Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Grady Burnett Walsh.

Born Wed, Aug 15 at 4:02 am.

8 lbs, 15 oz - or 9 pounds, give or take an oz.

21 inches.

All are very very healthy - including MOM!

To see more pix of the birthday party, just go here.

It's all new, now, isn't it?

ps. Thanks for all the calls and emails from everyone about this. The support means a lot to Heather and I. You may get an email about this too - depending on how well I know you. Given the difficulties of wifi at the hospital, it was simply easier to post this first. I hope you understand.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Late. Very Late.

So, you're probably saying, "I thought he said his last post was going to be coming up. But didn't he say that like, two weeks AGO?" And you'd be right. But if you think I'm hanging on too long, you should see the woman I'm married to.

After all, we are officially overdue. And she is officially tired of it.

But what can you do?

Us, we're playing tennis, going on long walks, planning ways to shoot more of a movie idea, kicking around a screenplay idea, seeing lots of movies (Rush Hour 3 - bad; Stardust - good; Once - excellent; Bourne - excellent; Harry Potter - whatever), watching TV shows (Damages - fucking fantastic; Mad Men - fucking fantastic; First Season of The Wire - REALLY FUCKING FANTASTIC!!!!) and, as the video embedded in this post shows, hitting the swimming pool late at night. (I apologize about the squashed look - I shot it in HD and must of captured it incorrectly because I can not get it to compress to the right format (16:9 letterbox) - though it's all part of the very steep learning curve.)

One good thing that has come about - BEYOND THE OWING will be getting a reading at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis next year as part of their Roundtable Reading Series. It's a million years away, but it's nice to have something. Always nice.

In the meantime, I'm closer than ever to being done with this thing.

I thought it would be worthwhile - or at least worth the self-indulgence - to link to "People I'm Meeting In LA" posts that I've had written through the year. There's only 10 of 'em. And if you're interested, well...

I like the agent piece in particular.

The Actor

The Agent

The Dream Factory

The Story Analyst

The Playwright

The Library

The Director

The Young Producers

The New Writer

The Executive

Finally, weirdly, "WHY BLOGGING MATTERS" has for some reason disappeared. Anyone know why that might have happened, aside from the crack that maybe it doesn't matter?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Did You Know?

In a few days - maybe even today - a baby is going to make me a dad.

This is the world he's being born into - and that we're all writing for - today.

Amazing. Frightening. Terrific.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


One piece of advice I've gotten from everyone here, from all angles. Do it yourself.

This follows Anne Bogart's "Don't wait."

You'd think theatre would be faster, but actually, it's not. For theatre, you not only need actors, but you need a space to rehearse in, a space to perform in and people to run lights, the house, the sound and the cues - every night.

Then you have to find an audience to make it worthwhile.

In film, you need those actors and technicians for one day (more if you have a budget and you're doing something bigger - but still less than theatre). The performance space can be as low rent as YouTube and my experience with videos on YouTube has been, you're likely to get more people watching your work by accident than you are to get in a theatre without a decent ad budget, a huge cast and a rave in print.

So I took all the collective advice and bought a Canon XH-A1. It's the low end 24f (or p, if you believe the hype) HD camera. I also picked up a Sennheiser mic and one lighting instrument.

My wife bought me a copy of Final Cut Express.

Two weeks ago I shot my first short. The script was from a play I wrote that imagines a conversation between Helen and Clytemnestra just before Clytemnestra gives birth to Iphigenia, (Iphigenia, the girl who will later be sacrificed by Agamemnon - her father - in order to please the gods enough to put wind in his Greek fleets sails and begin the quest to bring Helen back from Troy. Hilarity, right?)

The stills here are from the edited short - which runs about 10 minutes. I won't post the video of it because what I learned is just how limited my equipment is, but it gave me hope about continuing down this road.

And, it was fun.

I may in fact stop blogging soon, but I may start posting video shorts instead. All the while trying to find a place to do Dressing the Girl here in LA - naturally.

NOTE: While writing this, we had a 4.5 earthquake here in California. The bookshelves definitely SHOOK.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

My Irish mind.

We're close to being parents.

And these days we're a bit edgy waiting for that. But now that Denver is taking some space, we're not only waiting, but we're -er, well, I'm - thinking overmuch about what comes next.

Mixed into it, I've received a few rejections - one of which actually surprised me (though I should know better) - and one of which was very detailed about why a play I'd written wasn't being accepted. This detail was offered in good faith by someone who likes my work. But I have to remind myself - a lot these days - that nothing happens overnight. Or on any schedule that I have.

On the other hand, i'm making plans to do what many here have recommended - making something myself.

It's a lot to have in the air on the eve of so much more. And sometimes I feel a little like I did last November when I was thinking we might be living in a car rather than an apartment when there was no money and no prospects.

Of course, that's not at all how it worked out. But my Irish mind went there anyway.

And I while I have to wait for what comes next, I really can't wait. It's pretty amazing to think that a year ago I never thought I'd be in such an amazingly fortunate place.

Good things to come. Good things.

In that spirit, it seems like a good time to point out some of my favorite posts by others. So, in really no particular order, here's a list of posts (an inadequate list to be sure) that were worth a look when when they were written. And I think are still worth a look now.

If you don't find one you like, just check out anyone I've put a link to on the right. They're there because I read them. You should too.



This is the first post that really caught my interest and wouldn't let go: A speech from Eduardo Machado that questioned the way playwrights are being supported by the theatre culture we live in. I believe that Isaac had found it elsewhere originally. The text and the responses it inspired at Parabasis made me take the "theatrosphere" seriously and made me want to contribute.

This manifesto from Adam was great. Certainly made me think a little more about what I wanted to see in theatre. I suppose you might expect nothing less from Adam, who suggested I create my own blog just a little after we left school.

Ever feel stuck? You are not alone. Another gem from Szymkowicz.

I used to read George Hunka very regularly. I still peak occasionally. Whatever one thinks of his style, he sticks up for seriousness and against the trivial. His "Organum" is a perfect example of his maddening tone and his incisive thinking. If you can't get one without the other, well, I'll take both rather than neither. So, look around.

Matthew Freeman has few things to say about the "Organum" too - and why he prefers practice to theory.

Of the many things discussed in the "theatrosphere" funding is one of the more important topics. Here Freeman talks about the arts funding decline.

Another popular discussion has been the way writers have wrestled with narrower production opportunities and the rise of development. The Playgoer led a lot of these conversations.

But he's not the only one as these posts from Mr. Excitement and Laura - who no longer writes about theater - show.

It all lead to a lot of yelling and kvetching until, eventually, Jason Grote weighed in with some tempered observations based on his experiences.

The subject got explored from a different angle when Isaac quoted Albee and delved into questions about our collaborative natures.

And there's this from Playgoer about the economics of what we do.

One of my pet subjects is the need to do more than theatre when theatre isn't keeping the lights on. The always provocative Don Hall had this to say. Laura also had some thoughts that are worth reviewing. That of course is one reason why I believe Joshua James made this declaration.

Then there are big subjects that get broached. Like the one that unspooled from this post by David Cote. Religion seems to do that.

David also wrote this piece that exemplifies one aspect of what I'd like see instead of theatre reviews - the think piece.

Finally, I'd be totally remiss if I didn't point out the great thinking of Dave Tutin as exemplified by this observation about where we discover who we are.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Beyond the Owing

This play will be produced July 13 -26,
at the Red Eye Theater in Minneapolis,
directed by Genevieve Bennett.

Check it out.... right here.

Beyond the Owing

Drama, full length, one intermission.

It’s Easter and Liz has come home with her fiancĂ© Sutton to put the finishing touches on their wedding plans. With the big day only three months away, a financial storm of debt swells on the horizon of their life together. Has Sutton lost hope in their future or does he just have cold feet? Will Liz's mother roll the dice on her own future to prop up the young couple? In a tempest brought on by the crushing cost of pursuing a dream, Liz is swept up in the tragic struggle over who owes who - and for what.

CAST: 2 M, 3 F

Drama Guild Writing Fellowship – semi-finalist - 2006

NJ Rep – staged reading, directed by Matthew Arbour - 2006

Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR – staged reading, directed by Robynn Rodriguez – 2006

Clubbed Thumb “New Play Boot Camp” at Playwrights Horizons, NY, directed by Matthew Arbour – 2006

PCPA TheaterFest workshop/reading - 2007

Here's an early review of the production referenced above.

July 16, 2009

If you’ve never seen a play, Beyond the Owing by Malachy Walsh is the perfect introduction to theater. Strong characters deal with universal emotional conflicts in a very current context—the economic crisis and crushing debts.

Out of college and planning to marry, Liz, a waitress and aspiring actress, and Sutton, a carpenter who wants to write, face tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. When the couple visit Liz’s mother Ruth to finish planning their wedding, a troubling secret is unexpectedly revealed, testing all these relationships. One theme of this play is being a young adult “going home” and seeing the distance (and disconnects) between where we’re from and where we want to go in life. The debts owed here are not only financial, but emotional—and not easily resolved.

