In Defense of Cancer Princeton Patch
Guest Column: Don’t Let The Summer End The Advocate Weekly
Violent Hollywood and the Death of Creativity The Wall Street Journal
Dan Cole —An Appreciation Connotation Press
A Tale of Two Home Towns and a Family The Desert Sun
‘Ten’ Years Later Fox News Digital Network
When Sting Came to Class The Chronicle
A Filmmaker that Looks to the Future O14 Press
A Case for Taking New Paths in Life, Hollywood Los Angeles Times
A Playwright Inspired by Teachers New York Times
Opinion: Hollywood Warms Up to the Military AOL News
Okay, Cut to the Chase American Theatre Magazine


Princeton Patch

By Charles Evered

May 28, 2013

Could there be a more absurd situation in life than sitting across from a friend at a coffee shop and finding oneself defending the very disease that has killed your father, your mother, your two brothers, your mentor, your dearest friend from graduate school, –not to mention many other acquaintances, pets, people whom I admire greatly from a distance and the disease that if you were to view it through the prism of a genetics expert, betting person or insurance actuary, might very well be the one that causes your own death?

And yet, there I found myself, between sips of a grande mocha advocating diligently on its behalf, lobbying for the continued relevance of that age old chestnut—the seemingly out of vogue, “cancer play.”

“Find another disease,” my friend suggested. “Anything but cancer.”

So, as I looked off into the far distance, considering the groundbreaking possibilities of the first rickets or scurvy play, it became evident to me that if social security were the third rail of American politics, so it seems that cancer may be the third rail of American theatrics. It’s just not prudent to go there if you can help it. And if you do, you better somehow deconstruct it, be ironic, clinical, distant, cold, or write through a prism of bemused “graduate school like” detachment if you want the play to be taken seriously.

The problem in my case however, was twofold: 1), I had written a play called Class, about the relationship between a jaded acting teacher and his mysterious new student—that isn’t really a “cancer” play at all. Its a play about how two very different people find a commonality and change each other’s lives forever. At best, cancer makes a glancing but still potent cameo in the story and 2), while I’d like to think I can write outside of my own experience, and have, I don’t quite understand why I should have to insert another disease in the story in order to protect myself from what others feel is a subject begging for a critical drubbing or no longer worthy of theatrical dramatization. In addition, as already noted, by writing the play, I have done what everyone always tells writers to do: “Write what you know.” In the case of cancer, something I know too well thank you very much, and way more than I would have liked. It’s also something that way too many people still know–and are waging an expensive and very courageous battle against on a daily basis.

In addition, within the context of the play, and in real life, the disease represents the most frightening thing of all: chaos—utter “unpredictable unpredictability,” that at any moment, can take everything away from us. No matter how rich, successful, careful, vegan, famous or happy we are, it is still the Russian roulette of diseases, and while we can certainly do all we can to prevent it —and while science is making real strides in managing and even working toward lessening its probability– (Go Angelina!)—it still –in most cases, remains that “invisible bus” that we have no way of seeing coming around the corner. In fact, in a perverse and sinister way, it remains a great “leveler,” as the same disease that killed a youngish billionaire like Steve Jobs, can kill the poorest among us. It just doesn’t care.

In my play Class, I deal with some of those themes, taking care even, to address those very issues head on. In previous productions of the play, it’s been both heartening and surreal to have people who are fighting cancer, and many people who have conquered it—come up to me afterwards and “thank” me for representing their disease in a way, that to them, feels refreshingly honest. They even seem strangely appreciative that the subject is broached at all, without ironic distance, not in the context of a movie of the week and no longer consigned to the theatrical ghetto of the dreaded “issue” play.

I would love nothing more than for the subject to become entirely irrelevent, and I hope someday it is. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if fifty or a hundred years from now, audiences watched plays that mentioned cancer and regarded it with a bemused detachment, as they might today when watching a play about a Victorian era disease eradicated years ago? Personally, I would love nothing more. Until that time however, I’m afraid I’m still obligated to write what I know—while at the same time hoping never to get to know it any better than I already have.

Charles Evered’s play CLASS is playing now at the Penguin Repertory Theater in Stony Point, New York until June 9. It was published by Broadway Play Publishing, Inc. For information about that production, go to:



The Advocate Weekly

By Charles Evered, Guest Columnist

A writer/director looks back at his time at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and offers advice to the throngs of theater artists arriving in the Berkshires.

Last summer I had the pleasure of heading up north, from my home in Princeton, N.J., to the Williamstown Theatre Festival, where I saw the last performance of Steve Lawson’s fine adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Valley of Fear.”

Though the show was wonderful, it was a moment about half an hour after the curtain came down that really struck a chord in me. In the world of the theater, it was nothing unusual, basically the moment just before “strike,” (the final dismantling of the set,) where everyone — actors, ushers, apprentices, the director, etc. — will take a moment, pop a bottle or two of perhaps not terribly expensive champagne and offer each other a well-deserved toast.

They talked about how much it meant to work together. They talked about what they learned, and what they would take away from their experience. It was sincere, it was moving, and it brought me back.

