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Crossing genres

8 Jan

Last year I wrote and published a novel (Cloudless, UWA Publishing).  Writing in another genre pushed me to think about what words do– what they’re for. Playwrights are architects, pitching blueprints to builders… And everything changes once time and space and bodies enter the picture. A play is a tight, time-bound bridge across a shifting river of audience attention.  It’s not done til it’s performed– not really.  A play is a call to action in the most fundamental way. Build me. Walk across me. Dance with me. 

 

That has its joys

Writing my novel was more like writing a love letter at midnight, setting it on fire, then casting it out the window.  Some solitary insomniac might see it flare in the dark and be comforted– like hearing another prisoner tap on the cell wall next to you   That quiet sound, just for you, says: you are not alone. 

You might be in middle school in Ohio- perhaps the only kid with purple hair for 1000 miles. You might be a lonely middle-aged woman with a frail parent and an angry teenager and a mean boss.  But in that little flicker of light on the page perhaps, in finding my book, you take heart.  Other worlds exist. Someone is out there.

 

 

 

 

 

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Books!

8 Aug

So, women over fifty write great books too… but that aside, here is a fabulous list if you’re looking for something to read.

http://flavorwire.com/471139/50-excellent-novels-by-female-writers-under-50-that-everyone-should-read

WE EXIST

11 Mar

Women and trans* playwrights are under-represented on our international stages–less than one in four plays produced, on average, is written by a woman despite theatre audiences being majority female. There’s a circularity to this: exposure leads to production, which leads to exposure…

So I’m excited to share WE EXIST, a list of contemporary playwrights (women & trans*) which Elaine Romero, Rachel Jendrzejewski and I have been building. It’s now an open, Google spreadsheet with over 1,000 names to which anyone can add.

This is the direct link: http://bit.ly/1lfIiSA

Here is Elaine Romero’s original post from when she launched it on Monday, March 11 on Facebook:

I invited women playwrights and their fans to post their names on my Facebook wall to count our heads for a Twitter poem. Liz Duffy Adams inscribed hers first. The names kept coming. Christine Evans and Rachel Jendrzejewski dove in with passion and hard work to create an evolving, open-source list in which anyone can add herself. What has emerged is a Declaration of our Interdependence. We practice inclusivity. We celebrate abundance. We celebrate ourselves. We are Female and/or Trans* Playwrights and We Exist. http://bit.ly/1lfIiSA.

Please share with your networks! It’s meant to be used, amended, edited, and to serve as an activist, advocacy and research tool. At present it reflects our circles (mostly US and Australian); we hope it will internationalize and diversify as people get involved and add to it.

To add to the list: Simply insert a name where it fits alphabetically (by last name) in the list. OR just add it to the bottom of the list and we’ll periodically update the alphabetization.

The “Speaking as a…” trap.

18 Dec

It’s been a rough week for news. 26 people, 20 of them children, were murdered in a school in Connecticut by a gunman whose profile sounds all too familiar– an isolated young white man. There may actually be action on gun control after this latest horror.

My focus isn’t this terrible event itself, though along with the rest of the country, I’m gutted by it and send love and sympathy to the bereaved. I want instead to comment on a seemingly insignificant aspect of the response and suggest that it taps into something troubling.

Overwhelmingly, comment has centered on how “parents everywhere” are devastated. True, of course. But I am not a parent and I don’t want to see children murdered either. The whole exercise of empathy or compassion, it seems to me, requires the moral and imaginative leap of putting oneself in others’ shoes—shoes of a different size, made of other materials, made for feet unlike my own.

Over and over in the U.S., I hear “Speaking as a single mom” or “As an African-American playwright” or “As a person struggling with X…” The claim to authority comes from lived experience, and that’s reasonable.
But what about UNlived experience? What is art and literature for? I may need to be (say) a Latina to fully grasp how society positions me as such– but is it a requirement of empathy? To imagine life otherwise? Shouldn’t I at least try to do the imperfect work of imagination and empathy? If it’s only parents who can imagine the pain of parents… if it’s only other white women can imagine my tribulations in trying to be staged on equal terms with white male playwrights… in short, if one can only imagine one’s own demographic, that isn’t empathy at all. It’s a form of projected narcissism.

I think there is a connection between the shriveling of arts education in schools and the language of identity politics, when shorn of social complexity and used as short-hand. We need to make a better case for what art and art-making can offer, beyond the twin traps that not-for-profit “mission” thinking often springs–the instrumental and the uplifting. That line of argument says that art is USEFUL because it improves grades, earns $, etc. Or, that there is a moral purpose to art delivered through theme and content (UPLIFTING). Both arguments degrade a core value of art, which is to extend imagination and push us to see (and create) the world differently.

This is the radical potential of art: Things could be otherwise. If you believe that, and you believe that you can approach another’s experience (however imperfectly) then both change, and human connection, are possible because they are conceivable. And hope leads to better places than despair.

Talking about our show at HERE…

17 Jan

Two shows only! Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th January at HERE in NY.
Show page is here (for bookings and info):

L.A. reading

23 Aug

Working this week with Dr. Skip Rizzo and the creative team at the Institute for Creative Technologies in L.A.
It’s fascinating to see new developments in Virtual Iraq and think about how we can work together in creating our theatre piece. Here’s a teaser trailer of the piece, YOU ARE DEAD. YOU ARE HERE. from our previous workshop in North Carolina.

We’re doing a reading this Friday at 4 pm with media at the I.C.T. in La Playa.: Event details are here. Please come if you’re in town– it’s free and open to the public. You’ll hear the play, YOU ARE DEAD. YOU ARE HERE. and see some of the amazing work the I.C.T. team are doing on Virtual Iraq, a virtual-reality program for use in military rehabilitation from P.T.S.D.

L.A. visit to the Institute of Creative Technologies

21 Aug

It’s an exciting week coming up–heading to LA to work with Skip Rizzo and the design team who built Virtual Iraq to continue our collaboration as we work on You Are Dead. You Are Here.

Can’t Complain–one minute version.

25 Jul

In case anyone’s curious about that one-minute play, Can’t Complain— Here it is! (All rights reserved.)

________________________

CAN’T COMPLAIN A one-minute play by Christine Evans
Characters:
Maureen
Rita, Maureen’s mother
________________________

MAUREEN:
Mom. How are you settling in?

RITA:
Can’t complain, darling. How about you?

MAUREEN:
I’m fine. Everything’s fine. (Beat, then very fast.) Actually it’s not. Last night Jilly declares she’s pregnant and Joel chips in with, Well, it’s gonna be retarded anyway ‘cause of all the glue sniffing, and Michael says we’re all fucking monsters and walks out on us, SLAMS the door, Jilly’s hysterical and Joel is all like, what did I do? So I say, let’s go get pizza kids, and they calm down. But I left the stove on and Continue reading

Play size and shape

24 Jul

I was reminded, in conversation with director Dominic D’Andrea recently, that my most recent full length play started life as a one-minute play. (Dominic runs the one-minute play festival that’s gone viral nationally). Sometimes you don’t know the size of something til it emerges–as the mothers among us can ruefully attest! Anyway, I wrote several one-minute plays at Dominic’s request, thinking something like “Humph. How can a real play actually be only a minute long?” and to my surprise, discovered that it can–as a raindrop refracts an entire world in the surface tension that forms its curve.

Of the three plays I wrote, Continue reading

Trojan Barbie in London

4 Jul

Thrilled to see that Mountview Theatre School’s graduating class is performing my play TROJAN BARBIE at the Charing Cross Theatre in London’s West End this July! Details here: