Omaha was a nurturing mother, providing me with the respite I needed to refocus on art-making. I had been hurting for theatre-only time for quite a while and theatre-only time I had. Finer points:
- MAYA: One of the purest beauties of finding new collaborators at the conference was that they approached my work with fresh eyes. They don’t know my work and as such had no biases. This allowed them to pick MAYA up and angle it in directions I had never seen and raise questions I’d never heard. Maxwell, for example, has a rich, deep, beating heart I’d neglected by focusing on his perversion; Raksha has a tragic story all her own that I neglected in focusing on Maxwell and Leslie’s conflict. The brutality of the piece will be made stronger by directing it toward proper targets rather than having generally angry, vengeful caricatures. Brilliant notes from brilliant people–I am ecstatic at having made their acquaintance.
- OMAHA: Being an east coast asshole, I approached the trip thinking that a Midwest fly-over city would have nothing to show me culturally. I am lucky to have been wrong. Members of the Omaha theatre community took me under their collective wing and showed me some truly amazing sights–Hollywood Candy and Ted & Wally’s Ice Cream in particular. (Try the Rice Krispie Treat ice cream, if you get a chance.)
- TALENT: The breadth and scope of talent I was exposed to still makes my head spin. Kevin Lawler and Scott Working have built around themselves a humming blur of energetic talent, capable of keeping over 30 playwrights, actors, directors, dramaturgs, and techies moving without crashing into one another. I was fortunate enough to attend workshops by killer playwrights Erik Ehn, Kate Snodgrass, and Constance Congdon which made me heavily reconsider certain aspects of my approach to writing–specifically the mechanics of finding inspiration and discerning red hot subject material. From that, I was able to produce a new 10-minute play, Water Line, which was presented at the conference as well.
It was a great week and the wheels are turning on new work. Nothing like freshly charged batteries…
Beyond that, we were only awakened by tornado sirens once.
This also happened: