What’s in a Name?

Laura Russell

Laura Russell (Gladys)

When I was a little girl, I wanted a nickname.  Laura seemed too staid, too responsible.  I wanted to be Laurie (or even Lori!), so much cooler than the skinny, well behaved, studious child I was.  My parents and teachers did not comply, however, and I remained Laura.  Nicknames did come and go, none lasting more than a few years, and now my adult self loves being Laura.  It is my real name, the one I identify as me. I have come to understand the importance of naming things true. Your true name is the name that matches your essential self.

In reading and preparing for my role in A Lesson From Aloes, I became fascinated by the importance given to names. When we first meet Piet Bezuidenhout, he is obsessed with naming an unidentified species of aloe, as if getting the name right will reveal the true nature of the plant. It is no accident that Piet’s wife, Gladys, calls him Peter.  She anglicizes his name to fit her worldview. Early in the play, Piet, in a moment both tender and anxious, asks his wife Gladys what she thought of his name when they first met.  Her reply reveals much about their marriage. Piet’s friend, Steve, is the descendant of indigenous African peoples and Dutch and British colonists, yet his name, and his father’s, reflect only the white colonial cultures.  In a painful reminiscence, Steve recalls the nickname his father was given by white South Africans, a diminutive that dismisses and emasculates him.
Fugard’s use of names in the play – what people and things are called, when they’re named and by whom – gives us insight into the characters’ motives, their personalities, and the environment in which they live.  It becomes apparent that the right name is powerful because it captures one’s soul.
A LESSON FROM ALOES April 29 – May 29, 2016 at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, where Quotidian is the Resident Theatre Company. Tickets are available now
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A Lesson for Me

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David Dubov (Piet)

I came to Athol Fugard’s A Lesson From Aloes early, having seen it in London not long after it premiered. It was at a small theater, in the round, making for a very intimate evening. Apartheid was still very much in force in South Africa at that time, and it seemed that news items about it were on the BBC every night. But I was a naive American, living abroad in my little ex-pat bubble, and I went into the theater not knowing what was coming.

I was floored. I can remember being stunned by the interplay of the three characters, the play unreeling in a flash. I felt the weight of the oppressive system on them, the full force of which – happening to real people in a real country halfway around the world – was finally driven into my soul.

Needless to say, the piece stuck with me, and, when the opportunity came 35 years later to be lucky enough to perform it, I jumped at the chance to tell this story. And Quotidian was the place to do so, with its continuing mission to present works that give us a glimpse of people just over the garden fence.

Of course, that’s particularly relevant to Aloes, and it allows performers and audience alike to experience the stifling narrowness of a world that is cut off from the rest of humanity by an unjust system of oppression.

Listen for the point where Gladys berates her Afrikaner husband Piet, telling him: “This is what a conversation with you has become… a catalogue of South African disasters.”

A Lesson from Aloes

Pictured: James Earl Jones, Maria Tucci, and Harris Yulin in A LESSON FROM ALOES, written and directed by Athol Fugard, 1980. American Premiere. Photo by Gerry Goodstein.

These characters, representing three aspects of apartheid society, English, Afrikaner, and Coloured, are trapped in an endless loop of self-loathing, able to talk of nothing else. But, we realize with descending despair, that this prison is man-made, that the repression has shackled everyone, black and white, with its indiscriminate brutality. 

And, in turn through Fugard’s genius, we are drawn into how each character reacts to that confinement.

I won’t spoil your experience by spelling it out, but I think, like me, that you’ll be floored as you watch over that garden fence.

A LESSON FROM ALOES April 29 – May 29, 2016 at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda. Tickets are available now

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A LESSON FROM ALOES in Today’s World

by Laura Giannarelli

_DSC8425-EditLauraGMasterI am so excited to be working with such a great cast to bring Athol Fugard’s A LESSON FROM ALOES to life in 2016. When I was approached by Artistic Director Jack Sbarbori about directing again at Quotidian, and he suggested this play, I went to my bookshelves to re-read it. It had been years since I had seen the play or read it. I recalled Arena Stage’s wonderful production of it many years ago, and how moved I was at the time by the story of the play and the playwright’s ability to shine a light on the horrors of apartheid. All these years later, I was concerned that, as apartheid has officially ended in South Africa (even if the country still struggles with the aftermath of so many years of corrosive bigotry), the play might be less relevant than when Fugard first wrote it. On the contrary! It is heartfelt and as engrossing as it was when first produced in the United States in 1980.

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Director Laura Giannarelli

Athol Fugard’s A LESSON FROM ALOES is a play that stands the test of time. In fact, it feels to me as if it could have been written yesterday. While it is set in a very specific time and place, Port Elizabeth, South Africa in 1963, its themes transcend the circumstances of life in that time period. The three characters wrestle with very human tensions and emotions, the same feelings that affect people all over the world: friendship, trust, love….betrayal, fear, doubt. The Afrikaner Piet and his friend Steve are brought together for a farewell dinner Piet and his wife have prepared, before Steve emigrates to England, never to return to South Africa. Their friendship is challenged in ways both specific to the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa at the time and universal. Piet no longer sees his former colleagues in the movement, and Steve has been imprisoned and tormented while in custody. Piet’s wife Gladys has suffered collateral damage because of her husband’s participation in the movement; their marriage is profoundly affected by what happened prior to the start of the play. As the play unfolds, we learn just how deeply all three individuals have been hurt.

We can all identify with these three characters. Who has not had the seeds of doubt and fear planted in his/her mind, and never been able to totally neutralize the acidic effect on a relationship? Fugard’s play is more intense, perhaps, than what we are used to in our more peaceful day to day lives in America, but the playwright’s brilliance allows us to empathize with the plight of these three fragile yet resilient souls and experience along with them for a couple of hours the tragedy of South Africa’s divisive past.

I am confident that our wonderful cast and I will bring A LESSON FROM ALOES to vibrant life in the Quotidian Theatre Company production.

A LESSON FROM ALOES April 29 – May 29, 2016 at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda. Tickets are available now

Giannarelli most recently directed QTC’s remarkable 2014 production of Brian Friel’s FAITH HEALER, another three-actor drama that also featured company member Laura Russell.

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South Africa and A LESSON FROM ALOES

by Steve LaRocque

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Athol Fugard

With Maytag Virgin sadly receding in the rear-view mirror (a lot of people liked that show, for very good reasons), we move on to Quotidian’s second offering in the 2015-16 season, Athol Fugard’s A Lesson from Aloes, directed by Laura Giannarelli and featuring David Dubov, Laura Russell, and Addison Switzer.  I have seen several Fugard plays, and every time I have I felt that I wanted to know a lot more about the South African society that is so integral to Fugard’s work. 

So, when we were lining up people to lead the pre-show dramaturg sessions that we offer to our subscribers, I signed up for A Lesson from Aloes.  I figured that if I undertook an earnest effort to assimilate South African history and culture, I could wrap my arms around the whole thing in, say, three months, tops.  Wrong.  I have been reading history, watching Fugard on YouTube, downloading and devouring articles, maps and pictures, and I still feel I have gotten nowhere.  It’s like trying to drink from an overachieving water fountain, getting a faceful, swearing you’re never going to do it again – and going back for more.  I’m not done, not nearly, but I do have a lot of material. 

Let’s start with the big beast: the Republic of South Africa, the name we give to the conflation of the Cape Colony, the Transvaal, the Karoo, Natal, the homelands, the townships and much more – an immense country, much of it beautiful, some of it as harsh as any place on the planet, with a history that takes us back to the earliest traces of our species on the planet.  A country, in many ways, like our own United States – but, I would maintain, a lot more complicated. 

Let’s compare: how many capitals do we have?  Well, one, of course; doesn’t everybody?  South Africa has three. 

How about official languages?  We have one – English – and a de facto second language, Spanish. How many does South Africa have?  Eleven.  Ethnic groups?  Don’t even start.  To simplify things, let’s say that South Africa has whites, of English and Afrikaner (Dutch) origin; mixed-race people who speak Afrikaans (in South African terminology: Colored); Indians (from India, or their descendants); and native Africans, descended from a multitude of tribes, some more or less intact, some gone.

In A Lesson from Aloes, each of Fugard’s three main characters is from one of the major groups: an Afrikaner, an Englishwoman, and a Colored man.

Let’s note here which group Fugard identifies himself with.  He has stated many times that he considers himself an Afrikaner – a white man whose native language is that variant of Dutch called Afrikaans and whose forebears go back to the 1600’s.  And his characters – the main ones, anyway – are also Afrikaners.  Almost without exception, he says every principal male character in his plays has an Afrikaans name.  As he puts it, “I am an Afrikaner writing in the English language.”  (In case you’re wondering, he does speak perfectly fluent Afrikaans, which prompted a friend of his to joke that Fugard translates his plays before he writes them.)

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David Dubov (Piet)

A Lesson from Aloes provides us with a perfect example.  At the top of the play we meet Piet Bezuidenhout (David Dubov), who defines himself thus: “Origin: Dutch.  The first one arrived in 1695.”

In case you’re wondering, that’s pretty close to the beginning of the European presence in what we now call South Africa.

The first Europeans – Portuguese – sailed around the Cape of Good Hope at the end of the 15th century, and the Dutch first showed up in 1652.  They farmed on land grants in the area now known as Stellenbosch, then pushed north and east, opening up frontiers, encountering resistance and fighting wars with the native tribes who had occupied the land for many, many centuries, gradually taking over with their European weaponry. 

Does this sound familiar? 

The Europeans who settled South Africa did a lot of the same things that the Europeans who settled the American colonies did – including enslaving people.  But the Dutch didn’t just enslave Africans – Indians and Malaysians got caught up in it, too.  When the British showed up in the 1700’s and began to assert themselves, they pushed the Dutch to abandon slavery, which finally went away officially in the 1830’s; but, of course, racial inequality persisted to this day, with the whites at the top of the heap – though which whites, English or Dutch, made out better depends on whose story you listen to.  That’s Piet, the Afrikaner; more about him later.

Laura Russell

Laura Russell (Gladys)

Piet’s wife, Gladys (Laura Russell), is English – her maiden name was Gladys Adams – but she was born in South Africa and has lived her entire life there. 

Gladys has a deeply ambivalent attitude about the country: “I may have been born here, but I will never call it [home],” and she draws a clear distinction between her origins and Piet’s, lumping him with “you Afrikaners.”

But for all her Englishness, Gladys has never actually been to England, though she refers to it dreamily and persistently, conjuring up idyllic images of a Somerset landscape and contrasting it with her present harsh surroundings.

But there’s a deep-seated irony in Glayds’s situation: at the time in which the play is set (1963), South Africa had declared itself a republic and had withdrawn from the Commonwealth, that worldwide association of 53 countries that have ties to Great Britain (usually from having been part of the British Empire, but that fact isn’t too widely trumpeted).  The concept of the Commonwealth shored up the allegiance of many a British expat and their children born overseas, like Gladys.  However, in 1963 South Africa, an Englishwoman’s psychological and emotional ties to Queen and country were pretty tenuous.

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Addison Switzer (Steve)

Finally, there is Steve (Addison Switzer), Piet’s long-time friend and the guest for the evening.  Steve is Colored, which, in the South African context, means that he is descended from the indigenous peoples who intermarried with Dutch settlers in the 1700’s, mostly in the southern coastal part of South Africa known as The Cape.  (Port Elizabeth, where Fugard has set many of his plays, is in the Eastern Cape.)

Being Colored is a little better than being African (black), but not much.  As one contemporary observer puts it, ” … the system was designed in such a way that you had White people at the very top … Black people at the bottom … and Coloureds and Indians as the buffer. This created an ugly precedent, one that cast Coloured people as ‘inbetweeners’, never good enough to be the boss, but a little more privileged than the bottom-rung servant.  Despite the oppression of the … government, things were not as rough for Coloured and Indian folk as they were for Black folk and so if you kept your head low and did not cause too much trouble with ideas of revolution, you barely got by.”  (Gushwell Brooks, Daily Maverick, 30 Jul 2015)

Unfortunately, however, Steve did cause too much trouble: he became politically active, got arrested, broke parole (to put it in American terms), got rearrested and re-incarcerated, and has been dealt with as only the brutal Special Police can do.

Recently released, Steve has decided to emigrate with his family to England, under an arrangement that allows no possibility of return – a one-way ticket, with no way back.

Steve’s situation shines a harsh light on a central issue of the play: faced with the prospect of living in a brutally unjust society that is nevertheless your home, do you choose to stay or leave?  This issue preoccupied Fugard’s own mother, an Afrikaner married to an improvident English South African who left her with the challenge of making ends meet.  She employed black servants and was acutely aware of the injustice that pervaded the society of her day, yet she chose to remain and do what she could to lead a normal, moral life.  Fugard has often cited his mother as the principal influence on his view of the world in general and South Africa in particular. 

So there we have our characters, each from a major segment of South African society, each with intense personal preoccupations, each with a different approach to the issue of staying or going.  Plenty to work with here.

And we haven’t even gotten into the politics, the police tactics, the poetry, the rumors about what Piet did – or the aloes. Next time.

