Thursday, December 20, 2012

Top 50 Albums of 2012: 10-1

This is it! This was a great year for music, and these were the ten that stuck with me the most.

10. Converge - All That We Love We Leave Behind


Monday, December 17, 2012

Top 50 Albums of 2012: 29-11

Keepin' 'em coming! But first, here's a SUPER COOL BONUS ALBUM (because I miscounted, and came up with 51, whoops.)

29.5 Chairlift - Something


Youngblood 2012 By The Numbers

...an unofficial count of things we could remember.

5 Graduating Members

6 New Members

8 Unfiltered Productions

2 retreats.

54 Curtain Speeches 


472 miles driven to and from Lake Wallenpaupack

Thursday, December 13, 2012

An Interview With Clare Barron



Top 50 Albums of 2012: 50-30

It's that time of year again. We're inundated with year end lists, opinionated internet blabbermouths try and tell you what was good and what wasn't and here at Youngblood WE'RE NO DIFFERENT. To the casual music listener/theater goer who visits this blog, you might be thinking: "50 albums? Were there even 50 good albums this year? Did 50 albums even come out this year?"

The anser is yes! Let's go to the Word document I've been updating since January of all the records that I've been listening to like the big fucking nerd I am.

50. Heems - Wild Water Kingdom





I think I'm not alone in saying I want to redesign my apartment to look like the set of "Going Out and Coming Back." 

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Friday, December 07, 2012

A Question To Which You Can Answer, "John Philip Sousa"


Q: What celebrated American trapshooter, a fella some have celebrated as the father of organized trapshooting in America, also wrote a novel about a group of lady-hating men who go to sea?

A: John Philip Sousa!

Bonus question:

How does this excellent-sounding novel end?

Well! While the men have been hating on women, and sailing around a lot, it turns out the captain's niece has stowed herself away on the boat. She persuades the men that women aren't so bad after all!

It all comes together in a love story:
"If we had lost the picture of Venus, my heart would have been broken, but, of course, you saved them and -- saved my heart."
 "And you think it was a wise provision of Nature, that brought me on earth?"
"I do," she whispered. 
"And I think it was a wise provision of Nature, that brought you on earth," he said. 
And then -- if the Statue of Liberty had shaded her eyes she would not have witnessed a long drawn kiss of love. 
 Two days later Mr. John Stoneman received this letter from his son:
Dear Dad:
Just got back from long trip. My views about responsibility are rotten. Yours about heredity equally so. My bookkeeper tells me that I have drawn from you to date $484,767.52 for which find my check enclosed.  
She is the sweetest thing on earth. Her name is Miranda Bradley. And the wedding takes place next Tuesday. Come.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's question to which you can answer, "John Philip Sousa!"


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

When 'Tis Done


If a joke doesn't get a laugh during the first preview and then fails to get a laugh on the second preview, but then on the third preview gets an uproarious laugh, do you keep it?

Would you bench a player who hits a home run every third game and strikes out the rest of the time?

If you like the way something ends, the very final moment of the play, but nobody else (your director, your cast, your friends) seems to like it, do you keep it? If you have an ending that you don't like, but everyone else tells you its great...do you keep it?

Discuss.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Unfiltered, as seen on GChat

September 19, 2011


Willie: oh hey unfiltered!
 me: ah
  yes
3:58 PM Willie: that's awesome!
 me: thanks!
 Willie: that wasn't even the one you did for bloodworks, right?
 me: no
4:00 PM Willie: when did they tell you?
4:01 PM me: last week
4:02 PM Willie: and you didn't tell me???
  i cannot trust you, chiara atik

Sunday, November 11, 2012

What Theatre Lacks Is Naked Mole Rats: Dufoxy and Silverman Discuss America


Once upon a time, Eric "Dufoxy" Dufault, Ryan “The Disembowler” Dowler and Jen Silverman were sitting over a manly feast of beers and wings. As Youngbloods do when presented with time on their hands, they set about discussing world politics. Then they moved on to a careful dissection of the place of religion in a modern world. Then—and only then— did they inadvertently stumble across a subject that was TRULY CONTROVERSIAL.

They lowered their voices to whispers. They shot glances over their shoulders. They tried to conduct the conversation in pig-Latin, to throw eavesdroppers off the scent, but ‘twas too late. The Most Controversial Conversational Topic of Modern Times had been unleashed and there was no going back. They had entered the topic of NAKED MOLE RATS.
“The most adorable and mysterious creatures on earth!” Silverman declared.

“More disgusting than a bucket of penises,” Dufoxy countered.

“My dad discovered a new form of mouse one time,” Dowler extemporized.

And they were off.

JEN: Whoa whoa whoa, Dufoxy. Hold your horses. Reign in your seething venom. Here is the case for naked mole rats. First of all, they are cute. There is nothing cuter than a semi-transparent sack of skin through which you can almost see internal organs shifting around. Additionally, I invite you to gaze upon their protruding front teeth. Their delicate little paws. The wonder in their blind little eyes. Does none of this move your stony heart?

ERIC: Nope.

Look, I find naked mole rats as interesting as the next person. But damn if those things are not ugly. Come on, Jen. We need more honesty and genuineness in the world. And the honest, genuine truth is that an elderly man would have a very hard time distinguishing a naked mole rat from his penis.

Now, I’d like this to be a family friendly environment. But look at this. Look at this terror. It looks like a penis being devoured by smaller penises.
Let’s do a Rorschach thing here, Jen. What do you see when you look at that photo?

JEN: I see a visual representation of unfounded fear, Dufoxy. I see a living metaphor for the misunderstood, the societal Other, the monsterization of that which is different. I see an awesome thesis topic for a fully-funded PhD that could rescue me from the streets and give me health insurance once again!

Now, I don’t want to challenge the values upon which the American nuclear family is based, but “semi-transparent sack of skin” is an apt description of babies as well. And generally, one thinks babies are cute and one tries VERY HARD not to mention the words “baby” and “penis” in the same sentence. So let’s try giving NMR the same consideration. Just for a second. And consider other instances of how miraculous they are.

For example, according to the Smithsonian blog:

1.    NMRs are neither moles nor rats. They are more closely related to porcupines and guinea pigs. (WHO DOESN’T LOVE A PORCUPINE?? – Dufoxy, do not start with me.)
2.    They are one of only two mammal species that are eusocial. (Hive-minded, like bees and wasps. BEES MAKE HONEY, WHO DOESN’T LOVE HONEY?)
3.    The queen isn’t born a queen. She’s a female who has fought her way to the top. (WHO DOESN’T LOVE FEMINISM??)

And finally: No one has ever found cancer in naked mole rats; they appear to be resistant to the disease. (Like green tea, dark chocolate, and coffee: who doesn’t love anti-oxidants??)

BAM. I heart you, little porcu-wasps.
ERIC: Okay.

Okay. Okay.

Clearly, there’s some weird, interesting shit going down with these freaks. They can’t get cancer (though I wish they could). They’re the only cold blooded mammal (which means that they're supposed to be, like, lizards or something?). They’re called the “sand puppy” (which is an insult to both puppies and sand). But we’re not interested in interesting, Jen. This, like everything else in life, all comes down to cuteness.

What is cuteness? I don’t know. Do you know who does know? Wikipedia. Which is why they have diagrams like this to help us with this debate:
Babies are biologically cute so that their mothers/fathers won’t eat them. And what makes them cute? A) A large head/body ratio and B) a large eye to head ratio. So the cutest creature would be an animal that’s all head and eyes. Now how about naked mole rats? A) Do those things have large heads compared to their bodies? And B) Do they have large eyes compared to their heads?
QED.
In closing, I would like to share this image of a naked mole rat’s penis:


At this point in the scholarly debate, we turned to Ryan Dowler.

RYAN DOWLER: My father journeyed over volcanoes in the Galapagos Islands to rediscover a rodent thought to be extinct for a hundred years. 

I can’t even write a decent Sloan grant.

....And with that, ladies and gentlemen, the case is closed.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

The Case for a Second Act


F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said ‘There are no second acts in American lives.’

As a playwright, I wish this were true.  Not only because I find second acts the hardest to write, but because first acts are so full of (for lack of a better word) hope.  Nothing needs to end in a first act, nothing needs to be definitive.  They can be full of possibility and potential and the sweet, narrative candy that keeps us interested. 

But they’re incomplete.

As an audience, we need those second acts.  We need them because they satisfy us in that deep, primal kind of way.  They bring with them the resonate weight of human truth.  Take Oedipus or Death of a Salesman, for example.  Without those second acts, the stories, on a subconscious level, feel false -- Oedipus is happily married to Mom, and Biff is going to that meeting with Willy thinking everything is going to be just fine.  And while the optimist in me always wishes they would end there, what makes them timeless pieces of ‘Literature’ or ‘Art’ is that they reflect life.  The cold, karmic hammer of reality comes down because it has to come down – not for the sake of the plot, but because as human beings we expect it, we need it -- we know it to be true.  Something within us craves resolution.  It’s scientific – every action has a reaction, factors result in a balanced equation; it’s the punchline to our jokes and why music makes us tap our feet. 

And it’s why we should re-elect President Obama. 

What does that have do with anything, you ask?  Hold on. 

If you ask me (and perhaps you didn’t), this whole American enterprise has grand tragedy written all over it.  Why?  Because, if we’re honest, the ‘greatness’ of this country, was built, like something from Sophocles or Shakespeare, on a tragic, pervasive flaw – which is, of course, slavery.  It haunts us to this day.  It lies at the root of our domestic problems and undercuts even the grandest ideas put forth by Washington, Jefferson, and the rest.   Because, really, America’s not unlike ol’ Oedipus or Willy Loman – we harbor this terrible truth we can never talk about because doing so would expose the fundamental lie that governs this country: that all men are created equal.   

Which is why, four years ago today, something incredible happened.  In some deep, unknown way, America (the character, of course) transcended its perceived limitations in that rare, amazing, Helen Keller kind of way – the kind of way you’d never believe if it wasn’t true – by electing an African-American man to the highest office in the land and put him up in a white house built by black slaves.  It was a choice – dramaturgs, holler if you hear me -- it was a choice to progress and, in some way, atone for what our ancestors had done.  That we could, at a crucial moment, make a euphoric choice, instead of a tragic one --that we could somehow stop the inertia of history, draw a line in the sand, and say ‘Now, we’re new.’ 

It was, in the story of America, an act break. 

But in the story of the Obama Presidency, of course, it was just the beginning.  It was, if you want to get technical about it, the inciting incident.  And I think the conflating of those two stories – what Obama’s election meant for the country and what it meant for the man himself – is why a lot of us have been frustrated by the lack of change over the last four years.  We were expecting a second act, when in practicality, it was really just the first.

Are you following?  I hope so.

My point is that the choice we make on Election Day isn’t for one man to have a job for the next four years, it’s the choice to finally usher in that second act we’ve been waiting for. 

Because if we think about the sad nature of our political system, a President’s first term is only the preamble to the bold moves he (or she – Hillary 2016!) could enact his a second.  And if we think of the narrative of President Obama -- from Hawaii to Harvard, from Chicago to the Presidency -- at every step of the way, he’s exhibited a profound political savvy, balancing between opportunism and pragmatism, knowing all the while he’s had to satisfy the expectations and prejudices of a fragile electorate (whoever it was at the time) in order to get ahead.  And I firmly believe that an Obama second term is a chance for him to gloriously reclaim the mantle of ‘Change’ he championed so passionately as a candidate.  And I know he can do it.  Because without the fear of political repercussions that a second Presidential term allows, I trust that he will have the personal power and legislative know-how to institute the kind of widespread systemic changes that America needs in order to thrive in the 21st Century.

