In my conversations with fellow playwrights I hear a vast frustration with the way the industry is working at the moment. I believe we can do better. We can build a model wherein the majority of revenues are invested in art and artists as opposed to administration, wherein the sole focus is production, as opposed to play development. We can circumvent traditional institutional channels, and build a nimble new model for presenting daring, original and visionary work. It is my hope that the paths I forge with ABTP will offer my fellow writers alternative ways forward to see their own ambitions and visions realized, so that we may collectively change the American theatre.
I BELIEVE IN formally innovative writing, in plays that explode the way time functions on stage, and heighten and break open realist conventions. My work is ambitious in scope, both highly inventive and deeply personal. I often write about my family, and also about my hometown: New York City. I am a native of the Lower East Side of Manhattan, mine both the history of the area, and my own personal history to present a vision of that ever-changing neighborhood’s past and present, its disappearing middle class, the changes, both good and bad, that I’ve seen there over the past 30 years.
OUR FIRST PRODUCTION, of Don’t You F**king Say a Word, premiered at 59e59 Theatres in 2016. In 2017 and 2018, we worked to advise and support other writer/producers including The Pool. We also recorded two podcasts, interviewing other writers who are taking the lead for themselves. In January 2019, in collaboration with New Dramatists, and The Venturous Theater Fund, we organized a day long convening for nearly forty writer/producers. Through a series of panels and break out sessions artists shared resources and compared notes. Our second production, of Notes on My Mother’s Decline, ran in October 2019, a co-production with The Play Company. Visit our previous work page for more info.
“That Bed. King-sized at least. With space for visitors, and belongings and much much more. We used to lay towels on it and have Chinese food. We used to play Scrabble… I know you love me. That you are doing your best.”
Late at night, while his baby daughter sleeps, a son makes notes on his mother’s daily life and scenes from their complicated relationship. He is shaping a play, and a perspective. Two blocks away, a mother naps, and smokes, and reads, and drinks coffee. She is shaping her existence within encroaching confines. This New York story asks how we come to know one another as parents and as children. How do we care for those we love, and what does it take to live with – and without them?
Notes on Mother’s Decline ran from October 6th – 27th, 2019 at New York Theatre Workshop Next Door. The production was in partnership with The Play Company. Check back here or join our mailing list for information on what’s next!