A natural gas flare in North Dakota. A rainbow appears to arc over it. An image of hope, or of despair?

A new play and new collaborators

A natural gas flare in North Dakota. A rainbow appears to arc over it. An image of hope, or of despair?

As it’s most imminent, I’ll start with an upcoming online workshop with Phamaly Theatre. Last year, I started writing The Hard Price at The Orchard Project as their inaugural Reg E. Cathey Writer-in-Residence. Set in North Dakota oil country and spanning the United States’ two wars in Iraq, the play follows the effects of those 2 conflicts on 2 generations of the Erekson Family, using the story of The Oresteia as a jumping off point. (What? Me adapt a classic Greek play? How unexpected…)

In September 2019, I got to hear a very rough draft read at The Lark. (Lords, remember when we could just hop on the bus, get off in New York, walk a few blocks and be welcomed by the loveliest and most talented people? #fuck2020). I’ve been working on the play since then and recently completed a more polished draft that I get to work on for a few days with Phamaly Theater and a few of their core artists. If you don’t know Phamaly, it’s a great time to get acquainted. They’re a Denver-based company that serves as an artistic home for artists with disabilities. Remember how awesome Ali Stroker was when you saw her perform as Ado Annie in Oklahoma/on the Tonys? Cool, now imagine the entire cast is that same kind of awesome. The Artistic Director at Phamaly is the incomparable Regan Linton, and I’m really thrilled to have been invited to collaborate with her and her peeps.

I also get to work with the phenomenal Jessica Kubzansky who, as both a freelance director and as artistic director of Boston Court Theatre in Pasadena, has brought the most exciting plays/productions to the LA Basin.

As if all that wasn’t good enough, this project will be a lovely, cross-generational, UCSD get together as I (class of ’06) get to work with the aforementioned Regan Linton (class of ’13), AND MacGregor Arney (class of ’16).

So, really, what’s not to love?

The workshop will be closed to the public but I’m very excited about this play, so write to your Congressional representatives BECAUSE WE NEED ELECTION SECURITY NOW. And then, hopefully, in some post-45….er, post-Covid-19 world, this play will quickly appear on our stages.

I wrote a #newplay in 24 Hours

Tune in TONIGHT (Tuesday, March 24) at 6pm to see my play “The Time Machine,” starring Ryan Haddad.

Excited to share that I was asked to write for the latest round of The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues. I got to write for the inimitable Ryan J. Haddad, and I’m so excited to see him work his magic!

Tune in TONIGHT (Tuesday, March 24)  on their website and/or on their Instagram channel @24hourplays. They’ll start posting monologues at 6pm EDT, with a new one being posted every 15 minutes.

And check this out: my name is mentioned on Playbill.com in the same press release as Hamilton star Daveed Diggs.

 

On Every Link at the Lark!

The historic courthouse in Thebes, Ill.

 

It’s been a busy few weeks—which included a long overdue return to THEBES, ILLINOIS—so I’m behind the curve on sharing all this here, but if you haven’t heard, On Every Link a Heart Does Dangle; or, Owed will be workshopped at the Lark as part of their BareBones program this April/May! In addition to being the culmination of Apothetae/Lark Fellowship, this will also mark my first time getting to work with director and fellow UCSD alum Meredith McDonough, and I’m pretty excited to share the work we’re going to be doing in New York this spring.

We’ll be announcing the full cast soon. In the meantime, here’s the press release:

NEW YORK, NY – The Lark is thrilled to announce its BareBones® program will return this season with a workshop production of On Every Link a Heart Does Dangle; or Owedby Tim J. Lord, directed by Meredith McDonough. The play, a radical reimagining of the Oedipus myth, will run at The Lark’s BareBones® Studio from May 10–19, 2019, at 311 West 43rd Street, 5th Floor, in New York City.

BareBones® productions are simply staged, public presentations of plays in the later stages of development, and are The Lark’s most intensive development workshops, with plays receiving three weeks of rehearsal and up to eight public performances. In On Every Link a Heart Does Dangle; or Owed, the town of Thebes, once the jewel of Southern Illinois, has fallen to ruin. The river has turned poisonous, the crops are failing, and pregnant women and their unborn babies are dying mysterious deaths, all while the town’s leader has locked himself away.

