Radium Girls Jr. in Print

One of the ideas I had for starting this blog was having a place to provide updates about my work.   As it often happens there’s a long lull of not much to report followed by a burst of new developments.   Burst number one — the long-awaited one-act version of Radium Girls is now […]

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Tone-Deaf and Life-Stupid at Metro

The annals of stupid are long and deep, but some of the worst offenses, I think we must agree, occur in the course of trying to sell something—particularly when that something is very transparently a load of bull.   Keep in mind I grew up on Virginia Slims commercials, back in the dark ages of […]

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Bring Me the Head of Steven Barker

Let’s just get this straight from the top: I have nothing against Steven Barker. From everything I’ve seen he is a perfectly nice person, teaching drama to kids at Camp Lejeune and generally staying out of trouble. Except that he caused me untold misery over the past 10 days by suggesting that if I wrote […]

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Unexpected Impacts, Part II

The Burlington Players of Burlington, Mass., took a trip to the State House in Boston July 26  as guests of the Massachusetts Legislature. The occasion: The community theatre troupe had walked off with the highest prize in its field a month before—Best Show Award at the 2013 American Association for Community Theatre (AACT) annual festival […]

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The Troublesome 9.7 Percent and the Break-Through Play

Caridad Svich invited me to participate in the Artistic Innovation blog salon that she is curating for the 2013 TCG National Conference: Learn Do Teach in Dallas). The post below is cross-posted from the salon and can be found at the TCG Circle here.   Playwright Caridad Svich asks how a path can be made for innovative theatre artists.   That’s a […]

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Salvation Road at PTNJ

  On March 15, Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey will feature a reading of Salvation Road as part of its ‘Forum Soundings’ series, focused on youth-centered theatre. This is the latest step in an ongoing development process for the play, which originated as a one-act at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival in 2009, was workshopped at New York University and […]

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The Long Shadow, Part III: A Soldier’s Story

The package that arrived  in my mail in mid-January came as a surprise, not because it was unexpected, but because the contents were so much more revealing than I had imagined possible—nearly 70 pages of Photostats, detailing the movements of my late uncle Jack in the three years he spent in the Army Air Force […]

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27 Dead in Connecticut: A Call to Action

27 Dead in Connecticut   The headline is too familiar, and yet, despite a culture saturated by gun violence in fiction and fact, we feel absolute revulsion at the senselessness of it all.   Twenty-seven dead in Connecticut, 20 of them children. They were kindergartners, five or first-grade students, six and seven years old. In the world […]

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The Christmas Card from Hell

I got a Christmas card today from the child molester’s wife.   This is not an unusual event. For the past several years, this woman has persisted in sending me birthday cards, Christmas cards, Easter greetings—this despite what should have been a clear directive to her years ago never to contact me again. Yet she […]

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The Importance of Multiple Productions

Having seen the second production of  Salvation Road—third if you count the original one-act at the Philly Fringe in 2009—I have now received the kind of vindication every playwright craves: I know my script stands up.     With two different casts in two radically different incarnations—David Montgomery’s production at New York University featured original […]

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Salvation Road Redux

Salvation Road‘s run at the Steinhardt School of New York University ended abruptly with the arrival of Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 29. Compared to the loss of life, injury, damage to property, chaos and disruption visited upon the good people of Manhattan–one friend I know of is still without heat two weeks later–curtailing the run […]

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Salvation Road Opens Tonight

Salvation Road opens tonight with a cast of thousands ….   It has been a long process developing this play, a comic drama about a boy searching for a sister who has disappeared into a fundamentalist cult.   Originally a one-act for three actors (hated that version) the play underwent a massive rewrite in the […]

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Breaking the Block, Part 5: The Exploratory Scene

We’re back with my series on feeling my way through a draft of a new play. How to break through the block? In this installment, I’m looking at laying the foundations for an exploratory scene that might not necessarily make it into the play. This is my play about a man with an amazing memory, […]

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Playwriting: Breaking the Block Part 3

Last week I wrote about an exercise from Michael Dixon to help raise the stakes in a scene. And here it is again:   1. Put two characters who share something in common in a place neither can leave. Write a scene in which the obstacles and stakes are high and clearly presented.   Working […]

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So Produce a Different Play Already!

In the annals of theatrical chutzpah, this latest missive has to rank fairly high.   A theatre that shall remain nameless booked several performances of Radium Girls for the coming fall. Okay, cool. I’m excited, because this one looks to be a professional company, even though it’s only a single weekend run. Then comes this […]

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The Subject of Study

“The strength of Gregory’s characterization of Judy is that she does not allow disability to become an all-encompassing character trait that merely paints Judy as either bitter or heroic. …  In short, by using disability as a dramaturgical device rather than a metaphor, a stereotype, or an all-encompassing world-view, Gregory has made the play and […]

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Unexpected Impacts

Trolling through Google with coffee in hand is a favored Saturday morning time-waster, but this morning I came across a stunning discovery — Google images, more than 100, of various productions of Radium Girls. To wit: This visually arresting production, directed by Elaine Vaan Hogue at Boston University, was one I had the privilege to […]

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The Long Shadow, Part Two

The death of his mother as a complication of his own birth meant that Jack Collins would be raised by relatives, not all of them vitally interested in his welfare. In his infancy, his care was left largely to his father’s much younger sister, Margaret, then a winsome and cheerful 16-year-old; as he grew older, […]

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Membership in a Lie

In the summer of 1974, over the objections of my parents, my sister G. and her friend D. set off on a long bicycle trip to New England.  Their ambition was adventure and a much needed change of scenery from the dead-end job she had been working in central Pennsylvania.   My parents feared for […]

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The Long Shadow, Part One

Late in September 1920, a notice appeared in the Springfield, Ohio, newspaper that the young wife of Bill Collins had died. The cause was edema, a complication of pregnancy that she might have survived had her caregivers not put her to bed—and thus ensured the onset of the pneumonia that took her life. The fluid […]

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I Get Letters

Tempting as it is to believe my labors are all for naught, I am occasionally confronted with a different reality. This time it is a note card from the exhausted but grateful and excited cast and crew of RADIUM GIRLS at The Shea Theater in Turners Falls, Massachusetts. Director  Robert Freedman kindly forwarded  a review […]

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Doors & Windows

Let us consider a simple mystery.   A man at a party lights a cigarette; from ten feet away, at the end of a narrow hallway, a woman observes him. The next room buzzes with talk and laughter, the rattle of glasses over a Patsy Cline record in full croon. But she sees only him. […]

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