Most of the time living in LA is the best except for those times when it’s not New York.
Follow @NPRnews on Snapchat – their first story is how they put together a radio segment. Pretty cool. And great to see the diverse array of producers/editors/directors who help create it.
[begin gchat conversation with my brilliant playwright friend Stephanie Swirsky]
Stephanie: hey congrats on being a finalist for playpenn!
Me: WAIT WHAT
Me: OHHHhahahadudefor a second i thought you were april fooling me
Stephanie: ??did they not email you…?
Me: oh but this great 🙂
Me: thanks for letting me know 🙂 🙂
And what an amazing group of writers to be featured with. Happy!
Last week, I had the opportunity to be a guest-blogger for LAFPI (the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative.) And I wrote about the reason I never got around to doing a February recap post. 🙂 Many thanks to Jennie Webb and the LAFPI for asking me to contribute, and in general for all the great advocacy they’re doing.
[Cross-posted from the LAFPI]
- The Process: The same instinct that makes us good writers – the ability to self-edit, to sift, to weed out the bad ideas from the good, in short, to critique – is what can also make writing so painful. Because as we write, our inner editor is chomping on the bit to tell us how this draft is terrible, how this idea is pointless, how no one will ever want to do this, how it’s a waste of our time and (let’s take this to the logical end) how we’re a fraud and will never write anything good ever again. We all hear this nasty voice in our head from time to time – the trick of course, is to rein it in, to allow just the right amount of self-critique into our process, perfectly calibrated to the needs of that particular draft.But wow, that’s a really hard thing to ask of ourselves, isn’t it? And in addition, the madness inside our heads isn’t caused by anything we could call “real”. We’re miserable because we can’t figure out the solutions to problems that we made up for characters and situations that don’t exist. It’s hella weird.
- The Production: So as playwrights, we deeply care about our audiences. We write a play as a gift to be shared – not just with our collaborators, but with living, breathing human beings who gather in a room together, who’ve plonked down money and found babysitters and driven out and given up their evening to spend with our stories. So we really care about them.In speaking just for myself, the audience is always top of my mind, from the first draft through to opening night. Yes, it’s important that I’m happy, that my artistic team is happy, but by god, I really want the audience to be happy. I want them to have such a good time in the theatre. The fact that I care so much is one of my strengths, and it shows in my writing.
But once the production is up and running, I can’t turn this off. So when the reviews are out, I’m setting myself up to be a complete emotional mess. Sarah Ruhl recently said, so easily, that she doesn’t read anything written about herself. Lauren Gunderson has said she only reads the good reviews. I wish I could pick either lane. But no – I can’t turn off that instinct to care about what people think, even at the stage where I have no power to change anything, even if I wanted to. That’s not healthy.
- The more I learn about playwriting, the more plays I write and see, the harsher my inner-critic gets, because now I know better, and I know what I’m up against.
- Commissions are the best, but they bring out my inner-critic in full force, because now there’s that additional, awful fear of letting someone down.
- The more production opportunities I get, the more reviews I’ll get, and the more people will have things to say about my work. Google will be my nemesis forever.
Stuff that’s been happening…
Jan 3 – 9: I made my first visit to Chicago, my first brush with real winter! Arrived just in time for the scarily named Arctic Blast to blow through the city. But spending a week with Rasaka Theatre in the first week of rehearsals for A Nice Indian Boy warmed me up plenty.
Rasaka Theatre’s production, opening TONIGHT (Feb 12 (!)) in Chicago, is the play’s second production and mid-west premiere.
Jan 10-11: From Chicago I land in DC and head straight to the opening night of In Love and Warcraft by No Rules Theatre Company, being staged at Signature Theatre in Arlington. I get to see the magical Anu Yadav kill it as Evie and spend a wonderful weekend enjoying the hospitality of No Rules’ board members in Virginia.
And we get a nice review in the Washington Post. YAY. PHEW.
Jan 25: We shoot the Kickstarter promo for the new webseries I’m co-creating with Megan Kelly and Seamus Sullivan – Titus and Dronicus. It is insane, overwhelming, enlightening, holyshitexpensive, and it was only the freaking Kickstarter promo. Filmmaking is hard. But fun. (But hard.)
Jan 26: I fly to Chennai.
Now I’m in India through the end of April, where I don’t need to worry about cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, driving, or… having any kind of social life. I get to spend time with my family and not do much else. And with several writing projects to juggle, it’s the perfect arrangement. For now. I try not to worry about what my life will be like beyond the next few months, but of course, trying not to worry about something is about as effective as… as…
Oh I can’t come up with a metaphor, what am I, a writer or something.
Current projects:- A screenplay adaptation of A Nice Indian Boy- Finishing up Antigone, Presented by the Girls of St. Catherine’s to be produced at the Alliance Theatre in April.- A new commissioned play for the Golden Tongues series by Playwrights Arena in Los Angeles.- A longform article for Hinduism Today about the LGBT Hindu community around the world.- Starting research/notes on my Bharatanatyam play, which has been incubating in my head for years now.
I’ve never really known what to do with this blog. I use Facebook for personal updates and promotions whenever I need it, Twitter for sharing interesting links, Instagram for pictures like these –
– And don’t really know what to use this blog for. I should journal my life more, because it’s interesting and I would like to keep track of it somewhere where I’m not flooding people with updates. But then on the other hand, without an audience, I don’t feel the need to write about my life.
Also, I’m always working on a project, so the thought of blogging when I should be working on my script is just out of the question most of the time.
Plus WordPress is so cumbersome when it comes to uploading/embedding images.
So I don’t really know what to do. My Chicago and DC trips were so eventful, but I don’t feel like writing about them now, so they will only exist as the few lines I’ve deigned to give them above.