05 June 2008

Possibly More Disclaimer Than Actual Content

You should know by now, or hopefully believe me after the thousand times I've said it, that I only shill for my friends (or myself) when I believe it. I don't tell you things are good when they're not, and I don't tell you that plays or playwrights are beautiful or wonderful or special when they're not.

This play is beautiful and wonderful and special.

It is also written by one of my dear friends.

And, okay, I'm kvelling. I feel sort of proud-mama, which is ridiculous because I have nothing to do with this unless something really pivotal happened when we were in Bat Boy together. But he's a couple of years younger than me, and when I read one of the earliest drafts of this play - the first thing of his I'd ever read - I thought to myself, or rather said to him in my head, Oh, I see. You're a playwright. Like something was settled. You can do this.

And just a few years later, he is.

It's not like this is out of the blue. First of all, I was neither the the only nor the first person to think his writing is great. Paula Vogel might've gotten there first. And a year in Ars Nova's Play Group and Youngblood doesn't, like, bode poorly for a person's prospects. Also, I've known about this for a little while. I'm excited to finally be able to share. And am trying to walk the line between excitement for a friend and gushing for a friend, and being psyched that a great play is getting produced. (It's a multidimensional line.)

In case you're link-averse: This fall, Roundabout Underground (Roundabout's off off-Broadway 64-seat black box) is producing The Language of Trees, by Steven Levenson, directed by Alex Timbers. (Lucky that Roundabout Underground seems to have a clause of only producing playwrights named Stephen or Steven who went to Brown for undergrad.)

From the blurb: "The Language of Trees is a boldly theatrical and provocative new play about the fragility of language, the ecology of war and the meaning of neighborliness in an age of terror." Steven and I were talking the other day about how it's *not* a war play, and definitely not about Iraq. Yes, a translator goes to a war zone (unnamed country!), leaving his wife and son behind. But that's the framework, the jumping-off. It's much more about loneliness and connection, being lost in a big, scary world, and trying not to be. And it's also about language. Steven's writing is gorgeous, delicate and muscular,* and I can't wait to see the - as the blurb says, very theatrical - play staged. It's going to be a challenge in the wee Roundabout Underground black box, but a challenge that could yield awesome results. October 3rd, hurry up and happen!

*I have no idea what that means, "muscular writing," but it feels right.

1 comment:

anna said...

well, holy shit. i remember stephen. what a marvelous accomplishment - already! please congratulation him for me.