Yes! I know! This is only my second blog post of the year!
I’m a big loser! I get it! But the only reason I’m not getting you all that good good content you crave is because I’m out in the world busy making it!! So no, I will not apologize for my lack of posts! Take that!
Man, oh, man do I have a lot to catch you up on. So let’s just dive right in shall we?
The BIGGEST and MOST IMPORTANT thing you can take away from this blog post is that I’VE STARTED A NEW THEATRE COLLECTIVE! With the help of some of my incredible friends/fellow former New Dramatists Interns (Kevin Russell Poole, Chloe Hayat and Ethan Wintgens) we’ve launched Breaking & Entering Theater Collective. At the beginning of the year(?? end of last year? I can’t remember now) Kevin, Chloe and I went to Clubbed Thumb’s Emerging Directors showcase and, of course, it was incredible. But as me and Kevin sat there, enjoying the beautifully crafted pieces and reading the bios of the directors, we both came to a realization. Despite the fact that both of us are directors and we apply to “Emerging Artist” programs all the time, we read these artists bios and realized that we would truly never be able to compete or compare with the people who end up receiving these opportunities. In order to even be considered a “beginner” in the industry, you need so much more experience than anyone seems willing to give us. We discovered we aren’t really emerging artists, but maybe we’re a step below that? So we’ve (for lack of a better term) coined the phrase “Pre-Emerging Artist,” and that is who we aim to serve with our collective. Our goal is to provide these artists at the genesis of their career with an artistic home and a place where they feel safe to stretch the limits of the art form.
This summer we’ve produced SIX (count em) S I X developmental “Rooftop Readings”! An opportunity for Pre-Emerging Playwrights to hear their words in front of an audience, the Rooftop Reading Series took place on two different rooftops in Prospect Lefferts Gardens and Bed Stuy! What has been SO magical for me is discovering how these readings function. The people that come to the rooftop come or two reasons, to have FUN (duh) and to support their friends, colleagues and peers. It’s a really refreshing environment to be in and it has really meant so much to me to share space, make art and build community with fellow artists.
We’re also planning a Pre-Emerging Artists Festival this December, which will feature full productions of shorter pieces by some bad ass people! All collaborators will be Pre-Emerging Artists and we’re so excited to continue the work of curating and producing this festival. We are currently accepting piece submissions and applications for directors, designers and stage managers at this link! Apply to work with us!! And if you’re not a Pre-Emerging Artist (and you’re maybe a little more financially stable than we are) consider donating to our GoFund Me!
Back in March I had the absolutely wonderful opportunity to stage manage a piece in NY Winterfest through Traguna Productions! The show was just about to go up during my last post, and it was a great success! The Playwright, Blake Allen, is also the Artistic Director of Traguna and, since then I’ve signed on with them as the company’s resident Stage Manager! You can catch some pictures from the production on the “work” section of my website! I’m really excited for this new step in my career and, since then, I’ve already been able to do some really wonderful work with them! Back in July I stage managed a concert with them as part of Blake’s An Evening With… series. The concert featured the songs of Doris Day and some of the most fabulous singers I’ve been around in a while! You can find some of the music from the An Evening With… series on Spotify! Maybe Apple Music too! I don’t know cause I don’t use it! Traguna also produced a reading series during the first few weeks of August and I had the wonderful/exciting/exhausting/overwhelming/but insanely rewarding opportunity to direct all 4 pieces over the course of two weeks! The project was a fun exercise in not dropping all the balls I juggle, scheduling, and just a ton of last minute changes. The plays we featured were: No Service North of 96th by Daniel C Blanda, Flight by Patrick Gabridge, Queen of the Coast by Margie Semilof and Trivial Pursuit by Yael Haskel.
I got the chance to return to SoHo Rep. this Spring by volunteering for their Spring Fete! It was a lovely and classically SoHo Rep. evening with bright colors, fun decorations, incredible performers and a live auction with something for everyone (truly, there were NFL tickets. I’ve never seen that at a theater gala before!). I also got to hang out with Rachel Horwitz, which I don’t get to do very often but it is always the best time. I love being able to maintain my relationships with organizations by continuing to volunteer and work with them on fun events, and this was a particularly joyful day. From setting up decorations, working the auction and reconnecting with the staff it was all so much fun and I can’t wait to be back next year!
