Friday, March 28, 2014

Works In Progress

It was a day of workshops and fun stuff at the William Inge Festival on Thursday.  I spent the morning in a discussion on Arthur Kopit’s new play BecauseHeCan which led to some interesting perspectives on privacy and what we think of as reality in an connected world.

That was followed by a workshop for high school students in monologues and audition techniques led by John Schuck.  For those of you too young to remember the Painless Pole from the 1970 film of M*A*S*H, you’ll recognize him from numerous appearances on TV including Law & Order SVU and national tours of the musical Annie playing the role of Daddy Warbucks.  He is a gentle and encouraging teacher for the students, and they had a great time.

After lunch I sat in on a musical theatre workshop with Barry Bostwick.  This too was geared to high school students — one of the Inge Festival’s best aspects is its outreach to young theatre students — and it was both entertaining and educational.  (But no, he didn’t sing anything from Rocky Horror.)

That was followed by an energetic acting workshop with George West Carruth, one of the guest actors who performed in BecauseHeCan.  For me it was like going back to my undergrad acting classes.  I’m sure I’ll be a little sore this morning.

Last night we saw a staged reading of the first draft of Mat Smart’s play The Great Barrier.  Mat is the Otis Guernsey New Voices award winner this year.  It is a recognition of promising playwrights, and so far it’s proved to be prescient: past winners include Joe DiPietro, who won the Tony for Memphis.

Today we will continue with the Conversation with Arthur Kopit.  Then tonight is the Gala dinner.  Yes, I brought along a coat and tie.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

In Stages

Last night at the opening of the 33rd William Inge Festival, we saw a staged reading of Arthur Kopit’s play BecauseHeCan.  It’s described as a “techno-thriller,” and it was really quite good; a tale of intrigue, doubt, deceit, and mistrust all bound together by the internet and its virtual reality capabilities.

One of the readers was Barry Bostwick, an actor with a long list of stage and screen credits, not the least of which includes Danny Zuko in Grease and the mayor on Spin City.  He was part of a good ensemble directed by Jane Unger.

Doing a play in a reading makes it sound like there is something lacking; there’s no set, no costumes, few if any props, and the actors stand on the stage behind music stands reading off a script.  How can the audience expect to get a sense of the play and the characters if that’s all they have to go with?

Actually, a lot.  In the hands of good actors, a script can come alive by the words alone, and a good director who trusts both the word and the ability of the actors can make the play come to life with as much depth and nuance as if they had all the trimmings.  All it takes is for them to trust both the play and themselves.

(Full disclosure: This coming Sunday night, my play Can’t Live Without You will be done in a staged reading at SoBe Arts on Miami Beach.  Therefore I’ve been thinking a lot about staged readings for the last couple of weeks.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Welcome to Independence, Kansas

I made it to Independence and I’m settled into my room at the Apple Tree Inn, my home here for the last 23 visits to the William Inge Festival.

Inge Theatre outside daytime

 

The festivities begin tonight with dinner and a reading of Arthur Kopit’s new play.  Mr. Kopit is the honoree this year, and I’m looking forward to seeing my Inge family again.

A bit of playwriting karma: I’m in the same room I was in in 2006 when I wrote my ten-minute play Ask Me Anything for Tina Howe’s master class.  It took about twenty minutes to write it, and it’s my most-produced work.

Travel Day

Inge ICA photoI’m on the way to the 33rd annual William Inge Theatre Festival in Independence, Kansas.  For you regular readers you know what that means: four days of theatre and writing from the home town of the playwright who wrote Come Back, Little Sheba, Picnic, Bus Stop, Dark at the Top of the Stairs, and won the Oscar for the screenplay for Splendor in the Grass.

It also means that blogging will continue to be light and variable, and when I do, it will be about the goings-on at the Festival.

I’ll check in when I get to the Apple Tree Inn and get settled.  Until then, if you’re at DFW this morning, you might see me running like crazy to make my connection to Tulsa.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking Back/Looking Forward

Okay, campers, it’s time for my annual re-cap and prognostication for the past year and the year coming up.  Let’s see how I did a year ago.

