My Life: An Update

Blogging is a tricky business. Too much self-revelation–“I fear bugs!” “I smoke crack!” “I punch babies!”–gets tiresome. Not enough, and you begin to alienate your audience.

In my last educational experience (law school), I shared much of my everyday experience with (to use a Southern catchphrase) y’all. “Today I took a test,” “Today I didn’t take a test,” “Today I almost took a test.” It was a fascinating exploration into the mind of a foodie law student.

Now that I’m a foodie student of Dramatic Writing (at NYU), I’ve been more reticent to share my goings-on since (a) they don’t really tie in with food and (b) I’m more consumed by them (in a very good way) and in a way I like to keep my writing life separate from my food blogging.

But this week marks the end of my first semester. Within the next few days I’ll be handing in a full one act play, the beat sheet and first act of a screenplay, and the final revision of one of my drama lab pieces. With this sudden freedom, I plan to do much more comprehensive food blogging. And if you’re curious about what it is I’ve been writing, click below and I’ll tell you all about my projects. Thanks for being patient with me semester–it’s been tough starting a new school in a new city and maintaining this site. But I’m glad I have–it’s been well worth it!

[If you are in the theater community and you’re curious about performing any of these pieces, please contact me—I’m eager to get this work seen.]

Graduate Playwriting Workshop

In this class, taught by the incomprable Mary Gallagher (writer of “The Passion of Ayn Rand” and “Nobody’s Child”), I wrote a few preliminary assignments and then two more fully realized works.

The first, a ten-minute play, called The Bright and Sunny Future of Baby Florez features a Jamaican housekeeper, Cleo, and her sister Jasmine as they receive a visit from Cleo’s boss, Mr. Florez. I won’t ruin any of the surprises, but the remainder of the play involves Nazi War Criminals and brain surgery.

The second and most complete work of the semester (which I’m actually still completing right now) is a full one-act play called “Bethany.” In it, a young girl (Bethany) comes to an abortion clinic where her aunt (Joanna) is the doctor. Bethany’s seeking an abortion but something’s getting in the way–the child’s father: God. Yes, Bethany is aborting the immaculate conception. Controversial? Yes. Good theater? Let’s hope.

Graduate Screenwriting Workshop

Under the tutelage of the wildly eccentric Charlie Purpura (writer of “Heaven Help Us” starring Andrew McCarthy), I began work on my screenplay “Noah.” The movie begins in the Museum of Jewish Disappointment and ends with a giant flood. Along the way, everyone in the world drops everything. Seriously. All in the same moment. They drop everything. There’s love, there’s death, there’s sex. There are gay doves in leather collars. What else could you want in a movie? (OK, it needs work.)

Graduate Drama Lab

Finally, we come to the work I did in drama lab this semester. Drama lab is taught by one of the greatest teachers I’ve ever had, Gary Garrison. The format is a bit intimidating. We are given an assignment. We are assigned a director. We cast it with actors, rehearse it, and then perform it in front of Gary and the group. Gary calls us on stage and then critiques our work in front of everyone. Gary can be very harsh. But it’s where the most learning happens.

In lab, I wrote three pieces:

Smoke and a Chariot. Here, Medea haunts the funeral of Jeffrey Summersdale and accuses his mother (Laney) of complicity in her son’s death. Will Laney confess? Will Medea help her escape?

The Better To Kill You With, My Dear. In this highly stylized non-linear scene, a conservative politican inadvertently infects his wife with HIV. Despite the morbid subject matter, the scene features kung-fu, Dr. Seuss-like rhymes and soap opera.

Royal Pain. In this monolgoue, Nigel Pennington is held hostage by the Queen of England and interrogated in a very hostile way. And by “hostile way” I mean she attaches electrodes to his genitals. Why? Well the crown jewels are missing. Oh, and he’s been dating Prince Harry.

In addition to all this, there were plays and papers for Forms of Drama, movies and screenplays to read for Graduate Screenwriting and Film Structure, and plays, diagrams and a 10-minute play I’d rather not talk about for Basic Dramatic Structure.

It’s been a busy semester. Again, thanks for putting up with me as I juggle my worlds. At least you know I haven’t been squandering my time!

[Worried PS: I hope you found this post interesting despite it’s non-food-relatedness!]

4 thoughts on “My Life: An Update”

  1. I find this very interesting. It is nice to hear (read) what you are up to and also what such a gradute program involves. Now I am totally surprised that you did write on this blog as much as you did. Are you on drugs? Or how do you keep up?

  2. I am really staggered by your creativity. And I really respect you stepping aside from the prospect of money in order to do something you really love to do. We need more of that in this world!

    Be sure to let us know if you get any public performances of your work put on, I’m sure it would draw the local crowd, at least. :)

  3. Ooh, this only made my yearning to go to theatre grad school worse. *sigh*

    Sounds like it’s been awesome.

    I’m still not sure if I should do dramaturgy, writing (which scares me) or just a basic theatre MFA, if that exists. Keep posting about this!! I for one will eat it up. :-)

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