A LESSON FROM ALOES April 29 – May 29, 2016 at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda. Tickets are available now

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MAYTAG VIRGIN: It’s All About the Journey

By Will Hardy, who plays Jack Key

For me Maytag Virgin began last fall with a call from playwright Audrey Cefaly. She was looking for actors to read a draft so she could hear the words out loud and work out where she wanted the play to go. I soon found out that this is a hallmark of her writing, that the words–both said and unsaid–must come from a real place, in order to reveal the inner workings of human hearts.

unnamed-11I fell in love with this play from the very first reading for the nuanced way it told the story of two good but wounded people struggling against their reluctance to open their hearts again. With every new version Audrey created, and that Gillian Shelly and I read together, the writing became richer and more layered, even as the language itself became simpler and clearer. This play is not just about how broken hearts overcome grief and loss to be able to find each other, it is also about how inseparable life and death really are–two sides of the same coin. Life is both pain and joy, death is both tragedy and release.

One of the the things I love about being in Maytag Virgin is the musicality of the language. The cadence of English spoken in Alabama is almost a song; the words matter, not only which ones you use but also which ones you stress. Listen for the silences too–those moments when something shifts in the conversation, or when no words could possibly say what needs to be said. Quotidian’s intimate space at The Writer’s Center is perfect for rendering the very human scale of these voices.

I am also incredibly fortuunnamed-6nate to be playing this role opposite Gillian (now Gillian Shelly Lawler) as Lizzy Nash. Her presence and range of expression onstage and her warmth and dedication backstage have made this very challenging show a joy, and I delight in her performance every bit as much as the audience does–once we step into our roles, she becomes Lizzy to me too. I feel privileged to be able to inhabit Jack Key for a little while and give voice to the heart he keeps locked down out of fear, though he longs to set it free. To take such a battered, stoic man through that pain and let the audience share his moment of grace is one of the real rewards of acting in this gorgeous new play.

MAYTAG VIRGIN runs through November 1. Friday & Saturday at 8pm. Sunday at 2pm. *Additional 2pm matinee Saturday October 31 Tickets

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New Quotidian Subscriber Offering: Dramaturg Sessions

By Steve LaRocque

Beginning this season, Quotidian subscribers will be able to take advantage of several new exciting offerings, including pre-show presentation/discussion sessions that we are calling “Dramaturg Sessions.”

What is a Dramaturg?

The term, while fairly obscure to the general public, is heard a lot in theater – but that doesn’t mean that everyone agrees about its meaning.

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Gotthold Lessing, who originated the term dramaturg.

The concept originated in 18th Century Germany, when Gotthold Lessing put down his ideas about how to create and sustain a national German theater: organizing scripts and production-related materials; promoting a better understanding of the repertory among actors; and – most importantly for our purposes – educating audiences about the theater productions they came to see. For all of these functions (and others as well) he proposed a function that he called “der Dramaturgist” – in today’s language, the dramaturg.

However, almost 250 years after Lessing laid out his agenda, you won’t find unanimity about what a dramaturg does. It really depends on what the individual theater or director requires.

But there are some common elements. In her 2012 online article, “What is a Dramaturg?”, Bess Rowen quotes some explanations from working dramaturgs about what they do. Here is a helpful one:

“Dramaturgs are … text analyzers; we are researchers; we are objective observers; we are expert question askers; we are a resource for the director and playwright and actors and designers, and we are creative diplomats who liaise with those involved.”

In other words, a good dramaturg can tell you a lot about what to expect when you see a play. That’s what we plan to offer our subscribers for the 2015-16 season – and, if the idea works out – in future seasons, as well.

In the 2015-16 season, Quotidian will offer one Dramaturg Session for each of the three shows in the season (for subscribers only). Dramaturg Sessions will be held at the Writer’s Center, on the same day as one of the scheduled performances, beginning one hour before curtain (7 p.m. for evening shows, 1 p.m. for matinees). They will take place in a room separate from the theater; the specific location will depend on how large the group is expected to be.

Audrey Cefaly, playwright of Maytag Virgin.

Audrey Cefaly, playwright of Maytag Virgin.

The Dramaturg Sessions

The first Dramaturg Session, for Maytag Virgin, will take place on Saturday, October 17, and will feature Audrey Cefaly, playwright and director, as the dramaturg. What better source of background and context could you want?

