I woke up the morning after David Bowie passed away and had this in mind almost complete. I was thinking of grief and the nature of it in many forms for different reasons. Whether it's lost love, deceased loved ones, abandoned ambitions, or something else one has had to let go of, it rarely happens in isolation with no recurrence.
If my creative-life bucket list existed, it would include (among other things) performing on stage again and learning more about musical theatre. Et voila 2016 is off to a running start with both of those at the top, which is remarkable considering I've really done nothing actively to make either happen.
When 2015 began I was so exhausted from a grueling and challenging 2014, all I really wanted to do was crawl into a cave and hibernate like a bear. I thought I'd be facing a year of respite and recovery. What I got instead was one of recovery and rejuvenation, but not from rest; much to my surprise (and my family's alarm), it was busier than most years.
I can hardly believe that we are at the last weekend for the last Sheherezade! I can hardly believe that we are at the last weekend for the last Sheherezade! It's been 9 years since I was involved the first time with this annual short play festival. I fell in love with it and it's been a passion project for me since 2009 and something that I've seen grow from a staged reading of 12 short plays keyed to A Year in Review theme to a little-engine-that-could, short run, off-book production to what has become a critically well received, award nominated, fully designed and staged production. 12366414_10153775318979464_4678496371080547342_n SPARSE PUBIC HAIR by Lorraine Midanik dir by Laylah Muran de Assereto, Choreographed by Wesley Cayabyab with Rick Homan and Miyoko Sakatani | Sheherezade's Last Tales | Photo (c) Colin Hussey When I stepped down from producing at the beginning of the year, I thought I was saying goodbye to the show, and it broke my heart. I'd made a proposal for transforming it into something else before I stepped down and really wasn't sure where it was going to go. I felt it was time to mix it up; 14 years with the same general concept seemed long enough. When Bridgette Dutta Portman and Jerome Gentes (co-producers) approached me about directing and let me know that it was in deed going to be the last in this format, I was excited to have a chance to stay involved and send this festival off one last time. It's been a completely different experience being the director and only peripherally involved in other aspects of the show. The last time I directed, I was also producing, promoting, running front of house, (and got pneumonia) and felt that this lack of single focus was ultimately a disservice to the cast and myself. It was well received and I'm proud of the work we did, but know that it could have been less difficult for everyone. Being able to walk into the rehearsal room, collaborate with these fantastic actors and stay focused on directing alone felt like a luxury. Collaboration has been a big part of the show this year. Working with Bridgette and Jerome through their first outing as producers. Spending time with my fellow-director Adam L Sussman (who directed the other four plays) to make sure we had a show that hung together as a whole aesthetically, was a great experience. I learned a lot from him and hope to get an opportunity to collaborate again in the future. “Highly recommend spending a delightful evening watching Sheherezade’s Last Tales at the Exit Theatre in SF. Timely, funny, poignant short plays by locals, well acted…” — Sheila Koren As soon as I knew that one of the plays was going to require a segment of ballroom dancing I was excited to reach out to Wesley Cayabyab and work with him in a completely new light as well. After years in the trenches producing the show and many others with Wily West it was great to get to play together in this completely creative way. His choreography makes that section of the play funny and sweet in a way I would never have been able to pull off as gracefully. The playwrights have all been great to work with and have been so supportive of the show, receptive to the inevitable "hey maybe if we tweak this a bit" feedback that comes out of the rehearsal room, and are in general just beautiful humans to be in cohoots with. I loved bouncing ideas around with Genevieve on props and costumes, especially with STUFF WE KEEP and RORSCHACH TEST. Where SPARSE has movement and dance, STUFF has props and ... stuff that drives action and provides cover for the things we don't say. “I had a great time last night watching these wonderful plays. Each one had so much to offer and each was a masterfully constructed world. It felt so good on my brain.” — Sara Judge I'm thrilled that we've received such a positive response and had a lovely review come out of opening weekend and are a TBA Recommended production.
Summer summer summer! Lovely weather. Been able to enjoy reading, a concert, visiting with friends, cooking. Contemplating the pace of life. Which right this moment feels a little fast and packed full of things. I'm getting excited to see I SAW IT opening with ZERO HOUR this coming week. We have auditions next Sunday for... Continue Reading →
I surprised myself when this year I made the choice to watch a documentary on KQED that I normally would have avoided, as a purposeful gesture of honoring my father for his birthday. "We Were Here" is a series of interviews about people who were here and in some way part of various aspects of advocacy, health care, or are typical of people who lived through the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco.
For most of my life I've been a reader. I devoured books. In 5th grade I got ahold of a list of the recommended 100 books freshmen college students should have read - from Oxford or Yale or something - and I set about reading them. I kept detouring as I discovered one author after... Continue Reading →
Today we kick off the writing for I SAW IT and ZERO HOUR. As I write this, Jennifer is working on sending us our first assignments - or subtopics - which will be what we focus on for the first week. The goal is to write as many vignettes or monologues using the theme (aftermath... Continue Reading →
Here I am for the first time in nearly 20 years at this place that I loved as a kid. I spent so much time here writing, reading, and otherwise being someplace quiet and surrounded by books. I had glamorous ideas of my future writer's life and for whatever reason, I imagined hours spent in libraries - when I wasn't in the custom-made writer's den/cabin I'd of course have somewhere, with a giant weeping willow outside and nearby brook. I'm a little surprised to remember now that I had that image of writing in libraries, since in my adult writing life I don't think it's even occurred to me to go to a library to write.