Photos from the production, by Al Foote III (from Nylon's Facebook page), can be seen below.
I was not able to journey to New York and travel back in time with the talented cast and crew of THIS ROUND'S ON US last weekend, but by all accounts, it was a smashing good time. I'd like to thank Nylon Fusion Theatre Company for producing my short "Batter Up: A Play About Baseball Or Baking" as part of the festivities, and I'd like to send a shout-out to my director Ivette Dumeng, along with my actors Molly Collier, Zack Mikio, and Toby MacDonald for creating what looks like a super fun performance! And a final hi-five to the Ohio University Playwriting Program and Catherine Weingarten for advertising the weekend of shows on the OU MFA News blog.
Photos from the production, by Al Foote III (from Nylon's Facebook page), can be seen below.
I return with more information about the upcoming THIS ROUND'S ON US: Time Travel 30's-40's. This weekend of short plays will take place on June 27th and June 28th at 7 and 9 pm, and my short play "Batter Up: A Play About Baseball Or Baking" will be featured at the 7 pm showing, along with several other stellar works. The play is directed by Ivette Dumeng; the little girl will be played by Molly Collier; the baseball players will be played Toby MacDonald and Zach Miko.
Above you can find more information from Nylon Fusion's web presence (along with the evening line-ups), as well as beautiful shots of the actors and event poster. If you are looking for tickets, head to Brown Paper Tickets.
I have an abiding, all-consuming love for Alison Bechdel's tragicomic memoir Fun Home. The book arrived in my life when I was reacquainting myself with comics, and its combination of literary allusions, careful cataloging of memory and identity, as well as its heart-wrenching, ultimately optimistic final image, sold me on the art form. I even managed to sneak a copy of the text into a production of The Magnificent Masked Hearing Aid, my own work about a father-daughter relationship. (To be fair, it was the actress' choice to read the memoir onstage, but it was a choice I heavily endorsed.) So it was with great, increasing interest that I have tracked the journey of the now Tony Award-winning Fun Home from page to stage the last few years, first through massive consumption of book writer/lyricist Lisa Kron's thoughts on the subject of adapting the graphic memoir, and then through repeated listenings to Jeanine Tesori's remarkable score. I have not seen the musical yet -- though I hope to at some point this summer -- but everything I know about it tells me this is one of the more remarkable American musicals to come out in recent years. While Hamilton will wow everyone even more (and again) during its Broadway debut next year, given its highly theatrical and diverse re-imagining of the Founding Fathers, the creators of Fun Home have staged a fairly quiet a revolution in terms of how openly and honestly they explore one gay woman's life onstage.
The song sung during tonight's Tony broadcast, "Ring of Keys," is easily my favorite number from the show, for a multitude of reasons. First, it perfectly captures a single panel from the memoir in gripping detail. A young Alison encounters what is described in Fun Home the musical as "an old-school butch," and her heart and mind receive this person as a kindred spirit. The song acts as an amazing ode to this woman who is often the subject of ridicule in popular culture. I've even listened to interviews with Lisa Kron stating that she resisted writing this song, precisely because she worried it would lead to jokes rather than empathy and understanding. Luckily, Tesori pushed for the song to be included, because not only did it set the tone for their continued writing process, but it showcases the kind of song I don't think I've ever heard of on a Broadway stage, or even on a more local, smaller level: that of a young girl seeing what she identifies with writ large -- an exhilarating and scary experience, given the fact that young Alison expresses (in minor key) at the end of the song that intrinsically knowing this queer woman is a troubling, confusing thing in an uninclusive world.
