Parenting

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I have been thinking about being a father a lot lately. I want to be one. Badly. I want to be a father. People would see me walking down the street with a little boy or girl and know that I fathered them because we share similar features and I use a loving yet stern tone of voice to teach them things. Things that a father teaches his son.

To that end, here’s a monologue I wrote today. I don’t know the genesis of this piece really, just that I was thinking of Demeter/Persphone. I mean, c’mon, everyone thinks of them on a daily basis, right? This is called

The Daughter of Zeus and Styx

 

DEMETER stands among piles of broken china. She’s barefoot and tall with hair like your mothers. If you don’t have a mother, close your eyes. Her hair looks like that.

She wears a red poppy behind her ear.

DEMETER:

I prefer to eat with my hands.
Especially when I’ve cooked steak- hold the vegetables. They get stuck in my teeth.
Gripping the meat I’m about to eat,
causing the remaining blood that hasn’t been
evaporated out
or
cooked in
to rise up and fall over my fingers like aged Merlot, it reminds me that, yes,
certainty does exist in the world.
In that moment, I am certain that I stand (for I always stand when I eat) at my dinner table gripping a piece of meat.
Then, I take the flank into my mouth, down my throat, passing through acid and tubes until it lands, gracefully. Here.

She pats her stomach as if telling us she’s pregnant. A piece of china, bone white, falls and lands in the pile at her feet.

“Hush little baby, don’t say a word. Momma’s gonna-”
How are we expected to be good parents?

Another piece of china, bone white, falls and lands in the pile at her feet.

I prefer to write letters in ink from India. The permanence ensures me that my words will never be washed away or erased.
Imagine if it had rained during delivery or the letter were to be misplaced?
What happens then?
Indian ink commits the words, the contents, to time, to the ages and that’s what I prefer.

I’m starting to show. My dresses, so lovely before,  considerate of my geography, pull tight here and there…they move against me, unlike before. I can’t escape it.

He came into the kitchen that day, when he had found out, and stood over me as I sat on my chair, at the table,
the same table at which
I eat my flank of steak
and I washing the china when he looked down and breathed a sour breath onto me.
He would have looked beautiful
sexy even
if I didn’t know that in one bite,
like my flank of steak,
he could be devoured.

A bead of sweet sweat leaped from his forehead and landed here, on my tongue, as he told me:

“You’re going to have that baby.
It will be a girl.
And we will name her Kore.”

I dropped the china, a shard bounced back as if out of revenge and sliced my palm. The red beaded up and for a moment, I thought I was eating with my hands. You know, the steak.
Instead I stood up, ran my slice under some warm water and closed me eyes, laughing to myself.
How are we expected to be good parents?
Especially when we couple with those whom we hate?
A  night of him inside of me and we’re responsible for the life of a child. But in a way, responsible for all children. Kore will be pulled from me, like a pineapple pulled through a garden hose, and will meet your daughter on the beach and your son in a store and your child and yours among the flowers, and will hit them and kiss them, buy them birthday presents, teach them to weave, steal their jewlery and offer a blowjob behind the shed and I’m somehow responsible?

Another piece of china, bone white, falls and lands among the piles at her feet.

I left my letter on the bed and I took Kore with me. She was inside me still, almost ready to be born, and I went to a doctor, a great one, and I told him quite simply, that I needed not to be a mother. I delivered her three days later. Into his arms. He was surprisingly unsweaty, and didn’t smell sour, and instead smiled at me and kissed my forehead upon delivery. He gave me painkillers, you know, for the pain nd sent me on my way.
Without Kore.
But with, now, for the first time, a clear head, unclouded by china, or Indian Ink or steak.

 

 

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So Smooth to Me

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In preparation for the upcoming read of my play, Whales and Souls, I’ve decided to post Neko Case’s cover of the song “Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth”. It’s a super appropriate (albeit obvious and on the nose) song for the play. Except at the end of the song when it gets psuedo-inspirational-choir. Because my play doesn’t end that way. At all.

At any rate, here’s the goddess Neko Case sing the Sparks’ original. Enjoy!

