Sunday, March 28, 2010

If I may be allowed to brag...

...a couple of months ago, I was invited to join the Literary Committee of the Cutting Ball Theater, and I am eagerly looking forward to attending my first committee meeting!

The Cutting Ball is one of my favorite theaters in town; you might have read my blog posts where I raved about their productions of Thom Pain, Krapp's Last Tape, and The Bald Soprano. So I really consider it an honor to be asked to get involved with this organization doing what I love best (apart from playwriting): reading plays and deciding if they would be suitable for staged readings or productions!

Oh, and the week after I agreed to join the Literary Committee? Cutting Ball was profiled in American Theater magazine. Pretty sweet, no?

The other thing that amazes me is the way I got invited to join the committee. I had attended the first-ever San Francisco Theater Pub--Euripides' Cyclops, newly translated by my friend Ben Fisher--and, while socializing after the show, I kept bumping into a young woman. About the third time this happened, we decided we should just introduce ourselves. She said she was Meg O'Connor, Literary Manager of Cutting Ball, whereupon I immediately started gushing about how much I love the work at that theater.

Then she asked me, "And are you involved with theater at all?"

"Yes," I said, "I'm a playwright--I'm a friend of Ben's."

No sooner had I said this than Meg said, "Oh, then perhaps you'd like to join the Cutting Ball Literary Committee!"

Would I ever! Still, I can't get over the easiness, the friendliness of the encounter. At the time this happened, I was reading Outrageous Fortune, which, as you may know, amid all its doom-and-gloom, singles out the Bay Area as a region where the theater is actually thriving; it says that the community here is exceptionally supportive and hospitable. This event--a chance encounter at a pub night leading to my joining the literary committee at one of my favorite theaters--is San Francisco theater at its finest. And this sort of thing would never happen in New York. There, I imagine, the competition to be on the literary committee of a theater as good as Cutting Ball would be cutthroat--requiring some kind of elaborate application process, dozens of hungry young playwrights all jockeying for one slot. Here, there were no hoops to jump through.

As I said, I haven't yet been to my first literary committee meeting, but I believe our main responsibility is to find overlooked plays from thousands of years of theater history, to present in the Hidden Classics Reading Series. (This winter, I attended both Medea vs. Medea and Women Beware Women when Cutting Ball presented them as Hidden Classics.) So not only am I looking forward to the opportunity to share some of my favorite classic plays with the wider public, I also know that the other committee members will expose me to plays I've never even heard of, and I hope that this will make my own writing stronger as well...

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