Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Another Photo from the Madcap CSP production

Here's another photo from the DC production.  For those of you who have read the play and wondered how they pulled off the television (I won't spoil it for those of you who haven't read it yet), this photo gives you a good look at what it looked like in this show.  (You can e-mail me and I'll tell you the tricks they used to get Jenny to where she needed to be.)  I was absolutely delighted with how the production team solved all the cool physical theatrical challenges of this play.

(That's Tori Miller in the TV--that's actually her through a scrim, not on video, btw.  And Paul McLane as Dave.  Photo by Isaac Liu.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Photos from Constant State of Panic

I've gotten some of the production photos from the Madcap production of Constant State of Panic (taken by Isaac Liu), and wanted to share some of them here.

Since I'm on a roll for giving advice (see my previous post), here's another one for young playwrights--after you get one of your plays produced, make sure you get the theatre to send you production photos right away.  You're going to need them, especially if they're any good.   If you wait six months, it's easy to lose track of who has them or where to find them, or who took them.  And they come in real handy (especially if your play is ever published).

Here are a couple (more to come soon):

Paul McLane and Aidan Hughes

and here's one of Paul McLane and Tori Miller (which gets at the energy of the play quite well):

(I miss all the Madcap folks.)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Advice for young writers (from Patrick Rothfuss and me)

I really like this post from Patrick Rothfuss' blog on advice he has for young writers.  Basically, he says, learn to live cheaply.  Which is great advice for anyone who wants to spend his or her life doing something that doesn't pay a lot money.  (But he says it in a really fun way.)

I'd definitely like to second his advice.  When I was just starting out, right after college, Tracy and I lived in the New York/New Jersey area, and it was incredibly expensive.  It was hard to have enough money to have time to write.  When Tracy got the chance to transfer to Denver, it was a great opportunity for her, and for us.  And even though it meant moving away from New York, just as my playwriting career was getting ramped up, it still made sense.  At the time, Denver was super cheap (we could buy four-bedroom house for $72,000)  (Denver's not cheap anymore, by the way).  In NYC, I needed to work about half time, and even then money was tight.  (And our student loans were nothing compared to what kids take out now.)  The move to Denver meant a lot more time to write.  I worked just a small part-time job, but had a huge amount of time to write.  I not only had the time to write, but also time to work on productions, start writers' groups and theatre companies.  The time and flexibility to create gave me just what I needed to grow as a writer

By the way, my main piece of advice to young writers (probably already articulated in this blog, at some point, but worth repeating right before Valentine's Day) is marry well.  The youngsters always laugh when I say this, thinking that I mean "marry rich."   Which isn't what I mean at all.  Not that "marry rich" isn't a bad idea for a writer.  But not nearly so important as marrying/partnering well.  If you're going to partner/marry someone, and you want to do well as a writer, you need to make sure you're hitched to someone who has a full and complete comprehension of what this whole "writer business" means.  Or who can stomach it, once the learn what it means.  That it's unlikely to pay very well, that it will keep you up at night or keep you out at night, that it will mean that you will often be distracted, that you will complain about the same things (rejection, lack of audience, critics, etc.) over and over again.  That despite all the promise that  you show as a budding genius, that you might not be a genius, but just someone who needs to write and tries to get better at it, and sometimes fails, or fails most of the time.  And that giving up isn't really a suitable option, because being a writer isn't necessarily something you do, but part of who you are.  All of which requires a significant amount of patience and forbearance.  You will need someone able to be strong when you are weak, able to boost your spirits when you are tired, which will happen, because for almost all of us, living life as a writer is often hard and tiresome and grinding (and lovely and amazing and thrilling).  All of which will test you and your relationship.

I've leaned on Tracy for almost 22 years of marriage, and know el that I've been especially lucky that I followed my own advice, long before I could have known it's important.

So again, young writers, good luck to you.  And marry well, if you can.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Big News: I'm a Huntington Playwriting Fellow

The news is now official:  I'm one of three writers chosen this year to be Huntington Playwriting Fellows with Boston's Huntington Theatre Company.  I'm paired with Ryan Landry and Martha Jane Kaufman.  Over the next two years, the group of us will meet regularly with the Huntington literary staff, Lisa Timmel (Director of New Plays) and Charles Hoagland (Literary Associate), in a small writing group, as well as sometimes with past Fellows (some of whom are already good friends of mine).

I'm thrilled. (I've known the news for a few weeks and it's been killing me not to be able to shout it out.)    Lisa and Charles both have a wealth of dramaturgical knowledge and experience, and my fellow writers are fun and interesting, and they're writing some exciting scripts--there's a lot I can learn from them.

Plus the residency comes with a bit of money (very helpful) and I get to attend opening night of a bunch of Huntington shows (very cool).  They don't have any formal commitment to producing any of my plays, nor do they have any attachment on anything I write, but it did feel pretty cool to at least sign a small letter of agreement with a theater as well-respected (and huge) as the Huntington.  (And they have produced/are producing a bunch of plays by past Fellows, including their upcoming production Stick Fly by Lydia Diamond.)

The announcement appeared today in the Boston Globe and on the Broadway World web site and will probably pop up in a few more places.

Now I just need to sit myself down and write my ass off, so I can make the most of the opportunity.