autry National Center.
  • The Ladder” by Damon Chua - A married couple deals with the loss of gravity, and the gravity of loss, all in their own backyard. Damon Chua is the author of numerous plays including the Ovation Award-winning Film Chinois (published by Samuel French). His pieces have been presented in Los Angeles New York, Boston, Alaska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, London and Singapore.
  • Community Property” by Tira Palmquist – Even in the perfect neighborhood, a good fence doesn’t make for good neighbors when a property dispute turns sour. The author of full-length plays featured on stages and in festivals across the country, Tira Palmquist is a writer, director and teacher. Her short plays have recently been produced in Los Angeles, Chicago and Virginia.
  • A Strawberry for Your Thoughts” by Shannon Lee Clair – A tender look at young love and what flavors the future may hold on the eve of a backyard wedding. Shannon Lee Clair is a graduate of Princeton University, where she wrote and directed her first play. She has studied abroad at LAMDA and worked locally with the La Mirada Theatre’s Young Artist Project.
  • Sour Fruit” by Tiffany Antone – A play about politics, double standards and the cost of getting elected… particularly if the candidate is a woman who’s got a choice to make. Tiffany Antone’s award-winning plays have been presented in Los Angeles, New York, D.C. and Minneapolis, and published by Samuel French. She is the literary manager for LATE.
The Festival features the work of five directors working collaboratively with the playwrights, and and an ensemble cast that features members of Theatricum’s company along with new actors brought in specifically for the Festival. The “Backyard Fruit” directors are Jen Bloom, who developed the Performing Arts Program at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum and has extensive credits on the East Coast and in L.A. (Rogue Machine Theatre, Chalk Rep and the Playwrights Union); Katherine James, a playwright, artistic director of Free Association Theatre, and frequent Seedlings collaborator; Julie Retzlaff, who works on primarily new works, as a producer and director, in N.Y. (Ensemble Studio Theatre and Arclight Theatre Company) and California (Pacific Repertory Theatre and Seedlings); Ann-Giselle Spiegler, an award-winning director for theater, film and music video based in Los Angeles; and Joy Howard, artistic director of LA’s critically-acclaimed LOFT ensemble.
Initiated in 2002, the Botanicum Seedlings series acts as an adjunct to the Theatricum Botanicum’s Summer Repertory Season, mounting spring playreadings as the season opens, and culminating after the season winds down with a fall workshop production or playreadings. Throughout the calendar year, plays are also selected to receive GreenReads, providing an unrehearsed, fresh look at scripts in various stages of development.
“Backyard Fruit
,” Botanicum Seedlings Fall (short) Playreading Festival takes place SaturdayNovember 20 and Sunday, November 21 at 2 pm. Admission to the festival is free and open to the public; gourmet refreshments will be served and donations to support this series will be gratefully accepted. The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum is located at 1419 North Topanga Canyon Blvd. in Topanga, midway between Malibu and the San Fernando Valley. For further information, the public should call (310) 455-2322 or The theater is outdoors; dress warmly and please call the theater in case of inclement weather.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Coming soon! Ellen and/or her plays in NYC, Edinburgh, Princeton...

What's up next?  Adventures, here and abroad...

July 17, 2010 -- "The Incident Report" in the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival 
If you're in New York City this summer, I hope you'll check out "The Incident Report" at the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival. I'm pleased to be working with director Darin Anthony (who also directed my play "Heads" at the Blank Theater and "Leonard's Voice" in Moving Arts' Car Plays) and some of my favorite actors -- Michael Shutt, Peter James Smith and Stephanie Erb. We're taking our Los Angeles production to the Big Apple, and looking forward to it!

Six nights, forty plays, 180 years of publishing. Be a part of history! Come see new and exciting work from some of the freshest playwrights in the country! From over 880 initial submissions, 40 plays were selected to perform in the festival, from which six will be chosen for representation and published in a collection by Samuel French, Inc. Join us for some exciting summer nights of ground breaking theatre!

The Incident Report
Written by EM Lewis

Directed by Darin Anthony

Featuring: Stephanie Erb, Michael Shutt and Peter James Smith

In a small interview room, in a large airport, Aviation Safety Investigator Connor attempts to find out what went wrong on Flight 238.

