I’m one happy playwright. Tomorrow is the Chicago Dramatists reading of my full-length play, THE ART OF DISAPPEARING.

I began writing this play just over 9 years ago. 9 years! And tomorrow it is getting a wonderful reading by an extraordinary cast of actors at the place where I took my first playwriting class taught by Lisa Dillman.

This play has had readings and was a finalist for the 2008 Princess Grace Award for Playwriting. But I have never felt as confident about it as I do today. I’ve put so much into it and had so many supportive voices along the way.

From my playwriting class with David Scott Milton in grad school at USC (where I began writing it) to Lee Wochner’s Workshop in Silver Lake where I began to rewrite it, and the wonderful organizations (Moving Arts, The Blank, Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights) actors and directors who have given their time to it along the way.

Tomorrow’s reading is being directed by Ann Filmer. I’m loving working with her on the play. We are having such fun… which is saying something considering the heavy subject matter.

This cast is so good that in rehearsal the other night, one of the actors exclaimed, “When do we mount this?!”

I responded, “That’s what I want to know.”

I truly believe that this play is ready for a production. And I’d be one happy and lucky playwright if it were with this director and this cast.

I’m so grateful to Chicago Dramatists – specifically David Barr and Russ Tutterow – for inviting me into this process. It’s restored my faith in this work. And I needed that. Because let’s face it, after nine years of writing and rewriting and sending it out and getting rejected… well, that faith can be shaken.

But today, I’m 100% behind this play. For better or worse. And I’m visualizing its opening night. Hopefully here in Chicago. Because this is where the play is set.

Tomorrow is the reading. Where I get to hear what works, what doesn’t, where it drags, where it soars, where it confuses, where it intrigues, where it alienates and where it lands.

It’s always a nerve wrecking experience. But this time I have NINE years of work behind me. I’m ready. And I’m supported by a brilliant director and cast.

Me = Happy playwright

If you’re interested in attending the reading… here is the info:

“The Art of Disappearing”

by Stephanie Alison Walker

directed by Ann Filmer.

Cast includes:
Joan Kohn
Meghan Reardon
Thomas Edson McElroy
Zach Kenney
Weston Blakesley

synopsis:

When Melissa receives a mysterious invitation to brunch from her mother after a two-year estrangement, she returns to a home where nothing is as it seems. The devastating truth she discovers in her parents’ house threatens to tear all of them apart for good.

Come on out, have a listen, stay for the talk back and talk back.

$5 donation.

Saturday, March 24

2PM

Chicago Dramatists (at Chicago and Ogden)

 
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Michael Shutt (left) and Sara Wagner in Trey Nichols' PCH, directed by Kim Glann (The Car Plays at Segerstrom Center for the Arts). Credit: Doug Gifford.

Moving Arts’ production of The Car Plays: San Diego at the La Jolla Playhouse closed on Sunday after a sold-out run and extension. This production may be over, but the promise of a future Car Plays production lives on. Right? At least in my mind it does. Anywho…

Because I love this production and just can’t stop spreading the word about it, I have yet another story to share with you. This piece is a particularly exciting and insightful article written by Actor/Director/Writer/Producer Michael Shutt for Bitter Lemons about the experience from an actor’s perspective and everything that he has learned in having to repeat a performance over and over and over again. The man has performed 375 times as part of this unique production. 375 times! He kind of knows what he’s talking about.

If you want the real inside view of The Car Plays, then you should read this article. Go on. Read it. Now! Here it is:

DRIVER’S EDUCATION by Michael Shutt – via Bitter Lemons

Did you read it? Now you want to see The Car Plays, don’t you? I don’t blame you.

Well, you may not be able to see it right now. But, you can read more about it. And then send Moving Arts lots of money so that they can bring it to your favorite parking lot. Why not?

A round-up of reviews from The Car Plays: San Diego

The Cars Have Left the Lot – San Diego Reader

La Jolla Playhouse Parks the Plays in San Diego – Broadway World

The Car’s the Thing in “The Car Plays” – KPBS.ORG

‘Car Plays’ A Voyeuristic Thrill Ride at Playhouse – North County Times

Theater at the Speed of ‘Wheee!’ – UT San Diego *

“The Car Plays: San Diego” is Theater Up Close and Personal – San Diego Gay and Lesbian News

An Intimate Stage – San Diego Reader

*Winner of my favorite review headline

 
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