If there were ever a field that should build solidarity but doesn’t, theater would be it. Playwrights are encouraged to compete for the privilege of association. Our bios are lists of institutions from which we borrow value; each name grants you permission to call yourself an artist. The structure of the industry invites exploitation and mistreatment. It limits the art we choose to make, as well as our relationships to one another.
Each insular world—no matter how small or seemingly insignificant—is beholden to the larger one, and reinforces the injustices that shape it. Last summer, hundreds of people pointed out the obvious: the theater world is systemically racist. Theaters scrambled to respond, and continue to come up short, as they tend to believe that a diverse staff and a diverse roster of plays are an end in itself. If this were true, We See You White American Theater would have a list of demands that is less than 30 pages long. These demands paint a pretty extraordinary picture of racism, exclusion and exploitation, but alongside it appears a tantalizing negative image. For me, it begs the question: Why are we asking institutions to be less racist, less sexist, less ableist, less greedy, instead of building the kind of inclusive structures we actually want?Read alum Molly Hagan’s full essay on Theater and “mutual aid” here.
Tyler Whidden has a new book of short plays, many of which were written at OU through madness! You can purchase the book through Amazon by clicking here. The collection is entitled “F*** it!” cause Tyler is edgy.
More about the collection: F*CK IT is a collection of mundane situations made exceptional. This collection of stories will introduce you to characters who jump into the water no matter how cold. They’re daring, mouthy, and they really don’t give a f*ck. Inspired by politics, history, social awkwardness, injustice, or just good ol’ sexy sex times. This is not theater for your grandmother. Unless Nana likes dick jokes. Multiple Characters. Various ages & genders. Any race. Whatever.
Congrats Tyler!! This is a great edgy gift for your more mysterious, brooding friends who your not sure what they actually like! Get it today!
More about Tyler
Tyler Whidden was born and raised in Cleveland, OH where he grew up the least-talented son of a hockey-first family. After earning his BFA in Playwriting at Ohio University, he began a tragic career as a stand-up comic based out of Seattle, WA. As a comedian, Tyler was labeled by critics and fans alike as, “hilarious,” “tragic,” and “probably stoned.”
After years of toiling on the road, he moved to Chicago where he returned to theater, studying and working with Victory Gardens and the Neo-Futurists theaters among many others.
He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College and worked as Director of Education with the great Ensemble Theatre of Cleveland.
His play Dancing With N.E.D. has seen productions in New Jersey, Ohio, and Washington. His family-friendly farce, The Unofficial Almost True Campfire Tales of Put-in-Bay was commissioned by the Put-in-Bay Arts Council as part of their Bicentennial Celebration of the Battle of Lake Erie in the Summer of 2013 and his one-act play, Detour, was part of the “Truck Stop Plays” production in Chicago.
He is the 2015 – 2016 recipient of the prestigious Anthony Trisolini Named Fellowship and 2016 graduate of the MFA Playwriting program at Ohio University under Charles Smith and Erik Ramsey. 2016 also saw the premier of his play, Occupation: Dad, as part of the 21st Annual Seabury Quinn, Jr. Playwrights Festival.
OU Playwriting alum Ronnie Koenig has a feature in the NY Times called “When Friends Get a Home Together” The fascinating and fun article about real estate looks at different groups of friends who have bought houses together and their reasons for doing it. Congrats Ronnie!
Here’s a little excerpt:
For some New Yorkers who have been priced out of New York City’s real estate game, pooling resources with friends and siblings has become the quickest path to homeownership. And while sharing a front door can put even the best relationships to the test, some are finding it’s worth the risk.
For Laurie Savage, a writer and restaurant server, and her husband, Garette Henson, a filmmaker, both 36, the arrival of their son, Fox Henson, almost 2, sparked the idea of buying real estate with a friend. That friend was Alix Frey, 37, whom they had met when they were all students at Sarah Lawrence College.
The group recently moved into a three-story two-family townhouse in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Ms. Frey, the director of the Blum & Poe gallery in Manhattan, occupies the top level while the couple have the lower level, including the basement and the backyard. The parlor level is divided between the Savage/Hensons and Ms. Frey.
More about Ronnie
She began writing freelance articles for Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Penthouse and iVillage. Her work has also appeared in The Atlantic, Self, Men’s Health, Parents, American Baby, Babble, AOL Moviefone, The Saturday Evening Post and American Way (in your seatback pocket!). Her weekly column for amNY newspaper entertained subway riders and she’s the co-author of Naughty New York: A Lady’s Guide to the Sexy City and Penthouse Presents: Working Stiff.
She has been a well-spoken guest on Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, CBC Radio One and Sirius XM. She performed on the NYC stage at Ars Nova, 92nd St. Y and the East Village’s Kraine theatre. She was fortunate enough to teach a comedy writing class at Gotham Writer’s Workshop and She’s lectured at colleges across the US.
Ira Gamerman, 2012 MFA Playwriting alum, has penned another provocative HowlRound piece. Read it. It may save your life in the current zombie apocalypse: http://howlround.com/bardcore-will-never-die-but-you-will. HowlRound is an important national journal focused on examining what role new live theater plays in our contemporary world; a previous HowlRound piece he wrote can be found here.
Gamerman also has won awards as a regular writer for The Truth, a popular audio-fiction-radio-play podcast. The Truth recently joined PRX’s Radiotopia, which is a new network featuring the best and most creative podcasts (99% Invisible, Theory Of Everything, Etc).
OU BFA Alum, Molly Hagan, had her play, SWING OF THE SEA, published by Samuel French. It was Molly’s undergrad “thesis” play at Ohio. It was produced at Arcadia University in December 2011, and it won the KCACTF Harold and Mimi Steinberg National Student Playwriting Award in 2012. Before that it had readings in New York, Louisville and at Ohio University.
Samuel French’s Synopsis: Boots, a girl who wears yellow rain boots even when it’s not raining, and a boy called Eggs take a journey through memory and imagination following the sudden death of their friend, Peter. As Eggs dreams of asking Boots to the upcoming Favorites Dance, Boots loses herself in a world of fallen leaves, consumed by her quest to remember the last words Peter said to her before he died. The Swing of the Sea is a play about growing old without aging that examines the way fantasy and memory converge when we lose someone we love.
You can follow Molly on twitter at @mollyhagan_.