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.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Poem 2 - Bitter

We drove all day in the baking sun and all night through deep chocolate dark in my cinnamon-rusted Fairlaine through air that smelled like butter and gooseberries.  The trunk was full of gooseberries we'd picked at your mother's house and didn't know what to do with.  But when she'd asked us to take some before everything rotted out there, we couldn't say no.  We ventured out into the abandoned field, where you never played when you were a kid.  Her grating voice carried down to us, "Pick more!"  She gave us old Cool Whip containers to put them in.  Lots of them.  "How much Cool Whip can the woman eat?" I said, but you didn't laugh.  We picked until our fingers tingled, then drank another beer with her on the porch, then whisked ourselves away from there like we were being chased.  You didn't say much.  So I turned the radio up and rolled the windows down.  And wondered why you'd wanted me to see where you came from.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Poem 1 - Fishing

She dangles her hand down along the battered side of the old row boat.
He's fishing.  He's rowing.  He's catching freshwater lake trout for supper.  He's trying, anyway.
She lets her fingers touch the surface of the cold, cold water and tilts her head back so the sun can lick her throat.
He doesn't say anything about it, as speech and fishing are strange and inappropriate bedfellows in his mind.
She lets the fish nibble drops of salty sweat from her wrist and watches a bald eagle drift in wide circles over the lake and island.
He changes bait from worms to eggs in failed attempts to lure anything in.  He watches the sun settle into the tops of the douglas firs.  He rows them back to the campsite.
"I wasn't hungry for fish anyway," she says.  She smiles as he builds a fire and sets up the tent and rolls out the sleeping bags.  
She catches him.