A New Beginning

May 10, 2012

The blog is shifting. I think from now on this blog will be about Working Group, my partnership with Martin Andrews and Jennifer Fawcett (and a growing relationship with Kristy Hartsgrove, Tim Budd and Saffron Henke).

I’ve been really amazed with community of late- not the cancelled NBC show- but personal community. I think I have always looked for this. I am a private person. I’m friendly and I attempt charm but truth is it is hard to really get to know me. I’d say my wife and my best friend Matt are the only ppl who have really got to know me. Working Group has always been a goal toward that. People knowing me. Community. Great work and weekend BBBQ’s. I think I might have come into the American theatrical landscape late. Before the playwriting landscape was a prepping field for Showtime and HBO. Before agents had any say (playwriting agents? Sounds like bad accountant).

I always read books by Simon (eh his last name escapes me, he’s touring a show about Shakespeare right now) and I dreamt of Joint Stock and the RSC. I dreamed of repertory’s of people working together for years. I wanted to do that in America. But of course I’m not wealthy. I had no backers. All I had… was Iowa.

We had a weird confluence. Martin ANdrews was the best actor I knew. He had just had a child and instead of moving to Chicago for acting roles his wife and he decided to stay in Iowa for a bit. Saffron Henke had recently returned from multiple seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Kristy Hartsgrove (which for casting folks out there- Kristy is better than your current go to comic actress) had just gotten an MFA and moved to Iowa as a regrouping effort after realizing she hated Chicago. We were all in Iowa. Suddenly. And we had the keys to a theater. Luckily, an NNPN theater and so we said. Let’s just make something legendary.

It seems arrogant but that was always the goal for me. Legendary. We are in year two we have not accomplished it yet. But without any support. Funding. Agents. Or anything else we have in 2 years:
– Produced 7 new plays (and co written an 8th)
– We had a playscript published in American Theater Magazine
– We were invited to Under the Radar’s speed dating event
– We toured the following DENALI (Actors Theatre of Grand Rapids; Riverside Theatre; Acorn Theatre; Know Theatre), JUST KIDS (Available light, Sandglass Theatre, Pontine Theatre), MAYBERRY (Hancher Auditorium; Bucksbaum Performing Arts Center; Iowa Arts Center), TOYMAKERS WAR (Riverside THeatre, University of Northern Iowa) and RUST (Acotrs Theatre of Grand Rapids and CSPS/Legion Arts).
– We’ve been commissioned by the National Performance Network, Hancher Auditorium and more.
– We have three full time employees.

And this is the list I can think of while sitting in my back yard playing catch with my dog. People, as I’ve lamented, give us shit about not being in a major city. But people are fucking stupid. Our work stands up against anything. That’s why it tours. that’s why Hancher has already commissioned us again.

My lovely wife has told me it’s time for us to get Thai Food.

A new beginning. This is what a theater life can be. More to come. More to see.

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