Both anthologies are about New Orleans: the past and the present. This author has grown up in this city, and there is certain timelessness about it - the past definitely influences the present. All the plays are permeated with the sensuousness, decadence and bewilderment of brave and driven people living in chaos, confusion, extreme pleasure and delight. I hope you get a taste of this rich jambalaya of life as you experience these plays.
Volume One contains modern plays set in pre-Katrina New Orleans, the City that Care Forgot. After I founded Southern Repertory Theatre in New Orleans, we initiated a new play festival to develop new voices and a friend challenged me to write. My play, Wishing Aces, won me a Senior Fulbright Research Specialist grant to Paris. From then on, I stopped writing textbooks and wrote plays primarily about New Orleans.
When shaping a play, I take a question that disturbs me that I can't figure out, such as: why can't this professor and this student communicate in a profound way? Why can't this mother set boundaries for her out-of-control son? What would it take for that to happen? I then look at voice and structure, using the names of people from my life (I may change these later) to get the right phrasing and tone. I put these ghosts in my play, pick the most haunting place in New Orleans, and use cards to come up with an outline of scenes. Place inspires that sense of mystery that is so important to the theatre: an abandoned train station in the Louisiana swamps, a Baroness Pontalba apartment in the Quarter, a Garden District mansion. Place, weather, time, sounds inspire designers who are critical to creating the images the story requires. I try to fill my plays with details from New Orleans; the heat, the rain, the light through the oaks, the phantom gallery of a plantation house at dusk so that you too can experience what it's like to live here.