As President Obama knows better than anyone, we are no longer a country of White Christian men.  And to succeed, to ‘win the future’ (as that terrible phrase goes), we have to embrace the growing diversity of our population and re-engage with the world as neighbors instead of bullies.  We have to lay the groundwork for an epic American second act in which we see a modern renaissance defined by diplomacy in global affairs, progressive social policies, and a new New Deal that invests in updating our creaky infrastructure while balancing our economy. 

It’s more than possible, but the time to make it happen is, and can only be, now.

If we falter, the second act we need so desperately will escape us, and not only will that make for one hell of a horrible story, but we’ll be headed down the same ignorant, self-satisfied path that has felled every empire over the course of human civilization – and the one, not to mention, that led to the mess we found ourselves in four years ago.  If Mitt Romney is elected, we will admit to ourselves and to the world that we’re not who we thought we were in 2008, and we’ll revert to taunting the looming dangers of climate change, Islamic extremism, and economic disparity with our American chauvinism.  And that cycle can’t keep repeating itself.  We don’t have time.  Sooner or later, the paradigm will shift, the egg will crack, and in a blaze of light or in blood on the streets, we won’t recognize ourselves anymore.   

America deserves a second act.  It’s about damn time we turned and faced the fundamental problems that plague us.  And we can – because of one man’s unique place in our history – yes, we can.  (Sorry).  But it takes looking beyond our little window on the world.  It takes empathy and guts and patience.  Kind of like writing a play. 

I’m sorry, but F. Scott Fitzgerald was wrong.  There are second acts in American lives. 

And the biggest one begins on Tuesday.  Go vote. 



Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Asking for Trouble 2012: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on VHS

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There are many, many reasons to love Youngblood’s ASKING FOR TROUBLE, which opens tonight at EST at 7pm, but for me it comes down to the actors.

Man, these actors.

I’ve been working with three big talents – Merissa Czyz, Bob Jaffe, and Jay Patterson – and you should definitely come see them rock out my show, “Flannel and Lace,” as part of Series A tonight at 7pm, Thursday at 8:30pm and Saturday at 3pm. Stick around tonight for Series B at 8:30pm. In fact, see it all. It’s gonna be great.

But I’m posting on Youngblog for the second time in almost as many days (sorry) to comment on the role one of those actors has played in my development as an artist and human and why this has made my first A4T experience extra special.

My childhood was defined by VHS. I was part of the first wave of kids to have easy access to cheap on-demand video entertainment. It arrived in the form of boxy tapes you could rewind and rewatch to your heart’s content. And when I was a kid there was no VHS I watched more than the 1990 action blockbuster Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I crushed that cassette.

Fast-forward to the A4T pick party a few weeks ago. I sat down after drawing the names of my actors and immediately began the necessary Google stalk. The instant I saw Jay Patterson's headshot I knew who he was, even before IMDB confirmed it.

Jay starred in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 

He played Charles Pennington, the father of a troubled teenager who flees home to join archvillain Shredder’s dreaded ninja street gang, the Foot Clan. 

I have watched this man act more times than I'd care to admit. I have forced my brother to play him in backyard remakes of the movie while I played Shredder. To Jay this may have been just another gig. To us, this was the art that mattered, the art that taught us how to tell stories.

So I wrote a short where Jay plays an eight-year-old boy, Bob plays his older brother, and Merissa plays their mother. The three of them tell a story. For all the years my brother and I spent playing Jay, now Jay is playing us. 

And he is a fantastic actor – funny and scary and heartbreaking – as are Bob and Merissa. I could not be happier to be working with them and director Matt Dickson. If our play were a VHS, I’d order a pizza with anchovies and watch that sucker on repeat. Come out to EST this week and see for yourself.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Hot Playwrights XIV

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When preparing my application for Youngblood I read this blog obsessively (actually, once) to get an insider perspective on the organization and help me make the case for membership. Obviously my hard work paid off.