Performance and Ticket Information:
35th Annual Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival
Presented by Samuel French, Inc.
Performance Dates: July 13, 2010 - July 18, 2010
"The Incident Report" performs on Saturday Afternoon during the first session, at 3:00 pm.

The Lion @ Theatre Row
410 West 42nd Street
(between 9th & 10th Avenues)
New York, NY 10036

For tickets call (212) 279-4200 or visit Ticket Prices: $18.00. 

August 2010 -- "Song of Extinction" goes to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 
Bill Korf, of the California Repertory Company at Rio Hondo College, will be producing the U.K.  Premiere of “Song of Extinction” at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer.  Directed by Heidi Helen Davis and featuring award-winning actor Darrell Kunitomi as biology teacher Khim Phan.  Presented at “Venue 13.” Preview August 6th, performances August 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 13, all at 7:30 p.m. 


 Lily                  Debra DeLiso
 Ellery               Dan Smith
 Max                 Daniel Meneses
 Gil                   Richard Hoffman
 Joshua             Sebastian Velmont
 Khim               Darrell Kunitomi

 Khim's mother    Alex Deliso Smith
 Khim's father      Troy Whiteley
 Khim's sister       Amanda Gomez
Venue 13
Lochend Close,
EdinburghEH8 8BL
Box office: 07074 201313
Phone: 07050 161320

Magellanica by EM Lewis

September 2010 - May 2011 -- Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University
I am delighted to have been chosen as one of three Hodder Fellows at Princeton University for the 2010-2011 school year. In September, I'll join fiction writer ZZ Packer and poet Cynthia Cruz as each of us spends a year working on independent projects. I'll be attempting to complete a draft of my new full-length play "Magellanica: A New and Accurate Map of the World."

The Hodder Fellowship was created for artists in the early stages of their careers. In keeping with the bequest of Mary MacKall Gwinn Hodder, it is awarded to individuals during that crucial period when they have demonstrated exceptional promise but have not yet received widespread recognition. Typically, Hodder Fellows are poets, playwrights, novelists, creative nonfiction writers and translators who have published one highly acclaimed book and are undertaking significant new work that might not be possible without the “studious leisure” afforded by this fellowship. Hodder Fellows spend an academic year at Princeton pursuing independent projects.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"The Incident Report" goes to New York City!

If you're in New York City this summer, I hope you'll check out "The Incident Report" at the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival. I'm pleased to be working with director Darin Anthony (who also directed my play "Heads" at the Blank Theater and "Leonard's Voice" in Moving Arts' Car Plays) and some of my favorite actors -- Michael Shutt, Peter James Smith and Stephanie Erb. We're taking our Los Angeles production to the Big Apple, and looking forward to it! 

Six nights, forty plays, 180 years of publishing.  Be a part of history!  Come see new and exciting work from some of the freshest playwrights in the country!  From over 880 initial submissions, 40 plays were selected to perform in the festival, from which six will be chosen for representation and published in a collection by Samuel French, Inc.  Join us for some exciting summer nights of ground breaking theatre! 

The Incident Report
Written by EM Lewis

Directed by Darin Anthony

Featuring: Stephanie Erb, Michael Shutt and Peter James Smith

In a small interview room, in a large airport, Aviation Safety Investigator Connor attempts to find out what went wrong on Flight 238.

Performance and Ticket Information:
35th Annual Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival
Presented by Samuel French, Inc.
Performance Dates:   July 13, 2010 - July 18, 2010
"The Incident Report" performs on Saturday Afternoon during the first session, at 3:00 pm.

The Lion @ Theatre Row
410 West 42nd Street
(between 9th & 10th Avenues)
New York, NY  10036

For tickets call (212) 279-4200 or visit  Ticket Prices: $18.00.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Lovely Gift from Lee

As I leave Los Angeles and head back east for a year-long writing residency, my teacher, mentor and friend Lee Wochner gave me some lovely words, in lieu of flowers.  You can see the article here in the LA Stage Blog.

