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.
We’re getting ready now for our second production. Details below!
Notes on My Mother’s Decline is the story of a mother and a son. Andy Bragen’s autobiographical two-hander is a play for the “sandwich generation” . The son, a new father himself, struggles to write about, and cope with, his mother’s ongoing illness and their difficult relationship.
A New York story set in the writer’s native East Village, this new play explores with sly wit and bold honesty the ways we care for those we love, and what it takes to live with – – and without – – them.