Friday, April 20, 2012

The Weight (RIP Levon Helm)

Youngblood has a lot of traditions, and most of them are really fucking great. But I would be willing to bet every finger on my right hand that if you asked any Youngblood member past or present, what the most important, heart exploding tradition is, they would say, without missing a beat: Listening to The Weight while crossing the George Washington Bridge on the way back from retreat.
This happens twice a year. We go upstate and spend two and a half drunken days reading plays, writing plays, and marveling at how the world looks outside of the city. And then after these two and a half idyllic days we load into whatever van or RV or other unsafe vehicle that RJ has secured for us, and head back to New York. All of us at this point exhausted and hungover and almost but not quite ready to be back in our own beds. And then we get to the GW, and we're stuck in traffic, and we're waiting to get onto the bridge, and Graeme waits, and he waits, and then, at the precise moment the wheels of whichever unsafe vehicle we're in hit the bridge, he turns on The Weight. And it is magic. It is magic because it's tradition, and because we all know it's coming and we've all been waiting for it, and knowing this and waiting for this lets us know that we're part of something amazing. But it's also magic because the song is basically perfect. And for this, we have Mr. Levon Helm to thank.
And so, to him, I say: Thank you, and rest in peace. And to you, I say: Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Patty Link first brought HEADSTRONG into group on summer retreat.

It is quite a remarkable play.

In Youngblood:
we seem to thrive on the challenge. We write ten minute plays within a week, inspired by names of actors/titles/songs drawn from a hat?

We write plays about talking roosters, teenaged girls in extreme bereft who are going crazy over it, and father-daughter relationships (that if you don't pay attention to the heart of this particular play, the father-daughter relationship play, you may shake your head in disapproval at what could be an incestuous relationship). We write plays about the awesome daughter of Aaron Burr and plays about dead Chinese people seeking the love of a living person totally with the intention of seducing her to death so that they can be together.
In death.
For life.

We write plays with a ten-paged scene that requires one BADASS actress to duel it out with herself as two people. We write plays that are so tender you just want to hug it and call it, "Sully". We write plays about men who are obsessed with dolls. Plays about pre-pubscent girls who just wanna sing and who just want their dads to be awesome people.

We write plays about sluts who just want to exist as their true authentic selves. Without all of the societal bullshit. But just existing. We write plays about biking across the United States of America with a group of other bikers (and sometimes sometimes we obsess over what this play will look like because we really really wanna see it).

And sometimes:
we write plays where dinosaurs sing about shit. Because they have to.

It's challenging. Yes.

And Patrick Link has risen to the challenge.

He wrote a Sloan play.
It's on the mainstage. It is going to be awesome.

Imagine that the thing that you live for is killing you. You wake up each day to practice this thing that you love. That is knocking your brain around. Causing you to forget what you're getting up each day for. It's not just that you're good at it. But you love it. And there is a major cost for this love. For this talent.

Patrick Link has written a play that combines our universal love of both science and sports with heart. Sprinkle in some ethical concerns and you've carved out a real challenge for yourself.

It opens tomorrow. Go see this play.

Ensemble Studio Theatre and The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation presents


by Patrick Link
Directed by William Carden*

“When you win, nothing hurts.” – Joe Namath

Ex- NFL linebacker Duncan Troy played with the greats, and tackled them to the ground. When his son-in-law, a Pro Bowler himself, dies under strange circumstances, Troy and his widowed daughter struggle with their own culpability, and whether the brain trauma he suffered in life was the price of football greatness.

with Ron Canada†, Tim Cain†, Alexander Gemignani† & Nedra McClyde*†

Assistant Director – Francesca Di Cesare
Production Stage Manager – Danielle Buccino
Assistant Stage Manager – Kelly Ruth Cole
Sound Designer - Janie Bullard
Lighting Designer – Chris Dallos
Costume Designer – Suzanne Chesney
Set Designer – Jason Simms
Video Designer - David Tennent
Props Manager – Kate Stack
Technical Director - Derek Dickinson
Wardrobe Supervisor - Eileen Lalley

*denotes EST Member †denotes Equity Member

Tickets and dates below:

Dates: April 18 - May 13
Wednesday - Monday @ 7pm, Saturdays @ 2pm & 7pm, Sundays @ 5pm

Tickets: General Admission: $30
Student Tickets: $20 must show valid ID at door
Senior Tickets: $20 must show valid ID at door
Pick Your Price Previews: April 18 - 23
$20 Previews: April 25 - 29


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hot Playwrights XIII

I say hot double damn! Hot. Double. Damn.

That hair!

That body!

You know:
I do imagine that Sammy B. and me would have totally totally hung out. We'd sit on a porch. In silence. He'd slightly indicate that we smoke cigarettes. I'd slightly nod in agreement. We'd light up. And smoke cigarettes.

And then: some elderly person would slowly walk by.

And then stop walking. And with a scrunched up face, he would slowly turn towards Sammy B. and me. And then he'd shake his head in absolute disgust. He'd then begin to slowly walk down the street. And while still in hearing distance, Sammy B. and me would burst out laughing. The old would stop walking. Turn around. And then shake his head at us again. At this point, Sammy B. is trying to suppress laughter. But me: I'm crying from laughter. Which causes Sammy B. to break out into laughter again. The old turns around. Slowly walks down the street, all the while shaking his head.

Our laughter has come to a quell. We wipe the remaining tears from our faces. We light up another cigarette. And smoke. In silence.

If only.

(Yeah, so, this picture was doctored up on this site Literary Makeovers!!!. But I can imagine it's accurate. I mean, the man excelled at cricket. And we all know that cricket players are fit. We ALL know this).

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Rules of Palship

This list of the rules to friendship by a young Noel Coward is fantastic. It also reads a lot like something that the young Ryan Dowler would have written in his journal.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

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

Part Six: On Male Bonding

I found my junior high diary.

This is what's in it:


Me, Robby, Jay, Joe, and Brad went to the Mall again and then went to see Mission Impossible. We all wore funny hats: Brad wore a Cat-and-the-Hat hat, Jay wore a black and white Cat-in-the-Hat hat (shorter), Robby wore my jester hat, and I wore my Blue hat. Joe wore a normal hat. We forgot to warn him in advance.