This particular session offers the additional special benefit of providing an opportunity to hear the playwright/director discuss the process of writing the script, collaborating with actors and the production team, and bringing the story to life on the stage.

For the final show of the season, the dramaturg will be Stephanie Mumford, who has translated, adapted, and will direct a stage version of Anton Chekhov’s immortal short story, The Lady with the Little Dog. This, too, is a special opportunity for a glimpse into the creative process, including translation and adaptation of a classic foreign-language text – never an easy or straightforward procedure – as well as integrating multiple visual and aural media into the overall production.

Steve LaRocque, dramaturg for A Lesson From Aloes.

Steve LaRocque, dramaturg for A Lesson From Aloes.

In between, you get me – as the dramaturg for Athol Fugard’s A Lesson from Aloes, directed by Laura Giannarelli. I am not the playwright, adapter, or director – I haven’t even acted in a Fugard piece – but I have long been interested in the South African society that the playwright has used as the setting for his great plays – interested, but also frustrated that I didn’t have a complete picture. I suspected that Fugard’s South Africa must be maddeningly complex.

So I started in studying the history of the country, its ethnicities and its tensions, and, though I am far from finished, I realize that I had no idea. What we now call South Africa is the product of age-old conflicts, a complex mingling of ethnicities, and never-ending potential for explosive developments. I won’t claim to be the expert that others, including possibly audience members, might be, but I can give a basic presentation and get the discussion rolling. I am confident that the subscribers will take it from there.

How Will it Work?

The designated dramaturg – a member of the Quotidian company – will give a presentation, about 30 minutes long, explaining the background of the play, its context, and anything else that will enhance the audience’s understanding and appreciation of the play they are about to see.

When the half-hour presentation is over, audience members will have an opportunity for questions and discussion. We decided on this roughly half-and-half format, because we know from experience that audience members bring a lot of their own knowledge to the show they have come to see, and are usually more than ready to speak up.

The session will wrap up promptly ten minutes before the curtain, to give subscribers sufficient time to make their way to the theater and to their (reserved) seats.

The Dramaturg Sessions are not, by the way, intended to take the place of “talk-backs,” which will also be held on selected dates during the 2015-16 season. The talk-back, which takes place shortly after the curtain call and often includes cast members and the director, covers some of the same ground as the Dramaturg Session, but after the fact. The Dramaturg Session is intended to be anticipatory, with an explanation and discussion of context, setting, who’s who, etc., before the show begins.

Subscribe Today to Get This Exciting Benefit

Dramaturg Sessions were specifically developed as a subscriber benefit, so, subscribe today!

Attendance is by reservation, separate from reservations for the show. Seats may be reserved by calling the Quotidian reservation phone line (301) 816-1023, or by sending an e-mail to qtcboxoffice@gmail.comPlease use this specific e-mail, so that we can keep track of the Dramaturg Sessions separately; also please use “Dramaturg Session” somewhere in the subject line.

We hope that you enjoy the Dramaturg Sessions and find them a valuable addition to the benefits offered to Quotidian subscribers.


Our mission at Quotidian Theatre Company is to find truth and beauty in the everyday, presenting plays in an understated, impressionistic style. We are proud to be the Resident Theater Company at our performance space, The Writer’s Center in Bethesda.

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MAYTAG VIRGIN: The Making of a Southern Love Story

Evolution from Monologue to Full-Length Play

by Audrey Cefaly

Genesis

My play MAYTAG VIRGIN first appeared on the stage at Atlas Performing Arts Center’s annual Intersections Festival back in 2012, in the form of 10 minute monologue. Gwydion Suilebhan had asked me to join a group of playwrights to collectively answer a prompt for pieces “exploring a collision of people of different ages, races, cultures, classes, or sexual identities.”

I resisted the idea at first because I tend to shy away from writing about identity politics. It’s not that I don’t want to be part of the conversation, but my approach is perhaps more indirect, as I believe I lack the vocabulary for those kinds of discussions. So I took a step back and realized I could approach it in a way that felt familiar to me. I chose to write a story about a Southern protestant woman and her new Catholic neighbor and the resulting tension from their close proximity and religious differences. And while the finished piece wasn’t exactly a firestarter, I felt good about it because it was well-received and it seemed like the genesis of something much bigger. So when the Women’s Voices Theater Festival opportunity came along, I realized that MAYTAG VIRGIN would be my project.

Labor of Love

Expanding MAYTAG has been a true joy. I’ve collaborated with some extraordinary people who believe in my work and help to make it better. I’m really, really lucky to have that level of support. Keeping it set in the south was important to me. I am an Alabama native and much of my writing is taken from experiences and stories from my time living there.