It was after all, creeping toward the end of the summer. And as I stood apart from these talented artists, my mind and heart couldn’t help but race back 20-plus years — when I was as young and hopeful as them — and when being part of a festival (also in my case, Williamstown,) was literally, my saving grace.

In 1986, I sent my first little collection of plays to Bonnie Monte at the festival. Since that time, Bonnie has become the venerable artistic director of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Back then however, Bonnie was the “gate keeper,” in a rush all spring long to pick a season full of apprentices, actors, assistants and interns. And that summer, miracle of miracles, she picked me.

When she called the apartment my mom and I shared in North Arlington, N.J., it was a turning point for me. She told me she thought I had “some talent,” and that perhaps she could find a place for me that summer. To me, that was monumental, and the first time someone not obligated to like my work had liked my work.

I spent several summers up at Williamstown, “Playwriting Intern,” “Directing Assistant,” whatever title they threw at me that seemed remotely appropriate. The point was not what I was called, but where I was. I was “in the room” with professionals. And while yes, I was usually getting them coffee, I was at least there to soak it all up and learn.

The highlights of my summers still loom large: Paul Giamatti starring in my play “Running Funny,” being there the night Chris Reeve first laid eyes on his future wife, Dana, assisting Joanne Woodward, who brought to life for me the history of the Group Theatre. My mom dying during the 1987 season, and being sent a huge condolence card signed, it seemed, by everyone at the festival. People I knew and didn’t know. But all of them family.

The most confusing moments of my summer? Being sent to fetch sandwiches at Pappa Charlies, the well-known sandwich shop on Spring Street that names their sandwiches after actors who appeared at the festival. That meant I could be asked by Austin Pendleton to get him a “Joanne Woodward,” and Olympia Dukakis might very well request a “Jimmy Naughton, hold the mayo.” Talk about a mind twister. I remember walking toward Spring whispering to myself: “Austin wants a Joanne, Olympia wants a Jimmy.”

But visiting last summer, looking at all those fresh faces, made me wish I could go back. I wanted to tell all of them, actors, apprentices, directors, everyone, to never let their summer end, (metaphorically at least). I wanted to warn them about the thousands of compromises they may find themselves making down the line, the walls of existential exhaustion they’ll have to climb, and most of all, the heartbreaking rejections sprinkled only intermittently with enough successes to keep going. And keep believing.

Some of them will think stability is possible in a life such as ours. And they will learn that really, it is not. I also thought — ironically — that my “self” back then, 20-plus years ago, would probably consider my “self” now, to be successful on some level. Which of course only tells you how little my “self” back then knew.

But, going back was important and I resolved to make a little promise to myself: “Keep a little of those summers inside you. No matter where you go.” It’s a promise that “old self” of mine would no doubt have heartily approved of. And that’s good, because I plan on listening to him more often.

Charles Evered’s new play, “Class,” was recently published by Broadway Play Publishing Inc. “A Thousand Cuts,” a film he directed starring Academy Award nominee Michael O’Keefe, was nominated for a Saturn Award and released by Kino-Lorber.


Alfred Hitchcock had a genius for horror scenes.
None showed a bullet going through an eyeball.



Why is it news when executives at entertainment companies rebut suggestions that the violence depicted in movies and television shows and videogames has some effect on their audiences? What does anyone expect the industry to say? “Yes, we realize that we’re really cranking up the violence, and sure it may further debase the culture, but it brings in a lucrative demographic—younger, mostly male—so, frankly, we’re willing to live with that.”

Now that would be a story. Something tells me that you won’t be seeing it anytime soon, not least because the makers of popular culture may very well believe that their products are ultimately harmless. Studies exist saying as much. Studies exist saying the opposite. As a filmmaker, I’d like to see a study that reaches a third conclusion: The mushrooming of mayhem is a sign not only of where the culture may be headed, it’s also a symptom of the weakening of creative imagination.

It used to take skill, even finesse, to create horror. It used to take serious consideration of how to present an act of terror, where it might lie structurally in the story, how much or how little to show, to what extent the event should be visited—or revisited. There were silences, pauses, teases and innuendos. Alfred Hitchcock was a master, but even less talented directors labored to get it right.

Now there is not only little left to the imagination, there is nothing left to the imagination. Show the guts, the veins—show the bullet traveling through a victim’s eyeball, show it all. Then, simply claim you’re depicting life as it really is.

That’s true in some cases—usually when brilliant storytellers and filmmakers recognize that graphic depictions of violence are essential, as in movies such as “The Hurt Locker,” “Unforgiven” and “Saving Private Ryan.” But far too often the on-screen slaughter is less a signal of boldness than of laziness. And with laziness comes a dulling of whatever talent and skill the artist might possess.

Which scene is harder to write? A bullet-through-an-eyeball scene or a scene in which nothing appears to be happening, but the audience—holding its breath in anticipation—knows that everything is happening, because a skilled and thoughtful writer or filmmaker knew how to make the audience’s imagination a partner in the entertainment, rather than just a passive repository of it?

An excellent example of this is the way the director George Roy Hill (I was his student in college) staged the execution of the character named Derby in the film adaptation of “Slaughterhouse-Five.” The movie invests the audience in Derby’s warmth and seeming essentialness, but then he is suddenly, in a flash, seized for execution—plucked out of nowhere. Did Hill stage the execution for maximum grotesque effect? Not at all. It happens almost off-screen, tangentially, and because of that it is all the more horrifying.

