#NewPlays fights the cold in Southwest DC

Shirley here, checking in with a quick blog about events going on away from the J. There’s a very important gathering going on over at Arena Stage, the #NewPlayConvening.

I sat in on two sessions yesterday afternoon:
Massive Thoughts from Four Big Thinkers: Lydia R. Diamond, Kirk Lynn, Marc Masterson & Meiyin Wang; Moderated by Deborah Cullinan
and
Outrageous Fortune: One Year Later: David Dower interviews Todd London
before I succumbed to the snow swirling outside Arena’s huge walls of windows, and headed to the metro.

One of those sessions has already been blogged about here. There’s also a blog entry about NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman’s opening remarks. There’s a team of bloggers working on these updates in real time. It’s worth checking in on what is being said.

Sitting there yesterday, I found myself thinking about the idea of locally grown, locally relevant art–the art world’s version of the “locavore” movement. This idea came up in both of the discussions, and appears to have been a theme in Landesman’s speech as well. The irony isn’t lost on me that, right now, we are presenting a piece of art that was created in and about a place on the other side of the world from us. Arena Stage too, is currently presenting two works that originated outside of DC. And I think we benefit greatly from this kind of artistic cross-pollination, but I am reminded of a refrain that I’ve heard again and again: DC will not continue to grow as a theater community until we find ways to better grow and nurture our own local playwrights. I don’t have any answers about this–but I am thinking about it a lot.

You can sit in on these sessions virtually, here. In fact–David just now addressed the question of local DC writers.

I believe they’ll archive all of these sessions so that they can be viewed at any time, so check back if you missed the live stream.