In my reading I came across an intriguing series of posts with a title that most would agree is a contradiction in terms. “Hot Playwrights” represents Youngblood’s attempt to catalog attractive dramatists. And you know what? It’s not as ridiculous as it sounds.

Sam Shepard – Hot
Samuel Beckett – Hot
Euripides – Probably Hot

There’s only one problem with the series: what are we supposed to about it? We can’t date these people – most of these individuals are, for various reasons, undateable.

Sam Shepard is old.
Samuel Beckett is dead.
Euripides is very dead.

And while there are quite a few not-dead playwrights in the series, most are above the cut-off age for Youngblood and may not be in the dateable range for our membership. So I decided to troll the internet to find a writer who qualifies and who’s not in Youngblood because  that would be incestuous, and theater is never incestuous.

BOOM – found her. English playwright Polly Stenham. Very accomplished. Very hot. So I figured I’d write her a letter, on the internet, because that’s how dating starts?

Dear Polly,

You are a phenomenally talented writer with plays produced on the West End and at Manhattan Theatre Club, and I write this with the utmost respect: do you want to date?

Sure, you say, you’d be a catch for a guy like me. Struggling playwright attaches himself to successful playwright to raise his profile. Classic playwright move.

Here’s why it makes sense for you:

I am a bad person. I drink too much. I have zero friends. I live on a steady diet of bodega cheesesteaks and American Spirits. I have no savings, and my checking stands at forty bucks, which is like five pounds in hemophiliac money. I am a total mess.

Okay, well, that wasn’t how it makes sense for you. Here’s how it makes sense for you:

Friends will be confused. They’ll say:

“He’s a mediocre playwright.”
“He’s an American.”
“He’s peeing in the sink.”

But you won’t listen. You are a headstrong artist on the prowl for inspiration. You see in me what others had missed, an opportunity, a stumbling-drunk writer with a few days stubble practically screaming to be moved from life to the page to the stage. You want me to be your muse.

Here’s how I imagine our first date will look:

I head over to pick you up from your flat in foggy London town. You invite me in – you’re sorry, terribly sorry, you’re running late, you have to powder your nose, I’m early, Americans are always early, yes, won’t I have a drink?

I blubber, “Yeessh. Drinkey,” and stumble over your tasteful furniture, my belly uncomfortably full with the six gin gimlets I hastily imbibed in the pub down the street. You are dressed impeccably like the beautiful flower that I know you are with your platinum hair cut pixie short, a cigarette dangling from those puffy, chapped lips.

I proceed to vomit on your rug.

You laugh it off and scribble something in your moleskin.

When we get to the Indian restaurant (you rightly ignored my suggestion of Burger King) you order chicken tikka masala with your perfect posh accent, betraying your perfect public school pedigree. I tell the waiter that I want a cheeseburger, and I want it now, yapping at him with more than a hint of my father’s uneducated Appalachian drawl. You laugh, though. With me, at me, it doesn’t matter. Your smile reveals your poor British dental care, but I don’t mind. I love your imperfections. They’re heartbreaking.

After dinner we head back to your place, your charming flat, and into your room, and under the sheets, and turn off the lights, where I  promptly fall asleep with my clothes on, snoring like a man who will, in a decade or less, die of alcohol-induced sleep apnea while serving as resident playwright of my hometown community theater. And while I’m asleep you whip out your moleskin again and write a new play, another masterpiece, this one about an intolerable American writer, modestly talented yet hopelessly self-destructive. The public loves your fictions.

You’re Welcome,
Will

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ryan Dowler Presents The ESTeen Youngerblog: Wisdom on Life, Love, and the Theatre from My Junior High Diary


Part Seven: On Saying Goodbye


The Final Chapter - a short story - in which the 13-year-old me imagines what it will be like to be the 17-year-old me. 