– President Obama moves into his second term with pretty much the same situation in Washington and Congress as he has had for the last two years, so nothing will really get done.  The budget matters, including the fake drama of the Fiscal Cliff, will still be around in some form because it’s a lot easier to kick it down the road than actually do something, especially when you have a Republican Party that absolutely refuses to work with the president on anything at all.  It has nothing to do with policy, deficits or debt, taxes or revenue.  The reason is pretty simple: they don’t like him, and so like a kid in grade school who refuses to do his math homework because he hates the teacher, they refuse to budge.  You can pick your excuses, ranging from his Spock-like demeanor to his refusal to suck up to the Villagers, but most of it comes down to the unspoken reason that dare not speak its name: he’s black.  No one dares say that out loud, but get three beers in any Republican, and I’ll bet they’ll admit it by saying “He’s not one of us.”  How many dog whistles do you need?  A big tell was that in the last-minute budget negotiations, Mitch McConnell went to Vice President Joe Biden as the go-between the Congress and the president.  Why?  Because Mr. Biden was in the Senate and knows how to talk to them, and also because he’s the white guy.  So we will have another year of gridlock, and the new Congress will make the one just concluded look good.

That one was pretty easy, and I’m sorry I got it right.

– The Supreme Court will rule the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Prop 8 are unconstitutional.  It will be a very close vote, probably 5-4 on both cases, and they will narrowly rule on both cases, doing their best not to fling open the doors to marriage equality with a blanket ruling and leave the rest of it up to the states.  But they will both go down.  On the other hand, they will rule against Affirmative Action.  I also think there will be some changes to the make-up of the Court with at least one retirement, either voluntary or by the hand of fate.

Right on gay rights and marriage equality and a punt of Affirmative Action.  I had no idea about the decimation of the Voting Rights Act, but then who did?  And the court roster remains intact.

– Even if we went over the fiscal cliff or curb or speed-bump, the economy will continue to improve, with the unemployment rate going below 7% by Labor Day.  I know this only because I know that our economy, like the water level in the Great Lakes, goes in cycles no matter what the hand of Wall Street or Washington does… unless they completely screw it up like the last time and make it even worse.

A little too optimistic on the unemployment rate, but the economy really is getting better.

– After the extreme weather we saw in 2012, at long last we will move to do something about climate change or global warming or whatever it is fashionably called.  It won’t be done by Congress, however; it will be because the people who make a living off the climate, such as agriculture and coastal enterprises such as fishing and tourism, will make it happen through their own efforts.  (Yeah, I’m being extremely optimistic on this one.  A year from now I will happily concede I blew it.)

Blew it.

– The extremism from the right that entertained us in 2012 will continue, albeit muted because 2013 isn’t an election year except in New Jersey, where Chris Christie will be re-elected and start his Howard Dean-like campaign for the presidency in 2016.  The GOP will refuse to acknowledge they have a problem, but as 2014 looms and the wingers that were elected in 2010 face re-election, they will find themselves scrambling hard for candidates that can survive primary battles where the nutsery reigns and then win the general election.  The only reason Governors Rick Scott of Florida, Rick Snyder of Michigan, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and John Kasich of Ohio will be re-elected in 2014 is if the Democrats don’t move in for the kill.

Not muted, and did not see Ted Cruz coming.  That’s not because he’s a formidable force to be reckoned with, but I thought that even the Republicans have their limits.  I guess not.

– I’ve given up predicting the Tigers’ future this year.  Surprise me, boys.

They did pretty well, and it was fun to see them live at Marlins Park.  But I was happy to see the Red Sox come from the cellar to the dome to win.

– We will lose the requisite number of celebrities and friends as life goes on. As I always say, it’s important to cherish them while they are with us.

Losing Nelson Mandela, Peter O’Toole and James Gandolfini in the same year was a shock, but we all lost friends and loved ones who did not get a spread in The New York Times.  I hold them in the Light.

– Personally, this year looks good on a couple of fronts.  The Pontiac is due back from the body shop this week, and I have formally entered it in its first national Antique Automobile of America car show to take place in Lakeland, Florida, in February.  Things are looking better at work with the Miami-Dade County Public Schools getting a number of important grants, including a $32 million program from Race To The Top for math preparation, and the District won the coveted Broad Prize for Urban Education this past fall.  One of my short plays has been selected for production in May 2013 at the Lake Worth Playhouse’s Short Cuts series, and hope springs eternal for a full-scale production again of Can’t Live Without You here in Florida.  This time I have a good director who would love to do it if we can get a theatre.  I’ll be off to the William Inge Festival in May to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Inge’s birth, and plans are in the works for our annual trip to Stratford, Ontario, next summer.  My family continues to enjoy good health and good spirits.  The blessings continue.  (PS: No, I still don’t have a Twitter account.)

