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Dec 27, 2020

My 2020 in review

Every year since '07 I've been doing a year in review about my writing and about my life a little bit.

So . . . 2020.

Before the pandemic hit, I was on my way to having a record year in terms of numbers of play productions. I was excited about the planned premiere of Clown Bar 2 in Vegas and The Book Store in Chicago, both which were supposed to happen in the spring and were postponed.  Hopefully they will still happen someday.  I also lost a lot of other productions and quite a bit of money.  It's hard to say how much really.  Having all of theater shut down has been devastating in a lot of ways, not just financially but also emotionally.  It has always been tenuous to try to make a life and I'd never quite made a living but this year really brought the whole dream of a life in the theater to a halt.

I still had my job at Juilliard and could do it from home and Kristen was teaching two classes per semester also from home.  We opted to keep Wallace at home too.  First grade and then second grade over video has been challenging both for the kid and also for the adults trying to balance our own lives and work and writing.

The first couple months of the pandemic were the worst for me writingwise but one thing that helped was that I wasn't going to plays and I wasn't traveling to New York for two days for work.  Life was boring and predictable and I started getting up early and going to bed early.  (5:30am and 9pm weekdays, I sleep-in Saturday, Kristen sleeps-in Sunday.) It meant I had a lot less time to read or watch TV at night but I woke up and wrote.  And after a rough start, I wrote more this year than I ever have before.

I wrote 2 plays this year, (Hearts Like Planets, a commission from The Chance Theater and a sort of sequel to my play Hearts Like Fists; and The Parking Lot, a play people watched from their cars) I also wrote the second half of a screenplay I started last year.  (The Movie Star and Me, a YA rom com.) 

My biggest accomplishment was a YA novel-- I tried to write 500 words or so most weekdays in the morning before anyone else was awake.  It took me five months but I did it.  I've been trying to write a novel for 20 years or so and I always struggled and then stopped writing and wrote another play instead.  Finishing this book meant a lot to me.  And the people who have read it have said a lot of nice things so far so I think it's actually good and maybe I write novels now.  After writing that (short) novel, I also wrote 40k of another YA novel that I'm excited about.  I hope to finish that book in January or February.  And then, I don't know.  

Writing another play now seems pointless in a lot of ways.  I sent The Parking Lot to a lot of people and there was interest in doing a safe outdoor production but I only got two productions.  They were awesome productions but I really thought all those shuttered theaters would jump at the opportunity to do something outside.  Instead everyone did things over zoom.  I'm not knocking zoom.  I had a bunch of cool readings this year over zoom too.  (And a zoom reading remount scheduled with Northlight in the new year.)

Anyway, maybe I should write novels now.

Here is a photo of 14 of the 52 plays I wrote in the last 23 years.

So productions.  Like I said, it was looking to be a record year before the theater shutdown.  

Last year I had 47 productions of my plays.  This year, I had  20, most before the pandemic and some in schools over zoom: 2 (premieres) of The Parking Lot,  2, The Book Store, 5 Kodachrome, 1 Incendiary, 3 Marian, 3 Clown Bar,  2 Adventures of Super Margaret, 1 The Wooden Heart, 1 Pretty Theft.

Clown Bar was produced in Austria and Turkey before the pandemic.

There were also 5 productions of my night of one acts, 7 Ways to Say I Love You.  (Down from 10 last year)

There are 8-11 planned productions so far in 2021.  I hope they happen and I hope we can return to seeing live shows again soon.

Playscripts will publish The Bookstore sometime in the new year.

I am interviewing playwrights again, very slowly.  28 interviews this year.

What else?  I spent a lot of time preparing a new office with A LOT of help.  It is now insulated and electrified.  Right before Christmas, I finally got the space heater and the furniture in.  I have worked in there once so far.  I'll be back in there Monday morning at 5:30.  It is a 10 x 16 shed and it looks like this.

I know a lot of people are struggling right now.  And a lot of people are losing loved ones.  I hope for you health and happiness in the new year.  And a vaccine soon for us all.

Happy New Year!

My previous year in reviews, in case you are interested:

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