Speaking of fun Galas, I also got to volunteer for New Dramatists Luncheon this spring! (Shocker know!) We had the chance to honor Nathan Lane, not only for his life’s work and dedication to the theater, but also for his work on Gary which was written by New Dramtists Alum Taylor Mac! It was a wild ride of a day, as always, but I had so much fun reconnecting with my intern friends (as thought we’ve ever disconnected). I worked the check in table and I EVEN got to talk to David Hyde-Pierce. Anyone who really knows me knows just how much I love Frasier, so that was a really big moment for me. I also got to go back to my second home this summer and fall to, yet again, train the interns! I love being able to come back to that place and continue nurturing the intern community in that wildly special place. Can’t wait to see what will bring me back there next!
Right around my birthday (late April, in case you didn’t know my birthday is 4/20!) I got the opportunity to stage manage the extension of Charlie’s Waiting with Parity Productions. Parity is an INSANELY incredible group who focuses on addressing the gender disparity that’s so prevalent in the theatre industry. They make sure to hire creative teams that are at least 50% female or non-binary identifying individuals on all of their productions and they share and promote a list of theaters and productions that have done the same. If you haven’t had a chance to see some of their work or get acquainted with the work of their artistic director, Ludovica Villar-Hauser, you absolutely should.
Last year I was able to finish a first draft of my new play, Cluster, and I had the wonderful opportunity in the Spring to continue working on the piece through a Writer’s Intensive with the Workshop Theater! My friend (and yet another former New Dramatists Intern!) Dani Joseph does dramaturgical work for the organization and recommended I joined the group. It was a wonderful experience for me and the other three writers in my group were truly a joy to share space with. We even did one of the pieces as a part of our Rooftop Reading Series! I’m considering doing the intensive again in the fall because it was truly so helpful for me in my process. I’ll keep you updated, but with my track record you may not want to hold your breath.
Cluster has got a little emotionally draining as I continue to work on it though, so I’ve decided to place that project on the back burner for now. I’m actually currently writing a piece based loosely on found poetry from my years of obsessive journaling. It’s an interesting project and I’m getting the chance to explore some concepts that, as it turns out, have been bumping around in my head for YEARS. It’s, at it’s simplest it’s an exploration of my relationship with my body, and how that effects my relationship with the world and the people who live in it. My absolutely wonderful, wonderful, I’m gonna say it again, wonderful friend Molly Van Der Molen is workshopping it with me, reading my literal drivel and helping me where she can! She’s a killer sound board and I’m so lucky to have her.
OH! And speaking of Molly! This chick is actually like a MAD talented writer! And I didn’t even know it! The humanity of it all! She like casually mentioned to me that she had started a writers group among some friends and, quite recently she asked me to sit in on a table read of the full length she’s currently working on. Wow. wow. The piece is called Girlhood and it really takes a look at women’s teenage years in an intimate, jarring and totally theatrical way that just blew me out of the water. Y’all keep your eyes on Molly cause this lady is GOING! PLACES!
I was still with En Garde Arts working as an intern until about mid-May (wow that feels like forever ago at this point!) and we had the really exciting opportunity to go to Georgetown University to present one of our pieces in development at The Gathering. The Gathering is a weekend long event held by the University which focuses on the intersection between theater and social justice. We came to share Engagement Party (Working Title, TBH they could’ve changed it already!) by Leila Buck and it was such a wonderful trip! I got to stay with my family in the area (which was an added bonus!) and commute into Georgetown (which is harder than you think!) for our rehearsals, performance, and even to attend a couple of sessions! It was a really informative and exciting time, and I’m so happy I could wrap up my time with En Garde Arts on such a high note!
Back in, what, July was it? Yea definitely July, I got the chance to stage manage an incredible one woman show, I Love White Men By the crazy talented Sim Yan Ying! The piece went up for one night as a part of ANTFEST at Ars Nova! I just absolutely LOVE that space and it was so exciting to get to work on a piece I loved so much, with bad ass collaborators, in a festival I’ve always admired. Huge highlight of the summer no doubt! The piece does a lot of things that I love, mainly break down and attempt to understand the way that post-colonialism has left its ugly mark on the playwright/performers personal life while also understanding that she is only one person who is only capable of so much. I love the humanity of the piece, I love the writing and the concept is just, chefs kiss. Renee Yeong directed the piece and holy cow I hope I get to work with her more. She’s a bad ass woman of color making her way as a multi-disciplinary theatre artist and I hope we get the chance to collaborate again soon!!
