Guest blogger Lee Trull is Associate Artist with the Dallas Theater Center and a member of the Kitchen Dog Theater Company.
On a recent trip to the left coast, I attended a party at a house near the beach.
The party was populated by a group of young actors and writers that I admired, most of whom I was meeting for the first time. It was exciting for me, because sitting in my office reading plays, or reading ABOUT plays, I can feel isolated from the writers and theater practitioners out there in New York or L.A. After a few missteps (a young up-and-coming film actor mistakenly thought that, being from Texas, I would know how to light the grill. I pretended he was right … disaster) we settled in for a night of food, drinks and conversation.
My favorite discussion was about the current state of new play development in American theater. At both the Dallas Theater Center and Kitchen Dog Theater, we nurture and produce new work. It’s the best part of my job at DTC. What I learned, and am learning, is that a large number of young, exciting playwrights want to see their plays produced in Seattle, Atlanta, Chicago and, yes, Dallas, before they go on to New York. The advantages of working with an adventurous regional theater – unafraid of a critic at the Times and connected to a healthy supportive audience base – outweigh the allure of a New York premier. We’ve learned that this year with the phenomenal success of Tracy Scott Wilson’s The Good Negro at DTC, and last year with the success of Zayd Dohrn’s Sick at KDT.
In the next few years, keep your eye out for what’s coming to town – top playwrights stolen from New York and emerging right here in Big D.