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.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Rinse Tank

Rinse Tank

Drama, full length, one intermission.

Dana collects stories. Stories about broken marriages and one-night benders with bad boys. But when her attempt to take control of her own story leads her into a degrading tryst with an old grad school friend, she picks up with a guy she meets on a blind date - Brian - and looks for a new plot line. Can Dana leave behind the rock-star-lifestyle story she was trying to live when the Internet was riding high? Is she really creating a new story line for her life? Or is she just repeating?

CAST: 2 F, 2 M
This one hasn't gone out much. I can't really say why except that I write faster than theatres read.

Which I'm sorry about.

It's not the understaffed lit department's fault.

But there it is.

I loosely used this play to create a screenplay about the aftermath of San Francisco's tech boom. It's a good story about what happens when everyone comes back to earth after thinking anything is possible in business and in relationships. The short hand film pitch: "A coming of age story for the Entourage generation."

Friday, August 03, 2007

Fire Baby

I usually describe this as a "horror" play.

I mean it in the sense of BURIED CHILD is a horror story and ERASERHEAD is a horror story.

And I explain it this way because most people don't understand it, though those who get it, really GET IT.

The year I was a finalist for New Dramatists I was told the play caused major rifts. The people who loved it, LOVED it. The people who hated it, HATED it.

I wasn't sure what side of the fence I was on when I was writing it. Half the time I wanted to hide under the bed from it. The other half I was, well, on fire over it. A close friend told me not to worry. "It's great," he said. When he saw the reading with Estelle Parsons, Billy Crudup and the late John Seitz, he hated it.

Others loved it.

One producer told me they wanted to produce until they saw its effect on an audience. It was very unsettling - though no one left.

Another said, "But the only character I have any empathy for dies in the middle. Why don't you write him back into the second half? I'll take another look."


A lit manager for one of the big New York non-profits known for producing new work by new writers met with me after reading it and said "You have to get this produced." She then told me that her artistic director wouldn't like it. "The mother and father are about the age of our audience and they wouldn't be able to take it."

That comment tells us a lot about what's wrong today.

If it ever gets done (which, in truth, I've pretty much given up on the idea of), it does need just the right people. In fact, allowing an audience to have any kind of empathy for the parents in this one is a huge mistake - which requires a fearless lead actress.

Want a copy? You know where to reach me.

Fire Baby

Drama/Horror, full length, one intermission.

A Christmas holiday: Callaghan and Aideen have been married too long. He claims that she stinks of horses and hounds. She blames him for thwarting her life's ambitions. Callaghan thinks if he only had a gun he could "live as he really wanted." It would just take a shot to the back of her head. Into this "festive" atmosphere walks Michael, their 35 year old son. A failed screenwriter, Michael has a darkly threatening habit of singing an old Bing Crosby song "Mono Maleke Maka" in a voice that makes Callaghan suspect he's homicidal. Has Michael returned home to kill his parents? Does Aideen know what's in the black plastic trash bags? A bloody, darkly comic struggle for power ensues. Who will hold the reins and who will wear the bit?

CAST: 2 M, 1 F

Semi-finalist for the Princess Grace Award – 2005

NJ Rep – staged reading, directed by Matthew Arbour - 2005

DR 2, NY - staged reading with Billy Crudup, Estelle Parsons, John Seitz, directed by Trip Cullman - 2004

Magic Theatre, SF - reading at monthly Lit Committee Series - 2004

Nominated for the 2005 Cherry Lane Mentor Project by Eduardo Machado, NY – 2004

Semi-finalist for the Princess Grace Award – 2004

John Golden Award for Playwrighting - 2004

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Dressing the Girl

This is the space the Soho Think Tank calls home. It's where the above titled play was generously workshopped in 2005.

A first draft was finished in 2002.

I began heavily revising it in late 2003. The current draft was finished in 2005 and is radically different from the draft that was heard at the Think Tank. It took much longer time to get it right than I thought it would.

I'm currently looking for a dress shop in LA to produce it in. If you know of one, email me.

Here's the entry for its last New York reading in late 2006.

I've written about it before, so let's not crap around...


Dressing the Girl

Drama, full length, one intermission (optional).

Anne and Ian, once romantically involved, still emotionally and intellectually entangled, try to pick up where they left off. Unfortunately, Anne hates sex and Ian’s recent decision to quit drinking has left him thirsty for just about any diversion he can find. Searching for a way into Anne, he starts buying her the same dress over and over again even though it doesn’t fit. His relentless pursuit eventually pushes him into the arms of a dress shop girl who shows him just how dangerous a dress can be.

CAST: 2 F, 1 M

Time/Warner Center, Montmartre – onsite reading, presented by Relentless Theatre Co, directed by C. Maryan - 2006

Neighborhood Playhouse – reading, directed by C. Maryan - 2006

78th Street Theatre Lab – Equity workshop presentation, directed by Matthew Arbour - 2005

Soho Think Tank – staged reading at the 6th Floor Series, Ohio Theatre, NY – 2005

Nominated for the 2004 Cherry Lane Mentor Project by Frank Pugliese, NY – 2003

Magic Theatre, SF, inaugural script to be stage read at the monthly Lit Committee Series - 2003

Tomorrow: FIRE BABY

The Chair & smaller

Below are a synopsis for smaller and The Chair, the first two plays I wrote at Columbia.

Both were produced fairly quickly after writing them - at least in theatrical terms.

smaller was produced in San Francisco where it should've been. Unfortunately, the ceiling of the space we did it in was too low to light the play called for. So the glass office it took place in - symbolized by a harshly defined trapezoid of light that gradually gets smaller and smaller - never really happened. It would've been cool, but sometimes you have to let things go.

The Chair was first produced at the Hangar in Ithaca and later at the NY Fringe.

If you'd like a copy of either, email me at

Tomorrow, the second play I wrote at Columbia: Dressing the Girl



Drama, full Length, one act.

Matt and Paul, an advertising art director/copywriter team, have been together just a little too long. Like a marriage gone bad, they fight over everything from which women are desirable in the office to what makes a good boss. But when the dot com bubble they’ve been living on bursts, the bickering gets bitter and the fish bowl office they work in becomes smaller and smaller until only one can survive.


NOH Space, SF - production - 2002

Tensions mount in an ad agency as two men wait to see who's getting the ax, in this skillful play by Malachy Walsh
By Michael Scott Moore
August 14, 2002, SF Weekly

"...humor and suspense are character-driven, and the actors tangle skillfully... {Walsh's} 'candid look at just how small life in a cubicle can get' isn't as familiar or dry as it sounds, and Walsh deserves to be watched."

The play was also featured in Wendy Lesser's Three Penny Review as an example of what a good theater going experience should bring up in an audience, particularly in a changing SF landscape. She GOT it.

The Chair

Drama, One Act – 50 minutes.

San Francisco in the winter of 2002. The economics of the economy are not good, but Lauren, young, ambitious, hard working still wants a raise. Actually, she NEEDS a raise. But when it’s clear that it won’t be coming, she confronts her boss, Katherine, about why. The two women, at opposite ends of the career spectrum, face off in job review that calls into question just who's career is being evaluated - the one in front of Lauren, or the one Katherine has left behind.


NY International Fringe Festival, Relentless Theatre, NY - 2004, OVERALL EXCELLENCE IN PLAYWRIGHTING AWARD

Hangar Theatre Lab, Summer Play Lab winner, Hangar Theatre, Ithaca, NY – 2003

Bay Area Playwrights Festival, SF - Honorable Mention – 2003

Patricia Neal Award for Emerging Writers, National Arts Club, NY - 2002