I had the most amazing time at WordBRIDGE Playwrights Laboratory these past two weeks. I was led into a theater Xanadu between Baltimore and the river Alph where an extremely talented group of actors, directors, dragmaturgs, resource artists, company members, and student artists helped me create from a place as foreign to me as Mount Abora to Khan. I ventured in holding tight to safe ways of working and wielding a play that resisted my attempts to force it into something other than what it was - something WordBRIDGE fed it to be. I am happy and so grateful.
A Topography of WordBRIDGE
On the first floor you find a theater stage set with round tables and breakfast banquet. The company members toast raison bagels, pour soy milk into fresh coffee, and share war stories. Down the hall the script office buzzes with research requests and hot copies of new pages for rehearsal. Another turn of the rectangular hallway brings you to the rehearsals rooms—wide and bright and open, with two story windows overlooking the green trees of Towson’s campus. Around the tables, the playwright, director, dramaturg, stage manager, and actors insert the fresh pages into their scripts. As the actors highlight their new lines with one of the stage manager’s coterie of yellow, green, and pink highlighters, the dir/dram/pw triumvirate create a game-plan to investigate the new material. The resource artists orbit the circle with their own stations of investigation particular to their discipline. The computer visualization programmer with his laptop, the book artist with her sketch pad and charcoals, the psychologist with his proverbial pencil and pad. The drummer somewhere in between poised to improvise the drumming sequences with the actor whose monologues they underscore. Another pivot down the rectangular hall leads to a studio theater where Guest Artist Hours are populated by resource and visiting artists and the members of the company and outside community hungry for their expertise. The Green Room rounds out this first floor with couches, baskets of apples, T-Shirts of WordBRIDGEs past and fresh coffee, fresh coffee, fresh coffee.
One floor below is nestled the Playwrights Lounge—part work space, part rec/dressing room, den, snack repository, discotheque. Strategically placed speakers, mood lighting, and lava lamps catalyze not infrequent playwright dance parties that lift our spirits and our skirts on break from the catacombs of our scripts. Around the bend the Resource Artist Room aptly inhabits a converted chemistry laboratory, where mathematical, visual, musical, and tactile experiments build the sensory worlds of the four plays.
On each floor, at every bend, in every room—the future of American Theater is being ecstatically, elastically, actively made.
Krista Knight's plays have been produced by The Ontological Hysteric Theater, The Ashland New Plays Festival, The Hangar Theatre, Brown University, LiveGirls!, Harvest Theatre, Goshen College, The Attic Theatre, The New Perspective Festival, The Pan Theatre, and The Bus Barn Stage Company among others. Commissions include The Assembly, LiveGirls!, and Class Act. Krista has been in Residence at New York Mills, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Interplay in Australia, UCROSS, the Santa Fe Art Institude, Yaddo, and MacDowell. Winner of th 2011 KCACTF Musical Theatre Award from the Kennedy Center. 2007 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow. After WordBRIDGE, Krista will go to Berkeley Rep to write two plays for young adults and then will begin the year-long Shank Playwriting Fellowship at the Vineyard Theatre in New York. BA: Brown University. MA: Performance Studies from NYU. MFA: Playwriting at UC San Diego. www.KristaKnight.com