Out of Los Angeles in the morning, everything completely uneventful, except for my brain whirling wondering if I'd brought enough underwear, did Lionel's homework get put where it needed to be, where was I changing planes? DFW?
I arrived in Tulsa, and was spotted (probably because I stood out like a sore thumb in my bright pink Converse and backpack. I like to keep track of myself) by a very nice gentleman by the name of Norman. It was a small enough airport that he found most of us right away. Turns out I had been on the same plane as Lee Blessing and Caridad Svich and we were being ferried to the festival together. THAT put me in paroxysms of shyness, especially since I had been reading her "GUAPA" on the plane, and because I had played Kimberly in his "Patient A." I'd long admired them both. Of course they were warm and funny and we all had a nice chat about what was wrong in the American theatre while driving the 75 miles from Tulsa to Independence. We also picked up a fellow Angeleno named Karen JP Howes, a projection designer, Matthew and a frazzled gentleman whose name was mumbled to me as McMurtry, so I assume he is some sort of a cowboy.
Arriving in town, the bigwigs went to their hotel, and church mouse me ended up in the dorms with a GREAT roommate, L.C.. Of course I was starving, and nothing was open so so I whined in my best Angeleno and got ferried into town for a meal at Jack's where I met a couple of other playwrights, and a very dry Martini.
Day one proper of the festival, I awoke (Awoke being a relative term since I hadn't slept in my overexcited exhaustion.) Went to the school cafeteria, chattered excitedly with other sleep deprived playwrights, and entered the Inge theatre for our orientation.
This is the 35th Inge festival, but the very FIRST Playlab. Karen Carpenter the AD and captain of the ship, explained that it had long been her goal to bring working playwrights to the festival, and here we were!
Felling honored, but queasy (My play "Picture Me Rollin" was first in the line up along with James Trivers, "Drinks With Mother Teresa.") I trotted off to a master class taught by Lee Blessing. I use his material, (Two Rooms, Walk in the Woods, Eleemosynary) in my acting classes. A brilliant, literary giant, he is also warm, engaging and nurturing of other playwrights.
After lunch the PlayLab started. I hadn't met the actors or the director until I walked into the green room to say hello. My piece is VERY new. It is a baby first draft, and I don't know what-the-hell impulse made me send it in. Except, I'm nothing if not impulsive. Lee is my respondent as is Beaufield Berry and Catherine Trieschmann, which didn't make nervous at all.
I was delighted and astounded at the amount of work and care that the actors took with my piece. These were a group from Kansas City, The Living Room Theatre. All of the playwrights have been commenting what a delight it is to have our work read by such a high caliber of performer.
To be honest, I barely remember what anyone said, except that they related to the subject, liked it, and thought I should expand it. I don't think there is anything worse than being brought onstage and asked to talk about your work. Or anything better. But I should have written everything down. My new playwright friends are all more or less in the same pickle. Mostly I wanted to leave and do rewrites, I was so jazzed by the work I saw. You'll have to ask someone else, but I think it was pretty good.