Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Inge on the Brain

I've been thinking a lot about William Inge lately. What several of you readers are unaware of is that I hale from the same hometown as him. Having said that I will admit that I've harbored somewhat of a jealous obsession. When I was a much younger me interested in the limelight of theatre, he was an unavoidable subject. In the seventh grade I won an award for creative writing. When the principal handed it to me he made a comment comparing me to William Inge. Being on the younger side I really didn't know who he was, but I set out to find out pretty quick. The things I discovered still influence me to this day. However, I learned very quickly that his style was not anything I had in mind for myself.

When I hit the high school years I began to attend the William Inge Festival at the local college. Truly this has been one of the greatest impressions on my writing life. First, there is a playwright honoree. Writers/Directors/Actors are brought from all over the country to teach workshops and seminars. As I stepped into my college years I was able to participate in the festival more and more. My favorite year being the year A.R. Gurney was honored. Not only is a phenomenal writer, but with him came a great number of amazing guest. James Still, the young voice playwright, who was also a Kansas native taught us some amazing character aspects. Then of course there is the parade of excellent actors. George Grizzard who told my husband and I twenty times that week that he expected to see big things from us. Frances Sternhagen kept us all laughing with her wit. While putting the finishing touches on my makeup, my dressing room was raided by Holland Taylor. Because I was nine months pregnant with my daughter she had the urge to rub my belly like a hundred times throughout the week. Although we've attended the festival several times since we graduated it has been over eight years since we've been home.

As I begin to work on my next project I find myself wondering why Inge is haunting my brain. As my writing has matured my playwrighting background is in the past as I concentrate more and more on screenplays and novels. Maybe its a subconscious desire to head home for a visit. Or could it be as publication looms on our foreground I wonder what kind of influences I would like to be on a community that created the kind of artist I am today.

I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get there, but until than enjoy the link I'm including with this post. It's a recent article about a group of Inge plays that they pulled out of the collection at the college.


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