Staging in Scandinavia

Our microbudget feature film TITLE VII is in pre-production, our next chapter of our Little Brother film series is currently in development (with a fantastic NY-based celebrity director warming up for the challenge: Stay Tuned!), final shoots are being scheduled for a second short film on the U.S. conversation on race on which I've been enjoying a fruitful collaboration and I'm happily overworked with writing assignments at the moment. It's been an incredible start to April in NYC--aside from the snow, of course.  But cold temperatures to run inside and warm up from are the perfect setting for a creative stretch. This week I had the pleasure of both the stretch and the inspirational workout with not one, but two encounters of a Scandinavian nature.  The Belgian director (by way of Amsterdam) Ivo Van Hove was back in town having directed Broadway's "The Crucible." And being that my Ivo Van Hove theatre buddy Myra Velasquez and I have been on this unintended mission to follow this man off Broadway and on wherever he goes, this past Wednesday's matinee makes number three for us in less than two years' time. By simply accepting Myra's invitation to my first Ivo Van Hove staging of "Scenes from a Marriage" produced by NY Theater Workshop I quickly found the director whose work makes me want to get back to work on something--anything--I can get my hands on. The use of his sets, no matter how bare or hauntingly cold and monochromatic when presenting revelations of a character's most darkest secret (Arthur Miller's "A View From the Bridge" was our sophomore Van Hove theatre experience) keeps those actors in a delicate and sometimes violent dance that crushes you to the core. This talented and vibrant director keeps you on the edge of your best voyeuristic seat. However many times "The Crucible" has been performed, I'm pretty sure it does not come close to the imaginative use of space and natural elements....I mean, of course you would have a tornado-like wind blow across the stage, there are strategically-placed windows to be used! And we were treated to a dog--a nice-sized wolflike, dog--not Toto or a lap accessory.  This is life!

The end of the week brought an event that always brings me joy--and that's any opportunity to celebrate the life and career of soprano Anne Wiggins Brown.  The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) has been performing "Porgy and Bess" and a young opera singer contacted me a few weeks ago telling me of her own travels to Baltimore, MD and how she wanted the world to know more about the Baltimore-born Anne Brown. She was thrilled to find my work, filming Anne's story in her adopted home of Norway, and wanted to somehow connect the dots. Thank you Rhea Beckett for designing the bookmarks BSO audiences are treated to this weekend with a gorgeous image and brief biography of our friend--and my inspiration--Anne Brown. We are keeping her in the film libraries through our DVD, Gershwin & Bess:  A Dialogue with Anne Brown at Third World Newsreel ( and as a video stream at kweliTV.  Please join us in sharing her story.  Thank you, BSO! And thank you, Rhea, for making my week!      

Anne Brown's story available in our film Gershwin & Bess: A Dialogue with Anne Brown on    kweliTV   and at  .

Anne Brown's story available in our film Gershwin & Bess: A Dialogue with Anne Brown on kweliTV and at