January Update

It’s been a while since I’ve updated, and so I vow that this New Year, I shall update every month.

Gentrification finally got to my block, and a nearly 50% rent hike broke up the Rainbow Confetti House in East Austin and swept me south of the river. I’m only now catching up with all of the lost work, including posting about my most recent show…


In Two Truths and Lies, a group of teenagers reinvent themselves at a summer camp.


The impulse for this play was to have teenagers play teenagers in a realistic world. Each part would challenge each actor. I’d previously written Very Best Coffee and [a different] Romeo & Juliet and Nameless in the Desert for my teenage actors, and each of these has some element of theatricalism to the world. I knew that it was time to work with realism, and so I went about fashioning this world.

As the world of the summer camp emerged, it became clear that it was about the lies the kids were telling each other — and themselves. One kid pretends to be from England and that her brother is not her brother; another pretends to be the ghost of a kid’s dead brother. Summer camps frequently appropriate from the cultures of native people, an occurrence that This American Life pointed out in this episode, and the myth-making of the camp became a driving force. The backbone of the play is one kid, Eric, who searches for “the truth,” and believes he’s seen an alien…

In these pictures, you can see our little theatre.

As a side note, the poster was designed by one of my students. I gave him not instructions on how to do it, and so he was surprised by how delighted I was when he finished it. He didn’t realize how much it echoed the book covers of the YA novels I read when I was his age, the I Know What You Did Last Summer or R.L. Stine Fear Street look.

Contact me if you want to read the current draft. It’s an ensemble play, about 100 minutes. I’ll be putting up a page for it when I get a chance.


This project consumed most of my time, but I also managed to work with 14/48 Austin again and squeezed out a ten-minute play about a woman chased by wolves.

Short plays used to be my bread-and-butter, and now they are occasional desserts….

Info on another project or two coming up soon….

Summer Update

Howdy folks,

Burnt orange t-shirts abound at Oil-Can Harry’s, and I have a stack of unread books about Improv and musicals in an HEB bag I carry around like a homeless person. This can only mean one thing: the school year is starting. Screenshot (5)

This summer began with The Briars at Theatre Emory, as I’ve mentioned. I also borrowed Big Idea Theatre and a few actors for a second read, and so I must thank them for the assist.


Following this, I worked on drafting the full-length version of Small Steps with Caleb Britton. Short summary: Sick of online dating, Skip Powers volunteers to go to Mars — and they say yes. I’ve downloaded several dating apps as research, not that I’m unfamiliar with online dating, and I find this strange internet marketplace fascinating, addictive, and exhausting.

Screenshot (4)
An image from ScriptWorks’ Out of Ink Ten-Minute Play Festival

I also, gloriously, get to spend time reading about the Mars rovers and watching videos like this ping pong matrix to imagine how a production would create zero gravity.

I hope to do better at documenting the creation process of this one.

Soon-to-be competing for my creative time will be whatever play I write for my high school students. It’s time to dig our teeth into a realistic drama — after comedies like Nameless in the Desert, Very Best Coffee, Deleted Scenes from Fairy Tales, and  [a different] Romeo & Juliet, it’s time. I think the students can handle more mature material, too, so this play may land in a space for mature audiences.

I have eight or nine actors to work with, and already I’m feeling the pinch of sadness that comes with writing a play for so many actors. I know the prospects of a large-cast play (dear God, when did eight actors become “large-cast?”) finding a home outside of self-production are slim.

This semester, the high school students will be writing a musical for next semester. While I will facilitate the creation and development process (and teach playwriting), I’m not going to control the content or execution. Moreover, the high schoolers will be writing for the junior high students this semester. Also, I’m teaching a devising class and a long-form improv class, so this will be the semester of creating theatre…

*awkward transition*

In the next couple months I hope to get the video of The Jungle Book and [a different] Romeo & Juliet up. They are recordings of the performances, so a bit rough and bouncy, like home movies.

Finally, you can now buy The Jungle Book at Amazon.com. Click the picture and it will take you directly to the listing.