A couple of weeks ago I signed on as a producer for a new site-specific production of As You Like It. The incomparable E.B. Hinnant III (who hosted the Bed-Stuy Rooftop Readings! What a guy!) brought me on to the project and, while it’s been literally 4 years since I’ve even dared to touch Shakespeare in anyway, I’m so stoked for this project! It’s my first legitimate “producing” credit outside of Breaking & Entering and I’m looking forward to the ways this new role will challenge me and stretch me as an artist. We’ve just started fundraising so consider donating to that Go Fund Me too! (Surprise!! Bet you didn’t think this blog post was just going to be me asking for money! HAHA FOOLED YOU!)
I’ve also seen some incredible theatre the past couple months! Not as much as I would’ve liked to, but, ya know, your girl is broke as a joke! Way waaaay back now I got to see Operating Systems at the Abrons Arts Center through Flux Theater Ensemble. My old boss at En Garde Arts, Heather Cohn, also helps to run Flux and it was so exciting to see her outside of work and be able to support her company and work! AND Renee, the director I was just telling y’all about, did the sound design on it! I told you! She rocks! The piece was complex, dealing with many issues but the narrative remained very clear and engaging throughout the entire piece. The characters were endearing and personable, and the writing, by Gus Schulenburg, was exquisite to watch on stage. The next show I saw was Macbeth at the Lucille Lortel Theater with good old Kevin! Wow oh wow the Scottish play has literally never been better y’all. I’m serious. The adaptation placed young school girls in a forest after school, rehearsing for their production of Macbeth. The piece was eerie, creepy, totally fresh and ABSOLUTELY BAD ASS. Okay but seriously, beyond seeing an all female Macbeth, it was AnnaSophia Robb’s THEATRICAL DEBUT and, and, and THEY FULL ON MADE IT POUR RAIN ON STAGE FOR A SOLID LIKE 15 MINUTES. I SCREAMED. I FREAKED OUT. I GRABBED KEVIN. MY JAW WAS ON THE FLOOR. I can’t speak highly enough of that production and wow, it’s a shame it’s closed. A few weeks after I got to see another great show with Kevy, courtesy of my friends at SoHo Rep.! I don’t know how I got so blessed to get some comp tickets to the revival of Jackie Siblies Drury’s Fairview at TFANA, but damn am I grateful. As was to be expected with last years Pulitzer Prize winner, the production blew me away. It’s poignancy, immediacy, and radical need to call out the audience on their complacency was overwhelming, and I’m so so glad I got to see this production.
I’ve got some fun things on the docket too as far as shows I’m seeing! Just this week I’ve got plans to see Contact High, which the lovely E.B. Hinnant III is performing in, and I’m going to be seeing Wives at Playwrights Horizons this weekend! Getting back into the swing of seeing theatre now that everyone’s seasons are starting! Very excited to see what 19/20 holds for the NYC community.
I’ve also been able to have some fun, relaxing chill time this summer! So don’t you worry about me! All work and no play would make Emily a dull girl after all, and we try to stay away from the dull. My immediate family made our way up to Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire again and it was wonderful to get some time away, hang out with my family, breathe the mountain air and get day drunk with my dad. (I won’t embarrass him here, but I have some funny videos I’d be willing to show a select few of you) My dad’s side of the family also had a big reunion in Virginia Beach! It was the first time (almost) all of us could gather together and it was so fun to reconnect with my cousins now that we’re all actual adult people. One of my longest friends, Josh Reiter, made his way back to the East coast for a minute and it was great to connect with him, and see his new LA look! (lol)
In other news, my laptop is currently broken. I know, I know, you don’t care. BUT That is the reason there are no photos with this post, my resume is completely out of date, and I have'n’t completely kept up with my work page. So forgive me friends! Once good old Margaret is back in my arms I’ll have this site back to running the way it was intended to be.
I think that’s all for right now you guys! Thanks for sticking around and caring enough to read all the way down. Your love, and patience, is crazily appreciated, especially for the amount of typos there probably are in this. Keep fighting the good fight my friends, and I’ll see you around!