About Me

 

I have often said that I have a robust relationship with fear, but it is the act of fighting to conquer what I am afraid of, while remaining terrified, that makes me not just a better person but a better playwright as well.  It is fear that lead me to one of my most influential sources for understanding dramatic writing. After a very brief delusion that I would perform on stage, I was scared I had chosen the wrong career path, but then began exploring technical theatre at West Chester University while developing my voice as a playwright. Constructing sets, hanging lights and being a member of the stage management team became a deeply satisfying part of my work experience. Not only that, but I was also able to learn script analysis and structure in an intimate way while I spent weeks in the rehearsal hall gleaning the work of immensely talented directors and performers. Design and technical work has taught me to think more visually, solving problems not just with language, and practically, creating shows that can be performed by contemporary companies without sacrificing artistic vision.

Despite uncertainties, I have slowly become confident in my technical abilities, from my first professional job, a technical intern at Totempole Playhouse to my current position as the Student Event Coordinator of the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Along the way, I have had the wonderfully intimidating experience of working with luminary talents such as Naomi Iizuka (during the 2004 Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville) and Laurie Anderson (at MASS MoCA), and speaking with a personal idol, Paula Vogel. Seeing these visionaries work and hearing them speak has shaped how I think of the art form, but none of that would mean a thing, if I weren’t so overwhelmed by meeting them. Now, I am able to guide the next generation of theatre professionals through their fears as they mount full scale musicals, dance shows, original plays and a host of other events at the Annenberg Center. Recently, I also began working with brilliant Philadelphia-based companies through the Center’s By Local series.  Combining these two aspects of my job, I created MERGE, a unique event series that joins students and local professionals to work together onstage for the first time as they generate and present an evening of themed scripts in just 24 hours.

Of course, it is not just work experience that has influenced and inspires my writing.  I was born in a struggling small town on the shore of the Alleghany River, then moved to the industrial-suburban setting of York, PA just before high school. Never quite finding my place, I often retreated to the interior world of books, film and most often writing. Overawed, but spurred on, in equal share by literary giants like A Catcher in the Rye and Catch-22, fantastical pop confections like Michael Crichton’s Sphere and the Star Wars trilogy, and theatrical writing like Equus and Buried Child, I began to see worlds of endless possibilities that were also riddled with human folly and cynical but desperate characters.  My writing fuses these personal fears to my professional passion. The artists I work with directly continue to teach me the joy of true collaboration, as I decipher my own style of interacting with fellow theatre artists. In my view, everyone in the room is there to seek the often messy truth of the play, not laid out by the writer, but explored equally by everyone involved, including (and perhaps most importantly) the audience. Because a play is only a script until it reaches an audience. There, it comes to life and lives on to do untold work for years to come, perhaps. It can move past fear and into understanding we never knew was possible. This… is the power of our art, which I am honored to have a part in.