I don’t pretend to have any answers in the political debate about violence, but I hope the discussion will prod some consciences in Hollywood and elsewhere in the entertainment industry.

As filmmakers, we should ask ourselves: Are we doing the best work we can, or are we simply using the increasingly permissive marketplace as a cover to do work that isn’t even close to our best? These are questions that one can weigh without the risk of losing friends, being passed over for gigs or, worst of all, not being invited to the best dinner parties.

Mr. Evered is a playwright, screenwriter and director. His latest film, “A Thousand Cuts,” exploring the relationship between Hollywood and violence, will be released Jan. 22.

Copyright 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved



Connotation Press

By Charles Evered

When I tell people I see my late brother Dan everywhere, they naturally become a little concerned. Am I seeing his specter emerge out of the mist, or from dark corners— ala “Christmas Carol?” Or, like Hamlet’s father, does he appear to me shrouded in smoke and bearing onerous tidings? Nope, nothing like that. Still, there he is— seated at cafes, walking down crowded sidewalks, reading magazines on planes—-it doesn’t end. I think I see him, but I’m never quite sure. He’s there, and then he isn’t. Whenever I’m sure it’s him, he disappears altogether. I “pause” for a moment, but it doesn’t help. I “rewind,” but I can never tell for sure—-that is, until I came upon that scene in the film Breach, a spy thriller starring Chris Cooper and Ryan Phillippe, circa 2007. There’s a scene 23 minutes and 37 seconds into the film, when Chris Cooper is leading Ryan Phillippe onto an elevator, and they’re met by a stunning blonde. Standing to the left of the blonde and against the back of the elevator is a gentleman in a blue jacket and black turtleneck. That’s my older brother, Dan Evered, known professionally as Dan “Cole”—as among many other things, he was an extra in film and television productions shot in Toronto.
So I do see my brother seemingly everywhere. Perhaps I’m not as crazy as people think I am.
Dan let me know he was dying like someone might mention they’re dropping off dry cleaning on the way to work. He lived in Canada most of his life, and I lived—and still live, in either Princeton, New Jersey or Joshua Tree, California. I recall sending him a “check in” email the day before, asking whether he might be able to come down to see a screening of a film I directed called Adopt a Sailor, which was making the rounds at festivals, and telling him I hoped everything was “peachy up there.” The next day, he sent me an email back, with the subject line reading: “Not peachy around here.”
The first line of the body of the email read like a truncated haiku: “Seems my body is riddled with “C.” Days seriously numbered.”
He signed off with: “Luv ya man, Dan.”
I read the email over and over again in the parking lot of Princeton High School. My son, John, not yet ten, was inside attending a baseball clinic. I kept scanning the email’s minimal text, hoping I was missing something, that it was a sarcastic joke, or some kind of misunderstanding. Finally, I called and nervously (and jokingly) asked if by “C” he meant “cantaloupe,”— not cancer—and I recall him laughing. But, no such luck. I told him I’d like to come up and see him as soon as possible. He said I should come up“now.”
As I play that scene in Breach over and over again, I marvel at the fact that —even as extras go, Dan was a talented one. As someone who directs films, I’m well aware certain background players have a propensity for “hamming up” a little moment like that—even just standing in an elevator—trying to convey—during seven seconds of screen time, some little “intention” or “moment” that exists only in their own head. Dan however, just rode the elevator –like a human being would. You’d be surprised how complicated it can be for some people—-to act like people.
When I got up to Toronto, I noticed he was thinner—and pale. The first thing he did was pull his shirt up and show me—as he put it, what was “killing him.” There was a tumor in his chest, and unlike most cancers that tend to eat away at someone invisibly from within, there was grim proof positive right in front of me that something was actively killing my brother. It looked as though someone was pushing a fireplace poker through his back and emerging in the front of his chest was a large, raised flesh colored “bump”—about the size of a fist.
Dan and I had always had a good though sometimes complicated relationship. He was after all, a complicated person. As most interesting people are.
I wondered—-during one of my many subsequent viewings of the elevator scene, whether Chris Cooper had any idea that the extra standing behind him was a former hippie, merchant marine, cable guy, cruise ship entertainer, writer, standup comedian, self-taught magician and juggler and all around raconteur. I wondered whether Ryan Phillippe knew that that fellow in the far corner was known affectionately as “The Busker of the Beaches,” for the thousands of performances he had given on the scenic shores of Lake Ontario. I wondered whether either of those fine actors knew that Dan had entertained countless troops all over the world—- Canadian Forces, UN troops—anyone who needed a joke and some magic to take their minds off being far from home. And I wondered whether they knew what a brilliant father he was.
