I’m going to sound like a namedropper but I just came back from a week of hanging out with four prominent, award winning playwrights; Lee Blessing, Stephen Adly Guirgis, William Mastrosimone and John Pielmeier.
These four artists educated, critiqued and inspired sixteen aspiring playwrights – including me – at the National Playwrights Symposium at Cape May Stage in Cape May, NJ. If you love theater then you have surely seen some of their work. For example, Peilmeier’s “Agnes of God;” Blessing’s “A Walk in the Woods;” Guiris’ “Our Lady of 121st Street,” and Mastrosimone’s “The Woolgatherer.”
Although these playwrights, and others like them, routinely consort with A-list actors, and Broadway and Hollywood producers, they seem void of any over-blown self-importance. They walk the streets of New York or LA without paparazzi in tow. They thrill to see their plays performed yet they know theatergoers tend to remember the title, and the actors, but not necessarily the playwright. Most need day jobs in order to support their love of writing.
Playwright Shawn Fisher (no relation) and Roy Steinberg, producing artistic director of Cape May Stage, organized the symposium. The students ranged in age from 20 to retirement, and we bonded as though we had been friends since high school. Our days began early in the morning and ended well past midnight. We read each other’s monologues, dialogues, three-minute plays and any other creative piece for which we craved an audience. We critiqued each other’s work, giving suggestions to make it better.
My promise to my blog followers is that when I get word that one of these bright, creative artists has a play produced, I will let you know. For starters, and I do mean for starters – Shawn Fisher’s “How to Make a Rope Swing” is playing at Cape May Stage from now until June 7.