It’s election day and I woke up to vote when the polls opened at 6am, so I have a little time to post an update of my latest theatre news.
This past weekend (Nov 4-6), In Love and Warcraft opened in Tulsa, OK (Heller Theatre Company) and also had its professional London premiere! ILAW opened at Theatre N16 in London on Sunday, Nov 6, produced by What a Nice Production company. It also happened to have a closing at Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland.
With those productions, ILAW is now between 12-14 productions, depending on how you count them. This is truly stunning and so unexpected and amazing. I’m just thrilled that this play has had a life and I hope hope hope that it continues to do so.
And more news! A Bucket of Blessings, my first TVYA play, or play for babies, won a Suzi Bass Award last night. The Suzis are Atlanta’s theatre awards. I loved working on this play so much. Grateful to our director Rosemary Newcott and everyone at the Alliance Theatre for giving me yet another incredible opportunity to make something I can be proud of, with people I adore.
I’m quoted in this wonderful American Theatre Magazine article about the Alliance Theatre’s Kendeda playwriting contest. The Kendeda kickstarted my career and gave ‘In Love and Warcraft’ the success that it’s enjoying right now. The Alliance is maybe my second home, and I am so lucky to count Celise Kalke as a friend and mentor.
“Celise and Susan have welcomed me into the Alliance family in the most amazing way,” Shekar said. “I call the Alliance my own personal Disneyland, because the people there have been just that wonderful to me.”
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Workshopping ‘A Bucket of Blessings’. Opening at the Alliance Theatre January 12!
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
My current project – A Bucket of Blessings at the Alliance Theatre. My third production at the Alliance in 3 years and my second commission, and possibly my most fun. Possibly. Running at the Alliance Jan 12-Feb 14. More info at alliancetheatre.org/production/bucket-blessings.
So previews for ‘In Love and Warcraft’ began on Friday night, somehow going forward despite the loss of 7 hours of tech this past week thanks to Atlanta’s Snowmagridlock nightmare. And I feel like I should have blogged on Friday evening to record the crazy crazy nerves I was feeling and to take in the fact that I was about to have my first public professional show in front of an audience… but of course another milestone is coming up on Wednesday, when previews will be over, and I will have my first ever official opening night. With press and my parents. Crazy. Crazy crazy crazy.
Previews are going well. I can no longer experience the play, due to my extreme nerves and that terrible feeling of knowing the whole script by heart and therefore being unable to spontaneously live with the characters, but after each show, I’m thinking back and going, oh. That went well.
Megan Kelly came last night with our friend Hannah Cornforth to see the second preview and it was such a joy to have them here. I’m so happy Megan could come out to Atlanta. She’s been there with me for the whole journey of this play, from the first (terrible) draft, and it was amazing to share this with her. And then I got to introduce them to our incredible cast and director, the sweetest human beings on the planet, and that was great too.
Our genius costume designer Lex Liang blew my freaking mind today by gifting me one of his genius creations from the show. I can’t wait to frame this and hang this in my room. What an honor it’s been to work with him.
Playwriting is a solitary experience for most. Not so much for Love and Warcraft’s Madhuri Shekar.
The winner of the Alliance Theatre’s 2013-14 Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition finds it tough to write a play if she hasn’t talked it out with someone first. Maybe because dialogue is her favorite part.
“I like theater in general,” says Shekar (as in “shaker”). “That experience of sitting with other people, and everyone’s going through it together, and the people you are watching are not just people on a screen who’ve been edited and carefully orchestrated. They’re actual, real people in front of you, and they’re creating stories with their bodies and their voices, and they’re inviting us to use our imaginations to fill in that story with them.”
Dreaming up characters who become paladins, dwarves, warrior princesses and shamans when they go online is one thing, but actually bringing that fantasy world of Internet gaming onto the stage became an interesting challenge for costume designer Lex Liang, a video game neophyte.
“Before I even finished the script for the first time, I immediately got on my computer and started researching all sorts of stuff about online gaming,” says Liang of LDC Design Associates in New York.
Today was an especially delightful day in rehearsal with my director Laura Kepley and dramaturg Celise Kalke. Laura is the sweetest, just look.
Going through my emails I just realized that it’s been exactly one year since Celise called to tell me that I’d won the Kendeda Playwriting Prize. It’s been a truly amazing year since, and right now I’m in the middle of the funnest month of my life, with more to come with ‘A Nice Indian Boy’ (directed by Snehal Desai) very soon. I’m so grateful to have these two months, with two productions of plays that mean so much to me, and getting to work with such talented and kind people. I’ve always been happiest when I get to do theatre, and so this has been one long extended period of joy. That’s all.