Dan was one of the first grownups to actually care that I was becoming a writer and director. He shared my early plays with legitimate theatre artists up in Toronto, and he encouraged me to keep at it. Still, on paper, we were as different as we were alike. Like brothers often are.
In the short time I spent with him that last trip, we talked practically about death and dying. He and I agreed we should deal in reality, in the here and now. And even then, I recognized my brother was on his way to dying a “good death.” No recrimination, no bitterness or regret, no unfinished business and most markedly, no self-pity. He was still so young, not even sixty yet, but the way he saw it—he had led “a good life”—as he put it. He had traveled the world. He had loved and been loved. And most importantly, he had guided his only child—a son, into adulthood, and that son had married a wonderful young woman.
On my last day there, he dressed up as a court jester, literally, and walked across the street to entertain some first graders at the elementary school his son had attended. It was a favor for a teacher he had kept in touch with there. And damn if he wasn’t as funny and as entertaining as he usually was. He was a great magician and juggler. I don’t think anyone in that room knew he was dying, certainly not the kids that laughed uproariously at his every joke and gag.
There are in this world, captains of industry, scholars of great works and heads of state—there are so called “celebrities” and sports stars and billionaires—and then, there are people who—even though they are in great pain and know they’re dying, will dress up in a thread bare court jester outfit with a tumor sticking out of their chest and walk across the street to make first graders laugh.
Our last moments together were as awkward as they were beautiful. I had to get back to the states and I knew I would never see him again. Still, I couldn’t acknowledge that honestly. I kept talking as if I would. I couldn’t really say goodbye. He was kind enough to play along with the idea that we’d have another “goodbye” at some point, maybe in a month or so. And so, the both of us sat there, alone, lying to each other while at the same time remaining fully aware that what we were saying had no basis in fact. He was never really “touchy feely,” my brother. Nor am I for that matter. I’d just as soon deflect painful moments with a joke, rather than fully feel or experience them. And so we ended with just that—-a few corny jokes. Then, just as I got up to go he grabbed my face and kissed me hard on the cheek, and the both of us hugged like a couple long lost siblings on Oprah. I felt—even during our embrace, that we were both embarrassed by it—but that since we were alone, it sort of canceled itself out as we both probably thought: “What the hell harm can it do?”
I remember thinking how beautiful the small white patch in his hair was. I had never seen it that color before—as he usually dyed it. But the color reminded me of my father’s white/grey hair, and Dan had in many ways, stood in for my father—whom I had lost as well—also from “C”—when I was fourteen. I was thankful then—and remain thankful now— for my brother’s kiss.
Just before I left his place, I lied to myself again, and I suppose to him, saying “I’ll see you again soon.” He smiled. I smiled. And then I left.
When he died, it was his brave son who called to tell me he was gone. It was a “good death,” I thought to myself—“because it had been a good life.”
Since that time, my other brother Robby has passed away, as well as my dear friend Lori Kaye, who was Godmother to my daughter Margaret. Then, just last month, another blow: my “brother from another mother,” Kevin O’Sullivan.
All of us experience loss, I know, but sometimes I find myself grabbing hold of something lately, even a counter, or the back of a chair, just to steady myself. “On we go” I tell myself. This life is a marvelous adventure. It’s a ride. We’re so fortunate to be living it. And as countless readings of The Little Prince have taught me, there’s a price to pay for loving someone.
So: on we go.
As for Dan—-I often hope that perhaps I wasn’t deluding myself. Maybe I didn’t “lie” to him after all. Haven’t I seen him again and again? In point of fact, don’t I see him everywhere—in quick snippets on the small and big screens? On computers, televisions, i Phones—on hotel TV’s?—tiny screens on cross country flights, via Netflix, Redbox, on cable or Video on Demand?”
And yes, there on that elevator. There he is, standing anonymously in that corner, totally unnoticed, except by those of us who knew him. “Background?” Yes. “Incidental.” No doubt. Even “adornment,” in a strange way,—but then at certain times in our lives— aren’t we all?
Blink, and you’ll miss him.
Blink—-and in the short amount of time we have on this earth—we miss each other.
When I think of Dan now, I think of him in flashes—as though in a flickering sequence of jagged, grainy film. I don’t presume to have known him as well as I should have—but I do know that I had the pleasure of his company. And that the world was a better place because he lived in it.
My brother Dan made first graders laugh.
It was a “good life” indeed.