“This play began as an Oedipus adaptation set in Southern Illinois, but I soon found I wasn’t interested in creating another adaptation of a story about a man who creates a problem, refuses to listen to those trying to help him, then bewails the fate that was thrust upon him,” said Lord. “So I pushed Oedipus offstage. Instead, I wanted to focus on the most vulnerable people in this world. Those left to deal with his inability to see what’s killing Thebes. The new central character is a young woman born in poverty and shunned because she was born with a disability.”

Lord has been developing the play through his residency with The Lark in The Apothetae and Lark Playwriting Fellowship, which is granted in partnership with The Apothetae(Artistic Director, Gregg Mozgala), and provides a two-year cycle of support to a Disabled writer for the generation of a new play to essay and challenge perceptions of the “Disabled Experience.” Tim became the inaugural recipient of the Fellowship last season, receiving a $40,000 prize and a $5,000 opportunity and resource fund, as well as outreach and scouting toward the commissioning and development of the new play, and a $10,000 production enhancement fund.

“But Every Link isn’t a play about disability,” said Lord. “Like the play that inspired it, it’s about power—who has it and how they hold onto it. It’s about understanding that true power comes from being entrusted with it. And it’s about learning to own one’s power. I’ve had the great gift of unwavering support from The Apothetae and Lark Playwriting Fellowship over the past year and a half. It’s allowed me to tell this really big, ambitious story from a perspective that is often overlooked, so Every Link is also a play about enabling people to tell their own stories.”

On Every Link a Heart Does Dangle; or Owed is a theatrical event expected to run approximately three and half hours, and is a work-in-progress, subject to change throughout the run in order to support the development of this epic story. The play has also received development through The Lark’s Project on Tyranny, Winter Writers’ Retreat, and Roundtable programs, as well as at the University of Minnesota, The Playwrights’ Center, and at the Kennedy Center.

“Tim’s play is adventurous and incredible,” said Lloyd Suh, Director of Artistic Programs at The Lark. “It uses classic myths of history and explodes myths of disability; a heroine’s journey told with wild theatrical imagination.”

“And there’s a journey into a monster’s lair called the Panther’s Den,” said Lord.

Public performances begin May 10 and run through May 19. Seating is limited, tickets are free, and you can make your reservation here.

 

Hope to see you at the Lark this May!

Looking Ahead (and a little bit behind)

In 2018, I finally got around to writing On Every Link a Heart Does Dangle; or, Owed—my Oedipus adaptation that completely pushes Oedipus offstage, giving the story to the women of Thebes. Thanks to the Playwrights Center and the Lark, I wrote about 150 pages over the course of just 3 weeks.

And then I got to workshop that play TWICE at the Kennedy Center. The first time via the National New Play Network‘s MFA Playwrights Workshop—of which I’m an alumni—and the second time courtesy of the amazing Gregg Henry, artistic director of the KC’s American College Theater Festival.

Most exciting of all is that I’ll be workshopping Every Link at the Lark this spring via their BareBones program. This includes public performances, so be sure to stay turned for details as we put together our team.

Coming up on January 31, I’ll be participating in the Project on Tyranny. Along with Franky D. Gonzalez, C.A. Johnson, Rajiv Joseph, Mona Mansour, Liza Jessie Peterson, and moderator, Lloyd Suh, we’ll be discussing the ways in which art and activism come to intersect in these challenging times.

Cheers, y’all.

Last Workshop of my Jerome Fellowship

EC602122-8550-46F9-9291-8E76EE2829B2“The way forward is the Great River’s mouth…”

Once, the town of Thebes on the banks of the Mississippi River was the jewel of southern Illinois, but that was before the rains stopped falling and the crops didn’t come in and the babies started dying. Seeking an answer from the gods, suspicion falls on Mellie, a young woman, seriously disabled since birth, long suspected as being unfavored by them who dwell on the Mountaintops. Mellie has her own suspicions though and sets out to prove them before the hammer can fall on her.

This is On every link a heart does dangle; or, Owed, my second play exploring three generations of debts and deceptions in a mythological version of Thebes, Illinois. It’s receiving its first full read in a workshop at the Playwrights Center today, the first step on what should be an exciting, yearlong journey.

New short plays in 2018

Current-MoodArt.jpgHi friends, 2018 is off to an exciting start with 2 new short plays in production.

First up, “This Land Is MY Land” premieres at the 52nd St. Street Project as part of Current Mood: The Relatable Plays. This is one of the Project’s 2-on-2 shows where 2 kids act in a play written for them by an adult and directed by an adult. My play features two of my favorite kids at the Project, one of whom is Emmanuel, my Smart Partner. It’s a political satire set in 2049 at a moment when the country’s public lands are about to be privatized and two regular joes are fighting to make sure they get their constitutionally-guaranteed acre—but maybe they can overcome their differences by overthrowing the corrupt government instead?