What most resonates with me about this song and this musical, though, are its unfinished lines. Tesori and Kron have talked about how hard it was to find an opening number for the show, one that delivered necessary exposition about how Bechdel grew up in a family that ran a funeral home, that she came out in college, and soon after, her father's homosexuality was discovered, and he killed himself. They provide a lot of details in a technically smart way in the first scene (the family is cleaning their historically restored home for a visit from a VIP, fearful of the patriarch's response), but what I was more interested in was this repeated line in reference to Bechdel's father, "He wants/He wants/He wants," with the line unfinished until towards the close of the opening number: "He wants more." A lot of times, musicals start with an "I wish" or "I want" song. Certainly, Disney movies are famous for that tack. "I want" songs let the audience know what the protagonist cares about, so hopefully, we will follow the story, happy to be informed of whose arc and goal we're following. Fun Home has an "I want" song hidden in its opening number, but no one ever says what the father wants, he's not the protagonist, and the closest he gets to naming his desire is singing, "Sometimes the fire/it burns so hot/I don't know what I'll do." This unspoken motif continues throughout the musical.
Think again of "Ring of Keys," Tony viewers. Upon seeing this woman at a diner, Small Alison (remarkably performed by Sydney Lucas) sings: "Someone just came in the door/Like no one I ever saw before/I feel .../I feel ..." Again and again through the song, Alison sings about how she wants or feels, without ever finishing her thoughts, having no language for them yet, at such a young age. Each time, she reverts to describing the "just right" clothes the woman wears, i.e., lace-up boots, dungarees, a ring of keys. The song is joyous, on the cusp of something, even as it catalogs what Alison yearns for without naming it in stereotypical fashion. It is important to note that Kron wrote "lace-up boots," not "combat boots," or anything else that could make this butch woman a generalization or a joke. We are forced to see her as Alison sees her, and we are forced to deal with the unspoken realizations Alison is having, due to the lack of and specific use of words.
In a later spoken letter in the show, Medium Alison (the college-aged version) attempts to write her parents about coming out, singing, "I want/I want/I want," before finally blurting out, "Dear Mom and Dad, I'm a lesbian." She is more successful than her father in speaking the truth. He frames his potential new life as a single gay man within the metaphor of restoring an old house, and his haunting choice of words about cracking floors and bad pipes preface the terrible choice he makes at song's end. Alison ultimately has the language to come out and be herself onstage. How often does this happen in the theatre? Few dramas dare to explore what it is like to live one's truth in the way that Fun Home does, at least to my reckoning or in my experience. I am used to seeing gay characters play back-up to straight heroes, or to have their tawdry inclinations lead to a life of ruin or tragedy, a la The Children's Hour, or even later works, like Next Fall.
How many shows have a song like "Changing My Major," in which Medium Alison describes her first night with a fellow college student and eventual girlfriend, Joan. Kron has stated that this particular song needed not to be only about love, but more importantly, about sex. Kron does not want the audience to shy away from a lesbian's experience of the world, and that very much includes who one is having sex with, or the act of sex, at least. So again, we are put in Alison's shoes, and celebrate as she celebrates. As well, I think it's stunning that the "I feel" or "I want" statement in "Changing My Major" is actually completed by Medium Alison (as opposed to Small Alison, or the 43 year-old Alison, who is narrating this play, and at this point in the story, hasn't made peace with her father's memory yet). "Look, she's drooled on the pillow, so sweet," Alison sings, "All sweaty and tangled up in my bedsheets./And my heart feels complete." In the actual singing of the song, there is a meaningful pause between "heart" and "complete." The audience has been waiting for this sentence to be finished, and with Alison living her truth, it can be. In fact, it may be one of the reasons she is able to eventually see both the good and the bad that came from her family, because she is willing to be honest about who she is, and honest about her father, too.
In many ways, Fun Home the musical sounds as nuanced as Fun Home the memoir reads. Phrases keep repeating and building to some sort of breakthrough, as the literature Alison shares with her dad in the memoir begin to echo her experience as a gay woman and his experiences as a closeted man. Such rich material would of course have resulted in a rich show, but it's remarkable to think that Kron and Tesori have accomplished a lot simply by allowing Alison Bechdel to be onstage.