Charles Evered’s new film, “A Thousand Cuts,” starring Academy Award nominee Michael O’Keefe, recently premiered at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.



Written by Charles Evered

Special to The Desert Sun

For some time now, I’ve lived in two places that on the surface at least, would seem to have little in common: Joshua Tree, California and Princeton, New Jersey. The truth is, however, I don’t just live in those two places. I am those two places. And like most worthwhile destinations, they are not so easily definable.

I first came to the desert as a founding faculty member of UCR’s Palm Desert Graduate Center in 2005. We have friends and family on the East Coast, but as a writer and director, most of my projects are born on this side of the country. Also, my wife Wendy is (we hope, temporarily) handicapped and the warm weather helps. And while some parents lecture us on the importance of “consistency of place” when raising children, I always counter that our kids are now familiar with more than one culture, are friends with children on two coasts and perceive the country they live in as being expansive — almost their own backyard.

High Desert and Princeton

As for the towns themselves, Princeton is “arts friendly,” to be sure, but also has the sad distinction of being one of those towns where artists — even “working” artists — can hardly afford to live. Add to this the fact that New Jersey has highest real estate taxes in the country and it’s a challenge for anyone to live there, let alone artists. When we don’t live there, we rent our townhouse out to other professors.

The High Desert area on the other hand, continually surprises us. There are serious artists living here, writers, painters, musicians and actors — not to mention its proximity to the incredible Palm Springs International Film Festival.

People often ask me where I’m happiest and I answer “wherever my family is.” Living the gypsy life of an artist has taught me a few things, the main one being if you’re an unhappy person, you’ll be unhappy wherever you are. If you’re happy, and you’ve found meaning in your life, then you can live in a Maytag box on the side of Interstate 10 and find joy in the simplest of things.

As for my relationship with these seemingly different places, it dawned on me that they both represent two distinct sides of myself. While I’d like to think of myself as a “paragon of artistic integrity,” I’m not.

One income and five mouths

The reality is I have one income and five mouths to feed, counting our dog Wyatt, and so I work constantly to make things happen. Being within driving distance of Los Angeles keeps me rooted in the commercial world. Princeton, on the other hand, keeps me rooted in the notion that ideas matter. As for our kids, now 10 and 11, they’ve learned to adapt in a world that will continue to change on a minute-to-minute basis; this is hardly an undesirable skill set to have. So for now, we’ll try to hold onto this “dual life” as long as we can. We’ll also believe that Wendy will someday be able to walk again like she used to. And not only that, but run. And in the end, what does it matter which side of the country she does that on — as long as she runs back home to us.

Charles Evered directed the films “Adopt a Sailor,” starring Emmy winners Peter Coyote and Bebe Neuwirth, and “A Thousand Cuts,” starring Academy Award nominee Michael O’Keefe, set for release in 2012. His new play, “Class,” was recently published by Broadway Play Publishing Inc of New York City.



Fox News Digital Network

By Nancy Colasurdo

I could share, as I have before, something deeply reverential and reflective about what transpired for me on Sept. 11, 2001, and in the 10 years since. Or I could go another way and quote Flora, a 9/11 widow, about why she doesn’t like to attend the memorials of that day:

“When I do go to those things, people are just so incessantly respectful, ya know? Even people’s voices — however sweet they mean to be — just the tone is like nails on a blackboard. They talk to everyone like they’re 90 years old: ‘Oh, yes, yes, dear, we have a special section for you all.’ I mean seriously: ugh … Solemnity has its limits …”

Incessantly respectful? Did she just say that?

“It’s not what you think she’ll say,” playwright/director Charles Evered says in our recent interview.

There is a smidgen of satisfaction in his voice when I mention the impact of Flora’s scathing honesty because she is a figment of Evered’s imagination, a character in a play he has written. Yet in a way, she isn’t imaginary at all. This is art spouting truth.

What Evered has done is capture how exceedingly comfortable one has to be with another person to express this way. It is arguably what is most engaging in his 12-minute play — “Ten” (premiering at the Arts Council of Princeton on Sept. 10 at 4:30 p.m. EST ) — written to mark the surreal decade since the day that changed everything. In it, Flora is conversing with Doug, a police officer she’s known for a long time, who confronts her at a suburban New Jersey train station about why every day, even 10 years later, she still waits for her husband to get off the train at 7:38.

“One doesn’t have to have a memory of 9/11 to understand this play at all,” Evered says. “You just have to have lost.”

And he has. Again and again. His parents when he was young. His brother last year. It is why he can earnestly talk about gallows humor as a way to survive. And why he has developed the following approach when he talks to his two kids about death:

“… [L]et’s live a kick-ass life. Let’s be engaged and communicate. Let’s not leave anything on the table. The pain of death is that which is incomplete, that which we didn’t say to each other. If you live a full life that is engaged and in the moment, then death isn’t as scary because you don’t have regret.”

Case in point — of a full life, that is — is the unfolding of Evered’s, the paths he has taken, the instincts he has been smart enough to follow. A native of Rutherford, N.J. who graduated from Rutgers-Newark and then went on to earn his MFA at Yale, he enrolled in the Navy Reserve at age 34. Read that again. Yale Drama and the Navy.

“The idea of someone in the military services becoming a creative writer is only strange in the last 20, 30 years,” Evered says. “That’s my estimation. Because when you think about Norman Mailer, who served, or my teacher at Yale, George Roy Hill, who was a great writer/director, he was a marine. When you think of Glenn Ford, Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda, when you think of any number of people that served their country, it wasn’t that strange back then. But from Vietnam on, there seem to have been two worlds created.”

Rare or no, it is when those two worlds coalesced for Evered that who he is and what his art could be started to take shape.

“I don’t understand how we are going to make good theatre if we don’t live interesting lives first,” Evered says.

It was in 1999 while researching a project for DreamWorks that Evered found himself in San Diego on an aircraft carrier. While there, he became acutely aware of the disparity between “kids who are making maybe 17 grand a year living in their little cots” and he and the producers who had pulled up in a limousine.

“I just couldn’t have felt worse about myself or my career,” he says. “I just thought to myself, if there’s a nadir of your career, it’s when you’re stepping out of a limo to be given a tour of an aircraft carrier. You’re not really adding anything to society. I thought, I’m not doing anything. I’m super well-educated. I’m making what people might consider a lot of money. But I felt totally hollow in what I was doing.”

