The Fabric of Time

By Hedgebrook Guest

Now that the Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival is in its 19th year, I find that I’m in the past and in the present all at the same time. As I walk up the road from the Farmhouse toward the cottages, I hear echoes of laughter and snippets of conversations past, the deep reverberations of the playwrights who’ve been here before. Even as I greet the 2016 Hedgebrook playwrights for the first time—and they’re an astonishing group of women: Kristiana Rae Colón, Virginia Grise, Dawn Renee Jones, Madhuri Shekar, and Regina Taylor—I simultaneously recall the sound of Dael Orlandersmith telling rock ‘n’ roll stories, the image of Danai Gurira hunched over her laptop, and a walk to Double Bluff beach with Sarah Treem. I remember laughing till we cried and crying till we laughed with Kathleen Tolan. I remember the “whoosh” of Theresa Rebeck slipping new pages under my door at 7:00 a.m. I remember playing poker with Tory Stewart, collecting rocks on the beach with Lydia Stryk, and attending mass with Julia Cho. I think of hanging out in the farmhouse after dinner and hearing Tanya Barfield read the first scenes of what would become Blue Door, Lynn Nottage sharing the exquisite beginnings of what would become Intimate Apparel, and Caridad Svich reading an early draft of Magnificent Waste (“B-b-b-boy in a box.”). Each memory conjures up ten more. Alice Tuan, Lenelle Moïse, Tanya Saracho, Karen Hartman, Rosanna Staffa, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Karen Zacarías . . . so many extraordinary women who’ve gathered here over time to dig deep into their writing, share generously of their lives, and create the plays that, one by one, are transforming the American theatre.

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Playwriting in the Pacific NW

By Andrea Stolowitz

My Background:

I came to the Pacific Northwest in 2007, specifically to Portland, Oregon. We moved here because my husband got a job at Reed College, but the truth was I was ready for a change from the itinerant life I’d been living. From 1994-2007 my husband and I, and then our kids, lived in NYC; Berlin, Germany; San Diego, CA; and Durham, NC for various academic and professional gigs. In each of those places what I most wished for was an artistic home–a place where I could live and work, get what I needed to be supported as an artist, and be inspired by that place.

As this is a conference for writers of all genres and since playwrights fit into the strangest category of writers–neither fish nor fowl, not really fully embraced by the literary world nor the theatrical one, I will include here a bit of information about being a playwright in the United States.   Read more

The Smell of the Kill

By Michele Lowe

This is what I tell people about my first play The Smell of the Kill: it’s a dark comedy about three women who want to kill their husbands and get the chance to do it.

This is what I don’t tell them: I wrote The Smell of the Kill as a drama. I never meant it to be funny. The women in the play are bitter and unhappy. The men are trapped in a meat locker. If the men die, the women become free. This is dramatic material.

The first time I had an inkling the play was funny was in November 1991 when we did the first reading at Playwrights Horizons. The director, Bob Moss, cast Margaret Whitton, Harriet Harris and Julie Hagerty. Perhaps the presence of these great comediennes should have been my first clue, but I was so green; I was just happy they’d shown up.   Read more