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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't know what a dramaturg is but since it is included in the positive list, I assume it also cool to get. The Arts are very important and what you and "other talented and kind playwrights" do is very important. I am glad you found inspiration that day in your moment of doubt. I think people will always spell your name correctly ! Claire AOECW