Audrey_Cefaly_Maytag_VirginI knew I wanted MAYTAG to be similar, atmospherically, to my other Southern pieces (THE GULF, FIN & EUBA, COTTONWOOD, MILL TOWN GIRLS). I experimented with character count and narrative styles. My decision to write the piece as a two-hander, a specialty of mine, was one I made right off the bat. As both director and writer, it allows me to dig deep into human connections and explore the ideas of inertia and enlightenment, themes I keep returning to in all of my work. The more I write, the more audacious I get. I love taking risks. I’m experimenting once again with original music. It adds something very special to the finished product, an element of danger and aliveness that nothing else gets at. Having direct access to my actors as well as the text gives me the freedom to go places I couldn’t ordinarily go. It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s incredibly rewarding.

Building Tension

maytag-virgin-by_audrey_cefaly_tension_425wSo Maytag Virgin is the story of two school teachers trying to overcome tremendous loss. They enter each other’s world at the very moment it has been ripped apart. My playwright pal Richard Byrne (Nero/Pseudo) gave me the idea to position their houses next door to each other (vs. across the street), an idea which has proven to be the single best piece of advice I’ve gotten for the play. The proximity of Jack and Lizzy’s neighboring houses serves as an organic source of conflict and tension.

Maytag_Virgin_Set_Design_Scott_HengenThere was a point in the writing, where I put it down for almost 6 weeks because I had reached a wall with the narration and was having trouble one of Lizzy’s monologues. The content of it felt right, but I knew intuitively that something about the framing was off. My dramaturg Ann-Marie Dittman urged me to stay away from direct address and return to my original style. I figured out a way to transform Lizzy’s big moment into more of a soliloquy during the approaching thunder storm at the end at Act I. This created a powerful lead-in to intermission.

Toward the end of the restructuring process, I wrote a connector piece to bridge the final two scenes. This has become my favorite scene in the whole play. There’s a stillness to it, a simple, intimate, healing moment between Jack and Lizzy that serves to illustrate how far their relationship has evolved. The critical scene has become a focal point in the narrative, because we see that the moment would not be possible if not for the foundational layers of trust that have built up over the course of the year since their first meeting.

Will_Hardy_Gillian_Shelly_Maytag_Virgin_by_Audrey_Cefaly_425wMy incredible actors (Gillian Shelly, Will Hardy) have played a HUGE role in the fine-tuning of the play. They’ve been with me since the beginning and throughout our many private and public readings. We’re in our 3rd week of rehearsals now and we’ve been making the necessary text adjustments that can only be known and discovered once the actors are up on their feet. This is my favorite part of the development process and the thing I believe makes it the most distinct from other types of writing, because a play is not merely a script. It cannot be fully developed in a vacuum or coffee shop. It needs animation. It needs the magic of collaboration to see it through to its final rendering.

Fruition

Watching the evolution of this play has been the most rewarding experience of my writing career. Over the past year, we’ve had 5 table reads and 3 public readings (the 4th one and final read took place September 5th at Kennedy Center’s Page to Stage Festival).

Postscript

Recently, after I’d written the first draft of this article, my husband died after a long battle with kidney failure. We had been estranged for a few years, but I still cared about him, deeply. This has been a difficult week for me and my son Thomas. We’ve been muddling through it somehow. But it hasn’t escaped me that I’m trying to birth a play about death at the very moment death decided to descend upon my home. Though, strangely enough, this does not feel like death. It feels… it feels like life. A life where now free of pain and suffering. Where healing begins.

Will-Hardy-sings-RAIN-by-Audrey-Cefaly_Maytag_Virgin_425wWe have moved rehearsals to my home in Bowie so that I can be here with my son. The actors come in and it’s a house full of crazy. We gather and embrace. We strike a line, we move, we remove, we let the silence speak. We push and pull and weave and polish, we play a song and it feels like flying. MAYTAG VIRGIN is the song of love. And everything it touches turns to love. And the love it creates returns and folds back in, like warm pulled taffy. It feels as if every song I’ve ever sung is wrapped into this thing. And it’s not stopping. And it’s gorgeous. And I’m terrified. And I can’t wait.

Maytag Virgin Events

$10 Preview Night – October 1 • Writer’s Center • Bethesda | Info

World Premiere – October 2 • Writer’s Center • Bethesda | Info

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