I found my junior high diary.



This is what's in it:

3.17.96

The dim porch light seems to dare me as it flickers in the moonlight. I look at your legs, then to your side, removing the hair from my eyes. I glance at your eyes, looking back at me, and then at your red lips. Your bottom lip presses against your top lip. Just then you grab my left hand gently, holding it firmly. I advance, gently touching your lower back, as I kiss you slowly.

The porch light goes out but I don’t notice, and you don’t either. I know you don’t. For that moment, that kiss, you become a part of me.

Just then your brother pulls up in his red 1978 Chevy Convertible. We both pull away as he slams his keys down on the dash. You whisper, “goodnight,” with a smile as I walk away. I tip my derby-style hat at your brother. He naturally flips me off. I can distinctly smell a mixture of strong perfume and liquor on him. I make no response. I don’t know why he despises me so much; maybe it’s because he’s 18 and I’m 17 or maybe it’s just because I’m in love with his younger sister. I don’t really know; nor do I care.

I look forward trying to seem cool as I walk down the long driveway to my car. I step into a foot deep puddle of mud, water and probably used motor oil.

“Dammit, my good black loafers,” I think to myself. “Oh my God, my khakis are soaked to my knee.”

I step into my car pretending not to notice.



The author attempts to attract girls in his best outfit:


Tuesday, September 04, 2012

JFK and New Plays

I have been to playwriting utopia and it is The Kennedy Center! The things I was given include train rides (a business class seat), a hotel suite with two TVs and a writing desk overlooking a quaint street, free delicious lunch in a beautiful cafeteria, per diem, an incredible cast to develop, workshop and present my play GOOD DANCER, a dedicated and giving director,  a dramaturg, artistic support, and my name was spelled correctly wherever it appeared! I was given all these things thanks to the genius and brave leadership of Gregg Mozgala and the company he started, The Apothetae - a new theatre company devoted to the disabled experience http://www.theapothetae.org/.  Gregg commissioned me and three other talented and kind playwrights and bothered to have us all develop our work at The Kennedy Center over Labor Day Weekend. But I will not use this entire blog to brag and say how great everything was. Instead I will mention something outside The Kennedy Center that should be mentioned this week in particular.

On the first day there, after hearing another playwright have his play read, I felt a little like my play stunk and that I stunk and that I would always stink. So I took a walk. I exited through the back of The Kennedy Center and found a fountain. And there were some nice trees. And then I noticed some tourists walking behind me and then I looked up and saw that there were quotes carved into the stone walls of the building. These were all quotes from JFK and they were all about the necessity of the arts to our nation.




I was surprised to find that a President was campaigning for art as an enrichment of our civilization. I don't know where on JFK's priority list the arts fell, but the fact that he said this, it was etched in stone, and the building supports artists of all types in various stages of their work seems like his words had some impact. It is difficult to tell a politician why new plays should matter, but as JFK says, it is"easy to feel."  New plays should not be funded instead of Medicare nor should peaceful relations with other countries be put second to bringing plays to the world. But I would like to hope that while we still have a great man in office and God willing will have him for four more years, that the arts will re-emerge as a priority because they make us all as people feel richer. And while I'm mentioning specific areas of the country, since one building in Washington D.C. can make  playwrights feel worthwhile, hopefully one Mayor of New York City can fund a city's worth of art because it not only feels like a good idea, but because the city and its people would be as JFK said "spiritually poor" without it. Thanks for your good work JFK, and Ted Kennedy. Looking forward to more progress for and through new plays.

Monday, July 16, 2012

10 Plays To Read This Summer


Summer is Youngblood's off-season, the time where we prepare mentally and physically for the season ahead. As a dedicated athlete will wake early during the off-season to run and train, so to will a dedicated playwright rise at dawn to start each new day with a play to read over breakfast.

So what should we be reading this summer? Here's my quick list of 10 plays that I've wanted to read or see but for some reason haven't yet.

