Tell us a bit about yourself and your artistic practice (500 words)
I began as a playwright and novelist living in New York. At the Trinity Rep Conservatory I added the skills of acting and directing. I wrote for newspapers and magazines, and became an editor of both newspapers and magazines. I founded the Real Fun Theater Company and ran that for several years, before moving because of my spouse's employment. Returning to Rhode Island, I became a professional storyteller, blending writing and live performance. I also became an independent/craft publisher, creating books and audio works. While on tour in Europe, COVID brought the in-person live performance part of my career to a crashing halt. After experimenting with Zoom, and watching State Vs. Natasha Banina, I began writing my first play in more than two decades.
My work often starts with a political idea, a moral lesson, a seasonal event, an interesting idea, or a character incident. During development, the work is "tailored" to audience or a specific event or theme. For storytelling this means knowing the age and demographics of the listeners. For writing it means writing for a particular publication.
As a both a writer and performer, I relish the challenge of bridging diverse audiences. Narrow niching diminishes the power of story and storytelling to connect people of all ages and backgrounds.
My practice begins with inspiration and improvisation that results in a rough first draft. This is followed by read-alouds with a pen in hand, what I call "the scribble draft." These changes are turned back into the computer, for more reading/revision. Once a piece is in performance (as a storyteller) or in rehearsal (as a playwright), the work continues to morph based on audience reaction, happy chance, and glaring deficiencies. Texts remain fluid throughout the process. Some become "set" while others are guidelines.
In performance the goal is always the same -- create an amazing piece of work that lives vividly in the moment for this particular audience.
In print or audio recording, the goals are to create an astonishing piece of work that nourishes and delights.