Thursday, April 24, 2008

Oh, to Be in England... that April's here? Perhaps, though never having visited the British Isles, I'm not currently craving the pleasures of an English springtime. Instead, I am fascinated by the news that 21-year-old writer Polly Stenham's play That Face, a smash hit at the Royal Court Theatre, will transfer to the West End.

I got the link from Mr. Excitement, who labeled it simply "Things That Would Never Happen Here." Ha, how true... And for someone like me, it's especially gobsmacking--to know that someone only a few months older than me, a sister playwright if you will, is getting a 10-week commercial run in the West End.

That Face is described as a drama about a troubled upper-middle-class family, dealing with issues such as drug & alcohol abuse, parent-child relations, and girl-on-girl bullying. The latter subject strikes me as especially fresh, an excellent choice for a bold young female playwright. Polly has said, "Give me a 14-year-old girl who's angry! That's an age and a species of the human race that can do some bad things. There are hormones everywhere." Agreed.

Stenham got this opportunity via the Royal Court's program for young seems almost too easy! "It's not elitist; it's open to anyone aged 13-25. You just go in and read plays and write little scenes. I really believe that with that behind you, anyone could have a good shot at doing something like this [...] They said write a play, if you want, for The Young Writers' Festival, and I thought I'd give it a go."

And so, like many American theater artists, I sigh over how good things are in Britain, and with a trace of envy, wish Polly Stenham all the best.

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