Today, I feel called upon to give ‘shout-outs’ to my teachers (and subsequent mentors) from the New School, credit where credit is due. Over two years since I graduated, and they are still encouraging and supporting me, further proving that my grad school debt is totally, totally worth it.
There’s Pippin Parker, chair of the New School Playwriting Program:
PP conceived of and organized the inaugural The Bekah Brunstetter Playwriting Award of Excellence in Playwriting (for the Stage.) I already liked him, but after that, I liked him all the more. He’s a director as well as a playwright / TV writer – a co-founding member of Naked Angels, and an incredible leader, teacher, and friend. Also, he wears cool shoes, constantly, and was the first the really teach me the fine, infuriating art of re-writing.
Then, there’s Christopher Shinn:
Chris found success as a playwright at a very young age, with plays produced at the Royal Court in London, then onto Lincoln Center, Playwrights Horizons and the like. He’s got an Obie and a Guggenheim under his belt. None too shabby! Chris was our teacher my first year of school, and is a champion of writing truthfully. He took us (kicking and screaming, slightly) through psychoanalysis and Literary theory – which later proved to be invaluable.
And Sir Michael Weller:
Weller bikes around town on a collapsable bike, with a back pack full of banana’s, being brilliant. He began as a composer / musician, then had huge success in the 60s / 70s ((have you READ Moonchildren??) and continues to write great plays. With Weller, I first learned to consider, at all points, what your audience is tracking, feeling, expecting – the basics of dramatics.
I am eternally grateful to them. Little do they know it, but they are pretty much stuck with me, forever.