August 29, 2016

Entry Number #2 of Countdown to the Classical Theatre of Harlem Production of FIT FOR A QUEEN

How do you get to and from the people you love?

What are the modes of how you transport your body through space?

And…

how does HOW

you get around

impact

WHO you are

when you arrive?

If you fight through crowds on a subway and perhaps shove a bit when people standing in the doorway don’t make room for you WHEN THE MIDDLE OF THE SUBWAY CAR IS EMPTY,

what does it do to your soul?

When you hop in a car and exist in a capsule that (mostly) insulates you from facing how you aggressively or gracefully you might act no one makes room for you,

what does it do to your sense of self?

National borders mean so little to me,

but they seem to even mean even less

when I move from city to city in America.

If you are alone with your thoughts as you think about a play,

(and not trying to speak the language of the people populating your space)

Moscow and Paris are more like New York

than New York is like anyplace in America

where yo...

August 27, 2016

The world premiere of FIT FOR A QUEEN at the Classical Theatre of Harlem will run October 7 – 30, 2016.

http://www.cthnyc.org

August 26, 2016

Entry Number #1 of Countdown to the Classical Theatre of Harlem Production of FIT FOR A QUEEN

There is something terrifying about workshopping a play with a great cast act right before you are slated to go into production. 

You’re not in production with a preview audience who have already bought tickets  to see the show your team hasn’t made yet. 

The adrenaline hasn’t kicked in.  

Hysteria must be kept in check (or at least somewhat properly disguised). 

You’re not allowed to let everything else in your life fall away (all the people who need you still have the right to act like they do). 

You’re not yet worried about how incoherent or pompous you might come off in preview press pieces and interviews (or bemoaning the fact that you are not – in fact – getting enough preview press pieces and interviews).

You’re just working.

With a group of truthtellers (also known as actors)

who are trained to make your text work and can,

until the moment they can’t,

because the text you have given the...

August 11, 2016

There’s nothing like a first, right?  A first kiss, a first love, a first play production.  

A famous and fancy playwright took me aside on the opening night of my first off-Broadway play.  He told me, “Feel this moment.  There is nothing as thrilling as your first professional production.  Every other premiere will just feel like one more.  This is the most exciting time of your career.”

He was right.  Of course, I didn’t know it then.  I couldn’t.   

Perhaps no other blog post I will ever be as exciting as this one is for me to write.  Probably I won’t know it until I’ve been at this for years

Writing a blog feels somewhat like keeping a journal that you intentionally leave lying out, hoping a friend/lover/roommate will read it.   To see you in your vulnerability.  Your grappling.  And to somehow know you better for it.

Note: I did read my first college roommate’s diary.  I’m confessing this not because I am especially proud of my act...

August 2, 2016

Betty Shamieh receives at 2016-2017 Guggenheim Fellowship in Drama and Performance Art.

http://www.artnews.com/2016/04/06/john-simon-guggenheim-memorial-foundation-announces-2016-fellowships/

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