Sunday, November 9, 2014

Two Amazing Events to Begin the Fall!

I can't believe it's already November.  Things have gotten crazy busy, as they will do, and now we're in the strange bend from Halloween to New Year's, which often feels like a rollercoaster of holiday madness I can't jump off of for fear of breaking something, BUT...before all of THAT...I wanted to give a shout out to a few things that were awesome at the beginning of October and onward.

The beautiful poster for Cusi Cram's WILD AND PRECIOUS, featuring Phyllis Somerville and Sam Schuder.
First, I had the wonderful opportunity to go check out my former teacher and friend Cusi Cram's beautiful film, Wild and Precious, at its first New York screening at Anthology Film Archives the first weekend in October, and it was lovely, thoughtful, wise, true, funny, all of these things that Cusi's writing so often are...but added to that now are her directing talents.  I know that making a film was on her "bucket list," and it's so inspiring to have women you admire doing new things that they want to do fearlessly. 

Check out info on Cusi Cram's wonderful Wild and Precious here:

Me, Cusi, and playwrights Nena Beeber, and Brooke Berman at the Leah Ryan's Fund for Emerging Women Writers Benefit at Joe's Pub.  Photo by Michelle Tse @ The Interval, a fabulous new website about women in theater:
 A few days after Cusi's screening, I was able to raise a glass with Cusi again, but this time in the memory of her friend Leah Ryan, at a benefit for this AMAZING playwright's work and the fund for women playwrights that has been organized as part of her legacy. (And a special thank you to Tessa LaNeve for enabling me to be there that night!)  If you don't know Leah Ryan's work, go find some of her writing immediately.  Her plays are funny and heartbreaking and true; she wrote of the compromised nature of being alive in a way that is truly honest and HILARIOUS.  She passed away in 2008 after a fight with leukemia, and at the benefit some of her e-mails that she wrote to her friends during chemo and other therapies were read aloud, and it made me wish that those e-mails could be more public, in a book or on a blog, mostly because they were again, so complex and TRUE an account of fighting with cancer, without sugar-coating or overplayed heroics or any of the other methods that well-meaning stories of fighting cancer will often contain.  (And if that last sentence offends you because someone you loved died of cancer, know that both my grandmothers died of cancer, and my mom recently got through a fight with the disease, so I'm not talking about this from the outside...but no one really is, right?  We all have close connections to cancer.  We're intimate with this thing.)  At any rate, Leah's e-mails had a really refreshing sense of humor about chemotherapy (and there's a hard time to find something more humorless).  She wrote about fighting leukemia with a strong irony.  And a sparkling sarcasm.  And those things help you get through the day, you know?  While laughing.  And it's good to laugh in the face of something like cancer.  Because what the hell else are you really gonna do, huh?  LAUGH AT IT.  And laugh at people with cancer still being people, which Leah's e-mails about chemo really brought to the surface.  You're not differently human, superhuman, suddenly angelic, with're still just as ugly and sometimes remarkable as any other person on the face of the earth can be.

Speaking of a sense of humor about cancer, and just more wonderful writing about what that experience and journey can be, I wanted to shout out my colleague and friend, Carrie Larsen, and her blog about having and dealing with breast cancer:

I think we need more outlets and a bigger audience for women writing about cancer (and maybe just people in general, but when we get into medical questions, things get strangely gendered, sooooo...there's a big and interesting discussion to be had here), but still...more outlets.  A blog.  A book.  Many blogs.  Many books.  When I search the internet for "women" and "cancer," I find a lot of academic articles and good-feeling pink-ribbon sites raising money (which is great), but not that many outlets for narratives of the full truth of the experience of what it means to have cancer (as a woman or otherwise).  And I think we need more of that available to more of us...especially when the voices telling of their experiences are as true and funny and touching as Leah Ryan and Carrie Larsen's...and Ophira Eisenberg's (I just got to catch her album release party for BANGS @ Union Hall in Brooklyn this week, and I know the album includes some great comedy/stories about dealing with breast cancer).

So there you inspiring start to my favorite season!  Thank you Cusi, Leah, Carrie, Ophira, and so many others!  Let the leaves fall...autumn is a good time.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Big Thank You to Red Fern Theatre, Director Chris Diercksen, and the Wonderful Cast of This Week's Reading of Juke!

From L to R: Jinn Kim, Chris Diercksen, Lynn Craig, Sheila Joon, ME (in the front), Kathleen Marsh, David Brian Colbert, Rita Marchelya, Patricia Olvera, Bob C. Armstrong, John DeSylvestri, and DeSean Stokes
I learned so much about my new play Juke at Monday night's reading!  The cast was so generous, really giving the play the thoughtful care and energy that it needs, and Chris Diercksen, the director, gave me a lot of solid feedback and helped to craft what was a really special evening for me (and I hope everyone there).  And I'm so grateful to have a connection to Melanie Moyer Williams and Red Fern(Thank you Elizabeth Flax!)  To be able to hear this play (in its draft 1.5!) and discuss it with an audience really gives me so much fodder for diving back in for the next round of rewrites.  So many possibilities...

Monday, September 8, 2014

My New Play Juke Will Be A Part of Red Fern Theatre's Reading Series on Monday 9/15!

I'm thrilled to be able to explore Juke with Chris Dierckson directing and all of the wonderful people associated with Red Fern!  More information coming...come join us!


Giving Fern

This year is one of momentous growth in producing new plays, but we need your help.  No amount is too small or too big.  We appreciate anything you can offer especially in this economic climate.  
The Red Fern Theatre Company is a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

To make a secure online tax deductible donation, please click here!

Quick Links...


Red Fern celebrates 10 YEARS!!!!

