Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Andrew Saito: Magic-Maker

Theatre artists are magic makers. We are sorcerers and scientists who cast spells with words, images, and corporeal expression.

Playwrights Foundation is our laboratory.  It is a tree on which Bay Area playwrights perch after each returns from individual far-flung journeys, each in her own direction, each following a unique path toward distinct and daring worlds.  We return to this aviary and squawk at each other about new possibilities, and new dreams.

In March 2012, I presented my play The Patron Saint of Monsters at a meeting of the Resident Playwrights Initiative, a group of eight playwrights who meet monthly at Playwrights Foundation to share work and receive feedback.  I brought in a draft that featured two polished acts, and a third act that was struggling to find coherence. This third act was the focus of discussion at RPI.  

While presenting my play to the group did not instantly "fix" it, months later, while on a Fulbright in Papua New Guinea, the wise insights of my colleagues echoed amongst the dozens of varieties of banana, sago and betelnut trees.  That workshop planted seeds that sprung months later, on the other side of the world; their fruit was a thoroughly different third act, which delivers on the promise of the play, and really is the ending that play has needed since I first wrote it three years ago.

So yes, we are magicians.  But the spells don't always emerge from within.  Often they're cast in the interactions amongst wildly different voices, imaginations, and minds.

- Andrew Saito

Andrew Saito is currently a Resident Playwright at Playwrights Foundation. He also has a play premiering, Krispy Kritters in The Scarlett Night, at San Francisco's Cutting Ball Theater on May 17. You can learn more about Andrew and his work here.

Collaboration in the PF Studio and the Resident Playwright Initiative are just some of the ways that PF supports the development of new plays. Help us continue these efforts by giving to our PF Studio Campaign on Indiegogo, which ends today at 11:59pm PST.

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