Screen shot 2015-03-11 at 11.08.22 PM

448 Plays @ Theater Emory


When Theater Emory contacted me to join a handful of other playwrights in Atlanta to write a play in 48 hours, I jumped at the chance.

I didn’t realize that they would want a full-length play.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I denied it, but I think I secretly hoped that was the requirement. I think I wanted to kick my own ass.

And that was how, a little more than a week ago, I was in Georgia. Atlanta. A city that defied my Californian imagination. Hills and massive trees and fireflies and history history history greeted me.

I joined three fabulous playwrights: Dana Lynn Formby, Bennett Fisher, and Jireh Holder. (I spent the week living with them; they are now dear, dear friends, and I recommend that anyone wanting to know what the world of theatre can be like, go check out their work.)

The source material: The Briarcliff Estate. More specifically, a dilapidated mansion built by an eccentric Coca Cola heir / developer. We’d collectively create a list of ingredients that we’d each add to our plays based on this material.

An introduction by a brilliant young preservationist — the kind of person who delights and astonishes, whom you’re glad the world has managed to create — introduced us to the estate, and then a dusty tour later… And we were off. 48 hours to write.


48 hours later.

A new play: The Briars

10,000 words. A full-length

“Told from a chorus of Townsfolk, The Briars tells the story of the rise and fall of Buddy Briar, the city’s eccentric, whose quest for greatness swallows his desire to be loved by the city.”

A play I love, too. With some revision, I’ll post it on the New Play Exchange.

I’m glad I got my ass kicked.


I’m in Davis for a chunk of the summer. I’ll be helping with Barnyard Theatre as we produce Kate Tarker’s An Almanac for Farmers and Lovers in Mexico, a play pulled from The Kilroy’s. She’s heading off to The O’Neill, so I don’t suppose we’ll see her in the barn.

Incidentally, this means that we’ll have produced eight female playwrights to six male playwrights on our mainstage. This wasn’t out intention — we just wanted to produce awesome plays. There’s a surge of talented female playwrights coming of age right now, so when you don’t rely on the canon or established playwrights to fill your theatre, your season will look more like America.

RJ on Howlround

The first in a three-part series on the RJ project just went live!

Read it here

I wrote it a few months ago. It takes some time to go from page to internet, so it’s set in February/March. The next one is April/May — not sure when it appears.


ROMEO & JULIET on its way…

“I am an independent white male!” declares Lord Catapult, Juliet’s father.


“I hate plays! Someone should write a play about me. TYBALT! It will be a musical, and I’ll play all the parts. I can be angry — and enraged!” yells Tybalt.

“I know 17 gay people. I counted,” says Paris, a Paris Hilton-like figure.

An two twelve-year old boys playing Romeo and Juliet. Having elected to do it.

Yeah, this project will be different from pretty much anything that’s out there.


Alt Ed Austin invited me to write a bit about the process that is making this very different RJ a reality. Read it here



RJ and Out of Ink


Out of Ink, which included my ten-minute play Small Steps closed last night. This is my second time doing it, and I continue to be impressed with the organization. The ten-minute play festival starts with a bake-off in November, where playwrights scribble short things over a weekend. A handful are selected for production, and months later, we’re developing the pieces in rehearsal. And then it’s up for two weeks.

Small Steps opens with Skip Powers saying, “When I realized no one would ever love me, I volunteered to go to Mars. And those fuckers said, ‘Yes!'”

And that, essentially, is what the play is about. I’m working on expanding it to a full length.

Or rather, I will soon return to working on it. I’m in the heavy part of my project bringing the junior high / LGBT version of Romeo and Juliet to Skybridge Academy into life. Most of the words are mine or the students’ — we stole fewer than you’d think from The Bard, but it’s still a hefty play for middle school students.


I have an  article or two coming out soon that I’ll be sharing. Meditations on the process, you know, which has been quite special. I marvel at the fact that we’re not only doing a gay version of Romeo and Juliet with junior high students, but that the students made the choice to do this themselves. In some ways, this show will be like any other junior high show — kids will forget their lines and my blocking isn’t professional or anything — but in other ways, this will be unlike anything else out there.

Brave New World, you know.