Genevieve Bennett is a self-described “independent, self-producing theater director” responsible for last year’s Twin Cities Chekhov Festival; all the actors except one worked with Bennett in that endeavor. Bennett met playwright Walsh in graduate school five years ago, read an early draft of Beyond the Owing three years ago and, with actors, she collaborated on the script, acting “as more of a dramaturge than a director.”

beyond the owing, presented through july 26 at the red eye theatre, 15 w. 14th st., minneapolis. for tickets ($10-$15) and information, see hear an interview with genevieve bennett on kfai’s art matters (july 9 episode), archived at
Bennett, a Columbia University graduate, told KFAI that she identified with the couple in the play. ”They’re in an artistic field, so they’re not going to make big bucks right out of college—maybe not ever. This was a self-reflective play for me and the actors. It makes you reflect on ‘was it selfish or right to go for my dreams?’ Of course, it’s more interesting to ask questions than to make a statement. This play asks a lot of questions.”

“Beyond the Owing” features an ensemble of creative talents in synchrony: Bennett, the actors, and a near-perfect script. I found myself thinking of a young Arthur Miller or Lorraine Hansberry: big issues are explored within everyday lives we can relate to.

Sasha Andreev plays Sutton as a passionate lover and practical problem-solver, who as the outsider seems to be the only solid ground in the midst of this spinning family drama of three women. He has a way to solve the money crunch he and Liz are in—but how ethical is he? Andreev communicates charisma with a smoldering question: when confronted with a huge challenge, does he have character? Will he stick it out or split? Andreev subtly implies an ambivalence to keep you guessing until the end.

As played by Sara Richardson, Liz is an emotional pinball. Madly in love with Sutton, but facing unfinished business with her mother and reuniting with her best friend Trish, Richardson masterfully shows a complex range of emotions: playful, angrily defensive, stunned devastation. Veteran actress (and member of Theater Unbound) Delta Rae Giordano plays the mother, Ruth, as an emotional vortex. She’s vague, lost and dependent one moment, petty and vindictive the next. Your sympathies ricochet back and forth between Liz and Ruth, because neither one is painted as an unambiguous villain. Nicole Devereaux plays Trish, left behind after high school, simmering with contradictions. Trish’s past admiration of Liz vies with her present envy, and she may have become a substitute daughter to Ruth. Certainly, the different paths Trish and Liz have taken add another source of conflict to the mix. Mario (Leif Jurgensen), a wedding planner, is an almost comic fringe character who adds another twist that will ultimately lead to revealing the big secret that cracks these characters wide open.

Beyond the Owing takes place in Ruth’s house with a marvelous “soundscape” created by Elliot Durko Lynch, a Sage-Award-nominated sound artist, part of the recent podcast series RadioBrain. Without the multimedia gimmickry that too many plays today resort to, Lynch is ingenious in his use of usually unremarkable sounds to create an increasingly tense atmosphere.

“At first I thought this was a play about being in debt,” said Bennett. “Then, I realized it’s about attempting to reconcile what we dreamed our lives would be with what our lives have actually become. The chasm between those things only grows wider with financial stress. Huge tragedies are going on in the tanking economy. But there are everyday tragedies [involving the gap between] what people dreamed their life would be and what it is—often due to financial obstacles.”

Beyond the Owing is an emotionally powerful mirror to many of our modern dilemmas. In our money-mad culture, this play ponders the prices we pay in our most intimate relationships and the costs that can’t be calculated in a credit report. You owe it to yourself not to miss this instant contemporary classic.

Lydia Howell is a Minneapolis journalist, winner of the 2007 Premack Award for Public Interest Journalism. She hosts Catalyst: Politics & Culture on KFAI. Hear a conversation with Dee Mosbacher archived on the Catalyst page at

Finally, here's a photo of Heather (2007), at the pool, where we talked for an hour or so before coming up to bed.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Logic of Clawed Feet

I'm still working on this one.

Michael Kenyon at the Public used to call it the "flower-penis" play.

That's not a horrible description. Plus, there's a wrestling match between the flower-penis and its owner.

Don't know when I'll ever finish it.

The Logic of Clawed Feet

Comedy, full Length, three acts.

Is Iris a witch? No one knows for sure, but when she decides to stop turning her lovers into cupcakes and swears men off for good, she casts one last spell on poor Earl, the cab-driver who haplessly picks her up at the Ritz. Things get really crazy however, when, after falling for her, Earl grows a Gerber daisy for a penis. Can Iris control her fears long enough to settle into a relationship with a man? Should Earl use Miracle-Gro or start weeding the garden that’s sprouting out of his pants? These questions and more get asked in a whimsical comedy that uses San Francisco as a fairy tale backdrop.

CAST: 2 F, 2 M

78th Street Theatre Lab - workshop presentation - June, 2006

78th Street Theatre Lab - reading - 2005

American Theatre Co-op quarterfinalist - 2003
Finally, a worthwhile essay on the state of theater that Adam linked to earlier today after seeing it at Mike Daisey's place.