Archives for posts with tag: dramatists

Congratulations to Eddie Woods — a poet and contributing editor for several Silver Birch Press anthologies — on the publication of his memoir Tennessee Williams in Bangkok.

BOOK DESCRIPTION FROM AMAZON: A playwright, a journalist, and a stunningly beautiful drag-queen prostitute. In this fascinating memoir, Eddie Woods brings all three together. And along the way graces us with countless insights into the heart and mind of one of America’s greatest dramatists. Even while paying homage to his beloved Kim, the most unique of his many lovers. As well as regaling us with numerous other tales of his more than two years in the City of Angels. Wherever he is, Tennessee Williams is smiling at this book. Now you can smile with him.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Eddie Woods (born 1940 in New York City) is a well-traveled poet and prose writer who variously worked as a short-order cook, computer programmer, encyclopedia salesman, restaurant manager, and journalist. In the early 1960s he did a four-year stint in the US Air Force, and since 1978 has mainly resided in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where together with Jane Harvey he launched Ins & Outs magazine and founded Ins & Outs Press. Of all the many writers and artists he has known, Tennessee Williams remains the most memorable.

Find Tennessee Williams in Bangkok at


I just learned about STARCROSSERS CUT, a new play written and directed by Joseph Tepperman — and, from what I’ve read, the story offers the social satire and absurdist humor that I live for. Can’t wait to see this production, which premieres on Thursday, June 6, 2013, and runs for six performances.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Inspired by astronaut Lisa Nowaks 2007 arrest for the attempted murder of a romantic rival, Starcrosserʼs Cut is a cassette symphony in the tradition of Krapp’s Last Tape. Loosely based on the real-life transcript of Nowak’s police interview after her arrest, a character known only as “Lisa” listens to the playback, reenacts her interview with the detective, and attempts to rerecord it all. Through a labyrinth of tape edits and revisions within revisions, the play looks at the “crimes that can’t keep uncommitted”  — those beyond guilt. From jail cell to Space Shuttle, the mystery that emerges is not whether Lisa did it — it’s whether a crime can cease to be a crime, or can just cease to be.

Running time: 90 minutes
Written and directed by Joseph Tepperman
Music by David Dominique
Featuring Shawn Lockie & Tom Colitt
With musicians Leah Harmon, Sammi Lee,
Heather Lockie, and Alexander Noice

Thursday, June 6 @ 8pm
Saturday, June 8 @ 8pm
Sunday, June 9 @ 4pm
Thursday, June 13 @ 8pm
Saturday, June 15 @ 8pm
Sunday, June 16 @ 4pm

$18, general admission; $12, students/seniors


Son of Semele Theater
3301 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90004

Break a leg, to cast and crew!


“I know some things when I start. I know, let’s say, that the play is going to be a 1970s or a 1930s play, and it’s going to be about a piano, but that’s it. I slowly discover who the characters are as I go along.” AUGUST WILSON (1945-2005)

For writers who make it up as they go along (and I plead guilty), August Wilson‘s comment about his working method makes us feel…well, okay about not knowing where we’re going when we start.


Born on April 27, 1945, Wilson grew up poor in Pittsburgh, dropped out of high school at 16, and educated himself at the Carnegie Library while working a series of menial jobs. In 1965, at age 20, he purchased a used typewriter for 10 dollars and started to compose poetry. A few years later, in 1968, he cofounded the Black Horizon Theatre and began to write and produce plays — starting with Recycling. Wilson went on to author many plays — including the Pulitzer Prize winning Fences (1987) and The Piano Lesson (1990). One of the all-time great American playwrights — with a career that spanned nearly 40 years — Wilson’s work continues to inspire and promote discussion. He passed away at age 60 in 2005, and has been the recipient of many posthumous tributes — including a theater in the New York City Broadway Theater District named in his honor.


The ever-vigilant, erudite ace journalist Eddie Woods pointed out a significant error in our post yesterday that marked the birthday of Tennessee Williams. I incorrectly stated that Williams — born in Mississippi and raised in Missouri — had “no connection to Tennessee.” As Eddie pointed out in his email, “…his [Williams’] father attended the University of Tennessee…and was directly descended from Tennessee’s first senator, John Williams.”

Eddie also forwarded a page from TENNESSEE WILLIAMS: MEMOIRS, where Williams states, “The question I’m asked with most tedious frequency by interviewers and talk-show hosts is ‘How did you get the name Tennessee when you were born in Mississippi?’ So that’s the justification for my professional monicker — and I’ve also just indulged myself in the Southern weakness for climbing a family tree.” Find the book at

Thank you, Eddie Woods, journalist and researcher extraordinaire!