The Pontiac earned its first Driver Participation badge last February and goes for its second in February 2014.  Work continues to go on and the District is doing well: no F schools this year, a marked improvement over the last five years.  My short play, Ask Me Anything, has now been produced more times than any of my other full-length works (two on-stage and one directing project), and my writing continues.  It looks like our trip to Stratford in August was our last trip, simply because of relocation and logistics, but who knows?  My family continues to enjoy good health and good spirits.  And I finally have a Twitter account: @BobbyBBWW.

Now the predictions:

– Despite the terrible roll-out and start-up of Obamacare and the opportunity it handed the Republican campaign strategists, the healthcare law will not be as big an issue in the 2014 mid-terms that all the Villagers say it will be.  By the time the campaign hits the final stretch, the law will be so entrenched that even the people who claim they hate it — even though they support what it does — will have a hard time trying to run candidates who promise to repeal it.  Still, the GOP noise machine and Tea Party hard-core is locked in on re-electing their safe base and the morning after the 2014 mid-terms will show a House still in the hands of the GOP and the Senate closer to 50-50.

– Immigration reform and gun control will go nowhere because it’s the same Congress we had in 2013 and they didn’t do jack-shit.

– By December 31, 2014 it will be a foregone conclusion that Hillary Clinton will be running for president.  Joe Biden will play coy with the Villagers about running, but in the end he’ll demur to Ms. Clinton.  The Benghazi! non-scandal will be long gone except for the nutsery who still think Barack Obama was born in Kenya.  The GOP will be lining up its merry band that includes Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, and just for laughs, Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee.  President Obama’s approval numbers will be back up in the 50% range.

– Florida Gov. Rick Scott will lose his re-election bid to Charlie Crist, the newly minted Democrat, and Marco Rubio’s star will be as faded in GOP national politics as Pauly Shore’s is among Oscar voters.  He’ll pick up a primary challenge from the far right, but he’ll be safe in 2016 because the Democrats have nobody to run against him.

– Governors Scott Walker of Wisconsin, John Kasich of Ohio, Rick Snyder of Michigan, and Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania will all face tough re-election campaigns, but Mr. Kasich and Mr. Snyder will probably squeak by.  Mr. Corbett is out, and just for laughs, the people of Maine will toss their gaffe-prone Tea Party guv Paul LePage.

– The national economy will continue to expand and the drive for the living wage movement will take hold.  The unemployment numbers will finally get below 7.0% and stay there.

– Marriage equality will spread to more states as more cases based on the ruling by the Supreme Court in 2013 are heard.  Indiana will vote on a ban on same-sex marriage in November 2014, and it will lose narrowly. But same-sex won’t be the law of the land yet, and I predict that unless the Supreme Court issues a sweeping ruling, Texas will be the last hold-out.

– The Supreme Court will rule 5-4 that Hobby Lobby or any for-profit non-religious corporation does not have the right “to deny its employees the health coverage of contraceptives to which the employees are otherwise entitled by federal law, based on the religious objections of the corporation’s owners.”

– This will be a rebuilding year for the Detroit Tigers now that Jim Leyland has retired.  They’ll do respectably well and may even win the division again, but it’s time for a breather.

– Fidel Castro will finally hop the twig, and the slow thaw between the U.S. and Cuba will begin as the generation that is as old as Castro continues to fade away.

– We will lose the requisite number of celebrities and friends as life goes on. As I always say, it’s important to cherish them while they are with us.

– Personally, life will continue at its gentle pace in good health and good spirits.  In September I will turn 62 and begin the first steps towards eventual retirement, but that won’t be for a long time yet.  I’ve already started on my paper for the William Inge Theatre Festival in March, and I continue to write and produce blog posts.  My parents are happily settled into their “life enrichment community,” and I hope to visit them this summer.  I might even get a smartphone this year, but don’t bet on it.

– The Ford Mustang will turn 50 years old in April 2014.  That’s not the longest continuous run of an American car model — the Corvette started in 1953 — but it’s an impressive run for a car that re-defined the auto industry.  My prediction is that it will last another fifty.

– And of course, the usual prediction: One year from now I’ll write a post just like this one, look back at this one, and think, “Gee, that was dumb.” Or not.

