Hey everybody or the few besides myself who actually check out my stupid egotistical ranting site. :) I have to learn to be more consistent with my postings. So much has happened as I count down the days to my moving to the South!??!! in Atlanta??!! by the end of January 2008. I have been reminded so graciously of how it use to be an honor to have a play produced out of town and to have the respect a playwright should get actually become a reality from the hosting theater.
Things have changed so much since first I was professionally produced way back in the day. In the last few years, I have had my plays produced in festivals all around the country, and not one has volunteered to pay for my airfare nor arrange for my sleeping accommodations or made sure that someone would make sure that I didn't get lost in a city I was unfamiliar with. I suppose that is because of the poor financial status of most of America's black theaters. But The Pittsburgh Playwright Theater Company made me once again believe in old school professional etiquette. Not knowing what to expect when my play, "Ding Dong Daddy" was selected for their Black/White play festival, I just thought it would be nice to visit Pittsburgh, a place I'd never been, and come out of pocket for a weekend stay.
Things didn't start out very well. I was set for a long Greyhound Bus ride from NYC to Pittsburgh that was to leave at 11:00pm and arrive at 6am the next morning. Of course, one must be in line one hour before departure so that meant I was in line waiting for the doors to open by 10pm. I didn't get on the 11pm bus until 1:30 am because they couldn't find a driver! Then the driver they did get had never been to Pittsburgh either. I set my aching legs up the steps and found a window seat in the back. Of course, the last person to get on was a stubby overweight man and the seat next to me was the last seat left. Oh shit! I knew that as soon as this dude went to sleep, I'd have to keep pushing that heavy ass leg off my leg all the way to Pittsburgh. And sure enough that's exactly what I had to do. What is it with short dudes anyway? You encounter them on the subways too. Why do they always have to splay their damn legs wide as if they were "packing" and needed the space so that their "stuff" wouldn't be crimped? Come on quit the fantasies and wishful thinking. Anyway, before I digress...when I arrived in Pittsburgh, They had someone to pick me up! Damn! Took me to breakfast and paid for it! Damn! And then that evening put me up in the famous Redwood home up in the Hill section of Pittsburgh; the place that August Wilson made famous. Damn! Hung out with the famous actor Anthony Chisholm. And got to climb those 87 steps! 87 steps! To the top porch of the Redwood home! And then some more steps to the third floor guest rooms. I haven't climbed that many steps at one time since I lived in San Francisco.
Anyway, the production staff was very courteous and made me feel important, and they did a good job changing the sets. I was okay with my play understanding the age of one of the actors and the limited amount of rehearsal time to get it together. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Pittsburgh even though it wasn't a lot to do there except be amazed at all the damn bridges that crossed the rivers.
Then as I looked forward to the surprise waiting for me on my return Greyhound Bus ride, I got to hang out with the founder of the theater and he surprised me with a check to cover my traveling expenses there and back home. Now that's the way a playwright should be treated!!! It use to be that way, but now it's: you're on your own my brother playwright!
But I ain't hatin'. Long as they do my plays and not try and change my words without my approval, then it's just another day in the life of an artist.
Oh yeah, I have a last reading coming up on December 16th at the Indian Restaurant on Broadway and 108th in NYC of a play that I ain't even finished. (Guess that means I have to do that.) It's entitled: "Osage Avenue" (The Move Inferno). Be looking for it.