I have enjoyed our diverse group of voices. I have enjoyed the moments when after reading these ladies or watching a video or film, I break out into laughter or tears – those moments when I am found…. There is nothing like being in a funk and have someone write “Oink! Oink!” or having to leave my desk to shake myself after reading “When Playwrights Get Old” which came about after “Too old?” left me numb and very contemplative. When I look in the mirror, I see me and have to remind myself that the first set of students at the university where I work my day job have graduated and are in their thirties now. The few that have stayed on in employment shock me when I run into them yet when I look in the mirror I don’t see age — I see me. One wonders if after all the “Taking Stock” we do if a change is gonna come – ever – but we keep hoping and pushing and fighting for that “Stillness” that drives us.
The goal is to be a working artist. By that I mean, you don’t have to have a day job to pay the rent, pay for submission fees, or afford you food while you write. Living in near poverty to be an artist should be against the law especially because that same art could end up being a national treasure; the following terms are not interchangeable: “Working Artist – Donating Artist – Surviving Artist“.
Zora Neale Hurston author of Their Eyes Were Watching God died in poverty; her work was rescued from a fire after her death (Florida had a habit of burning the belongings of the dead). Zora Neale Hurston’s life work is a national treasure…
There should be no limitations or rules on where or in what form a writer creates story as there are no rules to who can be “The Happiest Person in America” or one of the happiest people – let us do our art and we are there… Gender does not dictate what shared work will change the world in some way — “And The Female Play at the Tonys was…” and it should not dictate who has access to the stage, the screen or the bookshelf. Great stories all start the say way — with words and the “Voice…” of the writer. All are needed, each soprano, alto, tenor and bass… There should not have to be “The Bechdel Test for the Stage“; there should not have to be a Bechdel test at all – why can’t all stories worth telling be treated equal? Why can’t the journey be easier? Why can’t handling “Our Expectations, Our Fears” as artists be easier? Perhaps even this tug-of-war on gender parity fits into the “Everything Is A Creative Act” category; it is, after all, fodder.
I especially like what Pulitzer Prize Finalist playwright Lisa Kron said at the last Dramatists Guild Conference “Having Our Say: Our History, Our Future” about what she does when something rubs her the wrong way “I’m going to write a play about this” — The Veri**on Play is what resulted.
Just wondering, do you have any favorite LA FPI blog articles?
Bloggers Past and Present:
Jessica Abrams, Tiffany Antone, Erica Bennett, Nancy Beverly, Andie Bottrell, Robin Byrd, Kitty Felde, Diane Grant, Jen Huszcza, Sara Israel, Cindy Marie Jenkins, Sue May, Analyn Revilla, Cynthia Wands and special input by Laura Shamas and Jennie Webb.
How I became a playwright is through a writing class I took with Al Watt back in 2007. I wasn’t working, and he offered a free session at the library. I enjoyed and got a lot of value from that introductory class so I joined his writing group. The small group of writers had to submit a sample of their work, and the following class he announced to the group, “We have a playwright!” That moment is akin to a newly adopted dog from a shelter, and being renamed by the new owners. The event is like being given a new identity. “You are no longer ‘Codi’. Your name is Goliath!’. (These are both true stories. I just adopted a puppy and renamed her Goliath.)
I came to the theater by a serendipitous route. I was working at a café on San Vincente and Hauser, and the title of the story was “The Unimagined Life”. I sat at table by the window and looked across the long stretch across San Vincente to big letters spelling “Imagined Life”. Weird. I walked across and knocked on the door. A woman answered, and I asked what the place was about. She called to another person, and the next woman that came to see me was my writing mentor’s wife. Yes, it was Al Watt’s wife, and I recognized her, but she didn’t know me. She said the Imagined Life is an acting studio, and she teaches young children about creativity. I’m a big believer in signs and so I decided that this is a path I need to explore.
My favourite play of mine is a short one that is set in a salon (or “beauty parlor”). It’s a place where tongues tend to get loose, because customers are vulnerable and exposed while they are being worked on. It’s therapy at many levels when someone is analyzing your hairstyle and the health of your hair. Our heads are our crowning glory, and we’re so open to ideas or sometimes we get encrusted in our ideas of who we think we should be. I have so much trust in my hair “caretaker”, and we’ve become friends over the years, and shared so much about ourselves.
The play that has moved me the most was watching the CTG’s production of “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett. The acting, the set, the time of day, the story… I was moved through and through and cried my eyes out.
That answer segways to my favourite playwright who is Samuel Beckett. I wish I could’ve lived his passion and romanticism through and through. He took risks in his own life, and the nature of his personality lives in his plays. There’s also the dark side of his ideas, which I say dark, but not ominous by nature, but fullness. Life is light and dark, and the shadows are the meanings between the lines. I like his ideas and how he enlivened them.
My writing has evolved in its depth. I think I write more succinctly and directly now. Maybe that’s what comes with experience of life. I feel like I want to say more with less. Sometimes not saying anything at all conveys so much more.
I’m only working on one play and it is drama and avan-garde, maybe even experimental.
I like poetry. I was a poet first before being a playwright. I like journaling too, though to some people they think it isn’t really writing. Both forms are important I think, because it’s exploring inwards and outwards.
I became a blogger for LAFPI, because (laugh…) I was one of the first people to volunteer. (Thank goodness they allowed me to do it.) I had been writing and blogging for other groups before, and when those opportunities dried up, the LAFPI came along to save me.
Favourite blog posting? That’s a toughie. There’s a lot of good ones out there.
Amy Goodman is one of the influences in my writing, because the type of news reporting she does for DemocracyNow! is about issues that we don’t see in normal channels. I appreciate the deep investigative and responsible reporting that organization does. I read their news daily, and I also donate to the organization because I think it’s important to support advertisement/corporation funding-free sources of information.
I found my voice as a writer while working with LAFPI and also working at the Imagine Life studio. And yes, I am still honing the sound and tone of my writer’s voice.
I don’t have a writing regiment, and the little I have are stolen moments which bugs me so much… It really eats at the inside of me, and it hurts.
I decide to write by what I’m thinking and feeling…. Something that gnaws at me is a sign that I need to explore this.
Craft is important to me, if I understand the question correctly… craft is a skill that shows that the writer cares about the work, and gives soul and a head of responsibility to the work. When I think responsibility, I think the ability to respond to what the work is asking of me and the audience. Is it moving the situation forward or sending us back to non-evolution, non-communication, non-understanding i.e. less compassion and empathy towards others.
The theater community in LA is thriving, because there are a lot of hands and feet keeping it going by volunteers – people who care.
I battle the negative voice by drinking wine.
The theme that comes back to me a lot in my work is the first line of the song “Alfie” by Burt Bacharach… “What’s it all about? Alfie? Is it just for the moment we live?…” So on.
I’m just finishing answering the questions to our anniversary blog, and I’m going to work on Original Sin again, workshopping it this time around.
Analyn is a new playwright, and she is currently working on her first play, “Original Sin”. This play has been in the works for two years, though it had its first public reading in April 2010. Like “Alice” in Lewis Carroll book, she gets deeper into the rabbit hole of the story and emerges from the burrows with a wealth of subtexts about her humanity and the characters in her story. Analyn imagines a life of living fully in the theater, but for now she supports her imagined life with a career in Information Technology. She believes our humanity lives in our imagined life and contributes by actively supporting LAFPI and in writing, imagining and writing some more.