The next thing Evered knew, he was entertaining the notion of joining the Navy Reserve and then making it a reality. His wife thought he was crazy, but was supportive. During the week he was rendezvousing with agents and producers in his Hollywood life and one weekend a month he would go to Point Mugu in California and pick up cigarette butts and meet people of different stripes.

“It was the most amazing thing I ever got to experience,” Evered says. “It was a complete blessing. It was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life because it diversified my life. It shook it up and it took me in a direction no one expected me to go.

“It wasn’t patriotic jingoism. It wasn’t like I was waving a flag. It was saying I want to serve something greater than my little world.”

About a year and a half into it, Sept. 11 happened and he feels strongly he “got it” on a level he might not have had he not joined the Navy. He got it as a man who had taken an oath to defend the constitution and support the president.

“It was a groundbreaking, eye-opening awakening for me that these things happened in order that way,” Evered says.

He was 3,000 miles away in Walla Walla, Wash., as a writer-in-residence at Whitman College when those planes hit the Twin Towers. His Naval Reserve unit was based in Manhattan, though, so he had been commuting to New York once a month. As soon as he was able to get a flight a few days later, he came east. He and the navy photographer in his unit soon realized there would be no helping to save people at that point, only clearing.

“It was still on fire, it was still hot,” he says. “Everybody was still in shock. I remember the perimeter, the alarms every couple of minutes, thinking there might be another collapse of another building … I remember these amazing images of catering. All these amazing restaurants uptown would send down food for the workers and … so you’d be sitting there at these white linen tables eating food that would typically cost you $45 a plate while across the street you’re looking at literal hell.”

Like so many Americans, Evered felt the tangibility of evil as he looked at the twisted metal and chaos.

“It wasn’t theoretical, it wasn’t in a college course, it wasn’t in a fairy tale, it wasn’t in a movie theatre,” he says. “Someone thought about this. At that time we didn’t know exactly, but two years previous there were young people in Munich sitting around and then Florida and then Newark … planning the deaths of thousands of people.”

When he flew back to Whitman College in Washington less than two weeks after the attacks, Evered recalls being on the idyllic, grassy campus and hearing all the philosophical discussions that were already taking place. During one of those, he looked down at his black work boots and around the ridge where the leather meets the rubber, he noticed about an eighth of an inch of gray ash.

“I remember realizing those were the shoes I was wearing on the pile,” he says. “Here I am, 3,000 miles away within earshot of this theoretical discussion on why this happened to us in the middle of this beautiful campus, looking down at part of the remnants of 3,000 human beings.”

That kind of stark reality is what the product of Yale Drama and the Navy Reserve is bringing to his craft. From there, for the first anniversary of 9/11, he wrote a short play called “Adopt a Sailor” about a young sailor from Arkansas who comes upon two people on the Upper West Side. This was Evered’s two worlds merging in his art — an intimate knowledge of the intelligentsia in New York and that of military life.

“Adopt a Sailor” went on to become a feature film (it is currently airing on Showtime) starring Bebe Neuwirth, Peter Coyote and Ethan Peck. Directed by Evered (his first feature), it was an official selection at more than 20 national and international film festivals. Since then, he has started a production company called Ordinance 14 and among his play, film and television credits is his latest film, “A Thousand Cuts,” to be released this fall.

Evered and his family divide their time between Princeton and Los Angeles, a lifestyle he has taken to and loves sharing with his children. In addition to living in the moment, he makes a point of stressing to them the importance of engaging fellow human beings. That idea comes through powerfully in “Ten” as Flora and Doug connect on an anniversary fraught with emotional landmines.

“Oh, and the ‘reading of the names’ thing,” Flora says in the play. “I feel like this year — this has GOT to be it for that. They gave us our 10 years, but come 11, mark my words, it’ll be like an announcement before a play: ‘In lieu of reading the entire list of names, we will be reading a randomly chosen sampling of only those names containing the vowels a, i and o.’ I mean seriously, who could blame people for getting a little sick of it, ya know? I mean, I read … I go online, I listen to people, I hear what a lot of people are saying: Move on.”


“Part of it … is she wants her humanity back,” Evered says. “While she’s appreciative of all the names being read, part of her might be relieved that that stops because she wants to move on … This is about hopefully getting unstuck in time.”

Evered says the characters lived in his head for months. He was haunted by an article describing how police officers were called upon to drive home some of the cars abandoned at train stations and fascinated with how those stations became memorials. Then, understanding the psychology of wanting a magic solution after great loss, he constructed a scenario for Flora where the number 10 figured prominently in her life; in that light, expecting her husband to disembark from that train on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 seemed almost logical to her.

“This play took me 45 minutes to write and 10 years of living to get to that 45 minutes,” Evered says.

So the takeaway for the audience ideally is?

“I have no profound insights except maybe just to walk away with more of an understanding of what moving on means,” Evered says. “And the appreciation for living the every day and how it’s important that we stay open and stay alive in terms of our inner life. Because really this is a story that in 12 minutes a woman goes from being deluded in the worst kind of way to being open at least to taking someone’s hand and perhaps moving on with her life. And that’s a big leap to take in 10 or 12 minutes.”

Or, in some cases, a decade.

