Director Katherine Brook and playwright Liza Birkenmeier have crafted successful careers as experimental theater artists in New York City. Birkenmeier is a member of Ars Nova Play Group and a New Georges Affiliated Artist.
Some time ago, I went on a silent writing retreat led by Erik Ehn at a ranch in west Texas. I was grieving at the time: my younger sister Patty had died. Strangely, observing strict silence with playwrights in the desert turned out to be a comfort. I remember one night it was my turn to close up the lodge.
Writer Robert Lyons and writer/director Kristin Marting want to invite you to a party inside a man’s mind. It’s an immersive performance event at HERE, and the other guests include characters from Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot.
I call U R ★ a graphic novel musical for audiences of 36 people. But this is for lack of a better way to describe the experience. And that was not what I set out to do. To be quite honest, for a long time I didn’t know what I was doing.
“All of writing is a huge lake,” goes a favorite quote of mine by Jean Rhys. “There are great rivers that feed the lake, like Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky. And then there are mere trickles, like Jean Rhys. All that matters is feeding the lake. I don't matter. The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake.” If theater is a lake too, then developing new plays is one of its most vital and important feeders. Once the job of the actor/producer heads of traveling companies, the responsibility for bringing new stories to the stage has shifted dramatically with times and tastes. Playwrights and theater artists have been talking for years about the inherent problems with current new play development.