I'm excited to announce that my poetry collection from Finishing Line Press, Breakfast for the Birds, is coming out this spring. You have all been a part of the journey that this book represents. Thank you! I hope you will consider buying a copy. If you do, I will send you a signed bookplate.

Advance sales are open now - and vital to secure the print run:

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/breakfast-for-the-birds-by-jude-marr/ 

The volume will ship on March 17th, 2017.

Please note that if you place your order during the pre-publishing period (before January 27th), shipping is only $2.99 per copy.                                          

Tell your friends!

Posted
AuthorJude Marr

A few weeks ago, in Los Angeles, I saw a show about death. A musical. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, slick and witty as Broadway on tour can be, but in the end heartless. In truth, the Broadway slickness is starting to wear thin. The score is unmemorable. The British accents not quite. I couldn’t banish the memory of the much funnier old British movie made from the same novel—Kind Hearts and Coronets. Well worth seeing.

I’m not sorry I went to see Gentleman’s Guide, though. I love to be inside any theater. The smell of the greasepaint may be a thing of the past, but there is still magic inside theatrical walls. And yes, a musical touring company at the Ahmanson is about as far from experimental as it’s possible to get—but I love the plush, the hush, the scent of gin at intermission, and the sentimental sense of being a part of something old, inclusive, artful and always—even at the Ahmanson—transgressive.

Even so, I wish I could have stayed in Los Angeles long enough to see the next show at the same theater—Suzan Lori Parks’ much more obviously impactful Father Comes Home from the Wars. I taught this text a few years ago—and showed a tiny excerpt that’s on YouTube—but I’ve always wanted to see it staged. Park’s play is also about death—but then I’m tempted to ask, what isn’t? Love and death. Life and death. The cruelty of death in life.

I’m having these thoughts as I contemplate the final stages of making over my drama workshop scenes of love and death into a short play. It seems I am writing a poem for the stage. Spare. Bare. Bones. I hope I find enough sinew to hold the thing together. But then, I’m tempted to ask, when is this not the case?

Pass the gin.

Posted
AuthorJude Marr

The drama (workshop) continues.

For our second exercise, we grapple with the concept of cruelty, en façon d’Artaud. Our mission: to assault the audience, uncover the subconscious—theirs? ours? we are both—and avoid the bourgeois.

First confession. I find the bourgeois strangely alluring. Hey ho.

This time around, we appear in our own scenes, and I screw up royally—words and intention hammered by my ham-fisted handling of stage business undertaken with script in hand—

Second confession. I could have learned my lines—my lines—and avoided some of this embarrassment, not least the part where my aging eyes fail to focus. Off the book is on the ball.

My scene is not the worst thing I’ve ever written. The intention, at least, feels right. Cliché to combat the bourgeois; an emphasis on the visual; an attempt to shock—could I turn this into a series of interlocking scenes with different combinations of characters?

Daniel, playing HE to my SHE, proves again that he’s a man who can act.

Josie wins the night with a brilliant piece combining her talents for both page and stage. She’s on this. Everyone is doing interesting work—

Third confession. I long for a chance to perform again, to redeem myself—and yet, again, I am not cast. I get it, I do—and consciously, I am fine with my featured role. But subconsciously? For sure, I don’t want to be pitied or pandered to. I just want to be both them and us—

Or could it be that, by screwing up, I turned an okay scene into the biggest assault of the night?

Next week, love. 

Posted
AuthorJude Marr

I’m feeling more than usually European these days. For my drama workshop, I have to read  Camus, Artaud, Durrenmatt—which takes me back to a time long ago, when I fell in love with theater and read every play, indiscriminately. I wanted to act. I wanted to find another character for myself. Neither venture was a success—not least because I understood nothing of what I read or experienced. Nothing important, that is.

Has anything changed? Well, I’m much better now at playing the part I draft for myself every day. That often feels like my life’s work. Otherwise, I put words on the page and send those pages flying out into the world, intending to connect. Good intentions. Hell.

I took another drama workshop a couple of years ago, during which I wrote a three-act play that failed to be either realistic or free from the constraints of realism. My head was filled with visions of Arthur Miller and his cohort, I guess. I made up for any sense of unease by trying to be funny.

For this workshop, I have written a three-page scene about two strangers who meet and fail to connect. I see and hear the scene as brush strokes on a blank canvas. I was thrilled when Dr. Stetco said my scene was very cool. Less is more. (I'm still trying to be funny.)

I’m not an actor, but I think of myself as a performer: I love to read my own work, love to have an audience. Even so, when I read in Louisiana, or in Georgia where I lived for four years, or even in New York City, I am always aware of my stranger status. My voice gives me away, every time. Now I am back in theater again, and I realize that, sweet as my cohort is, they likely won’t think to cast me. I don’t sound right, I don’t look right either, to play an American character.

To be in a theater feels like coming home. To be only in the auditorium, looking at the stage, feels like a metaphor too close to home. My default is angst.

When i was an undergraduate, i directed three plays. The first and most tragic of these was Waiting for Godot. I did not direct well and still cringe to think about that production, but Beckett's play continues to draw me. Some days I am Estragon, and some days I am Vladimir. How absurd. But surely not more so than waiting for Trump to be President?

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AuthorJude Marr

I am passionate about words, from the most mundane to the most arcane. I can make words work. I am an original and creative writer with strong teaching and editing skills.

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I have a wide experience of life and work, in the UK and in the US. I strongly believe that all of my experience, when added to my talent as a writer, greatly enhances my abilities both as a creative writer and a creator of informative content. 

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If you want to be a better writer, I can help.

 

Posted
AuthorJude Marr