09 Nov

How To Kill Yourself And Why, Reading at University Settlement

That’s (l to r) Paul Willis, Emily McDonnell, Jim Himelsbach and Tricia Rodley.

We did a reading of a theater piece of mine at University Settlement on Eldridge Street last night. It’s called How To Kill Yourself And Why: An Act in Three Plays. I started it five years ago by interviewing a monk named Bernard Audigier, who’s part of a little tiny order of monks called The Little Brothers of Jesus.

The play has been kicking my ass. It started as a talk show, then it was a seance, now it’s a collection of collages, which so far works best. What can you say about suicide and religious faith that has not been said? Why would you want to watch a performance about those things? (Feel free to write with answers). I’ve written bits and pieces over the years and nothing has coalesced. Last night I felt like we were onto something – the deadline pressure of the reading, the incredible actors, and the deft helmsmanship of Paul Willis led me to at least be able to tie together the elements into something you could hear.

Mostly it was the panic: people will see this, in a day, I better do something, now.

I’m in residence at the newly revitalized arts program at University Settlement all year, and we will be doing more readings and stuff with this piece.