Back in May, I was commissioned by Mixily Presents to write a new short play for Zoom. This led my wife, Susan Myburgh, and I to create "Slime Season," which finds an ASMRtist struggling to find inspiration during one of her livestreams in the middle of a pandemic. It was such a rewarding experience, and the good folks at Mixily were kind enough to feature me in their Artist Spotlight on their website, where I discuss my preferred pandemic anthem, what it's like being an artist in the time of COVID, and more. Check it out here and (re?)watch "Slime Season" here!
As we all patiently wait for live theatre to return as we once knew it, it's always nice to get a little publicity. So a huge, heartfelt thank-you is in order for 3Views On Theater, who showcased the work of my graduating class and I this week. Click here to read more about we, the UT Austin MFA Playwrights of 2020. I'm hoping the next step will be reading about actual productions of our work (once it's safe, of course). I love all of these people as humans and artists and I miss them dearly, so this was a real honor. I've also listed out the individual links below Enjoy!
Paul William Kruse
This has been a long time coming, and the prolonged stasis of COVID has inspired me to finally pull the trigger. I started an ASMR channel!
I call it SLAYsmr, and each week finds me talking (whispering) about a different horror movie I love. The first episode is up and naturally focuses on my favorite horror film (and favorite film) of all time, 1978's Halloween. I'm still figuring out how to make this sucker look and sound as good as possible, but I'm pretty happy with this first attempt. I'll upload a new video every Monday night at midnight.
Check out the channel at the below link. And I usually never say this about the things I create, but I hope it puts you to sleep!
I'll have more information at a later date, but I'll be developing a script this summer through The Orchard Project's Liveness Lab! TOP started the Lab in the wake of COVID-19 as a means of what liveness and community look like in the current moment. I was lucky enough to be brought on board by Liz Fisher—the incredible director of Sow and Suckling—and equally incredible playwright TJ Young. You can (and should) read all of TJ's work over at the New Play Exchange. I recommend starting with Lyon's Den.
So what's this play/web series/hybrid narrative about? I can't say just yet, but know that it involves ghosts, augmented reality, and live magic—yep, we have a magician—courtesy of Patrick Terry. There are also a slew of other mind-blowing artists involved who I'm so lucky to be working with for the first time.
Like I said, there will be more things to share later and hopefully a tangible presentation or two. In the meantime, it's been nice to have something to work on week to week with the team. Read more about the Liveness Lab here!
On Friday, June 26th, at 7 p.m., The Amphibians will have a virtual Zoom reading as part of Kitchen Dog Theater's 22nd Annual New Works Festival!
Back in Chicago, one of my longstanding artistic homes was The Ruckus. Man, do I miss those folks. Anyway, in 2015, they produced a kickass play by Matt Lyle called Barbecue Apocalypse, which had premiered at Kitchen Dog the year before. So I was hearing great things about them before I ever moved to Texas, and have wanted to work with them for a while now. It's an honor to get to do so right on the cusp of another move.
The reading will be directed by the great Libby Hawkins, with performances by Dakota Ratliff, Bwayla Chisanga, and John Garrard. Tickets are FREE and can be reserved at KDT's website. And while you're at it, check out the other fantastic plays that are part of the festival.
A HUGE thanks to Kitchen Dog Theater for keeping this opportunity going and giving their artists work, even as we can't be in the same room together to watch it. Hope to see you there!
I'm so excited to announce that The Amphibians is a Finalist for the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center's National Playwrights Conference! Because there's no in-person festival this year, it automatically advances to being a Finalist for 2021, so it'll still be under consideration for next year's festival as well.
This script means a lot to me, as it deals with climate change, features a giant animal, is kind of about our two nieces, and takes place in the woods of New Port Richey, Florida, where I grew up. Check out all the other incredible Finalists here, including my UT colleague Jaymes Sanchez and his killer play The Cucuy Will Find You. And if you want to know more about The Amphibians, explore the show link, its New Play Exchange profile, or just hit me up!