Photo: Tennessee Williams, New York City, 1948


Today we celebrate the 1911 birth of Tennessee Williams — who remains, at least in my estimation, the greatest American playwright for his lyricism, characters, originality, honesty, insight, and compassion. Born in Columbus, Mississippi, and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Williams had no connection to Tennessee — other than the word starting with the same letter as his given name (Thomas). He decided not to call himself “Mississippi” Williams or “Missouri” Williams because he wasn’t fond of the abbreviated version (i.e., Miss Williams).

It’s been 30 years since Williams’ 1983 passing (at age 71), but he will live forever in his unforgettable creations — Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski (Streetcar Named Desire), Maggie the Cat and Big Daddy (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), Laura and Amanda Wingfield (The Glass Menagerie), and scores of others.

Here is some playwriting advice from the master:

“I believe the way to write a good play is to convince yourself it is easy to do — then go ahead and do it with ease. Don’t maul, don’t suffer, don’t groan till the first draft is finished. A play is a pheonix and it dies a thousand deaths. Usually at night. In the morning it springs up again from its ashes and crows like a happy rooster. It is never as bad as you think, it is never as good. It is somewhere in between, and success or failure depends on which end of your emotional gamut concerning its value it approaches more closely. But it is much more likely to be good if you think it is wonderful while you are writing the first draft. An artist must believe in himself. Your belief is contagious. Others may say he is vain, but they are affected.” TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, as found in his 856-page Notebooks (Yale University Press, 2007) available at


Congratulations to Rachel Carey — whose debut novel DEBT will be available from Silver Birch Press later this month — on the premiere of Phases, a play she wrote and directed that’s featured in the 2012 Thespis Theater Festival in New York City.

The play’s final performance will take place on Saturday, October 13, 2012, at 9 p.m. For more information, visit the Thespis Theater Festival website.

Phases is a comedy about the ways that the memory of past relationships can haunt present relationships — and follows John, a young man who becomes obsessed with running away to Alaska but can’t decide which girl he wants to take with him.

Congratulations to Rachel Carey for an outstanding coast-to-coast October 2012 — premiere of her play Phases in New York and publication of her novel Debt in Los Angeles.


I am a huge Sam Shepard fan, but am I the only one who thinks it odd that his photo appears so prominently on the poster for his new play? (Wouldn’t his name over the title have been enough — and infinitely more tasteful)? Did Tennessee Williams or Eugene O’Neill ever appear on a poster? (Granted, they were not as handsome as Sam Shepard.)

Shepard’s new play Heartless opens August 27, 2012, at the Signature Theatre Company in New York City. The official website describes the play this way: Sally lives with her mysterious family in a cavernous home overlooking Los Angeles. When a visitor arrives, Sally’s dark secrets —  and the secrets of those around her —  threaten to come into the light. 

Back in the day, I attended the first preview of  Shepard’s comic masterpiece True West — produced by the Steppenwolf Theater Company in Chicago — which starred John Malkovich, Jeff Perry, Laurie Metcalf, and Francis Guinan. It remains the most engaging, stunning, engrossing, dramatic, hilarious play I’ve ever seen. I wish I were in New York — my very favorite city — right now with tickets to Heartless in my hands.


In June 2012, Silver Birch Press released Jezebel’s Got the Blues…And Other Works of Imagination, a collection of performance pieces by Merrill Farnsworth. The same month, Merrill took the show to New York City, where it was among a select few featured in The Puzzle Festival of New Work. Merrill recently received a letter from one of the attendees and was kind enough to share it (see below — emphasis mine!).

TEXT OF LETTER: Encountering something familiar from another angle may give us insights attainable in no other way. Merrill Farnsworth uses this approach in her ingenious collection of monologues and dialogues inspired by the Old Testament. In her hands, these well known stories come off the page and into the hearts and imaginations of those who witness her skill. By giving voice to the rouge on Jezebel’s face, we are prompted to see the woman who is so much more than her calling-card name. By giving voice to the scissors that cut off Samson’s hair, we are invited to see the frivolous dimensions of one who relies on brute strength to navigate the world. These and other personifications open windows to meanings often missed in these great pieces of the Biblical record. For anyone who wants to probe the power of the stories of our faith, Jezebel’s Got The Blues is a find. Get it and be ready to laugh loud and hard and to weep some tears of sweet recognition.”

The Reverend Susan Blackburn Heath, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral (Columbia, South Carolina)

Find Jezebel’s Got the Blues at here.