For the past five weeks, I've been in residency in Italy as a Bogliasco Foundation Fellow, working on a new play that follows a group of young women working at a roadside coffee shop in a small Massachusetts town. The play is a coming-of-age story about women on the verge of independence, struggling to grow up in a country that gives them fewer and fewer options, as they dodge the dangers, misogyny and setbacks women face in a world where success and safety are not guaranteed. It explores themes I've been investigating for the past few years, but it pushes me out of my comfort zone in terms of style. I'm still discovering this play.
The Bogliasco Foundation is located in a small fishing town just south of Genoa. Fellows are given time and space to work on their projects. We stayed in a beautiful villa overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, chatting over delicious dinners and drinks every night. I would work late into the evening, when the villa quieted and everyone went to bed, and I would desperately try to cast my mind back to Boston and this group of young women.
Next week, I am heading to Fayetteville, AR, to teach two playwriting workshops for students, faculty and guests at the University of Arkansas. The goal of these classes is to familiarize the UArk community with the unique Theatre for One experience ahead of the university's ArkType New Works Festival, in which several new Theatre for One pieces will be debuted, including a new monologue by myself. I will be incorporating elements from workshops masterminded by Christine Jones for Theatre for One and other immersive experiences, as well as from playwriting classes I have participated in or taught over the years.