Santa Doesn’t Live Here Anymore opens in Miami tonight!

My short play Santa Doesn’t Live Here Anymore at the City Theatre in Miami. I’m thrilled for this play to be included in a festival that will include short plays by terrific and prolific writers from across the country. City Theatre has made a name for itself by specializing in the professional production of short plays–they have a big Summer Shorts festival that has been going on for years. I just wish that I could be there to see the show!  The show runs December 7-23rd.

 

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Listen to Interesting Theatre Makers (and me) on Some Small Magic Podcast

Fletcher Pierson is a Chicago-based theatre artist who decided he wanted to talk with fellow artists around the country about how and why they create their work. And he decided to share those conversations with the rest of the world in his podcast, Some Small Magic. He did a pass through Boston a while back, and talked with people like Lee Mikeska Gardener, artistic director of The Nora Theatre in Cambridge, and also Bonnie Duncan an amazing performer and dancer, and playwright Alan Brody, and playwright Walt McGough, oh, and me. You can listen to them for free on iTunes, or lots of other places, including Pod Paradise.  Fletcher and I talked about a whole range of stuff, including a lot about Blood on the Snow and creating site-specific work.  If you’re feeling the need for artistic inspiration, give a listen to any of these interviews–you won’t be disappointed.

My interview is here:  https://www.podparadise.com/Podcast/1206017057

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Cool New Gig: Artist-in-Residence at Mt. Auburn Cemetery

So last week, I got some amazing good news:  I have been selected to be the next artist-in-residence at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA! This will be for 2018 and 2019.

You might ask yourself: “what kind of cemetery has an artist-in-residence?”

An awesome one. Mt. Auburn was founded in 1831 as “a sacred place of remembrance, a place to mourn those we have loved, a place to seek inspiration and solace, and a place to celebrate life.” It’s a powerful site, rich with beauty and history. And for the next two years, it’s going to be my job to get to know it and write some site-specific plays that will be staged there. My goal is to create work that will be reflective of the spirit of the place and the people who are buried there, and those who visit and work there.

It feels like a big challenge, but one that I am eager to embrace. The two previous artists-in-residence are Robert Mighty, a filmmaker, and Mary Bichner, a composer. Big footsteps in which to follow, but I’m excited to try. This project fits in perfectly with the string of historical and site-specific projects that I’ve been creating over the past few years.

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Talking about Robert Smalls at Royall House and Slave Quarters, November 15

I’ll be giving a talk about Robert Smalls and his adventures during the Civil War on Wednesday, November 15th at the Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford at 7:30pm. I’m so excited to have a chance to share the story of one of my favorite American heroes, and at a site that works hard at explaining and illustrating the role of slavery in New England.  And this site is the same town where I live!

Come check it out!  (Admission to the site and the talk is $10.)

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Brother Thomas Fellowship!

The assembled 2017 Brother Thomas Fellows

I’m pleased to announce that I’m one of 14 2017 Brother Thomas Fellows!

(I’ll let the Fund explain what it is:)

“The Brother Thomas Fund was established at the Boston Foundation in 2007 to honor the legacy of Brother Thomas Bezanson, a Benedictine monk and world-renowned ceramic artist, who wanted the sale of his work to help other artists, as his friends had helped him.

The goal of the biennial Brother Thomas Fellowship program is to support and celebrate a diverse group of Greater Boston artists working at a high level of excellence in a range of disciplines—the visual, performing, literary, media and craft arts—and to enhance their ability to thrive and create new work. The Boston Foundation also hopes that fellowship winners will have greater access to a variety of markets, including galleries, residencies and commissions, and that the importance of artists to the vitality of Boston will be more broadly recognized.

Each Brother Thomas Fellow receives an unrestricted award of $15,000. Fellowships— given without stipulation as to how the funds are spent—match the needs of artists as well as the wishes of the donor.”

The awards are given out every other year, and usually to 4-6 artists. This year was an especially large cohort. I feel quite humbled to be in the company of such a talented and diverse group of artists.  They are poets and musicians and photographers and ceramics artists and choreographers, and all sorts of other things. I’m the only playwright (the award is infrequently given to playwrights—I’m only the third since the awards began).

The awards ceremony was in the Pucker Gallery on Newbury Street in Boston—it was a thrill to share the space not only with these energetic fellow artists, but also to be in the company of so many works created by Brother Thomas himself. Their beauty and artistry makes it clear why he was able to fund this powerful artistic and social legacy. I’m eager to go back and spend more time with his creations.  (Mr. Pucker spoke to the assembled crowd, and told us that Brother Thomas used to make 1,200 pots a year. And he’d smash 1,100 of them. Only a fraction were good enough to survive.)