 

For those of you playing @ home, here are the lyrics:

When she’s on her best behaviour
Dont be tempted by her favours
Never turn your back on mother earth
Towns are hurled from A to B
By hands that looked so smooth to me
Never turn your back on mother earth
Grasp at straws that dont want grasping
Gaze at clouds that come down crashing
Never turn your back on mother earth
Three days and two nights away from my friends
Amen to anything that brings a quick return to my friends
To my friends
Never turn your back on mother earth
I’ll admit I was unfaithful
But from now I’ll be more faithful
Never turn your back on mother
Never turn your back on mother
Never turn your back on mother earth

A Map of Our Country

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Hey- have some press about my play, A Map of Our Country.
It was a real good time. No win, but finals? I’ll take it.


Interview with Sam French


Playbill.com Press Release

And now for those handsome production photos…

YES

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American Theatre Magazine has been quite good these past two issues. First there was the Still Fresh, Less Flesh article featuring Celebration Theatre’s Michael Shepperd discussing his desire “to make sure we’re not just doing theatre for upper-middle-class, middle-aged white gay men,” and plays that feature gratuitous nudity just to appeal to hay audiences hoping to catch some cock-shots. Read it. It’s a great, inspiring article. Especially for me as a young writer frustrated by “ittle nudie-boy plays” as they’re called in the article.

This month there’s Ace Up His Sleeve: an article about writer Victor Lodato’s “kid’s eye-view dramas” and why his curiosity of the world around him can best be written from a “kid’s eye” or involving those sorts of stories. With The Dog(run) Diaries still undergoing revisions and concerns about it being “another coming of age story”, it was also really great to read this month’s inspiring article.

Also, one of my professors sent me this. Yes.

why mother nature why?

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I’m thoroughly convinced that Mother Nature is pissed off at me for (finally) buying a car. Also, I don’t want to perpetuate the stereotype of BMV workers being disgruntled, vile human beings but my experience with all (three) that I’ve encounter this weekend would prove quite in step with said stereotypes. If I ever worked at a BMV office, I’d totally be extremely pleasant. Just because.

In other news, The Dog(run) Diaries has been submitted to The PW Center to conclude the Core Apprentice nomination process. My fingers have been crossed so tightly, I’m surprised I’m typing so well. Send positive energy.

Also, Tom Jacobson, a gem of a personage and co-artistic director at Ensemble Studio Theatre-LA, read the play and said some very, very nice things as well as passed it along to his co-artistic director to hear her thoughts.

NYC in two weeks to check out “Ghost Light” by Desi Moreno-Penson. I’ve read early drafts of the play and, while I’m sure it’s changed a ton through rehearsal, it’s a very fun, intriquing ride. I can’t wait. If you’re in NYC, check it out.Details here

hands out

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TGIF, but honestly, this week has been a surprising week of generosity and good correspondence.

As mentioned in an earlier blog, I sent out some e-mails to theatre companies that I think would make a good (eventual) home for The Dog(run) Diaries. Because I know the script is still in development, I was very open and honest about the fact that as a young writer, I’m looking for a director or company to help me develop the script so that, eventually, when the story is as clear as it can be and as compelling and interested as I know it can be, the play can find a nice home with a production.

Good news is, I’ve gotten a few responses from the companies I’ve e-mailed; all of which are being angels and offering to read the script and offer their thoughts. Along with Diversionary, the following companies have proved to be class acts.

Celebration Theatre
About Face Theatre Company

It’s be brilliant working with any of these groups.

home searching. a lot like apt searching but not.

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After another completed draft of The Dog(run) Diaries, I decided to shoot out a few e-mails to some theatre companies around that may have an interest in the work.

There’s just something inside me and inside this story that is wanting to be told. It’s a piece I’m deeply personal about and I’d really love to find a director or company interested in helping me as a young writer develop the script, get it where it needs to be, and then allow it to live and breath.

With the help of some experienced theatre artists, I think it could be a really dynamic, interesting play.

That’s the frustrating thing about being a young playwright: you don’t know if you’re doing things “right”. If the story you’re telling is clear, if things are locking into place….any of that. It’s just you and your work until someone else gets involved and wants to help you out.

And I’d really love someone to help me out with Dog(run).

I got an e-mail response from the Diversionary Theatre in San Diego. They are a beautiful theatre company doing some necessary, compelling work that is really needed on the contemporary theatre scene. Artistic Director Dan Kirsch has graciously agreed to reading a copy of the script.

Here’s to hoping something beautiful can emerge from this. I’d love to work with such a socially-minded, talented group of theatre artists.
Here, have a pretty picture of the theatre:

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