Okay, readers, it’s your turn.  What do you predict will befall us in 2014?

Monday, June 10, 2013

William Inge 1913-1973

I can’t let this day go by without remembering that it was 40 years ago today that William Inge shuffled off this mortal coil.

William Inge -- 1913 - 1973 Playwright

William Inge
1913 – 1973
Playwright

He left by his own hand, convinced he had nothing more to say.  But since 1981 his life, his words, and his characters have been celebrated and his legacy has been honored in his own hometown of Independence, Kansas.  The only sadness I have is that we didn’t do it until after he was gone.

Rest in peace, playwright.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Photo of the Day

This is from my trip to the William Inge Festival.  It’s me with Elizabeth Wilson, the only surviving member of the original Broadway cast of Picnic from 1953.  You might recognize her from her many roles in film (Dustin Hoffman’s mom in The Graduate and Roz in 9 to 5, and recently as Sarah Delano Roosevelt, the mother of Franklin D. Roosevelt, in Hyde Park on Hudson).  She has become a great friend of the festival and a good friend to many of us who attend.  She is a bright shining spirit.

PMW with Elizabeth Wilson 05-03-13

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Inge Festival Day 3

Yesterday was my big day.  I presented my paper to the scholars conference along with three other scholarly types.  The presentations went very well and they sparked a lively discussion with the participants; something that doesn’t often happen with such events.  It helped that we had some nationally-recognized actors, directors, and teachers in the crowd.

Last night was the big gala dinner with some fun entertainment and some poignant moments.  When it was all over I and two other participants went back to our hotel and packed up.  We were picked up around 10:45 p.m. and driven to the airport hotel in Tulsa to spend the night so we could be up and ready to catch our flights home.  The festival isn’t over until tonight, but we all have other obligations, mine being the premiere of a play of mine this evening at the Lake Worth Playhouse in Lake Worth, Florida.  More about that later.

As it is, I am sitting in the gate at Tulsa International waiting for my flight back to Miami.  I’ve had about four hours of sleep, so that’s why this post is a tad abbreviated.  I took a bunch of pictures at Inge with my phone camera, so I’ll post the good ones — if there are any.

I will now embark upon a search for a good cup of coffee and a doughnut.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Inge Festival Day 2

Thursday was cold and rainy.  I’ve seen a lot of strange weather at the Inge, ranging from tornadoes to blistering heat, but snow in May beats everything.

But we still got out and did the things that we came here for, which was talking about theatre, schmoozing with friends, listening to stories about plays and the people who make them, and then actually going to workshops and seeing presentations.  Yesterday I watched readings of short plays called “The Inge Variations” wherein selected playwrights took characters from Inge plays such as Rosemary from Picnic and Grace from Bus Stop and put them into new situations.  It was a lot of fun.

Last night we saw the staged reading of Samuel D. Hunter’s new play A Great Wilderness.  Mr. Hunter is the New Voices award winner for 2013.  The play was read by, among others, Dakin Matthews and Shirley Knight, and was very well done.

Today is the big day for me: my paper will be presented this afternoon, and a lot of people have threatened to show up to hear it.

Tonight is the gala dinner and birthday celebration for William Inge.  There will be cake.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Inge Festival Day 1

We saw a very nice production of Bus Stop last night.  This is the one Inge play that got a lot of notice because it was made into a movie with Marilyn Monroe as the “chanteuse” Cherie.  The movie isn’t a lot like the play — for one thing, a major character, Dr. Lyman, has been excised — and the emphasis on Cherie takes away from the rest of the characters who make the ensemble work.  The performance we saw was a fine example of ensemble casting and good work.

I spent some time catching up with friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in years.  Elizabeth Wilson is back, and she told us about the two months she spent in London filming Hyde Park on Hudson and what it was like working with Bill Murray playing her son: Franklin D. Roosevelt.  I also spent time with Marshall Mason, one of the men I wrote about in my doctoral thesis.

Today will be workshops and more catching up.

PS: The cold front came through as promised, dropping the temperature from 80 to 48 while we were in the theatre.  Glad I brought my Toledo Mud Hens jacket: yes, that says “Snow.”

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Welcome to Independence

I made it safe and sound to Independence, Kansas.  It is sunny and warm here, but the weather faeries are predicting that the storm that’s burying the Rockies in snow will bring cold winds and rain here by tomorrow.  I’ve packed accordingly, so I’m ready.

It’s nice to be back.  Kansas is getting a well-deserved bad rap politically because of Gov. Sam Brownback and his plans to move the state back to the 19th century in both fiscal and social policy, but it is still a beautiful place and the people are very friendly.  I hope they can back away from the fringes and get back to electing governors like Kathleen Sebelius and, dog help us, a few moderate Republicans.  The current crop makes Bob Dole sound like a secret gay Kenyan Muslim socialist.

The Inge Festival starts tonight with a production of Bus Stop.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Casual Friday

Another mandatory vacation day, but instead of taking it easy, I need to finish my paper for the upcoming William Inge Theatre Festival in Independence, Kansas.

Inge Festival 2013

It’s usually held in mid-April, but this year it will be from May 1 to May 4 because May 3, 2013, is the 100th anniversary of Inge’s birth in Independence.  He died in June 1973 and he is buried in the town cemetery under a simple headstone.

035 Inges grave 2

This will be my 22nd trip to Independence.  I started attending in 1991 when Edward Albee was the honoree, and I’ve only missed one year — 2002 — when I was directing a production of Grease during my last attempt at teaching.  (All things considered, I should have gone to the festival.)  I have learned much about theatre, writing, and I have made friends for life.  Returning to Independence is like a family reunion.

So there will be very light posting today as I devote myself to my paper.  But it’s a labor of love.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Back Home Again

I love going to the Inge Festival, and I’ll more about it later, but it’s also great to get home. There’s nothing like sleeping in your own bed.

Regular blogging will resume tomorrow, but at a little later time than usual since I have to stop and pick up the Pontiac after its trip to the shop for some cosmetic surgery. More on that later, too.

Good night.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Back Home Again

I love going to the Inge Festival, and I’ll more about it later, but it’s also great to get home. There’s nothing like sleeping in your own bed.

Regular blogging will resume tomorrow, but at a little later time than usual since I have to stop and pick up the Pontiac after its trip to the shop for some cosmetic surgery. More on that later, too.

Good night.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Inge Festival — Day 2

The weather turned a little cooler on Friday, but so far no rain or severe weather. I spent the day in at the William Inge Theatre Festival participating in a few discussions, including one on the New Voices award winner, Most Deserving, by Catherine Trieschmann, and then listening to David Henry Hwang discuss his life and work in a conversation ala James Lipton (“Inside the Actors Studio”) led by former Los Angeles Times theatre critic Daniel Sullivan on the stage of the William Inge Theatre on the campus of Independence Community College.

Mr. Hwang’s life and writing career has been a good example of what happens when a playwright emerges and audience members have certain expectations from his work based solely on an outside factor that may have very little to actually do with his writing; in this case, the fact the Mr. Hwang is an Asian-American. His first big hit was M. Butterfly in 1988, which dealt with the story of a French diplomat in China who fell in love with what he thought was a Chinese woman but turned out to be both a spy and a man. The play looks at the assumptions the diplomat makes about Asian women, and in so doing examines the assumptions we all make about people because of who they are.

He followed up M. Butterfly, which won the Tony and the Pulitzer Prize, with a number of other plays that look at the life and experiences of Asian-Americans, but he also looks at himself and the role he’s playing in the perceptions. In 1990, when the musical Miss Saigon was coming to New York with a Caucasian (Jonathan Pryce) cast in the lead role of a Eurasian pimp, the question arose as to why an actor of Asian ancestry wasn’t cast in the role. It led to some interesting moments, including a protest by Actors Equity, the union of stage actors, and in response, Mr. Hwang wrote a play Face Value, which was about the Miss Saigon kerfuffle… and in doing so, he accidentally cast a Caucasian actor to play the lead role of an Asian. Much hilarity ensued. Face Value was a flop, and so in keeping with his talents, Mr. Hwang then wrote another play, Yellow Face, which told the story of the events around Face Value. (Still with me?)

What it comes down to is that David Henry Hwang has that most valuable quality of being able to look at himself, his art, and the people around him and write about them with both a distance that provides a perspective that we all can share, but also an intimacy that gets to the true heart of what he is both feeling and sharing. And he’s a damn good writer to boot.