A big thank you to Lee, who has helped me so much through the years -- opening doors and encouraging me through them.  His "Words That Speak" playwriting workshop is one of the things I'll miss most about Los Angeles.  What am I going to do with my Saturday mornings without that rigorous criticism, delightful theater conversation and donuts???

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Reading of "Song of Extinction" in Chicago at TimeLine Theater

On Tuesday, May 4th at 7pm, TimeLine Theater will present a reading of my play "Song of Extinction," directed by Nick Bowling, as part of their 2010 TimePieces Play Reading Series. For more information, visit their website. For reservations, call (773) 281-8463 x24.  

TimePieces is TimeLine's ongoing series of one-night only presentations designed to extend their mission beyond the four subscription series productions they offer each season. The series offers audiences a chance to hear new or rarely produced plays inspired by history that connect with today's social and political issues. Each play reading is FREE (donations are accepted) and includes a brief post-show discussion to give the audience a chance to reflect on the piece and the themes and issues it presents.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Another year older, and deeper in...

...well, no.  Actually, I'm feeling pretty good about things.

Birthdays, for me, have always felt like a good time to try to make a clear-eyed assessment of where I'm at, versus where I want to be.

Where do I want to be?  Writing the best possible plays I can figure out how to, preferably while making enough to keep a roof over my head and my cat in cat food.  Working with great people, if possible.

Where am I at?  Writing plays.  Making enough to keep a roof over my head and my cat in cat food.  Working with great people on a pretty regular basis.  How cool is that?

The last year has brought some lovely readings and productions of my work, awards, residencies and publications.  I've written some new short plays, and am deep into researching and writing a new full-length.  And I've been given the opportunity to quit my stable, sensible day job here in Los Angeles, and go write full time -- from September 2010 to May 2011, anyway -- as a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University.

I'm taking it.  I am seizing the freakin' day.  New Jersey, here I come.

Several things make this decision possible.  The love and support of friends and family.  The odd blessing of owning nothing.  The financial cushion that the Primus and Steinberg awards gave me (and may I thank them once again for their generosity!).  And a keen sense of my own mortality.

I have no idea what the coming year will bring.  Challenges and opportunities both, I'm sure!  But I'm ready to work harder than I ever have before, write lots, see new things, see some shows, meet new people and make the most of this new adventure.  (I think I'm ready.  I hope I'm ready...)


If the year to come is half as rich as this one has been, I'll count myself lucky.


PS:  If you're in New Jersey next year, please stop by and say hello.  I don't know anyone there, and I'm a little nervous!

PPS:  A special thank you to Samuel French, publishers of "Song of Extinction."  They've made me their "featured playwright" for the month of April.  Click to see an interview with yours truly, and to buy a copy of the play.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Find me in print HERE!

Several of my plays, and scenes from my plays, recently became available in print.  You can find my work in the following places.  Buy a copy today!

 A scene from "Heads" -- my Iraq hostage drama -- is available in the new Smith & Kraus anthology, "The Best Men's Stage Monologues and Scenes 2009."

The scene is between journalist Michael Apres and photojournalist Jack Velazquez.  After a violently failed attempt to escape and a surprising revelation, things get very real between them.

My short play "The Edge of Ross Island" -- winner of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County's IN10 competition -- is now available in Eleven Eleven, an online journal of literature and art, produced out of the California College of the Arts.  The play follows a Portland, Oregon cop as she tries to talk a jumper down from the Ross Island Bridge.  Sometimes you find something out about yourself when you try to help someone else...

In January, my full-length play "Song of Extinction" -- winner of the Steinberg Award from the American Theater Critics Association, the Ted Schmitt Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, University of Oregon's EcoDrama Festival, the Ashland New Plays Festival, and Production of the Year from the LA Weekly Awards -- was published in Dramatics Magazine.  They did a beautiful job, commissioning original artwork for the magazine cover to go with my play. 

Last, but not least...  "Song of Extinction" is now in print in a beautiful acting edition from Samuel French.  The cover artwork has been adapted from our original Moving Arts production art by designer Josh Worth.

I'm proud to see my work in print.  It's a lovely feeling to hold your own book in your hand, after all the love and work and sweat and tears that goes into the writing of it.  I'm about to have another birthday -- and I couldn't think of a present better than this.