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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The Art of Falling in Love

By Hedgebrook Guest

One year ago I boarded a ferry headed for Whidbey Island, for the beginning of a two-week stay at Hedgebrook, for their annual Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival. I was invited by the Goodman Theatre, which had commissioned me to write a new play KING OF THE YEES for them. Today, one year later, I have a co-production of the play scheduled for 2017 at the Goodman and Center Theatre Group, a Canadian premiere of the same play, and two additional commissions that are almost certainly connected to my time on Whidbey Island. Hedgebrook has certainly been one of the most helpful vehicles for creating momentum around my work, and since Hedgebrook, I’ve spent a lot of time wondering how this exactly happened and how to replicate this in everyday life.   Read more

On Making The Overtly Feminist Performance That’swhatshesaid

By Hedgebrook Guest

I have this belief that as a performer, my true identity and self is inherently present and important in everything I do. This, by definition, is the exact opposite of acting. Maybe that’s why I don’t call myself an actor any more.

I used to, though. Proudly introduce myself as an actor. There was totally a Chorus Line fantasy fulfilled in the auditions I used to attend. I’d hop on the bus, poring over my monologues and drinking lemon ginger honey tea (good for your voice, I heard!). I’d get to the audition way too early, smile a lot, ignore the other 40 women warming up in the hallway, say my ‘thank you!’s and ‘look forward to hearing from you!’s and then do it all over again the next day. So glamorous! So fun! Living the dream!

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Walking While Fat and Female – Or, Why I Don’t Care Not All Men are Like That

By Courtney Meaker

I started walking between 5 and 12 miles a day about year after I moved to Seattle. The main motivator was a crippling anxiety about being late coupled with an inconsistent public transportation system (that will now become less consistent, yippee). Additionally, working in an industry with late nights (I house manage for various theaters) means that if you’re reliant on public transit, you will be waiting for an hour at a scary bus stop with Mr. and Mrs. Meth Addict at 1:30 in the morning. Walking became a way for me to take control of my commute. It was my time. Four mile walk to work. Four mile walk back. In the rain. In the dark. In the cold. Every season. Sometimes with tunes. Sometimes with “Stuff You Missed in History Class.” Sometimes talking to myself. And sometimes with silence.   Read more

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