Summer in New Haven for Page 73 means hot weather, overeating, and a remarkably productive environment for playwrights to hunker down and do some serious work. This year we were thrilled to take with us to New Haven playwrights Emily Schwend, Aaron Landsman, Eric Pfeffinger and our 2011 Playwriting Fellow Janine Nabers who wrote, re-wrote, rehearsed, and took important steps (and some gigantic leaps) toward creating amazing new theater in our Fifth Annual Summer Residency at Yale. They even managed, with the help of the Page 73 Staff (general New Haven enthusiasts and Yale alumni) to enjoy the finer things the collegiate city has to offer (with a special focus on pizza and ice cream).
Emily (Interstate 73 ’09-’10) workshopped her as-of-yet-untitled play set in Muskogee, Oklahoma with director Wendy McLellan and Yale School of Drama (YSD) actors Carly Zien and Carmen Zilles, as well as John Patrick Doherty (Page 73 on Page 73 2011 Benefit), and Laura Esterman (CommComm). Emily investigated her characters’ stories in depth and found a new structure for her play, streamlining 6 scenes into 3.
Eric worked with Chicago-based director Richard Perez and recent YSD grads Shannon Marie Sullivan, Tomas Andren, Stephanie Hayes (Yale Residency ’10) and Aleta Mitchell (Yale Residency ’09, ’10), Eric was workshopping his latest play Barrenness, a dark comedy about pregnancy, fetishes, and fringe political beliefs. Even with minimal staging, Rich and the actors were able to bring Eric’s sometimes quiet, sometimes farcical humor to light, and in the process illuminated this very fresh script for Eric.
Aaron (Interstate 73 ’09-’10) and Janine (2011 Fellow) took the week to work independently. Aaron invited frequent collaborator Mallory Catlett to join us for two days to assist him with his continued work on his interactive theatre piece City Council Meeting; he also devoted time to some rewrites to his play Running Away From The One With The Knife. Janine began work on the play that she will focus on for the second half of her fellowship year, Serial Black Face, that tells the story of a mother struggling to raise her sexually curious daughter during the 1979 Atlanta child murders. On Friday night, the company eagerly gathered to hear the first draft of the opening pages of Serial Black Face as well as a wonderful table read of Aaron’s Running Away.
From carrying out an exorcism in a Crown Street basement, to listening to Aleta regale us with tales of playing Dussie Mae in the Broadway premiere of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, to stuffing our faces with New Haven’s famous “apizza” (which even this crop of New Yorkers had to admit was the real deal) this fifth year of the Page 73 summer residency was, as always, one to remember.
We closed out our time at Yale with a penthouse party at The Study, graciously hosted by board members Allison Blinken and John Beinecke. Here we took some much needed time to celebrate the success of the week, and take in the views of scenic New Haven.
In short, fun was had, pounds were gained, and great work was done by all. Check out more photos on our facebook page, and while you’re there be sure to like us! Thanks to all our participants for another great year, and we can’t wait to do it again in 2012!