Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tina Fey as Palin

Okay, you've probably all seen this, but I thought I'd put it up anyway. As far as I can tell, the only positive of Palin getting elected would be getting to watch Tina Fey play her. But I can live without it.

T Plays Open Tonight

I was at rehearsal for my T play, Recognition, on Sunday night (before heading home on my bicycle in a surprise downpour--3 miles from Beacon Hill to my house--like swimming home) and it went well. The whole process is compressed for this festival, but that's fine. I think the script turned out better than I'd hoped--you never know with the high pressure deadlines, but when they work, they really work.

Anyway, tonight is opening night. 8pm, Factory Theatre, 791 Tremont Street in Boston. I can't go tonight because I have to coach soccer (and am already missing an open house at Kira's school), but I'll be there tomorrow night. Can't wait.

Essay from Tim Wise on white privilege

Tim Wise has written a thought-provoking essay on white privilege and the current presidential race. I'm a big fan of Tim's and I think this one is right on the money.

Check it out here: This is Your Nation on White Privilege .

Whenever I co-facilitate the White People Challenging Racism class, it's always hard for people to really get their heads around how white privilege works. Having Barack Obama in the race, as Tim shows us, helps make it all a lot clearer.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The T Plays--made my deadline

So I managed to get my T play written this afternoon. Tracy had actually given me an idea when we were driving to Kira's soccer game this morning--telling me about something that had happened to her on the T a while ago. The idea really stuck with me--I just couldn't shake it.

I got to the T at noon and met up with the young reporter from BU, who promised to just sit and hang out and not talk to me while I was writing, which worked out great. Before she arrived, just while waiting on the platform, I was able sketch out a few possible notes.

The D Line outbound from Brookline was nearly empty, which was just what I needed. I was able to work on a stronger set out outlines and questions for a good half of the ride, and then actually started writing. Being on the T was very helpful to try to understand the physical way I wanted this script to play itself out. And with it empty, I could just stare at the seats and imagine my characters in place, as they shifted around from seat to seat. The train filled back up on our way back into the city (we were way out in the suburbs when we got to Riverside), but I was totally focused on getting the characters and their voices down on paper. I took a few details from the riders around me, but not a ton.

Back in town, the reporter had to jet off to another gig, but I was about halfway done with the draft. I hopped back on board the D line for another ride all the way to the end, and by 2 o'clock, I had a whole draft, about 9 pages, which should come in around 10 minutes (our target). I rode for another hour, making revisions, thinking more about how people ride the T. Then I went home and typed it up, let it sit a little, and I've just turned it in (an hour ahead of deadline).

In some ways, I wish that I'd grabbed an idea from this particular T ride, but I'm happy with the play that I got, and it was definitely an interesting and intense experience to write it on the train. We have a read through tonight at 9:15 after the show, and I'm curious to see how it turns out. I haven't met one of the actresses yet, so I'm hoping I've got their ages about right. If not, I'll have to make some modifications. I'll have a chance to make more changes before rehearsal tomorrow.

Right now I'm pretty exhausted, but glad that I managed to write a draft of a play that I like.

Friday, September 19, 2008

at the starting line--T Plays

As soon as I grab some lunch, I'll head out to the Green Line and try to write my T play. There's a young reporter from BU who will be shadowing me--hopefully I can turn off my extrovert mind and focus on the task at hand. I'm already trying to make the mental shift from soccer coach (we won this morning, 4-3, in a thrilling game) to playwright.

I got to watch the shows last night and have some ideas about what I want and what I don't, and even a few slips of possible ways to go. Time is an issue, of course. I'd like to write for an hour and just think and listen and see if anything new really jolts me, or if I might shape one of these other thoughts.

I saw the first round of shows last night, and they were all well done. It's nice to have such strong company (I won't say competition, even though, well, you know...)

Okay, I have 6.5 hours to write and type and send it in. Off I go.

The T Plays

This weekend is going to be crazy busy, because I'm taking part in the T Plays this weekend, where five writers get on the T (Boston's subway) and ride all afternoon, while writing a play that takes place on the T, inspired by the ride. We'll have a read through tomorrow night, and th plays will go up on Wednesday of next week!

I'll be riding the Green Line tomorrow (as soon as I'm done coaching Kira's soccer game). I'll have from noon - 6pm to write and type up my play and turn it in. (Yikes!) I'll try to post again tomorrow and write about how it's going.

The results of the last week are on stage this weekend, at the Factory Theatre. Here's the info:

September 17th – October 4th, 2008

  • week I: Wednesday – Saturday, September 17 – 20 @ 8PM
  • week II: Thursday – Saturday, September 25 – 27 @ 8PM
  • matinee: Sunday, September 28 @ 3PM
  • week III: Thursday – Saturday, October 2 – 4 @ 8PM
The Factory Theater
791 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02118
Tickets: $15 or get a "T Plays Pass" for $30 to see one show each week
Reserve: 866-811-4111 or
Info: 617-240-6317 or email:

Over our first two weeks we’ll present 10 World Premieres. Each Saturday five playwrights will board the subway knowing only the number of characters and the setting (the very subway they are on). At the end of the round trip they turn their freshly written script over to the director and actors. Three days later the shows go up!

The second week we do it all over again with new writers, directors and actors.

But there’s more! Every night we’ll be asking the audience to vote on their favorites. Our closing week October 2 – 4 we’ll be presenting the winners in our “Audience Favorites” Final Week.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Avast, Aargh, and Keel Hauling

I know that many of us are in something of a tizzy these days, what with the prospect of the world's largest superpower potentially being helmed by a man (advanced in age, and with a history of health problems) whose sudden demise might cause a woman with a penchant for wisecracks, assault rifles, the rapture, and personal political payback to be thrust into the presidency. That the American voters might go from electing someone they can have a beer with to electing someone they could picture being part of the hockey carpool isn't especially comforting, and may be causing some of us to look at Canadian real estate web sites.

But when the times get tough, the tough have to sometimes let off a little steam. Thus, perhaps some of us hand-wringers currently experiencing night sweats should consider taking part in International Talk Like a Pirate Day this Friday, September 19th. Nothing helps release tension like a good Aaargh! or an Avast Me Hearties!

My son Noah is a big fan of pirates, so I'm certain we'll be on board. Let it all out, friends. Before it's too late.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Good News: more radio time

Just got some good news that my radio play, Love and Lightning, will be rebroadcast this November in San Francisco, by the Shoestring Radio Theatre, on KUSF (90.3 FM). It's a dark, but fun, comedy about a man struck by lightning while out bicycle riding with a woman who was certain he was going to propose marriage to her (he wasn't). I'm glad it'll have a chance to reach an audience again.

Someday, when I have a little more time (okay, most of my fantasies in life involve magically finding more time), I want to try to get versions of my radio plays digitized and available as podcasts on my web site. (Right next to my short films.) They've all been broadcast at some point or other, but I know online they could potentially reach even more people. At some point (after my magic wands adds an extra third and fourth hour to the day, and the energy use them for more than sleeping), I'd like to re-record some of them with my favorite Boston actors.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

novel progress: draft complete

Finished up the current rewrite of my new novel this morning. The ending sort of snuck up on me--I'd thought it was going to happen in about 20 more pages, but then suddenly, the characters got themselves to a point where the story just needed to end. It makes me feel a little dizzy, actually.

I'm not quite sure what to make of it. But if I know one thing, it's that endings are definitely not written in stone, and it's pretty likely this one will change, once I start revising.

I've been writing this draft longhand, to try to shake things up, so now I've got about 140 handwritten pages that need to be typed up (editing as I go, of course). I'm curious to see what I've got. I tend to keep pushing ahead all the time when I'm writing a draft like this, so rereading it will feel oddly fresh for me. I've spent a lot of time with these characters, and I'm glad that I'll get to visit with them for a while longer.

My goal is still to have a draft ready to send out by January, though that seems ambitious at the moment. (Especially since this fall is very, very very busy with productions, freelance work, soccer coaching, some travel, etc.) Still, I've got my 5am-6:45am slot every day (which I actually gave up yesterday, in order to do a freelance gig, but I won't do that often).