In the late 1970s, a woman came to my free university (Communiversity) class on Feminist Theater in Kansas City, Mo. I had never written a play, belonged to a theatre company, or taught a class. But when I looked for a class on feminist theater, there wasn’t one. How better to learn about it than to teach it? This woman who came to my class had recently attended a conference on theater, and after the second session of the class, she came up to me and told me she liked my follow-through. We became fast friends, and co-founded Actors’ Sorority, a women’s theatre company.
Her name is Kate Kasten. She told me I had to be the one to write the plays because I was the one with good ideas. So I learned how to write plays by writing them. Of course, I read hundreds of plays too, which was even more important to the process.
Eventually, we wrote plays together. One of those plays was recently produced in Cape Town, South Africa. Some of our work has been used as course material in university classes. (Rollins College in Florida, Ohio State University, for example.) One of our plays ran for six months to sold out audiences in Chicago.
The play I thought (at the time we wrote it) was our best, never got produced, or even a reading outside a college classroom, because it had a fatal flaw. What had initially seemed hilarious on the page, was later cringe-making for its lack of political correctness. We shoved it in a drawer.
Flash forward to last week. Kate is archiving all her and our writings in preparation for her retirement and move next year. She called me to say that play is still crisp and funny after all these years, and what we thought was a fatal flaw can be easily fixed. So, she and I will collaborate one more time. Now we have technology on our side, and will be able to collaborate easily, in spite of the miles that separate us these days.
I couldn’t be happier! Once we’ve completed our work on the project, we will put it out into the world. I anticipate a reading in front of an audience before this year is out.
What writings have YOU shoved into a drawer, only to bring them out later and recognize their worth?