I’ve had the honor and privilege to work with Central Square Theater’s Youth Underground summer ensemble over the past few weeks. The topic chosen for this year was IMMIGRATION, and we interviewed a lot of people who had a few things to say about it. The resulting play, Here and There, will be read this Wednesday, August 9, at CST. Please join us if you can.
Youth Underground’s Here and There (staged reading)
My new play, The Akhmatova Journals, will be featured in the Second Sunday Reading Series at Erbaluce Boston, Sunday, April 9 at 7 pm. If you’ve never been to any readings in this series, there’s a few things you should know:
- Readings are in the upstairs dining room at Erbaluce Boston, which “serves an Italian menu with a focus on local product, seasonal, high quality ingredients and Piemontese flavors.”
- Admission is free, but reservations are required. Call 617 426 6969 to reserve.
- The reading is accompanied by FREE APPETIZERS, and they are out of this world.
- Cash bar. But it’s like, right there.
- It’s an intimate, friendly setting with a receptive and well-fed audience. I’ve always had a great time.
- And here’s a blurb about the play: At the height of the Stalinist purges, Russia’s once-lauded poet Anna Akhmatova languishes in poverty and obscurity, desperately seeking the release of her imprisoned son. A chance visit by writer Lydia Chukovskaya initiates a powerful literary partnership and friendship, centered on poetry and haunted by the shadow of the prison wall.
Hope you’ll join me on April 9 at 7 pm for some new play (and appetizer) action.
Where have I been? Have I done ANYTHING in the last twelve months? The answer is yes. Yes, I have done many things since February 2016 that have gone unblogged. Although none quite as exciting as having two productions back to back.
I’m working on a few projects right now. One of them revisits an old obsession and the subject of my undergraduate Women’s Studies thesis of a mere twenty years ago: the literary friendship of two Russian women writers at the height of the Stalinist Terror.
The Russian poet Anna Akhmatova gained fame at a young age for her spare and striking poems. Later in life she was deeply affected by Stalin’s purges and the horrors of World War II. She created monuments in verse to the post-Revolutionary suffering of her country and people. Requiem, a cycle of poems about the purges and the arrest of her son, never saw publication in Russia in her lifetime.
Lydia Chukovskaya, poet, editor, and uncompromising critic of the Great Terror, began meeting with Akhmatova in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) in 1938. They became close friends and literary partners. Chukovskaya helped to select and edit Akhmatova’s works for publication, and memorized many of the subversive verses that Akhmatova didn’t dare write down, let alone publish.
Writing as an act of protest under a repressive regime—an attempt to hold on to our humanity when it’s being forcibly stripped away—has always held enormous power for me. I’ve worked on and off on this story for a couple decades, and now it’s finally crystalized. Could this have anything to do with the times we’re living in? I say go now and memorize a whole bunch of your favorite poems, just in case.
Catherine Curtin (Cy) and Chris Ceraso (Dulac). Photo by Jon Kandel.
We’re halfway through the run of Burning with Resonance Ensemble in New York. Responses have been heartfelt and positive. And what do you know, the New York Times liked it. Here’s another sweet feature about our Cy, Catherine Curtin, in HuffPost Queer Voices.
More performances coming up tonight, Thursday, and Saturday at 8:00 pm. After the show on Saturday, I’ll be staying for a talkback along with badass Outserve-SLDN activist, Master Chief (ret.) Jennifer L. Paty. Get your tickets now!
Last Saturday, Fresh Ink’s production of The Housekeeper closed after a terrific run. So many, many thanks to the cast, crew, FIT team, and everyone else who made it possible. And to the very gracious and engaged audiences who came and cried and said really nice things. Also, there were some reviews.
We had an especially wonderful performance and talkback on January 28, as part of our StageSource Night and Parity Party. Here’s a photo of the post-show discussion with our dramaturg Sara Brookner, me, and the cast:
Good times! But lest I catch up on my sleep too soon, within days of closing I’m off to New York for the first week of Burning, produced by Resonance Ensemble. We’re currently in previews–official opening is Sunday, February 7. Tickets available now! And be sure to also check out the exciting new production of Cyrano, which is playing in rep. Here’s a great feature about Resonance and their mission of revisiting and reinventing classic plays. And our amazing cast:
Chris Ceraso (Dulac), Zachary Clarence (Sammy), Catherine Curtin (Cy), Shaun Bennet Fauntleroy (Rose), and Sean Phillips (Cole). Photo by John Kandel.
