As my second year as drama editor comes to a close, I am forced by duty to reflect on a year that passed in an exhale. Again, thanks to Ken for being a passionate and generous editor-in-chief. He is the kind of gentle leader who people instinctively want to follow and please. He asks the right questions when I'm too baby-fatigued to properly explain my play/playwright choices. I like being pushed to deliver more, and thankfully, he's good at the pushing. Without further ado, here is my year-end wrap up for 2012-2013!
Brooke Berman is one of those writers who is always cheerfully eager to have her plays read at Tuesdays @9LA, a cold reading workshop that is not for the faint of heart. Imagine having a brand new scene (of a play still in the embryonic stage, mind you) read ice cold by actors, on a stage in a dive bar in the heart of Los Angeles. That is where I first heard a scene from THE JESUS YEAR, years ago, and I kept it in mind until I was able to give Brooke Berman her due as a monthly feature at Connotation.
Joshua Fardon, my predecessor as Drama Editor, is one of my favorite writers and people, not necessarily in that order. I had to wait a year to give him another berth at Connotation and it was worth the wait. His play, TRANSCENDENCE, perfectly encapsulates how I feel when reading his writing. He is also quite the bowler- the sport, not the hat.
Francis DiClemente's play SANCTUARY was a Connotation Press submission. It spoke to me on many levels having to do with personal experience as a refugee from twelve years of all girls Catholic school and a fan of experimental theater. I found interviewing someone who was a complete stranger quite fascinating, especially because assumptions I made about Francis' relationship to faith and religion based on his play were completely confounded by his answers to my questions. Interesting man, very interesting play.
Rod McLachlan is a friend from way, way back who I never knew as a writer. I've always held that actors make good writers because actors (most of them) are born story-tellers. When I read Rod's writing I was thrilled that he helped prove my theory. GOOD TELEVISION just ended an extended and very favorably reviewed run at Atlantic Theater Company in NYC. He is a writer to watch.
Farzana Moon's play OSAMA THE DEMENTED was another submission to Connation Press. Since the play features Osama bin Laden, I was excited and a little nervous about running it, but in discussing the play with Farzana and with Ken it seemed like the best possible way to start a new year. Farzana is a true citizen of the world, a prolific, compelling writer, and a devotee to the written word.
THE SEX LIFE OF STRANGERS by Erik Patterson is a play I cannot wait to see onstage. Erik is one of the wildest, freest, most passionate human beings imaginable. He has a habit of meeting people like Richard Simmons and becoming their new best friend. And he somehow finds the time to write gorgeous plays. Enviable.
I met J. Holtham at a party in January at an artist's living/work complex in Los Angeles fittingly called The Brewery. We kibbutzed about writing for hours and before I knew it he and his play FAVORED NATIONS had charmed their way into becoming my Mr. February. He is a very talented writer and a truly cool guy. Someone to watch.
Ian Mairs was a gift from a friend who I will gush about next. His play THE LEARNING CURVE speaks to me as the daughter of an inner city school teacher. But beyond delving into the broken education system and the broken children who get lost in it, is Ian's talent for capturing the humanity and the struggle of everyday people trying to educate and get educated.
Jacquelyn Reingold is my drama fairy godmother of 2013. She wrote me, quite out of the blue, and basically hand delivered Ian Mairs and a whole bunch of great writers that I look forward to featuring in coming months. Jacquelyn's play A STORY ABOUT A GIRL is a dual love letter- to first passion and to the theater. She is a writer's writer, determined to support other writers and their work. Writer's writers are my favorite kind of writers.
Sarah Schulman is a fierce writer and dedicated activist. Her play TRUST packs a wallop and stays in the reader's mind for days afterward. Especially in the aftermath of the George Zimmerman trial and verdict, Sarah's play rings even more true about the color of the judicial system in America.
Quincy Long is a mysterious writer, and even after having interviewed him, remains a deeply literate figure of mystery to me. Perhaps it's the secrets embedded in his characters and his play THE HUNTSMEN or perhaps it's because this play is so deeply frightening that I didn't want to ask too much. I'm either afraid of him or content to let him remain a mystery.