Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"Rose of Youth" Staged Reading on March 29

Mark your calendars, 'cause I have exciting news! My full-length play, The Rose of Youth, will be presented in a staged reading at the EXIT Theatre in San Francisco on March 29.

If you're a longtime reader of my blog, you might recognize that play title — though I haven't mentioned it, or thought about it, in years. The Rose of Youth was my senior thesis play at Vassar. I wrote it in fall 2007, and it received a production as part of the Drama Department's Dynamo Theater Lab project in spring 2008.

And after that incredible experience, I honestly expected that I'd put the play in a drawer and forget about it. I had written it specifically for my college: it's a backstage drama about Vassar's 1934 production of Antony and Cleopatra. But its huge cast means that no professional or indie theater company would consider producing it, and even if cast size were no obstacle, I thought it was just too "Vassar" for anyone else to care about it.

Well, never say never. Or something like that. The Rose of Youth will be one of three staged readings on the last weekend of March, as part of a mini-festival of backstage comedies that we're calling "Behind the Curtain."

The festival came about when my friend Stuart Bousel posted on Facebook that he'd written a new backstage comedy about a theater company producing Arcadia. Another friend of ours, Meg O'Connor, congratulated Stuart and added that she'd written a backstage comedy as her senior thesis play in college. "How funny, Meg," I wrote in response, "I also wrote a backstage play as my senior thesis. We should trade."

But where my instinct is just to say to Meg "Let's read each other's scripts," Stuart's instinct is to say "Let's put on a festival!" (This is why we love him.) He secured the EXIT Theatre for the weekend of March 28-30, and now "Behind the Curtain" is happening. Meg's In the Wings is the Thursday show, and Stuart's Pastorella is Saturday. Here's the festival poster (by Cody Rishell):

So this is going to be a trip and a half. It will be so strange and wonderful to return to The Rose of Youth, five years and three thousand miles later. This also marks the first time that I'm directing my own work in God knows how long. I mean, having produced the play five years ago, I already know that the script works and I'm not planning to make any changes or revisions to it. All the same, I'm a little bit nervous about directing! I'll be the only person to blame if things go wrong!

Casting is still in progress, but so far, Patrick Barresi, Jan Carty Mash, Travis Howse, Theresa Miller, and Jonathon Brooks are lined up to appear.

Look for more updates as March 29 draws closer.

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