I am so grateful to have received this award and will do my best to reward the confidence shown in me by the judges and the Boston Foundation.  Though the grant is unrestricted, we are asked for our intentions. I’m hoping to use the funds to travel to productions of my plays outside New England and build connections there (ones that I hope will benefit playwrights around my region), and also to create a small theatre company that is dedicated to working with museums and historic sites to create new site-specific plays. I’ll report back as my plans start to come together.

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Blinders opens in Korea Oct 26

On Friday, October 26th, my play Blinders will open in South Korea.  I love this poster! This production, by Theater Troupe Cheongnyeondan, is directed by Sae-Rom Min, who did a brilliant job directing my short play, Eden in Chains, at the short play festival in Incheon last year that featured of my short plays. This production marks the first time one of my full-length plays has been fully produced outside the United States.

This is a script that I wrote almost 20 years ago, and it has oddly become more and more politically relevant as the years have gone by. During the most recent presidential election, it played in Boston, and it seemed eerily prescient about the rise of Donald Trump.

Sadly, I won’t get to see this production, but I’m so curious to know how Korean audiences will respond to this political satire about celebrity, fake news, and the public’s willingness to swallow blatant lies in the media.

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Talking about Robert Smalls at the Arlington, VA, library, September 9

On Saturday, September 9th, at 4pm, I’ll be giving talk about Robert Smalls and his courageous adventures during the Civil War at the Arlington Virginia public library.  Main Branch.  This talk (and my talk the previous day at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy) is sponsored by the MIT Club of Washington, D.C.  They’ve been extremely supportive of my work over the years and I’m extremely grateful

If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll come check it out!

Robert Smalls: From Slave to American Hero

In May 1862, Robert Smalls, a slave and ship’s pilot in Charleston, South Carolina, crafts a daring plan to steal the steamship Planter and deliver it along with the crew and their families to the Union blockade. After risking his life to escape slavery, Robert faces an even more difficult challenge: convincing Abraham Lincoln to enlist black troops. Patrick Gabridge, author of the novel Steering to Freedom, will share this powerful and inspirational true story of a young man who becomes the first black captain of a US military ship, while struggling to navigate a path to freedom for himself, his family, and his people.

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Talking about Robert Smalls at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, Sept. 8

On Friday September 8th, at noon, I’ll be giving talk about Robert Smalls and his courageous adventures during the Civil War at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy.

If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll come check it out!

Robert Smalls: From Slave to American Hero

September 8, 12 P.M.-1 P.M.
Cold War Gallery, Building 70, Washington Navy Yard, DC

In May 1862, Robert Smalls, a slave and ship’s pilot in Charleston, South Carolina, crafts a daring plan to steal the steamship Planter and deliver it along with the crew and their families to the Union blockade. After risking his life to escape slavery, Robert faces an even more difficult challenge: convincing Abraham Lincoln to enlist black troops. Patrick Gabridge, author of the novel Steering to Freedom, will share this powerful and inspirational true story of a young man who becomes the first black captain of a US military ship, while struggling to navigate a path to freedom for himself, his family, and his people.

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Quack and will/did/is now published by Brooklyn Publishers!

I’m pleased to announce that two of my more popular short plays, Quack and will/did/is,  are now officially published by Brooklyn Publishers. Brooklyn has been a long-time supporter of my work–they now publish 36 of my short plays, plus two collections of my shorter work. Thanks to publication by Brooklyn, my plays have have been used by tens of thousands of students all across the world in competition and performance.

Quack   (order from Brooklyn)
10 minutes. Drama. 1m, 1 w
Abigail is an impressionable young duck who is not aware of her limitations until they are pointed out to her by the man she loves.  Winner of SlamBoston, Heideman Award Finalist, with festival appearances at the Edinburgh Fringe, Outlaws Finland, AND Festival Incheon, South Korea, and InspiraTO in Toronto.

will/did/is  (order from Brooklyn)
10 minutes. Romantic comedy.  1m,1w
Mindy meets the time traveler for whom she’s spent years obsessively waiting. A time-crossed encounter of hearts and minds.  will/did/is premiered with the T Plays in Boston, and has also appeared in the 10 by 10 Festival in North Carolina and in South Korea.

 

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New New England Dramatists Guild Rep

Some big news to share:  starting September 1, I will be the new Dramatists Guild Regional Rep for New England. This will be a chance for serve my fellow playwrights and meet a lot of new people over the next few years.  I’ve been a DG member for more than 20 years (probably a lot longer) and continue to be grateful to this organization for all it does to help protect and guide playwrights.

As regional rep, I will be involved with helping set up events that are useful to member playwrights, writing articles about new plays and playwrights in our region for The Dramatist, and helping exchange vital information about the world of new plays between the writers in New England that the leadership and other reps at the Dramatists Guild.

I’m looking forward to getting started!

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