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!
Before starting grad school, I got tapped to write a book about Radiohead for Backbeat Books' FAQ series. This was an exciting challenge, as I wasn't a true fan of the band until well into adulthood. I'm hoping that gives the text a healthy amount of skepticism balanced by joy.
Radiohead FAQ comes out on October 15th through Rowman & Littlefield. Order it directly from the publisher
My time in grad school will come to an end this May (tears, adrenaline, panic), and my last hurrah will be a production of my Lord of the Flies sequel, Sow and Suckling. Read about the play here!
Sow and Suckling is part of UTNT (UT New Theatre), which is a repertory showcase of work for my entire class. I love all of these artists dearly, and if you're in town, you should try and check out all eight(!) of these wonderful plays. Click here for the full lineup and tickets.
I wrote my first draft of Sow and Suckling during my first year at UT in Liz Engelman's playwriting workshop. It's been a huge part of my time here, so I'd be excited for it no matter what. But I'm EXTRA excited because of the stellar team we've put together. Liz Fisher—someone I've wanted to work with for a while now—is at the helm as director. She's a recipient of the Princess Grace Award, an O'Neill Directing fellow, and has brought so many breathtaking shows to life in Austin and beyond. And she's just an awesome human being and advocate for new work. On the design and acting front, we have an incredible mix of undergrads and Guest Artists from the Austin theatre scene.
Anyway, if you can't tell, I'm pumped for this. It's going to be a wild ride. Come check us out on March 6th, 7th, and 12th at the Lab Theatre on the UT campus!
As you can tell, I've been kind of horrible at keeping this sucker updated! Lots of exciting news from the past few months, which I'll be sure to post in the days to come.
First off, Matawan took home the B. Iden Payne Award for Outstanding Movement Performance back in November! As the lowly playwright, I admittedly had very little to do with figuring out how the shark in our play moved. But it was still cool to see the team recognized for the Herculean task of creating a giant fish that eventually swells to fifteen people.
A big congrats to everyone involved, and a special thanks to our Assistant Director Elise Peterson for being on-hand to accept the award!
Last night, the B. Iden Payne Awards announced their 2018–2019 Nominees for excellence in Austin theatre. UT Austin's production of my play Matawan racked up a whopping five!
Jiajing Qi for Lighting Design
Stephanie Fisher for Costume Design
Sam Lipman for Sound Design
Kristin Perkins for Dramaturgy
The Entire Dang Shark Ensemble for Stage Movement
I know awards and nominations aren't everything, and I really try not to view them as a form of validation. But it does feel good to have people positively recognize your work. More importantly, I loved this production and all the folks who worked on it. So to see the above names get some recognition is a cherry on top of what was already a show that's near and dear to me heart.
Big congrats to the whole team. I'm hoping we haven't seen the last of Matawan just yet. Read about ALL the incredible nominees and Austin shows here! And of course, we've gotta end with a fave shark image.
From August 19th through the 25th, I'll be a Resident Artist at Tofte Lake Center in Ely, Minnesota, where I'll workshop my play Sow and Suckling. Headed by UT professor and dramaturg extraordinaire Liz Engelman, Tofte has taken on an almost mythical quality here around campus; rumored to be a wilderness utopia populated by bears, loons, pine martens(!), and—from time to time—playwrights. I'm so excited to be up there with my grad-school cohort, collectively whipping our scripts into shape for their productions in the spring. Read more about the wonders of Tofte here! And here's a picture of a pine marten.
After seeing Godzilla: King of the Monsters and talking to a friend who's obsessed with the franchise, I decided to watch all 35(!) Godzilla films this summer. I've always been a casual fan of the series, plus I'm a firm believer in embracing the spirit of relaxation during the off-season.
But what started out as an exercise in leisure quickly became a journey of inspiration. Sure, a good deal of the movies venture into camp territory, particularly in the 1970s. But there's a general air of respecting (fearing?) Godzilla as a true force of nature that exists beyond the control of humans, especially when they (we?) try to control him. This theme pops up in my own work a lot, and I found the Godzilla films to be just the dramaturgical food I needed to work on two brand-new scripts.
There's The Amphibians, which examines two high-schoolers' anxiety about climate change as filtered through a giant creature they find in the woods. Then there's Kaiju, which features two Godzilla-esque beings as the central characters. I'll hopefully have more updates on both plays sooner rather than later. But for now, I just wanted to put forth a quick moment of praise for the mightiest monster in film history. All hail Godzilla: King of the Dramaturgs!