Thursday, August 07, 2008

Nexus Project & my play

A few months ago the wonderful people at Next Stage invited me to participate in their 10-minute play festival, called the Nexus Project. Each playwright was asked to create a new script inspired by a Seattle charity. The audience votes for their favorite play, and the play with the most votes wins a prize for the organization that inspired it. Great idea, right?

So I chose my charity organization--REAL CHANGE--and I wrote my play. It's a spooky tale about the old Seattle and the new Seattle unexpectedly crossing paths.

While living in the Emerald City for the past 20 years, I had many opportunities to reflect on its changing landscape and attitudes. One of the most striking images I've encountered in recent years was a photo of a house, owned for decades by a Ballard resident named Edith Macefield, crowded by massive construction on all sides, right up to the exact limit of the property lines. The development was legal, of course. But it was also incredibly rude. The developer's disregard for the home owner's quality of life was obvious, even flaunted.

Next door to my old apartment on Capitol Hill a developer has built eight town homes. Over the course of the past year I've gotten to know a couple of the people who live there, and recently I learned that they are being compensated for an even newer development. It seems the light rail tunnel will be dug directly under their new homes, and may not be completed until 2012.

That got me thinking again about who really owns what, and for how long, and in what form.

This, in turn, reminds me of a grainy photo of Chief Seattle's daughter Princess Angeline, living in her waterfront cabin on Western Avenue. And that makes me wonder just where the soul of this strange city resides.

So I wrote my play. The title is "w/ original features" and it will be part of the Nexus Project this month. Check the schedule for performance times, and be sure to vote for your favorite play. Mine is directed by the brilliant Susanna Burney, so it should be fun. It's also kind of scary. I hope the audience gets a kick out of it, and maybe loses a tiny bit of sleep that night...

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