Hi folks –

I have been back for a little while from the Playwriting residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts as well as my research trip to St. Louis, Missouri. I wanted to update you on how it went in a little reportback:

1) There were 20 residents, three “master artists” and the staff and volunteers.
2) My group of playwrights were all working on full-length (our second or beyond) plays with Annie Baker (Circle Mirror Transformation, Body Awareness). We spent hours each day reading plays, writing, getting in fascinating discussions on articles and craft topics; importantly, we read and gave close feedback on one anothers’ plays, with Annie’s expert guidance.
3) I also met and got feedback from the powerful Dael Orlandersmith (Yellowman, the Gimmick), who had group working on monologues.
4) There were many studios and spaces to utilize, all with beautiful and inspiring architecture. There were a few performances in the theater, including the closing event where we all shared 5 minutes.
5) We all ate together, talked about art, took bike rides, read in the library, and as much as we could, wrote, wrote, wrote. Some of us collaborated and shared advice and expertise.
6) From this, I was able to draft a (rough) full-length version of my play, A History of the Body! This was a tremendous task that would have not been possible otherwise. In this professional and compressed environment – sort of a hothouse for creativity – the work, though raw and awkward as it is, was born.
7) Thereafter, I visited St. Louis and scoured the library and museums at the original St. Louis World’s Fair (1904), some of the material of which has influenced my play, as well as my poetic work. I was able to actually peruse real photos and books from that era.
8) I’m back and I’ve had my nose in my computer, churning out rewrites, a process which will now take many months and much more elbow grease.  And next up…is to be discovered, but hopefully it will find its way into the production phase (or 2).

Here’s an acknowledgment of folks who helped send me there. Thanks for believing in me:

2011, Atlantic Center for the Arts!

Aurora and Peter Vana
Eleanor and Emil Suzara

Joan Osato

Toussaint Stewart
Jen-Mei Wu
James Espinas, in honor of Karen Aqua
Joellene Buccat
Frances Sedayao

Richard Wright

Kristine Yates
Roseli Ilano
Lisa Melnick

Those who gave 0-10, you are also stellar!

AND the Anonymous Amount-Givers (chose not to reveal $):

Linda Rose Victoire Byers
Ron Quesada
David Palaita
David Maduli
Maryam Roberts
Maria Josephine Barrios
Lisa Hsia
Patricia Ong
Cristina Mitra
Christine Cordero
Edwin Guarin
Linda Nietes
Debra Busman
Conrad Panganiban
Fiona Smith
Ana Gallegos