We’re back in Washington DC. Yes that’s right, that place: The world’s centre of excellence for political skullduggery (see The West Wing/Veep/CNN), a town once upon a time dubbed America’s “murder capital”, a city boasting summers so sizzling hot that you could fry an egg on the sidewalk (if you had an egg), and a place noted as having “the charm of the north and the efficiency of the south” (Pres. John F Kennedy).
Well it’s time to set the record straight. We love DC! This is our fourth visit to the capital of the USA. This time we’re here to do a reading of my new play Emerald City at the Kennedy Center, and it has to be said that each time we’ve been here we’ve felt more at home. We’ve relished the chance to make new work in this great city that confounds all of the glib and snarky stereotypes. In fact, the word the springs to mind when I think of DC is… generosity.
Generosity is essential when you make work like we do: work that takes theatre out of its box and plonks it in semi-derelict 9,000-seater stadium (currently a working parking lot) as we did for Swampoodle last year. Or work that gives you 48 hours to recruit a cast of hundreds for a spontaneous Valentines Day smooch in front of the White House, as we did for KISS USA! Or work in which you have 36 hours to recruit, drill and train a cast of hundreds in the ancient Irish sport of Hurling, as we did with GAA! – our impromptu choreographed hurling battle in a very snowy Farragut Square!
We’ve always had an amazingly generous reception for our work here, in a place where site-specific theatre is still way outside the mainstream. And even if the denizens of DC have sometimes been baffled and confused by our exploits, they have always shown an overwhelming generosity towards the work, and an appreciation that something new and different is happening in the city. And in particular we’ve experienced the exceptional generosity of DC’s theatre folk who have put us up, introduced us, bigged us up, taken us out and generally shown us all that is positive about the city. And so roll on Monday night 7.30 when Emerald City makes its international debut in the Page to Stage Festival – directed by Jo Mangan, starring the talents of Adrienne Nelson, MJ Casey and Anastasia Wilson and with many thanks to our partners in this venture, the wonderful Forum Theatre DC.