I am excited to announce that I will have my New York debut as a playwright this June. My short script "Batter Up: A Play About Baseball Or Baking" will be presented as part of the Nylon Fusion Theatre Company's quarterly ten-minute play festival, THIS ROUND'S ON US. Four times a year, Nylon Fusion produces evenings of short plays revolving around a single theme, event, or time period. This summer's theme was the 1930's and 1940's, since the year's set of festivals is focused on time travel, or works set in specific decades. My five-minute drama concerns a tomboy named Candie; she yearns to play baseball professionally, but finds herself with only her baseball cards to talk to in the days before the Rockford Peaches showed that women were capable of hitting homers out of the park.
Nylon Fusion is a really cool new works company, with ties to a tight-knit writer's collective; it is supported by an advisory board of innovative and established playwrights, and each ten-minute festival the company produces also features the work of a board member. I am lucky to be included in a group of stellar writers for the festival, and I'm especially honored that THIS ROUND'S ON US will be anchored by playwright Don Nigro, who wrote one of my favorite plays, Seascape With Sharks And Dancer.
If you are looking for a fun theatre experience in New York City this June, please check out THIS ROUND'S ON US! It's on June 27th and 28th at 7 and 9 pm, at The Gene Frankel. I will provide more details as they become available, but suffice it to say, I am pumped to be involved in this set of performances.
As spring beckons, my schedule for the year becomes clearer. First, I am proud to say I will continue teaching theatre and writing at Benedictine University and Prairie State College next fall. These are great schools, and it is my honor to work with the students at each institution. I enjoy the life of a teaching artist, and I'm glad I get to continue discussing art at these colleges.
Next, I am happy to say I was nominated as a finalist for Western Michigan University's Activate: Midwest New Play Festival. Once again, The Magnificent Masked Hearing Aid gets a little love. The script wasn't chosen for inclusion in the festival, but it's always nice to see my work resonates with people.
Speaking of work, I am knee-deep in writing what I think could make for a pretty exciting piece of theatre. The play revolves around recent questions of inclusion and disability and how and who gets to perform disability onstage. It's early stages yet, but I haven't been this exciting about a script in a long time.
Also coming down the pipeline? A comics project that I will have more details on later, but suffice it to say, I am pumped. And a web-series with a long-time friend that may be the most meta thing I've ever created.
Lots of cool things coming in 2015!
"I know my own value."
These words stood out to me in last week's "Agent Carter" season (series?) finale. They came after Peggy Carter had foiled city-wide destruction while talking one of her most trusted colleagues off the ledge. Plot aside, her declaration could apply to Peggy Carter the franchise, as well as to Peggy Carter the character in a serialized television show.
As a concept, Peggy Carter is white-hot with potential. She transcended her initial love interest status in "Captain America" franchise to become one among many heroes united in fighting Ultron in the next Avengers movie. And though an older Peggy is shown suffering from dementia in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," her past adventures are still an open book. In fact, they've earned her not just a one-shot and a solo television showcase, but also a recent comic miniseries.
Certainly, a large reason for this plethora of Peggy Carter-centric stories is Hayley Atwell, an actress I've loved since her turn on the Starz's adaptation of "Pillars of the Earth." Atwell combines steely resolve with charm and a depth of feeling that transcends the pulpy setting of her stories. Not only does she excel at punching evildoers, she has chemistry with every actor she's set against, from Chris Evans as Cap to James D'Arcy as Jarvis, the Stark butler determined to help her in a season-long quest to clear his employer's name and prove her worth to a government agency that finds little use for women in the workplace.
