After leaving Pittsburgh, I went to NYC for two days to finish my decade as Fellows Program Director at the Dramatists Guild. The Fellows did a great job at their presentation showing their very good stuff. I was honored to be thanked by Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty and Tari Stratton. It was an amazing ten years. I will miss being in the room.
Next up was the Festival of New Theatre at Geva Theatre Center. I had never been to Geva, always wanted to go and had always only heard great things from friends who had worked there. I was coming with Strait of Gibraltar...now why can't I quite be sure what year I started Strait. I feel like it is not 14, but 13...no December 12. That's when Is started this play that has so far been developed at Naked Angles, Lark Play Development Center and Speranza Theatre Company. It had had two readings. Geva gave director Melissa Maxwell and I four days of rehearsal/workshopping followed by a reading in front of their terrific audience. More on them. From the moment I was welcomed at the airport, my time at Geva was very special. They take the time to get to know artists. The first day, they had arranged for a visit to the Susan B. Anthony house, a lunch with patrons, a private tour of the local museum and a haunted torch lit walk through the cemetery. We started rehearsing day two after I had a nice introductory conversation with fellow Bostonian Artistic Director Mark Cuddy. The cast was phenomenal. All new to the play, purposefully: Janis Dardaris, Cary Donaldson, Ronete Levenson, Imran Sheikh and Lipica Shah. The fun, intrepid and super smart Becca Poccia was our dramaturg. Four days is not a long time, but somehow in Rochester that week, the time stretched to allow for excavation of the play. Smart questions, skilled acting, revealing moments all lead to quite dramatic re-writes that scared and excited me. The text was transformed by the end of the week. I still have questions, it was so much, so fast, but I think I am on the right track and look forward now to finding its first production.
After Rochester, I flew to Boston to do laundry at my Mom's to prep for flying to Dubai. I should back up and say when I left Maine for Pittsburgh, I was planning to go home before going to Dubai. The offer from Geva came in the middle and that thought had to disappear. France brought me some warm weather things to Pittsburgh and Mom supplemented with some things she had that fit me. I shipped all my cold weather clothes to Maine, packed the warm weather stuff and boarded a flight to Dubai via Paris. So funny to be in Paris so briefly after recently being there for nice long visits. Now, why Dubai. An amendment. I went to Dubai as playwright observer to the Montreal Protocol. You're read about this before if you've read my blog. By now I am so vested, I feel like I'm working towards and wanting the good outcome too. We knew we had more support to pass the HFC amendment coming into Dubai. The question was was it enough. India had its own proposal, the African and Island States were strong voices and support and wonder of wonder Pakistan had changed its mind and was now pro. It was a long ten days filled with ups and downs. The high level speeches made you feel that it was inevitable. By the wheels of diplomacy turn at their own pace. We didn't get an amendment. But we got a very good thing. A commitment to have extra meetings and to spend 2016 coming to an agreement. We will return to Dubai because everyone wants it to be the Dubai amendment and I believe, next year, it will be. There are many more details on my Twitter feed with links to news and science.
After being up till 4:00 in the morning the night before finishing negotiation, I boarded a plane on November 6. The longest flight to date in my life. 17 hours to Atlanta and then a short flight to Boston and a shorter flight to Maine. Home at last after an amazing, life-changing two month journey.