Dirty Laundry

(re-posted from the LAFPI blog, with permission from author Jen Huszcza)

This past weekend, I braved the heat and humidity of Prescott, AZ because my ten-minute play, Rinse, was produced along with ten minute plays by Jennie Webb, Micki Shelton, Katherine James, Kate Hawkes, Charlotte Winters, Sara Israel, Tiffany Antone, and Shanee Edwards in the Dirty Laundry Festival.

Yep, the ladies took over Prescott. Woohooo!

Tiffany Antone came up with Dirty Laundry because she decided to create a few playwriting opportunities of her own. And wow did she deliver an evening of theatrical fun. She is also courageous and bold, and her enthusiasm for us writers was inspiring.

Even before I got to Arizona, Dirty Laundry was a growth experience. Since I lived 450 miles away, I couldn’t sit in on rehearsals. I couldn’t say yes or no to ideas. I had to let go of my play.

On Friday, Jennie Webb and I rode out to Prescott on 109 horses. When I arrived in high altitude and humidity, I immediately sought sanctuary in my hotel’s Jacuzzi.

On Friday night, Tiffany put together a backroom meet-up for writers, actors, and directors of the show. When folks learned that I had written Rinse, they usually reacted with Ohhhhhh as if there had been speculation about me.

My favorite encounter at the reception was with one of the actors. He was not in my play but had seen it at the tech.

Man: You don’t usually expect a play like yours from a woman.

Jen: What kind of play?

Man: Women don’t write about torture.

Jen: Actually there was a very popular play off-Broadway in the mid-eighties about a torturer and written by a woman.

Man: There was?

Jen: The Conduct of Life by Maria Irene Fornes.

Man: Never heard of it, but now I know.

And the man wandered off into the void. I later learned from Tiffany that he was impressed that I was so well read.

On Saturday, the Dirty Laundry plays were presented at 2 and 7 at the Prescott Fine Arts Association whose theatre is an old Catholic Church. My play happened right after intermission, so I spent most of the intermission mentally making people sit down. Sit down, damn it!

Then I watched my play. . . .

Oh wow. . .

The director and cast took it on and went for it. The look and feel of the play was unique. The actors were physical and trusted what they were doing. It was like they were in their own self-contained universe.

So let me take this opportunity to publicly stand up and applaud Cason Murphy, the director and lighting designer and the excellent cast—Sean Jeralds, Anthony Osvog, and Dino Palazzi. I playwright love you guys.

Also a big thanks to the crew that toweled down the stage after my play. Things got a little wet onstage, and no towels were harmed during this production.

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