Last night was the big gala dinner where we were entertained by songs from Mr. Hwang’s other shows, including Tarzan and the revision of Flower Drum Song, and the presentation of the Jerome Lawrence award to Elizabeth Wilson, a long-time attender of the Inge Festival and the only surviving member of the original cast of Picnic.

Today I present my paper at the scholar’s conference, then tonight is the tribute to Mr. Hwang with guests and surprises.

Inge Festival — Day 2

The weather turned a little cooler on Friday, but so far no rain or severe weather. I spent the day in at the William Inge Theatre Festival participating in a few discussions, including one on the New Voices award winner, Most Deserving, by Catherine Trieschmann, and then listening to David Henry Hwang discuss his life and work in a conversation ala James Lipton (“Inside the Actors Studio”) led by former Los Angeles Times theatre critic Daniel Sullivan on the stage of the William Inge Theatre on the campus of Independence Community College.

Mr. Hwang’s life and writing career has been a good example of what happens when a playwright emerges and audience members have certain expectations from his work based solely on an outside factor that may have very little to actually do with his writing; in this case, the fact the Mr. Hwang is an Asian-American. His first big hit was M. Butterfly in 1988, which dealt with the story of a French diplomat in China who fell in love with what he thought was a Chinese woman but turned out to be both a spy and a man. The play looks at the assumptions the diplomat makes about Asian women, and in so doing examines the assumptions we all make about people because of who they are.

He followed up M. Butterfly, which won the Tony and the Pulitzer Prize, with a number of other plays that look at the life and experiences of Asian-Americans, but he also looks at himself and the role he’s playing in the perceptions. In 1990, when the musical Miss Saigon was coming to New York with a Caucasian (Jonathan Pryce) cast in the lead role of a Eurasian pimp, the question arose as to why an actor of Asian ancestry wasn’t cast in the role. It led to some interesting moments, including a protest by Actors Equity, the union of stage actors, and in response, Mr. Hwang wrote a play Face Value, which was about the Miss Saigon kerfuffle… and in doing so, he accidentally cast a Caucasian actor to play the lead role of an Asian. Much hilarity ensued. Face Value was a flop, and so in keeping with his talents, Mr. Hwang then wrote another play, Yellow Face, which told the story of the events around Face Value. (Still with me?)

What it comes down to is that David Henry Hwang has that most valuable quality of being able to look at himself, his art, and the people around him and write about them with both a distance that provides a perspective that we all can share, but also an intimacy that gets to the true heart of what he is both feeling and sharing. And he’s a damn good writer to boot.

Last night was the big gala dinner where we were entertained by songs from Mr. Hwang’s other shows, including Tarzan and the revision of Flower Drum Song, and the presentation of the Jerome Lawrence award to Elizabeth Wilson, a long-time attender of the Inge Festival and the only surviving member of the original cast of Picnic.

Today I present my paper at the scholar’s conference, then tonight is the tribute to Mr. Hwang with guests and surprises.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Inge Festival — Day 1

From the William Inge Festival: I spent most of the day (Thursday) participating in discussions on such things as playwriting, diversity in theatre, and just generally basking in the glow of being with other people who love to write as much as I do.

I could give you a detailed run-down of all the topics we covered, but actually, you had to be there, so I won’t do that. (And I hear a collective “Whew!” from the readership.) Just suffice it to say that I had a great time; it’s the four days of the year that I get to eat, drink, and breathe theatre, and it’s a great deal of fun.

The best times are the times I spend just sitting around and talking to people. I had a long and meaningful conversation with Barbara Dana over lunch where she gave me some wonderful insight to a role in a play that I’m working on. (I told her to not be surprised, then, if the role ends up sounding a lot like her.) I also spent some time talking to a student who is determined to become a director, which means he was taking copious notes as we talked about the writing process. The takeaway from all of this seems to be that the best things that happen here are the things that we’re inspired to do once we go home and get back to work on our dreams and visions.

Last night we had a concert reading of The Most Deserving, a new play by Catherine Trieschmann, who is the New Voices playwright this year. New Voices is the Inge Festival’s way of seeking out new plays and playwrights and showcasing their work, and this play, a comedy about a small-town arts council giving away grant funds, was a funny and interesting story.

Today we’ll have a conversation with David Henry Hwang, this year’s honoree, and tonight will be a big gala dinner with singing and skits and a lot of fun and chat in between.

PS: Sales of my script seem to be doing well; they had to replace the supply that was out on the table because they’d sold some.