Though "Agent Carter" has caught some necessary flack for its lack of diverse casting and intersectionality, I still believe another factor in the show's success is its feminist focus, provided by showrunners Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas. In setting their story in post-World War II America, as women are being pushed out of the workforce, they have created a unique conflict for the Marvel Universe. How can a woman serve her country when her contributions are given little value and no voice? Peggy Carter must battle sexism at the office, even as she uncovers sinister doings in the past of playboy inventor Howard Stark. Often, she must use her invisibility to make moves against the shadowy Leviathan organization -- much to her well-spoken chagrin. Her drive to prove herself marks her as a potentially bland strong female character (look how often she uses brawn instead of brain in this gif set!), but her self-determination is specifically female. For an example, look no further than the penultimate episode of this season, entitled "Snafu." Suspected of treason for her undercover operations, Peggy's male colleagues attempt to twist her actions into a convenient story of love gone wrong; she forcefully counters that every decision she made was meant to clear a friend's name, and that she succeeded in hiding her activities for such an extended period of time because her co-workers thoughtlessly lay their own narratives over her -- the stray kitten, the potential girlfriend, the daft whore. Carter forcefully condemns her colleagues' actions, and gives voice to the showrunners' proudly female-centered message about the perception issues women face every day. It was bracing to hear such words spoken on a comic book show, and such focus again highlights how Peggy Carter can carry a surprising amount of weight for a side character from the 1940's.
Crackerjack performance and feminist slant noted, Peggy Carter's popularity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is also intrinsically linked to the character's flexibility. She is more a composite than the comics' Peggy (for a tutorial on her history, check out this video from The Mary Sue), and that allows her to outstrip fan expectations. Atwell's Carter is not beholden to years of set stories, all of which would revolve around the man of her dreams, Captain America. She can have her own adventures because Marvel Studios isn't obsessed with bringing her frozen on-the-page action to the big screen. In fact, they're shoehorning her into movie continuity because Peggy is so enjoyable and because she can go anywhere and do anything from the 1940s to the end of her life. She has an unwritten past, and that's something superhero comics could use more of these days. At a time when Marvel Comics is touting the end of its increasingly convoluted continuity, and DC is working overtime to shove beloved lost characters into the newer iteration of its multiverse, Peggy stands out because I have no idea where she's headed. Unlike "Gotham" and the recently announced "Krypton," her journey depends not on the fulfillment of a hero's arrival. She commits acts of heroism in her own present, and punches up in weight class each time she's showcased.
Whatever the future of "Agent Carter," her affirmation of self-worth in this finale was satisfying to watch, as was her ability to stop a world-ending plot using her words rather than her fists. The show allowed her to move past the loss of Captain America (to whom Peggy always telling referred to as "Steve"), and led her to a new life outside the government agency that burned her. There's much to follow up on here, and unlike most cinematic comic book characters, Peggy Carter proves there's little use in being a slave to continuity.
It can be difficult to find the right comic shop. In the past year or so, I have opted to go through Comixology for any reading I have to do, but lately I've had a hankering to support a local place in Chicago. But there are pitfalls in searching out a favorite comic store, especially as a woman. I do not think I can overstate how often I have entered a comic shop and felt immediately uncomfortable, either because the lighting is dim and every wall is covered with almost naked lady superheroes, or because the staff at the counter looked at me, and then turned back to what they were reading without saying as much as hello. I once even forcefully walked up to the counter to say hello to the guy sitting there, and without a word, he left the counter and waltzed to the back of the shop, where his colleagues were engaged in a cutthroat game of Magic. If you are a lady who loves the comics form, comic shops are surprisingly not the warmest place to start getting into particular genres or stories. I have found that Tumblr and Twitter are much more accommodating spaces, to learn about different comics, but also to engage with the artists out there. In the online sphere, it can be easier to connect with people without the sense that a gatekeeper will deem you not worthy of entering the hallowed space of a comic shop. Online spaces definitely have their horrors, as has been proven in the last year in attacks on Anita Sarkeesian and a host of other brave women critiquing male-centered and women-damaging pop culture. But online, the conversation can sometimes be more democratic; everyone can at least appear to be equal in the conversation, newbie or not.
