I, along with Laura Neill and Phaedra Michelle Scott, have been selected as SpeakEasy Stage’s 2019 Boston Project Playwrights. Each of submitted proposals for original plays set in Boston, and will write (or further develop) our plays over the course of the year. The process ends in a weekend of public staged readings in June.
I’m using the below “working synopsis” for my play, The Usual Unusual:
True Colors, Boston’s last remaining queer bookstore, has managed to stay afloat even as other bookstores and gay establishments have withered in the shadows of Amazon and Grindr. It faces an identity crisis after Coach, the store manager, offers Charlie, his de facto son, a leadership role. The staff considers a business opportunity from a questionable tastemaker, and scramble to create a unified message while unprecedented turnover threatens to undermine decades of progress.
New Opera and Musical Theatre Initiative (NOMTI) has selected to support the development an opera adaptation of my play not Jenny, with Marc Hoffeditz as composer. We will meet and showcase our progress at monthly meetings over the next 11 months. not Jenny's world premiere was with Bridge Repertory Theater (link) in December 2013. Gimpy the turtle will live to (theoretically) swim another lap.
"This Place / Displaced" (link) is an evening of commissioned, original plays represents a partnership between Artists' Theater of Boston and members of the greater Boston community who have endured the brunt end of housing inequality and gentrification. My contribution is a mother-daughter two-hander called "Kung Pao Something". The production runs from August 17—25th at Charlestown Working Theater
Flat Earth Theatre, in collaboration with the Museum of Science, commissioned me and three other playwrights (Fran Da Silveira, Nina Louise Morrison, and Kevin Mullins) to write plays about climate change. On May 4th, the Museum will host an evening with readings of excerpts of all four plays. On May 20th, the company will host a full reading of my play, (We Are) The Antarcticans at the Democracy Center in Cambridge. Learn more and reserve your spot here.
SYNOPSIS: A ragtag troupe of six staffers from McMurdo Station offer a breakneck pageant covering 100+ years of milestones and mishaps in Antarctic history. Meet the first women to winter-over, a contemplative pair of dogs, the most unheroic explorer of the Heroic Age, and plenty more Antarctic stories you never knew you cared about.
Beginning January 2018, I will be joining Chelsea Diehl and the rest of the team at My College Audition in Allston, MA as a College Essay Coach. In this role, I will work with high school students to help them conceive, write, and revise their college essays and performing arts supplements.
The Berkeley Beacon, Emerson's student-run newspaper, ran an article about my entry into the Huntington Playwriting Fellows program. There's a fabulous picture that showcases my beard really well in there...
Brenda Withers and I have been named Huntington Theatre Company's Playwriting Fellows for 2017-19. The opportunity will give me opportunity to work with the Hunt's Literary Manager, Charles Haugland; Playwright-in-Residence, Melinda Lopez (my former instructor at BU); and new Associate Producer, Rebecca Bradshaw (a longtime friend and collaborator). I'm looking forward to table reads, and all sorts of access to the Hunt's resources and artists!
An excerpt of "Two Below Zero", my two-woman Antarcticomedy, was presented in the Arctic Group's FRIDGE Festival in New York, NY. The production was directed by Christian Amato, featuring Allyson Condrath (Zara) and Lauren T. Mack* (Cali). The igloo was cold, the reception was warm.
*Indicates AEA member.
StageSource's New England New Play Anthology has been released at last, thanks to the tireless efforts of a wide range of artists and administrators, especially editors Patrick Gabridge and Laura J Neill. The anthology includes 8 plays that were presented in Boston over the last 5 or so years, including my one-act "Hell By Fire, Hell By Ice". I back ordered a box of 'em and am selling copies for the cover price ($25). E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to get yours!
An excerpt of my play Two Below Zero (aka Frigid Bitch) will be featured as the theatrical response at the Greenovate Forum on Monday, May 1st from 6:30 - 8:30pm at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston. I'm framing this as a "preview" of the play which I'm hoping to make available on request because of how portable and scrappy it is. Amie Gem Lytle plays Cali and Gigi Watson plays Zara. RSVP to the event here.
