Let’s get this out of the way. I have watched A LOT of Shonda Rhimes’ ‘Scandal’. I am often tired. I am often annoyed by Olivia Pope and President Fitzgerald Grant. I have fallen prey to a TV show that is constantly terrorists-USA-going-to-war-election-campaigns-dead-children-dead-husbands high stakes. It’s ridiculous and often beyond credible. But I am watching every minute.
So that has been one part of my residency. One very addictive part with late nights pressing the ‘next’ button and telling myself I will sleep in the next day to make up the brain cells (I never sleep in).
The other part of being here as a resident at The Playwrights’ Center for the month of June has been re-working scripts, applying for another project, reading about playwrights, meeting other playwrights, talking about Aus vs USA differences in theatre (not ‘theater’, sorry), going to so many play readings that I can no longer confidently reel off what I’ve seen. Mark Pritchard was here for a week and we were both obvious shades of green – they have their own venue here! For playwrights! To do developments! They love playwrights! Also, The Playwrights Center is not focussed on the project or getting the playwright produced. It’s a concern, of course, but the priority is ‘What does your play need?’. The program of events is basically readings and events. The playwrights awarded residencies or fellowships are not selected for a particular project but because of their practice. I dream of such a home in Australia. I seethe a little (only a little because I’m mild like that) that we, in lofty Melbourne, do not currently have such a home. The City of Literature! How can we be so moody and wintry and obsessed with black smocks and coffee and not have a space dedicated to such precious and esoteric creatures as playwrights. We should have a home. Many people should visit. They should bring friends. They should understand what is meant by a ‘reading’.
I did a workshop with a reading of Going down. How clear it was which bits to cut, which bits to hone in on. A Simpsons’ episode was referred to, which is always a good thing as that series is the dictionary of relevant storylines. I’m not anywhere near to ‘solving’ the play but it’s a little less cluttered and I’m a little less perplexed by what my mind has spewed out.
So much warm and gooey love-vibes for The Playwrights Center. I’ll just go and rate it there as the best professional experience of my life so far. There. Five stars and all.