A few pictures from And then, she picks up the sword, the new play for middle school students. I’m editing the current draft after the production – tweaking the pieces that I realize I wanted tweaked. It runs about 70-75 minutes. I plan to document the process that built this play, though I don’t know the best place to publish such a thing.
I mentioned recently that I’ll be working on a new play at James Madison University this summer. Stoked to bring this quirky bit of theatre to Virginia, and thrilled to work with undergraduates on it.
Small Stepswas selected for B Street Theatre’s New Comedy Festival. It will be read sometime between June 26 and July 1 in Sacramento, and will be considered for full production for next season. As a native of the Sacramento area, I’ve very much wanted my work produced professionally at the local companies; if Small Steps has a world premier at B Street Theatre, I’ll do a death drop at the state capitol.
I’ll be visiting James Madison University next month to work on TRAILER SAINTS AND BASEMENT DEMONS in a new play development process.
I just closed my middle school show AND THEN, SHE PICKS UP A SWORD. I may not have many productions of my work under my belt, and I can’t figure out how to get my friends to see the work I make with young people, but man, I get to make things I love with amazing, amazing people. Like this one. More pictures coming soon.
I made a few mistakes in my interview. I’m quoted as having said, “I think that a thriving theater community helps create a desirable place to live, and I also think that a desirable place to live creates a thriving theater community.” And I generally believe the first part of the sentence, but I disagree with the latter – an affordable place to live creates a thriving theatre community. So, well. Oops.
I do wish the article’s writer had given Tom and Danika Burmester, who co-founded the Festival, more credit. Danika directed my piece, and did a magnificent job, and Tom clearly built an incredible amount of the infrastructure of the Festival.
Still, it’s nice to be included, and the Festival was ridiculous in the best sense of the word.
In the meantime, I’ve been hard at work on my new play for middle school students – And Then, She Picks Up the Sword – in which a prince and princess do not want to get married, and subsequently run off to the woods. I adore this Renaissance pastoral painting – as the boy with flowers in his hair teases the young maiden, she looks away (at the word “sword,” because I’m cheeky that way).
We took tropes from Shakepeare’s comedies and used them, making a play that both parodies and deploys these elements…
Directed by the Austin Chronicle’s 2017 Director of the Year (and a dear friend) Rudy Ramirez, Knitted is a re-imagination of Pinocchio, in which Geppettois a gay man who makes a puppet after a one-night stand, which subsequently comes alive. I’m hoping to turn this one into a full-length play…
A couple announcements are coming soon… Nothing earth shattering, but things that are delightful.
My favorite words to write are the dedication. I leave this to last.
My second-to-last favorite words are, “End-of-Play.”
This is when I get to become a human again.
Prior to these words, I am a strange creature. Unshaven. Sleep-deprived. Wandering from coffee shop to coffee shop, spending far too much money on cookies and sandwiches to bribe myself into staying there.
My spring middle school show has been written. It’s an adaptation of a set. A fabulous student designed this forest-filled set that we’re building with a bundle of junior high students. I spent weeks making story with them. They wanted a play where a princess falls in love with a princess. I looked at the set, and I thought about Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Shakespeare comedies… and I set to work.
This will be more environmental. The first scene – a prologue, really – set in a wedding chapel, that will be the Skybridge lunchroom. A reluctant prince and princess are supposed to get married, and then they each flee the wedding to the forest, which is what our theatre will become, and our audience will enter.
Funny thing. When you take a Shakespearian set of tropes – the idea of people running off to the woods – you start to see how the pieces worked. If the Mechanicals from Midsummer at all reflect the process old Willy went through when he built his plays, then my working with a bunch of teenagers is remarkably similar. A couple years ago, when we were in the early stages of the Romeo & Juliet adaptation, I remember thinking about how random the plots to WS’s comedies are. Whereas the tragedies often have stories built like a barn, the comedies meander. As I wrote this one, I realized why and how – you put people in forest and they don’t have a plot or project, then things just happen…