"Right Justified", a 10-minute play that I wrote with Alexa Mavromatis for the 2015 Fresh Ink / Interim Writers Mad Dash is one of the selected plays for Boston Playwrights' Theatre's upcoming Boston Theatre Marathon on Sunday, 14 May. The full list of selected plays lives here.
Last year's productions of The Launch Prize and That Time the House Burned Down have earned several nominations for the upcoming IRNE (Independent Reviewers of New England) and ArtsImpulse awards.
The Launch Prize for the IRNE for "Best New Play" (Small Stage). As for Arts Impulse, The Launch Prize and That Time the House Burned Down are both nominated for "Best New Work" (Small Theatre); The Launch Prize is nominated for "Best Play" (Small Theatre); and Noah Simes is nominated for "Best Lead Actor" (Small Theatre) for his turn as And A Half in The Time the House Burned Down.
The IRNE Awards are Monday, April 24th, at 7:30 pm in the Ballroom of the Holiday Inn Brookline, and the ArtsImpulse Awards are at OBERON in Cambridge on Monday, April 3, 2017.
I will be leading a presentation called "Melting in the Spotlight: Securing Antarctica's Place in Popular Media" as part of the APECS (Association for Polar Early Career Scientists) International Online Conference -- and therefore streamable wherever internet is readily available at 3:15pm (New Zealand time, of course, which is 9:15pm EST). My abstract is below for your titillation:
As Antarctic research yields increasingly urgent warnings about our planet and major political powers embrace climate-change denial, we are called upon to seek new methods of communicating those concerns and rise above the fray. Meanwhile, popular media demonstrate themselves as effective and palatable methods of shaping popular consciousness, so much so that we’ve repurposed the word “binge”. It is necessary to turn to the next generation of media makers to ensure that lessons learned in Antarctic research have voice.
This presentation suggests innovative academic methods that would enable and inspire researchers and students within Antarctic studies to forge a connection with students and graduates within the arts. By referring to my familiarity with Emerson College’s unique interdisciplinary offerings, I will propose methods of collaboration with the goal of developing persuasive and informative media content meant to elevate the presence and impact of Antarctic stories and research through tools including fiction, television, interactive games, drama, etc. I will describe action items that I integrate into my own teaching and creative pursuits, and that may be of use to instructors, faculty members, and granters of research fellowships pertaining to arts and/or science.
Young artists and writers are often waiting impatiently for their next gig; Antarctic researchers have an opportunity to employ their talents as a platform for amplifying their own perspectives. Working across disciplines offers an opportunity to raise the alarm for climate change in a way that will make the public listen and act.
My good friend Travis Amiel founded "Emerson Playwrights Collective", and invited me to present a Masterclass with them, which went swimmingly well on 28 February. I led ten student playwrights through a series of playwriting and character-building exercises-- some of them were tried and true, others were experiments. My takeaway: "teaching" writing really is more ushering learning than anything; it is definitely not a tangible skill like knitting.
Since September 2016, I've been serving as an Affiliated Faculty of Writing for Film & Television in Emerson College's Visual & Media Arts Department. In this role, I'm teaching VM 220 "Writing the Short Subject", which centers on writing screenplays for short films, and advising a directed study, "Writing Web Series". This has easily been the most fulfilling challenge of my (money-earning) career.
"Peggy's Properties" was presented as part of Losing and Finding, a ten-minute play festival presented by Chameleon's Dish from September 23-24 at the Democracy Center in Cambridge, MA. The play was directed by Phoebe Roberts and featured Allyson Condrath as "Peggy" (pictured).
The Launch Prize was honored with the 2016 Elliott Norton Award for Outstanding New Script at the ceremony on Monday. Here I am at the after party with my good friend, Bridge Rep Producing Artistic Director Olivia D'Ambrosio.
In a perfect case of life imitating art, The Launch Prize has been nominated for two Elliot Norton awards: Outstanding Production by a Fringe Theater, and Outstanding New Script.
The award ceremony is on Monday, May 23.