Gillian Mackay-Smith as Carson
Dale J. Young as Charlie and Margarita Martinez as Adelina
Alexis Scheer as Kaila and Margarita Martinez as Adelina
The Housekeeper opened last weekend to full houses and great acclaim. Piles of gratitude to Fresh Ink Theatre, the cast, and the crew for their amazing, beautiful work. Two weekends to go, with talkbacks on January 21 and 28, and a special StageSource Night/Parity Party spectacular on January 23. Don’t miss it! Here’s all the info on how to get there.
And shout out to Fresh Ink AD Louise Hamill for the gorgeous tech week photos!
I had a pretty awesome birthday celebration last week: cupcakes and champagne at rehearsal for Burning.
l to r: Ryan Atwell (Directing intern), Eric Parness (Director), Sean Phillips (Cole), Shaun Bennet Fauntleroy (Rose), me, Catherine Curtin (Cy), Jarel Davidow (Directing Associate), Zachary Clarence (Sammy)
Spent much of school vacation week in New York working with this terrific group of folks. Now back in Boston, where Housekeeper team is back from break and going full steam ahead toward production week.
I’m feeling kinda giddy.
Rehearsals are well underway for Fresh Ink’s production of The Housekeeper, opening January 15. Here’s a picture of our adorable cast and crew, with a special friend:
Front row, l to r: Margarita Martinez (Adelina), Her Highness HK, Alexis Sheer (Kaila), Sara Brookner (Dramaturg); back row l to r: George Page (Stage Manager), Gillian Mackay-Smith (Carson), Zack Rice (Assistant Director), Dale Young (Charlie)
And on Saturday we had the first readthrough of Resonance Ensemble’s production of Burning, which opens in rep with Cyrano de Bergerac on February 3. Here’s a TheaterMania announcement of our super sweet cast:
Last week, I had the incredible opportunity to participate in a five-day workshop on Burning with Resonance Ensemble, the company that will produce the play in February. We read, dissected, and wrestled with the text for five days, then presented an informal reading for an invited audience on Sunday. I made some focused but important rewrites that made the story stronger and cleaner—and had a great time, too.
A workshop like this has SO much value for the play’s development and the production process. (Do it, theaters!!) Huge thanks to Eric Parness, Resonance AD and director of the upcoming production, and to the extremely awesome actors who gave their time and energy so generously.
Eric Parness, Zachary Clarence, Alberto Bonilla, Vanessa Aspillaga, me, Chris Ceraso, and Shaun Bennet Fauntleroy after the workshop of BURNING. Thank you, amazing people!!
Hello, world! Welcome to my new website. It took me all summer, but with a little help (thanks, Pat Gabridge, for the WordPress tutorial!) and a lot of chocolate, I now bring you detailed pages on my full-length plays, embedded videos of all the films I’ve written, lots of great production photos, and info about my coaching services. I’m planning to add a few more goodies, like play excerpts, very soon. Please feel free to comment (constructively) and let me know what you think.
Burning in New York
I’m on a bit of an adrenaline jag at the moment, and it’s probably because in a few hours I’m taking a bus to New York to start a five-day workshop of Burning with Resonance Ensemble. This fascinating company produces new plays that respond to or reimagine classic works…in repertoire with the originals. In February, Burning opens in rep with an exciting stripped-down version of Cyrano de Bergerac—and it’s going to be tight. I’m feeling thrilled, excited, giddy, and very grateful for the opportunity to get in a room with a bunch of talented people and play around with the piece. Playwright heaven!
The Housekeeper in Boston
And by the way, my new play The Housekeeper opens January 15 as part of Fresh Ink Theatre‘s upcoming season. Fresh Ink produced The Embryos in 2012, and I couldn’t be happier to collaborate once again with this talented team on their in-depth play development process. We had a public staged reading in May, and a three-day workshop is scheduled for September. This is how it’s done, y’all.
Thanks for reading. Keep in touch. There’s more to come.