Rules: If you’d like to play, take 15 minutes to jot down 15 plays you’ve read or seen or participated in in some way that will always stick with you — list the first 15 you can recall in 15 minutes. Don’t take too long to think about it. Tag 15 friends, including me because I’d like to see what shows you choose. (To do this, go to your Notes tab, paste the instructions in a new note, list your 15 picks, and tag people in the note – upper right hand side.)
So, these are the first 15 that came to me in the order they came to me – and a word or two of why these have stuck/what i learned from them….
1. Blasted by Sarah Kane — it taught me that you don’t have to like something to like something. plus, in production at Soho Rep I was blown away by the use of tech in creating a production that seemed to be not only in front of me but inside of me.
2. Marat/Sade by Peter Weiss — this weekend I had the chance to rewatch some of the Forum production from last summer and I remembered how wonderful that project was. The character work and specificity of the production the fantastic music written by the one and only Jesse Terrill, and the transformation of the space. It was also such an interesting play to dramaturg as we dug into the layers of Sade, Marat, and French history.
3. The Last Days of Judas Iscariot by Stephen Adly Guirgis — And speaking of Forum productions. What sticks with me about Judas is the impact that it had on an audience. The combination of sacred and profane elevated the story into something that really mattered to people. And of course the talented Forum cast and the true ensemble created helped.
4. Crumble, Lay Me Down Justin Timberlake by Sheila Callaghan — the writing in this play is poetry and it’s painful and heart warming and beautiful. and of course seeing Eric Messner as Timberlake and Harrison Ford beat all.
5. Ragtime book by Terrence McNally, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and music by Stephen Flaherty – Broadway. Yup. Seeing Ragtime on Broadway years and years ago was one of the best theater experiences I’ve had. The combination of music and the story was powerful and inluential on me as a youngster.
6. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard – I remember the first time I saw the movie in middle school, soon followed by reading the script, and then seeing production after production. It’s stuck with me but good.
7. Arcadia by Tom Stoppard – Arcadia is just so bloody well crafted. I’ve still never seen it. I was sorry to miss the production in DC earlier this year.
8. Angels in America I & II by Tony Kushner – These scripts, also discovered in High School, are probably the reason I’m doing theater today. They showed me how layered theatrical storytelling could be, how it did not have to remain bound to reality while still being real.
9. Bright Room Called Day by Tony Kushner — On the top of the list for plays I’ve worked on, it’s firstly an amazing play but other than that, on a personal note, I think working on this play changed the direction of my life.
10. Waiting for Godot — speaking of plays that stick with you. and that are amazingly written. and that have changed theater. and that belong so closely to so many. and that are difficult. and misunderstood. and brilliant.
11. The Skriker by Caryl Churchill – That opening monologue is amazing. outstanding. brilliant. The production I worked on what not entirely successful perhaps, but it will always stick with me.
12. The Seagull by Anton Chekhov – This past year was the year of the Seagull. I worked on one production and saw two others. The play bothers me, I understand it in someways and in other ways I feel like no matter how much time I will spend with it I will never completely understand it. It’s beautiful and strange. and I love that.
13. Bal Masque by Richard Greenberg – The final three here are my Theater J three. This was my favorite play during my years at the J. I think it’s stunning and heartbreaking and difficult and funny and beautiful. I hope that Richard doesn’t keep it hidden away and it sees the light of production again.
14. The Dybbuk by S. Ansky – Working on this show was an incredible experience. It allowed me to watch Synetic and discover how they put together their amazing brand of movement theater. It allowed me to dive into a play and a world that had fascinated me for a long time. And it scared me to hear my words every night on stage. I don’t know how playwrights do it.
15. David in Shadow and Light book and lyrics by Yehuda Hyman music by Daniel Hoffman — My final show at Theater J. The response was so disappointing given that the play was so well loved by us on staff. It wasn’t perfect, but it didn’t need to be, it was in process. It was ambitious and passionate. And the audience didn’t know how to take it. It taught me a great deal about how to approach producing a play that is still in its developmental stages.
Gosh, really only 15? Ugh.
Ok, your turn.