1. Buddy Cop 2 by Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen. I will buy it and read it.

2. K2. What? I wanna read it.

3. Crawl, Fade to White by Sheila Callaghan . Ya heard me.

4. Dark Matters by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Turn off the dark!

5. The Young Man From Atlanta by Horton Foote. Hush.

6. Ashore by Meghan Deans. 

7. Cut by Crystal Skillman. Should have seen it, I know. It was sold out. Sorry.

8. Yankee Tavern by Steven Dietz. No shame there.

9. Mojo by Jez Butterworth.

10. Landscape of the Body by John Guare. John Guare! John Guare! Man, if I saw that guy on the subway and I was getting in an uptown train and he was going downtown....well, I'd have to go downtown too, just to be in his presence. I mean this only hypothetically of course. Not like I've actually done this.

That's my ten. Are there other plays worth reading? Not really. These are my ten.

What are yours?

Photo Credit: Brattle Book Shop

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Heartburn

Last night Nora Ephron passed away. I don't know about other  female comedic writers out there, but I have felt really sad about this. I cried. I dreamed of death.

Nora Ephron has written tons of excellent movies such as "When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle," "Julie & Julia" and a personal favorite of mine, "Mixed Nuts." She was also a film director, a novelist, a journalist, an essayist and a playwright. You can read all about her credits all over the internet. But as an emerging playwright/screenwriter, I wanted to write about my experience as a puny fan of this great woman.

My friend who was in Love, Loss and What I Wore invited me to the opening night party because she knew I was a huge Nora Ephron fan. I got dressed that night thinking, "Be cool. You may not get to talk to her or if you do, she may not care you exist or give you a fake bitchy smile." I got to the party, greeted my friend, and spotted Nora Ephron. But I chose not to make a move until later or maybe not make a move at all. So I headed to the cocktail table. There were red drinks and purple drinks and I took a good look at all of them, wondering which would taste least like cough medicine. "What do you think these are?" I heard over my shoulder. I turned around and there was Nora Ephron asking me what the hell these cocktails were! I said something like, "I think some sort of cosmopolitan maybe." Then I told her I was there because of my friend. Then I told her I was a huge fan and grew up on her movie, "This is My Life" and Heartburn was one of my favorite books. I could see in her eyes she knew I was more than just a "When Harry Met Sally" fan. I was the real thing. Then, even better than being at a party with her and having her come up to talk to me, and having her even listen to what a gigantic fan I was, she said, "So what do you do?" And I told her about my plays and movies and the next thing she said was not "okay, bye" or "great meeting you" or "gotta go talk to other people now" but she actually said, "Let me know if I can help you." And I blushed, peed in my pants, did a cartwheel, flew for a few minutes, and then said, "Oh that's very nice. I'm sure you're very busy." And she said not "You're right. Bye." Or "Yeah but I don't want you writing anything nasty about me on the internet" but instead, "No, really."
And I got her email address and I actually sent her my screenplay Helping Yourself and she read it within a few days, and told me that I was funny and should keep writing. And I have been fulfilled in life ever since.

Many people know her as a fantastic funny writer and a strong woman. But I had the pleasure of seeing that she was also a generous woman. And though she inspired me with her writing since I was 8 years old or so, having her bother to talk to me and encourage me meant the most. And I hope to write as much wonderful, produced, high-grossing work as she did, but I also hope to make future ladies feel like they should keep on keeping on. Thank you Nora, for creating funny and moving entertainment and for making the punier of us feel like we deserve to be celebrated, too.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Final Bloodworks 2012

Can you hear that? It's not the sound of thunder. It's the clamoring sound of the regret you will feel if you miss the FINAL NIGHT OF BLOODWORKS 2012.

We've got deft Clare Barron at 7 PM, and the incomparable Angela Hanks at 9 PM. And this is your last chance to see an Angela Hanks play at Youngblood.

