Theater for me is a highly political experience, because it always offers a commentary on the culture at large, even if the commentary is unquestioning. Each of my plays is, in its own way, an examination of American culture—our obsessions with image and privilege, our fundamental sexism, implicit racism, and propensity to violence, and ultimately, our collective optimism. Many of my plays are essentially contemporary fables. But regardless of how serious the subject matter, the plays are infused with humor—and, I hope, always entertaining. In my work, tragedy and comedy exist side by side because they exist that way in life. I never to try to separate them, and I have come to trust the sudden intrusion of a sober discovery into a comedic scene, just as I trust the eruption of comedy in a dramatic sequence. The play is funny until it isn’t—and at that point, the larger questions are revealed.
“One of everyone’s favorite plays we ever staged here was Radium Girls … The first time I read it, I knew I had to direct it. And it was extra special having you come in and be our guest at the ‘Afterwords.’ So special.
The students loved the play and what it said about women in the work force and the hazardous health risks and lack of medical insurance that was in practice then. Excellent teaching tool. Having DW spend time with them in the classroom allowed them to peek inside her process and helped inspire some to try their hands at playwriting”
– Molly C, Hathaway-Brown School
As the author of more than a dozen plays for young actors, I’ve been privileged to work as an artist in residence at a series of theatre programs and private and public schools around the country. If I had a manifesto for youth theatre it would be this: I believe in an intelligent audience and in engaged and committed performers, no matter what their ages. I vow never to underestimate the seriousness of young people, and I believe these actors—young women especially—deserve strong roles and stories of real substance that dive deeply into the matters that concern them. I try to bring this commitment into the classroom when I have the opportunity to teach. As the author of more than a dozen plays for young actors, I’ve been privileged to work as an artist in residence at a series of theatre programs and private and public schools around the country. At Imagination Stage in Bethesda, Md., I wrote five original plays for young actors, two of them published by Dramatic Publishing and one by YouthPLAYS.com. I’ve been a writer in residence with New Voices in Richmond, Va., and was a featured artist and keynote speaker at Maumee Valley Country Day School’s Issue Day, in Toledo, Ohio. In addition I’ve had residencies at Millersville (Pa.) State University; St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana; the University of Washington, Seattle; Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana; Harrison School for the Arts, Lakeland, Fla.; Winston Churchill High School, Potomac, Md.; Hathaway-Brown School in Shaker Heights, Ohio, among others.
Besides short term residencies, I’m also available to conduct one-day workshops and longer-term residencies. Contact me for more details, using this form.