12 September 2006

Class of 2013

(Why does that girl look so damn unhappy?)

Last night was the New Dramatists New Playwrights Welcome. Because I'm apparently now one of the important people, I was invited. Well, my boss was invited, and had me RSVP for both of us, but then he found something else to go to that night, so I brought former-ND-intern Michael as my hott date. And it did seem to be an audience of importants - agents and literary managers and lots of people I didn't know, but they were much older people than the audiences I'm used to being a part of. So that means they were fancy people, right? Sure.

Before the event even started things were sort of crazy. Hanging out on the front steps, enjoying the awesome fall weather, lots of saying hi to people we weren't sure we recognized, and saying hi to some people we definitely recognized but didn't seem to recognize us. I finally saw Sarah Ruhl, for the first time in about five years. It was about the level of awkwardness I'd anticipated, and even that mostly just because she was juggling a (fat! adorable!) baby at the time. Michael was great - "Sarah, I think you know Jaime?" - and I jumped in with a "You were my freshman year playwrighting teacher." (She was! How awesome is that?) And Sarah was great. I mean, she wouldn't have been able to recognize me out of the blue, but with that context she was all "Your hair's shorter, and you've dyed it, but of course!" And then she was all "are you still writing plays?" Which I'm not, but as she manhandled the baby in its car seat up the front steps I got in a few bits of information - I ended up writing fiction at Brown, did a thesis with Thalia Field (Sarah: "Oh, she's great!"), am doing what I'm doing now, so the class was definitely important, or something like that. And she's still as sweet and adorable as I remembered.

And then the readings. Wow. Because I'm bad at my job, I only knew one of these writers beforehand. But now I know them, and about fucking time. Almost every piece wasn't just good, but so good that I was excited (and still giddy when I got home). I mean, sure, we expect the writers at New Dramatists to be good, but these were good. Like, really fucking good. So much laughter, and interest, and language and characters, and this is what playwriting is supposed to be. So keep your eyes and ears open for: Adam Bock (okay, we knew that already), Sheila Callaghan, Kirsten Greenidge, Jason Grote, Young Jean Lee (okay, everyone already knew that except me), Carson Kreitzer, and Chiori Miyagawa. Rust, by Kirstein Greenidge, and Jason Grote's This Storm is What We Call Progress were especially amazing and right up my alley, but the whole thing was just really freaking great.

(The exerpts were introduced by current ND playwrights, and I'll admit, I was a smidge starstruck by Rinne Groff and Karen Hartman. I didn't get the chance to say anything to either of them afterwards, but that's probably for the best. "Um, I read Gum in college, and it was, like, really great." Or "I've seen, like, three of your plays in New York, and I really love them. I love how you take such risks, and the plays are really flawed, but still really wonderful because of that?" Right. I also didn't get to say anything to the very very cute director of one of the excerpts, which was a shame, because he was very very cute.)

Well done, New Dramatists, really awesomely well done.

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