Of course, I'm not really a newbie as a comics fan. I was hooked at the tender age of eight, when "Batman: The Animated Series" appeared on the airwaves every weekday afternoon. Still, there wasn't a place in town that served as a dedicated comic shop. If I wanted my "Batman: The Animated Series" comics, I needed my parents to drive me to Media Play, a now-defunct big box store that catered to pretty much every type of entertainment one could ask for; they sold books and movies and TVs and action figures and baseball cards and musical instruments and -- seriously, anything you wanted, it was probably there. (It's also where I met folk singer Judy Collins, but that's a story for another time.) I got my comics, but I didn't have anyone to talk to about what I was reading. The same held true in dedicated bookstores. They had magazine racks of comics, but comics were not books, and they were not widely read. (Until Superman died, but that caused more problems for comics companies and readership than it solved.)
As I grew up, my interest in Batman and comics in general faded. That was kids stuff, and I had a college degree, and I needed to quit it with all that nonsense. Which I did. Except I spent an awful lot of time writing about superheroes in my theatrical work. Which led to me doing some research, which led me back in the door of a comics shop looking for Superman books. Which led to me feeling embarrassed by the gentlemen manning the counters in several Chicago shops I stopped in.
It wasn't until I moved to Philadelphia that I found a comics home, as it were. I lived in Bella Vista, near the Italian Market area of South Philly, and on Eighth Street, I discovered this little comic shop tucked between cheese steak stands and divy-looking bars. It was either called Atomic City Comics or Showcase Comics. The sign outside said one thing, and the Internet told me another. Regardless, this shop had bright lighting, primary-colored walls, an indie comic section, a wealth of trade paperbacks, several staff members dedicated to back issues searches, and maybe most importantly, women on staff. I discovered Astro City at that shop, and had long conversations with the guys at the counter about what to read next. Everyone there was friendly, and the staff members sometimes brought their kids in, which was always a blast; you haven't lived till you've seen kids playing superhero in a comic shop. I went in regularly enough that everyone there recognized my face, and as a result of going there often, I realized the shop had a bevy of female customers, either my age or younger. The manager clearly wanted everyone to stop by. The all-ages comics had a prominent spot up front, and the staff hosted anime nights on weekends. Once I went in, and there was a kung fu movie playing on the television up front starring the staff members. Apparently, filming was what they did for fun on weekends.
Possibly my most cherished memory from that shop came right about the time I was on my way out of town, headed to grad school. I missed Free Comic Book Day because I had to work, but I thought I'd stop by the shop the next day, to see how the event went, and browse through some comics while I still had a comics home to come to. The manager saw me walk in and flagged me down before I could head to the racks. "I held some stuff for you," he said. I didn't know what he was talking about. "I didn't see you yesterday," he explained, "so I held a couple issues back for you." I think they were a Peanuts comic and maybe a Superman comic; I know he told he had to give the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic he was holding to a kid, because come on, he's a kid, and he likes the Turtles. I honestly don't remember what I got. I just remember feeling happy and sad because I was leaving, and I wasn't sure I'd ever find a comfortable community for my comics shopping ever again.
Turns out I was wrong! This post is actually a two-pronged ode. I moved back to Chicago this fall, and I was reintroduced to a shop I'd been to a couple times before with my now-roommate. It's called Challengers, and this store is great. It has an excellent selection of trades, single issues, and several racks dedicated to Chicago comics creators. The Challengers staff is approachable and easy-going, and every time I enter the store, they immediately ask if I need help or recommendations. They have a graphic novel lending library, and they have cool artists come in for signings all the time. Bonus: I see women in there all the time -- every single time I go in, in fact. Maybe what's most important, though, is that I feel like there are people there I can talk to about comics, or about the comics industry, or about anything. I set up a pull list there this week, which means I can buy the few individual series I follow from a human person, rather than through an online service, and I can support a local business. If you, too, have been looking for a place to shop for comics, check out Challengers. I'm a newbie at the moment, but everyone I've met there is great. I cannot recommend this shop highly enough.
Welp, it's been a while. The semester got away from me, and I've been experiencing a lot of superhero movie franchise fatigue, so I thought it better to stay off the blogosphere. However, Batwoman was cancelled yesterday, and I felt that merited some thought.
For those who don't remember, Batwoman was the center of controversy last year. Her creative team quit when told by DC they couldn't marry the heroine to her cop girlfriend Maggie Sawyer. This revealed not a homophobic agenda, according to DC, but followed a line-wide edict that their superheroes were forbidden from experiencing personal happiness. Batwoman was the first gay character to head a book at this company, so I would have thought SOMEBODY at DC would have realized they were making a stupid statement about the morality of gay marriage.
Things only got worse for Kate and Maggie after Marc Andreyko took over the book. He introduced vampire enchantment into the series, raising some eyebrows about the nature of Kate Kane's consent in any sexual relationships she has, and the author scripted an end to Kate and Maggie's relationship. As the book nears its finish, it's clear DC ultimately got what it wanted: Kate's personal life is in complete disarray.
There are rumors that after the Convergence event has been published, Batwoman creator Greg Rucka will be brought on board to relaunch a new series for Kate. If you haven't read Rucka's Batwoman storyline in 52 or Batwoman: Elegy, do yourself a favor and snag those up. Rucka is well-known for writing strong women, but he allows Kate a vulnerability seldom seen in his other creations. He also allows her to be hot-tempered, loyal, and brave in declaring and controlling her own identity. If Rucka has returned to DC not only to write a Question one-shot in Convergence, but also to write Batwoman again, I would be a happy camper.
And yet. Doesn't rebooting a series only three years after a company-wide reboot display a certain amount of disorganization? Batwoman is being cancelled due to low sales, but would that have happened if the writers and artists had either been allowed to continue their narrative, or had been given a bit more guidance, so as not to alienate fans? DC seems to work overtime to please the audience it already has, rather than realize how their creative choices can hurt their newer -- particularly female and more diverse -- demographic.
Take what happened when Batgirl #37 was released earlier this month. A villain copycatting our heroine was revealed to be biologically a man whose dresses as a woman and looks insane on-panel, which is a huge problem. Dagger Type's self-definition is unclear, though the character conforms to terrible transphobic stereotypes, something the creative team has apologized for. Better writers than I have tackled this subject, particularly at Women Write About Comics. The point is, this outdated portrayal should have been caught and changed by SOMEONE.
I can't help but think the reason such tone-deaf narratives are heading to the printers due to a lack of diversity on staff at DC. If there are not people from the LGTB community in the room to point how hurtful these stories are, then the results will be a mess. Expand, DC. It's the only way constant rebooting and awful stereotypes can be avoided.
Batwoman: J.H. Williams, artist.
If I had to describe myself using one word, I'd choose believer. I like believing in people, ideas, ideals. I am not, by nature, a cynical person. This might explain why I've never "outgrown" superhero comics. Whether Marvel or DC, whether built on academic deconstruction or intense dedication to silly stories about robots and radioactivity, superheroes endure because they always choose to do the right thing. And they mount every obstacle -- partly because they have superhuman powers and partly because a chunk of them have super-unreal bank accounts. But superheroes also have friends, and that matters, too. Even the most misanthropic crusaders know the value of companionship. Superman will always have a dedicated, passionate partner in Lois Lane. Wolverine will always have Kitty Pryde or Jubilee softening the old man up. Batman will always have Robin. Heck, he'll have a whole Bat-family, despite his best efforts to operate as a lone wolf.