Nancy Colasurdo is a practicing life coach and freelance writer. Her Web site is and you can follow her on Twitter @nancola. Please direct all questions/comments to



The Chronicle

By Charles Evered

Recently I found myself watching a reality show called I Get That a Lot, which, as far as I can make out, gets famous people to disguise themselves as not-famous people (Ice-T selling shoes, LeAnn Rimes waiting tables) so that not-famous people can have a chance to recognize them and subsequently end up somewhat more famous then they would have been had they not been on the show called I Get That a Lot.

And I thought to myself: We’ve done it. We’ve come full circle. When it comes to our celebrity obsession, we are “through the looking glass.” It also reminded me of how fortunate I am to be a part of the academy, where fame doesn’t mean much—most of the time.

My own little universe went into a tailspin, however, when an actual famous person—as it happens, a rock star—accepted my invitation to visit my class. Several years ago, I put out some feelers to see whether Sting (of musical fame—not the professional wrestler) would come and talk in one of my writing workshops about his recently released autobiography, Broken Music.

The idea was ludicrous on the face of it, but it actually sprang up somewhat organically. I had been a fan of his for years. I had also always been moved by Sting’s basic story: the son of a milkman and a hairdresser changing what must have seemed like the inevitable direction of his life, creating a new persona for himself. I also identified with him, because he had lost his parents in much the same way I had. Slowly, by cancer. And the way in which he distanced himself from his past, while still being inextricably linked to it, struck me as familiar. And the simple truth was, I wanted to talk with him about that.

But how does one get Sting to show up in your writing workshop, especially when your typical honorarium is $200?

At the time, I was teaching at a small, liberal-arts college in the Northeast, and I knew that he was going to be passing through the area on a tour. I called the only “friend of a friend of Sting” I knew: Steve Lawson, director of the Williams­town Film Festival, in Massachusetts, who had directed one of my plays and always been a supporter of my work. Steve knew Stephen Hannock, an actual friend of Sting’s, on the festival’s board of directors. Mr. Hannock was kind enough to relay the idea to The Man himself.

Incredibly, only a couple days later, Steve called me back saying something along the lines of: “No problem, Sting will come by.”

Wait, what?! What?! “Sting will come by?!”

As I hung up the phone, the reality of that simple phrase hit me. Sting doesn’t “come by” just anywhere, does he?

And so it began.

I had to tell the students in the workshop to read his book, without telling them exactly why, as they would tell their friends, who would tell their friends, who—well, you get the idea.

I informed some professor friends, some of whom flat out didn’t believe me.

I also had to make plans with Sting’s representative—in this case, his manager, who had her assistant keep me apprised of his schedule and who was kind enough to arrange a meeting between Sting and me beforehand, so that we wouldn’t be complete strangers to each other while I asked him terribly personal questions about himself.

Finally came the day itself. As I look back now, it’s all a blur. The ploy to keep his visit on the QT was hopeless, of course. The moment he stepped out of his car, he was met by a bevy of autograph seekers. Even getting him upstairs was somewhat of a trial. But after the doors were closed, we were able to talk about his book. And it really was quite amazing, because after only a few minutes, the glow of celebrity started to fade, quickly replaced by the simple and powerful act of someone telling his story.

As for Sting himself, he was maddeningly gracious, a perfect gentlemen. I’ve known playwrights who are bigger divas.

After the hour flew by, I asked Sting if he would give us a reading from his book—from a particular passage in which he describes the last time he saw his father alive. And so he lifted the glasses that hung on a chain around his neck and read.

It was then that the smallish room became even smaller, even though I could see throngs of people outside the door starting to gather and security guards struggling to keep the crowd at bay. But on he read. And in that moment, I thought of my own father and the swirl of contradictions that still existed in my own continuing relationship with him, even though he had been dead for 25 years. As I looked around the room, I could see that everyone else could relate as well. We were all absorbed in the story. After he finished reading, there was a palpable silence. I thanked him for coming by, and everyone applauded.

Then came the challenge of getting him out of the room and into his car. Easier said than done, as the word had spread, and the throngs were getting larger. Sting himself seemed intent on personally greeting with good humor and grace everyone who approached him, even though by now the people lining up to meet him weren’t in the workshop and were just pushing through the door to snap a picture.

Finally we got him back to the curb, where he and I said “so long.” I would see him later that night, thanks to the generosity of Stephen Hannock, who had bought my wife and me tickets to his concert.

After he was spirited away in his car, it dawned on me that what was most powerful about the experience wasn’t that Sting was famous, but that he had a story to tell that transcended his celebrity. His visit to my class wasn’t part of a silly reality show but simply a willingness to participate in a community. In this one instance, anyway, fame worked as it should: as a vehicle for telling a story and fostering connections among people.

As I stood on the windswept sidewalk—feeling less successful and less attractive then I ever had before (hanging out with Sting tends to do that to you)—I felt more than just the glow of reflected celebrity. Rather, I felt the glow of shared humanity. And I thought: This is the kind of 15 minutes of fame we should all aspire to.



O14 Press Exclusive

By John Stanley

Charles Evered is a man living a varied life, to say the least. A nationally known playwright who has made the move into directing film, Evered recently founded his own production company; Ordinance 14, which is based out of Los Angeles and Princeton, New Jersey.