You know what that means folks? That means you get out your galoshes & you head right on over to EST. 549 W. 52nd Street. We'll be waiting for you with ice cold beers and vodka tonics.

Did I mention there may even be a glamorous late Monday night foot-stomping, theater-shaking dance party? Oh. Well there is that. And according to theater guru, Todd London, American theater could use a few more dance parties.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Blogging Bloodworks: FOOLPROOF by Eric March


Five years ago, two guys I went to high school with and another guy kidnapped a fourth guy and drove him to a pizza place, where he escaped.

This is a play about that and tee ball.

FOOLPROOF
By Eric March
Directed by Tom Wojtunik

Starring:

Denny Bess
Dan Bittner
Stephen Ellis
Emma Galvin
Jonathan Gregg
Jared McGuire
Anthony Pierini

Wednesday, June 20 @ 7pm
The Ensemble Studio Theatre
2nd Floor

Please come!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

GOOD DANCER by Emily Chadick Weiss



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13 7pm 
2nd Fl of The Ensemble Studio Theatre


My Bloodworks Reading:


GOOD DANCER is the story of a wealthy disabled white guy, his black Republican girlfriend, and the meeting of their parents. The play was commissioned by THE APOTHETAE, a new theatre group created by Gregg Mozgala. THE APOTHETAE aims to change cultural perceptions about people with disabilities using the transformative power of theatre. It literally translates to "place of exposure."

This time last year, GOOD DANCER was about to become a ten-minute play performed as part of Theatre Breaking Through Barriers' "Some of Our Parts" at The Clurman Theater on Theatre Row.

Here's a bit of press:

“Emily Chadick Weiss' Good Dancer is nicely done…the tone of the piece is wisely kept light,” 
– Dan Bacalzo, Theatermania.com


“  

And then Gregg Mozgala started his new company The Apothetae and asked me to expand it. I added two aggressive moms, a dad who's high, a dad who loves the mechanics of everything, a temptress, and a trip to Taiwan.

I lucked into a fantastic director and cast and look forward to revising it for this summer's Page to Stage Series at The Kennedy Center.

Good Dancer
by Emily Chadick Weiss

directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel

starring

Kristin Griffith
Mike Hodge
Geany Masai
Gregg Mozgala
Melle Powers
Scott Sowers
Ali Stroker

7pm Wednesday June 13
The Ensemble Studio Theatre
2nd Fl Theater

Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Blogging Bloodworks: STIFF by Ryan Dowler


I’ve only taken out one personal ad in my life. It happened before I was old enough to drink.

“SWM (19) seeking Anne Frank type (18-30) who has slept on the airport floor. Must be willing to talk about Ralph Nader. Corduroy a plus.”

I had left the BFA Acting Program at Ole Miss to work at a McDonalds in Iowa and couldn’t afford to pay the fee to use the phone system the newspaper had set up to track personal ad responses.

The ad was terribly earnest but posing as tongue-in-cheek. I was coming out of a summer of deep, pathetic Anne Frank affection spent reading the diary and the Miep Gies book among others and I used to lie awake sure that we would have been soul mates, the way I guess some 15-year-old girls probably do.

As far as the note about sleeping on the airport floor – I was in love with the 20-somethings I would see sleeping on the airport floor in between flights to this or that romantic foreign country. I realize now that having given up a scholarship to work at a McDonalds, I probably would have hated these people who were actually probably like the only character from GIRLS that I can’t stand. The newspaper actually misprinted this part. The published ad requested someone who had “slipped” on the airport floor.

Anyway, it was the discovery of this hilarious old artifact in a box nearly a decade after the newspaper had printed it that inspired this play.

 STIFF 
by 
Ryan Dowler


Directed by RJ Tolan

Starring
Steven Boyer
Ryan Karels
Claire Siebers
 Diana Ruppe


Wednesday, June 6, 2012, 7 PM

549 West 52nd Street, 2nd Floor
(between 10th & 11th Aves)

A bromance about dying that features neither sickness nor death.