I compete in playwriting contests, participate in read-throughs and critiques with playwriting groups, and aspire in earnest to catch plays during my frequent travels. Whether I’m haunting indie black box theaters in Columbus, Ohio, sitting in theaters comprised of second hand furniture by the river in Pittsburgh, or standing in the Play Only line at the Times Square tkts booth in the rain, I love being a part of the theater world whether as a playwright or Playbill toting audience member.
I’ve studied theater from behind the stage in an orchestra pit, on the stage as an actor and on the page through playwriting classes from Gotham Writers Workshop or local playwriting group critiques.
// TEN MINUTE PLAYS
Choice Paintings of Wise Men ( 2014) - In 1900, an ambitious young painter named Everett Shinn visits Mark Twain in New York City to seek reconciliation and validation, forging the beginnings of the modern art movement in America.
Star of the Center Ring (2013) - In 1898, artist Walt Kuhn (who will one day go to co-found the iconic Armory Show in New York City in 1913) is torn between a reputable life of running his own successful business or to help play a part in changing the way avant garde art should be made. One of his models, a young circus performer, helps him find his way.
Cabana (2011) - Former genomic scientist Vaughan Curtis arrives in Palm Beach searching for answers in the dark side of a wealthy community: a world of real estate magnates, financiers and ocean-side privilege. At his side is Raleigh, an up and coming classical recording artist whose life story becomes the missing piece.
// IT STARTED WITH TIME TRAVEL
My first play involved a mad scientist who created a time travel potion to send a reporter back in time to interview Johann Sebastian Bach.
I was in fifth grade.
I wrote two scenes of “Bach in Time” (get it?) and along with the rest of Ms. Nancy Long’s Gifted Kids Enrichment Class, we staged and acted in a school-wide production. We ran for 2 shows before a crowd of a couple hundred schoolmates. I played the scientist, named Springfield. I also wrote a five minute scene involving the exposition between a cave man and a journalist.
We were broadcast on closed-circuit television, for all the elementary school to see.
In between scenes, I'd run down to the piano below stage to play Bach minuets as background music.
We learned how to spell “dramaturg”.
I was an actor acting as a scientist then and would later become a scientist acting as an actor.
// FIFTY SHADES OF SELF CONFIDENCE
Theater continued to be a part of my life when I went to university, both on stage and off.
I was cast in “Bondage” by David Henry Hwang for Johns Hopkins’s legendary Freshmen One Acts repertoire. I gained a lot of self confidence through the tiny cast of two and our fabulous Alanis Morissette loving co-directors.
When my co-star had to pull out of the show for medical reasons the week before opening night, we were devastated, but understanding.
Probably for the better---it would have been traumatic for people to see a scrawny engineer in his boxer shorts on stage, but I had never felt more comfortable in my own skin than after the entire experience.
Afterwards, I tagged along with The Barnstormers, our on-campus theater company and then dove into playwriting as part of The Witness Theater, a Barnstormers spin-off group that focused on bringing in local writers, directors and producers to teach workshops on the craft
// SUPPORT GROUP
When I moved to Atlanta for work after college, I joined Working Title Playwrights, crashed workshops, and most importantly, made a close friend for life and mentor, the wildly successful and prolific playwright, poet and novelist, Evan Guilford-Blake. Even to this day when he sends out a blurb about a new playwriting competition he’s just won and I’m in the same city, I’m the first online for tickets.