I'll have some more exciting updates about the play in the coming days. A huge thank-you to the O'Neill for considering my work and taking such good care of their artists!
In recognition of Juneteenth, Breonna Taylor's birthday, George Floyd, the protests against police brutality, and...Jesus, I could go on and on and on...all June proceeds from Methodist Hospital's album Giants will be split between the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Color of Change. I've already set this up in DistroKid, and they're also doing the same with their usual percentage. So the revenue from any purchase/stream on Spotify, Apple Music, TIDAL, or any other platform will go completely to the aforementioned two places.
As for Bandcamp, I'll send anyone who downloads the album a receipt for a donation in their name for whatever amount they paid. I should note that you can pay whatever you want for the album on Bandcamp—$1, $100, 50 cents, it doesn't matter.
In addition to June revenue, I've spoken to my good friend and musical partner Maxwell J Shults, and we're sorting through our finances to donate anything we have leftover from previous months to organizations fighting for police reform and Black freedom and justice. I believe Max is doing the same for their own music.
I hope everyone's staying safe. I hope my white friends and family are educating themselves and not being afraid to make mistakes in the process. I hope I learn from my own mistakes.
Artists For Change.
Black Lives Matter.
Like any other playwright right now, I'm trying to figure out how theatrical narratives are best served by an online environment. Rather than trying to replicate that magical feeling of sitting in a tightly packed performance space and watching a story unfold, what are the virtues of hybridization? How can we use the restrictions of an online format to our advantage?
Enter Mixily Presents, a new arts initiative that invites playwrights to do that very thing. Six playwrights, including myself, were commissioned to write new work specifically for Zoom. All of the plays will be performed in an evening called Beyond the Frame: Five New Plays For Zoom this Saturday at 8 p.m. EST. Pay-what-you-can tickets are available here, with all proceeds going toward The Actors Fund and the Center For Disease Philanthropy.
For my part, Susan Myburgh and I created a little something called "Slime Season," where an ASMR slime video goes awry as the performer tries to reconnect with her emotions. Part of what excites me is that we don't know if we've perfected the art of Zoom Theatre. Don't get me wrong—I absolutely love what we've created. But it feels like such new territory. Which is, of course, very exciting. Hope to (virtually) see you there on Saturday!
Some exciting updates over here, although I admittedly feel a little weird sharing them in such an uncertain time. On the other hand, I also think it's important for all of us to share our respective good news and think about life on the other side of this whole thing. So here goes nothing!
First off, Sow and Suckling went oh so well as part of UTNT. All of our shows were sold out, and the crowds stayed really engaged, even as the play spiraled further and further into darkness. It's definitely not a show for everyone, so I was really happy to see people connect with it rather than leave the theater. I'll be sharing some photos from the UT production in the coming days.
Second, my play The Amphibians is a Finalist for this year's New Play Workshop at Hyde Park Theatre! HPT is one of my favorite houses in town, and I thiiink they may have produced the first full-length play I saw after moving to Austin (an excellent production of Sarah DeLappe's The Wolves). They're one of my favorite local companies, so it's an honor to be recognized.
I'm also a big fan of the work and personalities of fellow Finalists Katie Bender, Laura Neill, and Patrick Shaw, and am excited to learn more about the other folks in the running. We'll know which Finalist gets a full workshop sometime in mid-April. So stay tuned.
I've got some other cool opportunities slated for the summer that are admittedly up in the air at this time. Here's hoping some semblance of normalcy gets restored sooner rather than later. As necessary as self-isolation, cancellations, and social distancing are right now, it also feels weird for in-person arts events to not be a thing. I hope you're all staying happy, healthy, sane, and engaged!
And I can't WAIT. 'Nuff said.
Check out the below link for more info on the show and a rad UTNT video from our producers, KJ Sanchez and Alexandra Bassiakou Shaw.
Last but not least, our wonderful Assistant Stage Manager, Carolyn Cullen Estevez, created a fantastic (and accurate) logo for the show. Check it out below. Hope to see you all there!