Today, THIRD STREET was read at the UIL Superconference at the University of Texas, Austin. Approximately 600 high schoolers saw this reading.
This happened from luck — I happened to be at a table when another conversation was happening, I overheard the need for a show, and I offered. They took me up on this and offered me a couple slots in the Lab Theatre, which is a student-driven theatre space on campus, and I scrambled to reassemble as much of the original cast as I could, and replace a few folks who were occupied or distant. Thanks to another last-minute cancellation, we were moved to a massive (500 seat) proscenium space. I’ll post a few pictures when I get them.
This play is built for high schoolers. In it, two lonely boys who disappear into different worlds find each other.
I am working on plays titled She Gets Naked in the End and Dogf_ckers (Or, “the one about the dogs”). Most of my plays are full of curse words. I am attracted to marginal spaces, harrowing situations, people who are not on their best behavior — I write the things that make me uncomfortable to write.
I’ll be the first to admit my unease of imagining young folks googling me and seeing the titles of the other works I’m working on. I worry about the pragmatics of course — how writing plays with these titles makes it less likely that Third Street will find homes (will Dogf-ckers become a Scarlet A?), but I also feel that this goes beyond the practical, that I owe an explanation to a young person who may google me:
So here it is: I like to work at the edge of my comfort level, to skitter across the blade of my ability, to risk falling and cutting and bleeding. A friend who is far smarter than I am once told me that I play a game of truth or dare, that I dare myself to write the things that I write. (This is true even about Third Street, for a number of reasons.)
There’s also this: I write about what happens when people reach their lowest point, when they eat dirt — how do they transcend? How do they connect? And this means going to dark places. In theatre, as Sherry Kramer says, hope is currency, and for a lot of my writing these days, it has a high price.