To Update or Not (to Update)?

It’s been quiet on the blogging front – and a frenzy of activity in the brain – and in the theater as well. So why no journaling? Because it’s exhausting, that’s why! We’re exhausted already, as it is – But you don’t need to hear that. So rather than download our frenzied exhaustion, there’s been silence. I feel badly about that. This blog is valuable in keeping a close and intimate record of our daily and weekly doings; our ups and downs; highs and lows; exhilarations and insights. I was in New York last week seeing three shows; I didn’t write about any of ‘em! I will. (They were: David Ives’ NEW JERUSALEM: THE INTERROGATION OF BARUCH DE SPINOZA AT TALMUD TORAH CONGREGATION, AMSTERDAM, JULY 1656; The Steppenwolf production on Broadway of Company member Tracy Letts’ AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, and the Mark Twain discovery, adapted by aforementioned David Ives, IS HE DEAD? (co-produced by my buddy John O’Boyle). Guess what? I loved ‘em all.

Came back for Charlie Varon’s RABBI SAM last Monday and Tuesday. Thoroughly thrilling progress made from one night to the next; but nada a word on the blog about that (I will include Stephen Stern’s terrific insights into it; Steve’s comments deserve to be shared (in the next post) – Mine? Too exhausted!). Alas, there’s a range of opinions on Charlie’s play; passionate advocates and less-than-impressed skeptics. A decision to be made about what to do next. Will Charlie tweak the title? Cut Act I? Do we co-produce with Woolly? Time will tell.

We meet as a reader’s committee from our Council last Tuesday discussing 4 plays that are on a list for us to consider for next season. With four more to come next Tuesday. And four more the Tuesday after that. Plus another 15 in the hopper. Too many, right? Right! Not to mention the cool things soon to open in New York (like Mike Leigh’s 2000 YEARS, or Mamet’s NOVEMBER, or Rich Greenberg’s new play at South Coast Rep which we’ve just received as well).

Still I’m making this restriction on what we’ll not talk as blog fodder: All the plays we’re currently reading and considering for next season. It’s just too much sensitive information, right? Right. Or rather, there’s too much of a “should we do this, or should we do that?” Or “how many plays this next season? How many related? Do we really bring in PLONTER? Can we afford it?” Why can’t we make up our mind already? Well, let me say that every day we’re receiving more and more material, at just the time when we want to be winnowing in on our choices—and indeed we are—a season is, perhaps, coming into view—only to have a series of new choices and new findings present themselves. And by new findings we mean new information based on in-house readings, and solicited feedback from others which makes us think a second, third or fourth time about a particular selection.

Suffice to say, we’re reading prodigiously, traveling frequently, and discussing weekly the status of any number of plays, both brand new and previously produced; both American and international. And when I say international, I don’t just mean Israel; I mean plays about Bosnia and Serbia, or from Switzerland, or Prague (as in the latest play from Vaclav Havel), and plays from Palestine and about Lebanon, and then of course, plays from any and many of the states in the Union. We’re sifting through some fascinating choices.

A fine time to be alive? Well, I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s stimulating (JOKE).

These are rich times, to be sure. And teaching again this semester – which I need like a hole in the head – except in fact, we need the money; college costs; and so a new semester of Political Theater for University of Michigan’s “Michigan in DC” program, this semester with the focus: “The Theater That Arthur Miller & August Wilson Created and Left Us.” The startling aspect of this winter/spring in DC Theater is that both the Kennedy Center staged reading celebration of August Wilson’s ten plays and the Arena Stage/Theater J mini festival of thee major Arthur Miller plays (with plenty of discussions therein) will all be taking place during the same March/April 08 window. So attention need be paid.

Enough. I’m exhausted writing about being exhausted. I’ll be blogging less, alas. I still sorta love to do it. But I’m also trying to eek out the playwriting, which went well last weekend, in New York, while on the subway, at intermissions; the blue journal was getting a workout. Happy times and happy trails.