Guest Artists of the
2018 Mollie Mook-Fiddler New Plays Festival
Leigh Meigs is a student of playwriting, a clinical so5cial worker, a traveler, an attorney, and former Mayor of Durango, Colorado. She’s a local who has been laying down tracks between Silverton and Durango for the last 38 years.
In 2017, she wrote and presented her first play, Waterfall, which was presented in staged reading as part of A Theatre Group's 2017 New Artist Series. In 2017, Leigh directed a play for the first time, Goodtimes, in Durango’s 2017 Ten Minute Play Festival. This year, the Theatre Mine will produce for staged reading Leigh's new play I Am.
In I Am, we meet Ella, a talented young biracial nursing student whose steady predictable world is about to unravel, just like her pussy hat. In the same moment that Ella finds herself celebrated as a woman in the #MeToo movement, she is discovering her own true place in the women’s movement—and in her own life.
Peter Gil-Sheridan is a founding member of The Pool, a new company formed with Lynn Rosen and Susan Bernfield that produced his play The Rafa Play under the direction of Morgan Gould in rep with Rosen’s and Bernfield’s work at the Flea Theatre in NYC in November of last year. Last summer, he was the recipient of the Mollie Mook-Fiddler Prize and was in residence in Silverton, Colorado working with A Theatre Group to create his new play Useful People under the artistic direction of Daniel F. Sullivan. He also wrote a new webseries, Hungry, commissioned by Amar Srivastava that is slated for production in Fall 2018. He was a contributor to Artbarn 2017 in Tacoma, Washington, a site-specific immersive piece about women created in residence at the Warner Gym on the University of Puget Sound under the direction of Jess K. Smith. Peter was a guest at the University of Iowa’s New Play Festival where he also gave a video talk on the art of dramatic writing for Iowa’s renowned International Writing Program’s online course “Power of the Pen: Identities and Social Issues in Poetry and Plays” and was a recipient of the Iowa Playmakers Residency.
His play Cockight was originally written at Soho Rep’s Writer/Director Lab and was further developed by PlayPenn in Philadelphia. His play Ritu Comes Home, originally commissioned by InterAct in Philadelphia as part of their 20/20 Commission program had its world premiere there in 2015.
Other plays include Courtney and Caroline, a piece written and performed in Farmington, NM with Navajo and non-Navajo community members about religious and cultural traditions in the area, What May Fall, commissioned by the Guthrie and performed there. Topsy Turvy Mouse was produced by the Cherry Lane and Borderlands Theatre in Tucson and was the winner of The Smith Prize awarded by the National New Play Network for outstanding political work. Other work developed by the Lark’s Playground, New York Theatre Workshop, Queens Theatre in the Park, and A Theatre Group in Silverton.
Residencies include the Jerome Fellowship in Minneapolis, The Sundance Institute, The Millay Colony, The Ucross Foundation, Tofte Lake and A Theatre Group in Silverton, CO. Peter has also been a member of I73, Page 73’s weekly writing group in New York. He’s performed his solo piece People Tell Me Things at several venues across the U.S. including Ars Nova’s ANTFest, Identity, Inc. in Farmington, NM, at Ucross in Wyoming and on Martha’s Vineyard. Peter runs the MFA Playwriting Program at Indiana University after ten years teaching at Fordham University and in the New York City Public Schools as a teaching artist through the Leap OnStage program. He is a proud board member of the newly formed Silverton Theatre Mine. MFA: Iowa, BA: Fordham.
Peter shared the following about his new work for the 2018 Mollie Mook-Fiddler New Plays Festival:
I’ve been very interested in the concept of physical transformation. That we are made mostly of water means that our bodies can radically change in both the long and short-term. I see physical transformation happening to everyone around me. I’ve lost 65 pounds since July and I, for the first time in my life, can feel my collarbone. My grandmother is 85. Sometimes when I think of her, she’s still 55 but then, in the flesh, she different, smaller, wrinkly. She’s a very elderly woman and yet, as Anne Lamott says, we are all the ages we’ve ever been at once. My friend Mollie transformed from beautiful health to sickness and eventually, to death, the ultimate transformation to a space beyond our knowing. In transformation, there is such fear of what will come next. There is exhilaration. There is freedom from fixed ideas of the self.
I’ve become interested in creating a piece where actors can radically change right before the audience’s eyes. Actors are gifted at transformation. So are designers. I’m interested in creating a text and a structure that would allow me to transform 7 actors from their present selves, into sickness, and into the dark and scary and celestial space that eradicates sickness.
Our persistent transformation is at the center of the uncertainty that plagues us. I’d like my piece to offer comfort by uniting us in our experience of change.
I’d like to do my early work on this piece in Silverton, the place I spent the vast majority of my time with Mollie, a place where I feel the drum of her beating heart, a place she cared for and, in part, came to be the Mollie I know and love. It was for her a town of countless transformations.