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I dig jazz and single-malt scotch.  I write plays; I direct them too. I love STAR WARS more than is healthy. I walk my dogs every day, unless it's raining or terribly cold.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


There is a scene in Ariadne on the Island where the two women pluck and disembowel chickens. Because this play has only been heard in a reading or viewed as quasi-staged reading with music stands, the problem posed by the staging of plucking and cleaning of the birds has yet to be solved in theatrical terms. While people like the scene, it never fails to elicit the comment, "Yeah, but, how are you gonna do the chickens?"

I always answer, "Nothing is real in the theater - and chickens are easy."

Of course, "easy" may not be the best word - but something like how to handle chicken plucking is a minor conundrum compared to solving the broader complexities of the play-world... and yet -- How we gonna do the chickens? It turns out - simple!

The plasticity of the play-world in Ariadne holds the key. One of the things that the readers of play enjoy about the world is that it is constructed from barrels of various sizes, nets, boards, ropes, and a few benches. The elements are rearranged throughout the play to define and create the spaces that the characters inhabit. In a world that is constructed of wood, ropes and nets in various configurations, why can't chickens be made from knots of heavy ropes? The ropes would lend themselves to the illusion of dead weight, and small bits of white cloth could be pressed into the knots and braids to be "plucked" as feathers.

Ta-dah! An elegant solution to a sticky problem.

And this solution came about through an intermission convo with a tech-guy during the first public showing of the play at a workshop. Now that solution is included on the front-page of production notes and descriptions. When public workshops of new plays inspire that kind of inquiry and problem solving -- yea workshops!

All out blitz

I am beginning the planning stages for an all-out submission blitz for Ariadne on the Island. After the wonderful week in Portland, and the strong rewrites - I am optimistic about this play's potential. I've been hunkering down with the Dramatists Guild Directory, highlighter and pencil in hand, and making my plan.

I am primarily targeting theaters that want to see samples. I don't like throwing whole scripts at theaters on blind submissions, unless the theater is one of my top 15 targets. Otherwise it costs about $7 to copy and bind a script - plus anywhere from $4 to $6.50 to mail a whole script. I'd rather spend the $1 or so to send 10 pages and a resume. Most theaters are only reading 10 pages of text anyway - regardless of the number you send. I've had much greater success sending inquiries to theaters than whole scripts. If they're interested, they'll ask for the whole thing - and it will be a priority to read. Sending a script blind just puts it in a pile to nowhere more often than not.

I'm up the "F's" in the Directory - guess I'll crack open a Saturday afternoon beer and continue to peruse.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lonely playwright

At a dinnertime talk a few years ago at the O'Neill Theater Center, Romulus Linney spoke to the assembled playwrights. It was casual, all of us sitting in a circle with our plates on our laps. He was sharing a lifetime of wisdom about the career of a playwright, and one of the most remarkable things I recall was him stating, "A playwright in residence at a regional theater is about the loneliest person in America." As I'm sitting typing this in a lovely apartment provided by a regional theater where I eat my meals alone, watching the local news, I know that Mr. Linney was speaking true.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Me in Portland, ME

Arrived late this afternoon in Portland, ME - in time for tomorrow's Little Festival of the Unexpected meet-and-greet at the Portland Stage Company. I have a day and a half before work begins on my play, so tomorrow I'll be checking out a few of the local attractions and do some shopping. I'll also take my camera out and about and post some pix from around town in the days to come.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Little Festival of the Unexpected May 11-15 2010

The schedule of plays for the
Little Festival of the Unexpected
Portland Stage Company
Portland, ME

The Center of Gravity by Gregory Hischak
Wednesday, May 12 @ 7:00
Saturday, May 15 @ 7:30

Ariadne on the Island by Kato McNickle
Thursday, May 13 @ 7:00
Saturday, May 15 @ 3:00

Tigers Be Still by Kim Rosenstock
Tuesday, May 11 @ 7:00
Saturday, May 15 @ 12:00

For more info or to purchase tickets online go here:

or call Mon-Sat : 1pm-7pm : 207-774-0465

Advance Tickets: $10 (plus handling fees)

In Person: Mon-Sat : 1pm-7pm : Pay-what-you Can
Suggested donation $10

All seats are general admission