You are dead. You are here. video

13 May

Here’s a rough edit of the work we’ve been doing on YOU ARE DEAD. YOU ARE HERE. (a ghost story for the digital war age).
This is a 3 minute video trailer of a staged reading at UNC Chapel Hill (with multi-media).

Media design by Jared Mezzochi, direction by Joseph Megel, script by Christine Evans. Performed by Jeri-Lynne Schulke, Trevor Johnson and Marie Garlock. Huge thanks to Skip Rizzo and team at the Institute for Creative Technologies for giving us access to their Virtual Iraq software to use in this work-in-progress. Out of Time & Place: An Anthology of Plays by Members of the Women’s Project Playwrights Lab, Volume 1 (9780578060163): Alexis Clements, Christine Evans: Books

12 May Out of Time & Place: An Anthology of Plays by Members of the Women’s Project Playwrights Lab, Volume 1 (9780578060163): Alexis Clements, Christine Evans: Books.

In The Archive and The Repertoire, Diana Taylor makes the excellent point that what’s archived (as distinct from in rep or on stage) remains in historical memory and accessible to wider audiences across space and time.  This is one of the reasons we decided to anthologize the work of the 2008-2010 Women’s Project Playwrights’ Lab. 

A shout-out to my amazing co-editor (and book producer) Alexis Clements for getting these lovely books out into the world, and to all the writers for their plays.  If you’re teaching contemporary plays and looking for more robust representation of women playwrights, these two anthologies are a good starting point.

From Erik Ehn’s Soulographie project

3 May

Erik Ehn is a playwright with a long-term commitment to peace and justice. He is writing a play cycle on genocide through the lens of American history (Soulographie). He regularly visits Rwanda with students and others, contributing to the development of peace and justice through art-making and the work of bearing witness.

This is from his Soulographie project’s website, and is the most cogent response I’ve yet read to the recent death of Bin Laden.

You Are Dead

18 Apr

Just got back from a wonderful time in Chapel Hill with director Joseph Megel and media designer Jared Mezzocchi, working with local actors and crew on a two week workshop of You Are Dead. You Are. Here.

It’s a play I’m writing, working collaboratively with Joseph and Jared in the room, that takes as inspiration and starting point the use of video game and V.R. technologies in military training and rehab. Skip Rizzo, designer of Virtual Iraq, generously gave us access to the software which we’re using in the performance. It began life as part of the Collaborations in Humanities and Technology (CHAT) Festival at UNC last year, and Joseph, Jared and I decided to continue work on the (then) 15 minute piece to develop it into a full-length work for eventual production and touring.

Jared did amazing work with this previously unknown software and live and pre-recorded video to create an immersive world ranging from the V.R. therapy room to the cyber-space from which a young girl blogs from Fallujah. The two worlds–the veteran and his therapist, and the young Iraqi girl’s–are joined through the etheric membrane of cyberspace, where the material shock of war trauma resonates, replays and eventually connects in the present.

After the workshop and audience response, I think I can say: this one has legs. We were thrilled to have veterans in the audience and to hear their encouragement, and were heartened by the wide range of people who responded strongly to the work.

Looking forward to developing it at HERE arts center in NY, where we have a 3 year residency as the Virtual Performance Factory. Photos etc. to come!

Moon Prayer

26 Mar

White to white
bone to bone
the moon exhales our dust and blood

She turns away from us
back to the black-blown glass
of night.

Earth, fill our lungs with ash
our eyes with clay
stop the blood beating its drum
in our ears
reddening the moon

Leave us alone
To cool down.

And after the half-lives
Half-lived, of dying flowers—
White phosphorus, spent uranium—
Have died away–
After the red dries to rust
After the buildings forget
Our ebbs and eddies
Through sagging lintels
And broken windows
After the wind returns
To knit a sparrow’s bones

In the night’s empty mind
One moonless night
Breathe us anew.

Show opening at Warwick

6 Mar

Trojan Barbie had a great opening night on Friday at Playbox. And we sold out of the Samuel French edition of the play in 10 minutes! The promenade staging really works well for this play–great choice Stewart! It was interesting to see what the pressure of an audience swirling around and through did to the world of the play. In a way, it made more sense of the collage, collision structure of the world—it felt like being in a camp where events piled on top of one another, and the audience having to move to see the next events felt very organic—that their energy was a part of what was going on. Playbox have some beautiful photos— I’ll post them when/ if I can get copies.

And I was so proud of the young performers! Continue reading

A late discovery

2 Mar

A friend forwarded me this–I’d not seen this Trojan Barbie review before. Very moved that this writer responded to so many layers of the play.

Countdown to opening at Playbox in Warwick!

Playbox image, Trojan Barbie

(If you’re coming to see the play don’t read the above til afterwards—spoiler alert!

Frames and authors

26 Feb

I was inspired to write the following by Polly Carl’s post on the new play blog, HowlRound. (After putting this in on Howlround a “comment”, realized it was a large hefty rant of its own so I’m reposting here.) HowlRound is part of a new push to extend the conversation about building new work in the American theatre; check it out here.
As Polly Carl points out, Benjamin was amazingly prescient in his prediction that every audience member would become a writer, re-wiring the traditional author/ audience relationship. I will return to this exciting idea later, but first, let’s look at how the not-for-profit theatre currently frames the audience/ author relationship.

The “frame” or “authorship” of the work of art in the age of regional theatre can be read through the physical stage, which in its architecture is a metonym of all the authorial relationships within which it’s embedded. It’s nestled within the building (product of a successful capital campaign running into the millions) which is nestled within a web of marketing, financial and programming relationships. And outside of this set of interlocking Russian dolls, the playwright and other freelance (labor for hire) artists wait anxiously.

If “authoring” means framing an experience through access to its means of production, then playwrights are less and less this “author.” The frame in many ways IS the story (McLuhan), and in the not-for-profit theatre, that frame is bought and sold by funders, boards and artistic directors, and put up in physical space. To then put a play in that space frames it as product, content, for a pre-ordered set of aesthetic rules which the theatre, not the playwright, has defined in both physical and metaphorical space. That frame may be congenial or poisonous to the play, but in either case, the play doesn’t have the wiggle room to define its own, and (as product) it isn’t supposed to. Continue reading

Trojan Barbie in Warwick

26 Feb

Very jetlagged on arriving in a rainy Warwick, UK– welcomed by Stewart and Mary, directors of the theatre, and got to see the lovely Dream Factory and the theatre where very soon, the seats will be gone and the space will be transformed into a raw, muddy holding pen for women at war! The young performers in Trojan Barbie are blogging about their rehearsal process, and you can read their responses to hurtling into a fictional war-zone here:

Everyone is very curious to see how this works–the staging idea is bold– a containment center with “promenade” audience, walking through the destroyed world of Troy along with the performers. There are hundreds if not thousands of broken dolls littering the space too. There’s something in this design concept that channels Anselm Kiefer for me–his huge, bleak installations that return again and again to Troy, filtered through the catastrophe of WW2. I remember seeing the huge rebar “wave” he created in MassMOCA and feeling I was in a landscape I knew intimately–the landscape of aftermath.

Cast confirmed: Mary Beth Peil et al

15 Feb

Very excited that the Irish Repertory Theatre’s reading of my new play, CAN’T COMPLAIN, has such a rock star cast— Mary Beth Peil, Orlagh Cassidy, Andy Paris and Kelley Green. Free and open to the public–if you’re in NY this Friday, please come!
Friday 18th, 3 pm, Irish Rep.
Details are here: