During the second week in February, I was in workshop for my play, Among These Wild Things at InterAct Theatre Company in Philadelphia. The play had been awarded their inaugural New Play Development Award. This is the first national award that I have ever received for my work, which was thrilling. It was also deeply affirming because this play represents a return to my voice as a writer. It was a rigorous week of work. I continue to learn so much about these amazing characters and the powerful story being told. I'm struck by the responses to the play and by the play's clear message about what it wants to be. In the next draft, I will be shifting time significantly, which is exciting. I'm on a bit of hold as I look for funding opportunities or hear from a theatre that is interested in investing in further development. In the meantime, I've started to work on another play, which I'll tell you most about soon and I've gathered photos from my time with the lovely folks at InerAct and my cast in the room. This workshop was directed Seth Rozin with dramaturgy by Erin Washburn and featured Jay Charan, Ciera Gardner, Melanye Finister, Carlène Pochette, and Rupal Pujara. Please enjoy!
At long last, I'm finally able to share the photos from the stage reading/workshop production of The Inferior Sex at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. With this residency, I had the opportunity to work on any play. What a gift! To be told by the chair of the department: We just want to do and support whatever helps you, your craft, and your process. I have a lot of plays in the pipeline, as it were, and I'm glad that I chose The Inferior Sex.
I began writing this play in the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. As cities across the world prepared for the second Women’s March, I kept thinking about the Equal Rights Amendment, which would guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex. While it passed in 1972, it did not reach the 38 state threshold required for ratification. Recently, however, Nevada approved the amendment last year and Illinois approved it this past May. All hope is pointing to Virginia right now. If they approve it, then Equal Rights Amendment will become the law of the land. It’s amazing to think that the global focus on anti-sexual assault and women’s empowerment could lead to immediate, lasting, and comprehensive social and political change. Additionally, over the course of three workshops, actors--whether they were women or queer identifying, told me that they were so happy to be able to play smart, ambitious, passionate, and driven women, and that it was their first time doing so. It's an extraordinary statement, but not surprising given the history of the American Theatre.
My time at UNC Wilmington allowed me to dive deeper into the characters' emotional landscapes, clarify key plot points, and learn more about the world of the play. I remain deeply appreciative for this opportunity for and for the enthusiasm, humor, and talent of my brilliant cast and stage manager. I'm excited to see where this play goes next! Of course, I'll be sure to keep you posted!
Under the direction of Shirley Serotsky, the cast of The Inferior Sex included Alana Ashurst, Lizzie Bennett, Julie Bishop, Madeline Leah Mary Boltinghouse, Darien Bradley, Dajah Glenn, Margaret Naughton, Abigail Norris, Breonté Scarboro, and Samantha Stemmer. Our fearless stage manager is Heidi Casinger. It was such fun, productive, and inspiring experience. Please enjoy these photos of our time together!
Fun with Recipes
The Staged Reading!
Post Show Discussion
UNC Wilmington's Department of Theatre Presents A Stage Reading/Workshop Production of The Inferior Sex
I'm writing to you from Denver, where I'm dramaturging the world premiere production of Donnetta Lavinia Grays beautiful play, Last Night and the Night Before at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It's my first time in Denver and I'm beyond excited to be working on this new play with such a phenomenal group of theatre artists. It's also nice to be away for a bit. Of course, I'm still reeling from the joy and success of the new play workshop of Edges of Time. It was such a blessing to gather in a room full of women to tell the story of Marvel Cooke's extraordinary life and career.
I'll be working on revisions over the weekend. With this play, I'm thinking about what it means to leave a career that you love--a career you're good at, because economic and political forces push you out, and what is lost by your absence. I'm thinking about how a movement that focused on justice and workers' rights so terrified the powers-that-be that it was weaponized, and where we are now because impoverished people remain disenfranchised and do not control the narrative. I'm thinking about what happens to us as individuals when we begin to understand the larger systems at play that work to erase our humanity. I'm also thinking about how relevant this story is today given our socio-political and racial climate. This play has me so alive right now. To learn more about the play, the process, and to hear from my collaborators, please read this excellent interview, The Marvelous Life of Marvel Cooke, written by UNC College of Arts and Sciences Kim Weaver Spurr.
When I return from Denver, I'll be working to complete another rather exciting play, and I look forward to telling you more about it soon. In the meantime, please enjoy these photos from the rehearsal ad reading with my amazing, talented, generous, and brilliant ensemble: Kaja Dunn (Director), Ash Heffernan (Stage Directions), Kathryn Hunter-Williams (Marvel Cooke), and Jules Odendahl-James (Dramaturg). Please enjoy!
Edges of Time Workshop
I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!