Updates for March

In the last few months, I’ve neglected this website as I’ve been playmaking and writing. My tires need to be rotated and I need to find a new owner for the dilapidated Taurus gathering leaves in the side yard, but I’ve written six full length plays and half a dozen short things since graduating less than two years ago. Choices.

Having finished the draft of my current project, I can work on back burner projects, though, so here’s the update.

In December, my energy turned to the productions at Skybridge. First up was the high school’s production of Very Best Coffee, which lives in the kind of world where Women go to Crying Practice and the Men go to Football Rehearsal. Embedded in this play is a lesbian romance. At Skybridge, this doesn’t raise a single eyebrow.

A shot of tech week:

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Tech Week
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Design by student, Andy R-M

The play is for high school actors, but the audience consists of adults. That possibility, perhaps, is what distinguishes Theatre for Teens from Theatre for Young Audiences. TYA assumes that the audience is (primarily) young people, and thus serves to reflect their world; Theatre for Teens lives in the liminal space between childhood and adulthood, and can encounter more mature issues, and it can criticize adultworld.

Something to ponder.

I’ll create a project page in the next couple of weeks with more details on Very Best Coffee.

I also put up the junior high play, Deleted Scenes from Fairy Tales, which was a glorious disaster. A couple of the kids didn’t memorize their lines adequately, and the result was a mess of improvisation… but the play could handle these kinds of problems. When the students forgot a whole scene, I yelled from the back of the audience, “I WANT THE EVIL FAIRY SCENE!” and the parents didn’t realize that wasn’t part of the script.

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Design by student, Nick L

Next Up

My collaborator and I decided to shelve the ISIS play for now, mainly because our timeline for working together fits another project. This project is titled Small Steps. It’s a full-length play in which a young man, tired of internet dating, goes to Mars. A shorter version is going to be part of ScriptWorks’ Out of Ink Fest.

In April, I’ll be doing an intense developmental workshop on The 12 Huntsmen, the play Acme Theatre of Davis commissioned me to write last summer. We’re partnering with UT’s Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities program for this.

Finally, the massive project I just finished writing is an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, with a gay romance at its center. A queer adaptation of R&J is hardly revolutionary, I know. Every time I mention it, I’m given yet another title of a gay version, so, in case you’re wondering, yes, I’ve seen bare.  What’s actually important is that this is for my middle school students.

My Romeo is an eleven-year-old boy; Juliet is a twelve-year-old boy. We’re not doing Original Practices with a boy in a dress representing heterosexuality. We are doing this in Texas, a place where a couple years ago, a number of schools kicked out a play about gay penguins (portrayed by adults).

What a brave new world.

Romeo and Juliet makes sense as an LGBTYA play. Their love is taboo, and it precipitates a running away situation and suicide, which both engage contemporary problems. (And this opens up a Pandora’s box of other issues, that I’ll explore in future posts as well.)

What makes me feel alive as an artist is the prospect of working in that space of the uncomfortable. That’s where something real happens. This is where we grow, where it’s more about art than craft. And the people you are working with and how you are working can become part of the art itself, as important as the words and performance.

And it makes me uncomfortable. And it may make the Cruz supporters of Dripping Springs uncomfortable as well…

More info forthcoming.

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