During the May 1, 2019 - May 1, 2020 theatre season, Kentucky audiences celebrated world premieres of full-length plays in Bowling Green, Louisville, and Paducah; at two new play festivals; and on TYA stages. Later in the season, with Covid-19 looming, several productions were postponed or canceled.
This is my last column for The Dramatist as I’ve come to the end of my term as Kentucky Regional Rep—and I’ve moved home to Wisconsin; Lake Superior has been a character in my life, and I missed her. Saying good-bye to the Kentucky playwriting community has been rough for me as we go way back, beginning with my stage managing the first Horse Cave Theatre world premiere—a Floyd Collins play—in 1981. Later, I co-founded the West Kentucky Playwrights in Murray, and produced the first two West Kentucky Playwrights Festivals. Beginning in 1991, I managed Horse Cave Theatre’s Kentucky Voices program for the development and production of new plays by or about Kentuckians: countless staged readings—and eventually I had the good fortune to direct the world premiere of NANCY GALL-CLAYTON's Just Taking Up Space. (It was in Horse Cave that I also had the good fortune to first meet The Dramatist editor Joey Stocks who appeared in the world premiere of The Dancers of Canaan by Kentucky playwright Ron Mielech.)
In Louisville I worked for ten-plus years with hundreds of amazing young playwrights through ATL’s New Voices program. Most recently, I coordinated a re-imagined Kentucky Voices at the Public Theatre of Kentucky, and the New Play Slam at Louisville’s Vault 1031. I finished my 40 years (!) in Kentucky by working with the Derby City Playwrights on my own play, Neutral Position, followed by a production of the ensemble version of my autobiographical play, Liz’s Circus Story, at Mercy Academy Theatre: lucky, lucky me.
So here I sit, gazing at Lake Superior, but, in my mind’s eye, I see 40 years-worth of rich experiences with Kentucky playwrights. I see the first drafts, and I hear the feedback. We revise and revise some more and then we cast, and we listen, and we analyze, and we discuss, and we revise some more. We search for answers to hard questions. We cast! We celebrate!!! Thank you for that. And thanks for letting me be your DG KY Rep for three years. Stay safe. Be well. I already miss all of you.