Why Pearl Cleage knocks me out, part one

I had this grand idea that I would spend the month of January, our brief down time in between seasons, to write regular posts explaining who Pearl Cleage is and why – in my opinion – she was chosen as our 2007 season playwright. As the cold month wore on, and the day job and personal commitments kept me from blogging day after day, the grand idea became more and more intimidating. And so here we are in February, with the first rehearsal for Blues for an Alabama Sky taking place tomorrow morning, and I still haven’t explained anything.

So this is a quick kick-start – a fanning of the blogging flames, if you will. Let’s get this train rolling again.

Here’s the quick version of my reason for spending a year with Pearl Cleage – her plays knock me out. And I don’t use that phrase lightly. I mean literally – I find myself needing to get up and move around after finishing a script, feeling emotionally and physically spent, and intellectually invigorated.

I’m designing the lights for Blues, and I’ve been re-reading the script frequently in the last few weeks, and each time I finish that last page (for what’s easily the twenty-fifth or thirtieth time at this point), I want desperately to find a friend or a stranger to hand the script to and say “Have you read this? Here. Read it. Now. Seriously. Now.”

Unfortunately, it’s my only copy, so I can’t actually give it to anyone until my design is done. So I’ll have to explain why I feel so strongly about it, and why that feeling is still so powerful after dozens of times through the script.

Hence the kick start – I’ll be back soon to get more specific, and it won’t seem so intimidating tomorrow morning.

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