July 8–23, 2011
Four plays. Four barely defensible choices.
Written and directed by Brent Englar
"Opening Day, 2050: O's at Nats" (Spring)
"The Critic" (Fall)
For most of my artistic life, I had no desire to direct. Too much responsibility, too much commitment. Even when I took over the Mobtown Playwrights Group, in 2010, and began directing staged readings, I would return home after most rehearsals exhausted. I remember wondering, on numerous occasions, where I could possibly find the energy to oversee a complete production for consecutive days, never mind months!
At the same time, rehearsals were lots of fun. I enjoyed collaborating in a different way with other playwrights and helping actors progress. And after several years of rejection letters (and, increasingly, emails), I was becoming dishearteningly aware of the long odds facing playwrights. Thus when I learned of a day-long workshop on self-production, taught by Martin Blank at The Writer's Center, I signed up. Should the world need more evidence that Martin is a truly inspirational teacher, immediately after the workshop (... perhaps a few weeks later ...) I packaged four of my favorite 10-minute plays into a cycle, loosely connected by the seasons, and—perhaps because the Writer's Center is only a few miles from DC—applied to the Capital Fringe Festival.
What's left to say? Rehearsals were exhausting but lots of fun. I enjoyed collaborating with actors and helping myself, as playwright, progress. (Mixed metaphors are the truest—there is no substitute for getting words off the page and on their feet.) And despite my inexperience, minimal tech time, and the need to fit everything in a two-door hatchback (a feat I have oft repeated—the Hyundai Accent is a magical car), I credibly staged a moment that requires a bird to crash into a window. The rest of the show was pretty good, too.
To read the plays that comprise A Year of Living Dangerously, please visit the New Play Exchange.