And then—a grand start to life here in Minneapolis—my first collaboration with a local company here. The first play of Pillsbury House + Theater’s 2018 season is The Great Divide II: Plays on the Politics of Truth. The show consists of 5 plays by 5 playwrights local to Minneapolis and they’re 5 of my favorite people that I’ve met since moving here: Christina Ham, Jessica Huang, Stacey Rose, and Andrew Rosendorf. The show will be directed by Noël Raymond and features a cast of the Twin Cities’ best: Tracey Maloney, Audrey Park,  Mikell Sapp, & Ricardo Vazquez.

In NYC Working at the Lark

As part of my Apothetae-Lark Fellowship, I’m working on 2 plays at the Lark in NYC this week.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017:
We’ll read through the new, existing draft of Fault & Fold. Nicole A. Watson, directing.

After her tour of duty was ended by an act of violence, Sarah finds herself back home trying to figure out how to put her life back together. Back in Afghanistan, Khalid, the brother of the woman Sarah killed, is trying to do the same. Together they look for the ways to bridge the distances between one another, a journey that will cross continents and cultures and delve deep into the earth.

Monday, December 4, 2017:
I’ll be revisiting an older play, G-Men! with director Avery Wigglesworth, who helmed the production of Peloponnesus with her company The Cutout Theater.

Dateline: 1956, The Big City! Spcl. Asst. Deputy Director Norman and his crackerjack agents are on the trail of a mad, dress-wearing bomber who’s blowing up ladies’ clothing stores. Led by no less than J. Edgar himself, our heroes brave a world full of liberals and commies and foreigners-Oh my! They banter, they quip, they defy time & space and rewrite history. They are…G-Men!

“Assuming there are seagulls, assuming I’m near the sea…”

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Next up in 2016, aka the “Year of Tim J. Lord:”

“Uprooted,” a brand new 10-minute play written for the 52nd St. Project’s Teen Ensemble. Two performances only!

The other plays were written by Dylan Dawson, Christina Quintana, Erica Saleh, & Melisa Tien. Directed by Ka-ling Cheung, Rachel Dart, Austin Regan, Max Rosenak, & Lynne Rosenberg.

Tickets are free! Make your reservations here!

THIS IS HOW WE ROLL

The Teen Ensemble One-Act Festival

2 Performances
Friday, June 3 @ 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 2 @ 3:00 p.m.

The 52nd Street Project’s
Five Angels Theater
789 Tenth Avenue, 2nd Fl.
Between 52nd & 53rd Streets

ThisIsHowWeRollWeb

“…fussing and flapping in priestly black like a murder of crows”

crows-fin-smOn a cold November night back in 1994, I was walking through Standish Park in Galesburg, Illinois. It’s an old park with tall trees, and the sound that came spilling down from the treetops was unlike anything I’d ever heard. An enormous flock of crows had alighted there and for the first time ever I understood why a large group like this was called a “murder.” They stayed there for much of the winter, their myriad voices crying out as I walked below them. And then one day they were just gone.

10 years later I was walking through the woods in Rhode Island, and another murder found me. This time they were moving en masse through the trees and I walked among them for a time, following them to a bluff looking out over Olney Pond. This time I could pick out individual voices from among the greater din, and when they flew on without me, I was left knowing how to create the play that I’d been turning over in my head.

Peloponnesus was born shortly thereafter. It’s a Greek tragedy set in contemporary Southern Illinois, and the play incorporates a chorus. A chorus that resembles a murder of crows.

Three years ago, Peloponnesus had a reading at Knox College and it introduced me to director and co-founder of the Cutout Theatre Company, Avery Wigglesworth. She told me she was a big fan of the play and could she contact me when she moved to New York. One year ago she declared her interest in producing Peloponnesus, and 2 days ago she and her company started rehearsals on its world premiere.

This play has been with me a long time. It’s had a number of readings through the years. It’s gotten me onto a number of professional radars. But no one has had the audacity to actually take it on and give it life. Until this upstart of a theater company said, “Let’s do this.”

I am so excited about the work we’re doing.

You can join us in April for 5 performances. And you can get your tickets here.

Hope to see you in Brooklyn next month.

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