Prior to the grim'n'gritty New 52 reboot, DC Comics excelled at showcasing teamwork between superheroes. One might argue this approach led to bland team-ups between characters who had no reason to work together, except that hooking Bats and Supes into a shared title sold more books. I respectfully disagree. Sure, the deep bench of DC characters doesn't and didn't generate the psychological torment and inter-familial conflict that Marvel's roster has always thrived on. But by allowing friendships to grow, romances to develop, and families of all stripes to form over years and years of stories, DC captured something more powerful than a fight. In books that featured jerks punching the end-zone of the universe and Jokers mutilating women for the sake of shock value, DC editors, writers, and artists also captured love. With love, comes vulnerability. With vulnerability, comes humanity. And when those in costume show us how humane they can be, how much they believe in each other, then we learn how to believe in other people, too.
Nobody demonstrates that belief better than Gail Simone. I've long been a huge fan of her work; her Birds of Prey run features the greatest female friendship in comics, and her stories showcasing Barbara Gordon as Batgirl in the New 52 have been thoughtful in a variety of ways. But in her wrap-up issue on that series, released last week, she provided fans with a hello and a goodbye in a story full of friendship and vulnerability. Not only did she reintroduce Cass Cain and Stephanie Brown as future Batgirls (and her Stephanie is spot on; check out her hilarious dialogue in the picture above!), but she gave Barbara the family she's been missing since the advent of the New 52 -- a family called the League of Batgirls. Simone's run on Babs ends up with a hug, and there's no stronger note to go out on.
From the 1990s to the mid-2000s, DC believed in legacy; they believed in family, friendship, and partnership. This led to a multitude of Flashes, a string of time-traveling Supermen, and a strong set of Batgirls who believed in redemption. Family and history were not ignored in favor of high sales, nor was love undermined in favor of high concepts that petered out over months-long events. In Batgirl: Future's End, Barbara tells her League that they are Batgirls, and their carrying on of her legacy is "my greatest honor." Her words are radical in a new universe that values might over right, but things are looking bright. The new run on Batgirl will be lighter and more cheerful, and will feature a wonderful redesign of Babs' costume. Still. If I have one wish for the wider DC Universe, it's that everyone be allowed to love, sooner rather than later. Because without love, what makes any universe worth saving?
Batgirl: Future's End: Gail Simone, Writer; Javier Garron, Artist; Romulo Fajardo, Colorist; Saida Temofonte, Letterer.
It's been a full summer for this teaching artist. I had a blast teaching students dramatic structure at Prairie State College, and ended the term in the best way possible: listening to students read their ten-minute plays aloud! I've also been hard at work developing a couple of new full-length ideas. One involves video game design, ADD medication abuse, and academic libraries! The other will be about Helen Keller in some way, shape, or form! So there's a good creative fall in the works for me. (I also made it to the semi-final round for Stage Left's Downstage Residency, and while I didn't gain a spot in the company's season, I learned a lot about my own process while pitching them a new play. So, progress there! And the plays chosen for the season look fascinating, so I plan on checking out whatever form they may be presented in.)
In extra-exciting news, I've accepted two adjunct positions at different academic institutions for the year, and will now be devoting my work life solely to teaching! Starting at the end of August, I'll be the instructor for three sections of "Understanding Theatre" at Prairie State; this class involves learning dramatic structure while reading great plays, and writing ten-minute plays of our own. I loved working with the students at PSC this summer; they were never less than engaged with the work, and their interpretations of plays like Raisin In The Sun and Ruined were eye-opening for me. Also at the end of August, I will be start as an adjunct for Benedictine University, where I'll be teaching two sections of "The Ancient Mediterranean World," a humanities class examining the individual's place in society via classical texts like The Iliad. I am very excited to be working at Benedictine, and I've already discovered my adviser is a big Shakespeare and comics fan. So I imagine Benedictine is a good fit for me.
This fall semester will offer a ton of fun new challenges for me, and I'm looking forward to meeting them head-on.
Flight At Harvest Time: A News Blog
Check this page for updates on Sarah's writing, her productions, collaborations and thoughts on comics.