Why playwright/producers? I’ve been thinking through this question a bunch over the past few years. I went down this path originally as it seemed like the best, and at times only way to see my work realized. What I’ve discovered is that taking the lead in this manner has taught me an enormous amount and, artistically, has been deeply satisfying. I have had a degree of control and input into the building of my plays, in terms of venues, artistic team, even marketing, that one doesn’t necessarily get as a playwright working with larger institutions. These experiences have helped me to grow as a writer and artist, and as a person. I still have a lot to learn, and my hope in the coming years is to continue working both on my own and in collaboration with other theatre companies, both large and small. I also hope to continue the conversation with other playwright/producers and pass on what I’ve learned over the past several years. I have followed in the footsteps of wonderful companies like 13P, and believe we writers have so much to teach each other.
ABTP’s 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.
Current projects in development include To the Playground, commissioned with a recent NYSCA Grant, and Summit, developed at Berkeley Rep Ground Floor.
“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!