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Showing posts from March, 2020

Theater and the Rise of the Paper Hero

We've talked about Paper Heroes in the past.

The term came up in an early interview when the person I was talking to spoke about people in a community who, on paper, seem ideal to become leaders or influencers, but don't have the actual skill or expertise to take on that role.

At this particular moment, it seems important to be very clear who within a given community, even a theater one, is in a leadership position and make sure those people are actually qualified to serve in those roles.

Today, I spoke with someone in a unique position--a self-described paper hero who is trying very hard to give the spotlight to someone they feel would be better in the role.

Here's the interview:

ME:  You and I were going to talk before this, but then it became clear that we needed to have a much different conversation.

THEM:  But I'm glad we can have this conversation right now.

ME:  I'm very grateful to have it right now.

THEM:  I wish we didn't have to, but it does allow me to …

How the Government is Failing Non-Essential Workers

Let me start this by saying I am not a
public health expert or medical professional
or politician or anybody in a position where I
would have insider knowledge about why
certain decisions are being made, but I’m
assuming that if I don’t know why something
is happening and I’m not able to find out,
it’s likely that nobody else knows either.

So here’s what I have to say and it’s a TL;DR
so fair warning:

I think the state of Rhode Island is doing
an admirable job of handling this crisis--for
the most part.

Where I, personally, can see room for
improvement is with non-essential state
and city/town workers, many of whom,
like me, are still on the job and have been
on the job since this all started.

I am very happy that I still have a job, but
I also know that every day the state is
encouraging people to stay home while
essentially forcing people who could stay
home to come into work instead.  The
response I’ve gotten and that I know
others have gotten in regards to this is--

“If you want to sta…

On Terrence McNally

I learned how to be a playwright by reading plays.

There were classes here and there that helped, but as someone who's lucky enough to get paid every so often to teach people how to write, I'm going to give you a secret that could put me out of business--

Just read plays.

That's the easy part.

The hard part is finding a person who has a voice that you can recognize, because before you can find your own voice, you have to listen to a voice that sounds the way you want to sound.  It's not about copying anybody anymore than children who learn to speak from their parents copy them.  First you get the language, then you come up with how you want to use it.

When you're a writer, language is more than just words--it's style and content and symmetry and all that other magical stuff.  Every writer speaks their own language, and if you want to become a writer, it helps to find somebody who seems to speak the same language that you do so you can (lovingly) use them as a j…

Theater and Who We Are Without It

My interview this week is with an old friend who I've been checking in with every day.

We figured as long as we were having these daily conversations, we might as well have an anonymous one for your enjoyment.
Here's the interview:
ME:  How are you doing?

THEM:  Wait I'm going to say it.
ME:  Say it.
THEM:  I've been better.
ME:  Me too.
THEM:  That's the new hashtag.
ME:  Not 'It Gets Better.'
THEM:  #IveBeenBetter
ME:  Get that trending.
THEM:  I've got nothing but time.  We're going to make you a star, Kevin.
ME:  Celebrity culture will be dead by the time all this is over, so why does it matter?
THEM:  Careful, I'm sensitive right now.
ME:  Yes, let's get into that.  How long have we been friends?
THEM:  Ten years?

ME:  Longer.
THEM:  It's been longer? ME:  It's--yeah.
THEM:  So longer than ten years.
ME:  You were working on a big project when all this went down.
THEM:  Yes.
ME:  This was like--Was this the biggest--
THEM:  Oh yea…

Questions for the End of the World

Like most people, I've taken a class I was teaching and moved it online.

It's a writing class for teens, and one of the ways we look for writing prompts is to talk about what's on our minds.

As you can imagine, right now, the only thing on their mind is the state of the world and the fear that's permeating it.

It occurred to me that many of them are the same age I was on September 11th, and when we started discussing that time, I mentioned all the wonderful adults I knew at that time who were able to give me guidance, and how I hope I can be that for them right now.

Then, I pulled out the tried-and-true write a letter from your future self to the person you are right now and give them whatever advice you think they need to hear.

It's kind of an impossible assignment, because it requires insight you just don't have yet, but I've found that when I assign it in the past, the teenagers I teach are able to come up with some truly remarkable bits of wisdom.  It's …