Come see us in development.

The week of September 15-21, Red Fern will host as many readings of new plays as we possibly can in our home down at the 14th Street Y. We hope you will join us for any or all of them. Come see what the future of Red Fern could be. The website will be continuously updated with information on each of the readings as it becomes available.

To reserve tickets, email

All readings start at 7pm (unless otherwise noted) and will be held at the Theater at the 14th Street Y located at 344 East 14th Street on the 2nd floor.

See you in the theater!
Red Fern Theatre Company

By Kate Bell
Directed by Christopher Diercksen
Monday, September 15 @7pm

Floyd Toone's death brought no peace. Even before they can get him in the ground, his sister Lona and niece Darla discover that his house has been broken into.  But Floyd's house is not the only thing broken into or just broken in this family. A funny and touching play about coming out (and staying in the closet) in Texas, and how the right music and the right moves can keep you strong even when it's your heart that's breaking.

By Joslyn Housley-McLaughlin

Directed by Sandra A. Daley-Sharif
Thursday, September 18 @7:30pm*
*Note start time*

1845 . Alabama. An ambitious doctor works tirelessly on medical research that will change women's health forever...but at what cost to the lives of the Black slaves he uses as guinea pigs? Based on a true story.

By Tim Plaehn
Directed by Julie Foh
Friday, September 19 @7pm

After shooting herself in the foot, Abby looks for a reason to live at the end of her aimless twenties. While crashing at his buddy's place, T-Rex hatches a plan to Golf Across America. When their paths intersect, everything changes.

By Jack Karp
Directed by Melanie Moyer Williams
Saturday, September 20 @7pm

It is 1944 and Robert Oppenheimer and his brother, Frank, are frantically working to beat the Nazis to the nuclear bomb. With difficulties mounting and growing concern over his Communist associations, Robert has no time to think about the consequences of his "gadget." But in 1945, when they finally see the power of their new weapon, the two men are torn apart in a battle over whether or not to use it, and Robert is forced to choose between his conscience and his ambition, his brother and his bomb.

A play by Crystal Skillman
Directed by Benjamin Kamine
Sunday, September 21 @7pm

Two teenagers embark on an impulsive motorcycle journey cross country. But what begins as two young activists naive defiance against their parents, high school, and you know, the whole gun-loving-politically unstable- human-rights -denying--globally-warming up by the second- screwed--up world!, soon becomes an eye opening adventure where Rain and Zoe discover that the true danger in this world might just be growing up ... and each other. Full of theatrical magic, Rain and Zoe is a race to regain the possibility of change in a world whose days are numbered without it ... no matter what the cost. 

*Sammee Wortham is the Production Stage Manager for our Reading Development Series.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Thank You to the Amazing Barter Theatre!


I am very late with this post, but my trip in July down to the Barter Theatre was wonderful.  And surreal.  I wrote Lions of Babylon seven years ago, and this was the first time I've had a staged reading of the play!  The director, Emily Grove, and the actors did a fabulous job and I learned a lot.  I have put Lions "in a drawer" for quite a long time, but this opportunity will definitely lead to a new draft sometime soon.

Barter Actresses Tricia Matthews, Carrie Smith, and Ashley Campos in the dressing room before the reading.
I was also really impressed with how many people came to the reading (and all the readings in the festival).  There is an extremely healthy theater-going community in Abingdon, VA!  Over a hundred people were in the audience, and often there would be two readings in one afternoon, and folks would stay for both and participate actively and thoughtfully in the discussions.  I walked out of my reading in a happy haze and wandered over to Associate Artistic Director Katy Brown mumbling about how impressed I was with the community at Barter.  She smiled and said, "Yeah, it's kind of like a theatrical Brigadoon around here or something."  Indeed.

The audience arriving before my reading!

In addition to the Appalachian Play Festival, there were also five productions in rep happening.  I got a chance to catch their Wizard of Oz, which after touring the historic Main Stage theater and experiencing the wig room, I had to see all the technicolor-coiffed munchkins for myself.  It was a lot of fun.

The unbelievably cool wig room in the Main Theatre.

Again, a very special thank you to Richard Rose (Artistic Director, who cooked an amazing dinner for all of the festival playwrights at his house!), Nick Piper (AFPP Director and a great actor), Catherine Bush (the Barter playwright-in-residence), and all of the very talented and welcoming people at Barter Theatre.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

LIONS OF BABYLON will be featured this week in the Appalachian Play Festival at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, VA!


I'm very excited to be heading down to Virginia tomorrow for the Appalachian Play Festival at the Barter Theatre.  I first drafted Lions of Babylon in 2007, and although I briefly did some development work on the play with a theater in New York, I've never had a staged reading of the work, and I'm very excited to revisit it with Nick Piper and all the wonderful people at Barter.  I'll report back on how it goes!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

My short play Miro will be going up at the Gallery Players Black Box Festival this coming weekend:

Thursday 5/29, 8pm
Friday 5/30, 8pm
Saturday 5/31, 8pm
and Sunday 6/1, 3pm

at Gallery Players, 199 14th Street (between 4th and 5th Avenues in Park Slope, Brooklyn)
more info and tickets at:
Featuring Karen Forte and Sean Bennett Geoghan
Directed by Mike Hayhurst


Horace the dogwalker is having a bad day.  He’s somehow managed to lose his largest canine client, a Cane Curso named MirĂ³.  But when he confesses his negligence to MirĂ³’s owner, Emma, she confronts him with her own animal nature.

Karen, Sean, and Mike have been a pleasure to work with and I'm always amazed with Dominic and all the wonderful people at Gallery Players!  Hope to see you there!