Evered is also a director, a former naval officer, a college professor and a journalist. He used to be a newspaper boy, a dishwasher, a retail clerk, a security guard, a janitor, a carpenter’s assistant and for a short period, a lifeguard.

Recently, he wrote and directed the award winning feature film Adopt a Sailor, starring Emmy winners Bebe Neuwirth and Peter Coyote. Adopt a Sailor went on to garner a distribution deal, a limited theatrical release and ended up being an “official selection” at more than 20 national and international film festivals. In addition to Adopt a Sailor, Evered just finished directing his second feature titled A Thousand Cuts, which stars Academy Award nominee Michael O’Keefe and will be released sometime in 2012.

For Adopt a Sailor, Evered got the full cooperation of the United States Navy– for free– including the use of a battle ship and helicopters. Asserts Evered: “Throwing money at a film doesn’t make it better. What matters to audiences are good stories. You can 3D-ize it, you can do whatever, but if the story doesn’t work, nobody will care.”

Evered, who has written scripts for major studios as well as for network and cable television, (Monk etc), studied at Yale under his mentor, Academy Award winning director George Roy Hill.

Ordinance 14 has a full slate of projects in the works.

In the development hopper is a small desert set mystery, which Evered plans on shooting in and around the High Desert, and a script he just wrote called Upon a Star— the tale of a washed up movie star who uses a sick teenager as a means to resurrect his stalled career.



Los Angeles Times

By Charles Evered

Filmmakers once came West and invented an industry; what path should an aspiring young man take these days?

My nephew contacted me recently to ask what cross-country route I thought he should take. He’s driving from the East Coast to attend the American Film Institute in L.A.

My first concern was making sure he took a route that was safe, reasonably well populated and adorned with more than a few fascinating towns, cities and highlights along the way. I enjoy driving across the United States and have done it many times, so the roads are familiar to me. When I go “cross-country,” I like to think of it as “cross-town,” with stops along the way to check in on the many people I’ve come to know, and who have blessed me with a firm grasp of the teeming and vital expanse between the two overly publicized coasts.

For my nephew, I suggested the route through New Jersey to Virginia to Tennessee to Arkansas to Texas to New Mexico to Arizona and finally to Southern California. It’s direct but not strictly utilitarian and traverses some great historical destinations. Jefferson’s Monticello and Elvis’ Graceland, anyone? And toward the last leg, it would give him an idea of the beautiful expanse, flow and geographical fluidity between the states. Crossing the country is often akin to how a world-class symphony might play a great work by one of the masters: You have to know when to attack head on, when to pull back, when to pause and, most important, how to bring it home and end with a flourish.

Yet, just a few minutes after imparting this wisdom to him, I thought that perhaps I had given him the wrong advice. Maybe it would be better for him to get lost … lost in some town along the way where he can sally forth on his own adventures and gain his own experiences, instead of seeking out structured training in the expert ways of others.

Thinking back on our conversation, I would have liked to tell him to take his time. As in, say, a few years. Pull off the interstate onto a small country road and just drive. Stop in a town that somehow speaks to you; talk and listen to people you’ve never met before, who have different experiences, opinions and backgrounds. Get a job somewhere that pays you enough to stay alive, save up and buy a camera you can trust, make friends and make movies. Make movies for little bits of money; make movies for larger amounts of money. Screen them on the sides of whitewashed barns, at festivals, on hung sheets — or just on your iPod.

Most of all, create your own style of moviemaking, using your own instincts and thoughts and carrying out your own vision, before you head out to be coached in the skills of Hollywood. Because this is a place that has lost some of its own vision, for better and worse. Yes, the indulgent, costly, go-nowhere deals have been disappearing. But what seems to be taking their place are a few remaining studios whose projects are based on comic books and old TV shows and the latest sequel to a sequel. If it’s not based on well-worn source material, even casting big-name stars — once considered insurance against risk — won’t guarantee a hit.

Nor, for that matter, does it retain the dimensions of physical space. These days, Hollywood is wherever they’re doing the shooting, and that may be a backyard in New Rochelle, N.Y., or a slum in Mumbai or whatever U.S. state is offering the best tax breaks. The “town” is everywhere and nowhere, an exhilarating but scary thought.

Close to a century ago, the first intrepid filmmakers came to California from the East, just like my nephew. They had no idea what to expect. People told them they were crazy. And when they got here, they had to make the rules up as they went along. There was no proven template, certainly no film schools, no preordained path to success. They got some cameras, found some like-minded friends and made movies the best they could. Some of those movies were horrible, but some were brilliant and still change the way we see the world.

Of course moviemaking was going to evolve, and will continue to do so. As long as we evolve too, and are willing to jettison the old models, there is hope. If we’re lucky, that future might include an exciting new era of pioneer moviemakers who, based in underappreciated and untapped lands, dream of new stories and visual ways to tell them. I’d love to see my nephew become part of that evolution, but just as the early moviemakers found inspiration in the then-unknown West Coast, I can’t help thinking he might find a fresher vision by declining to retrace the footsteps before him.

But my nephew has already made his plans for the future. He asked me for highways, not my philosophy of moviemaking. So my wife and I are readying the couch for our young visitor, and stocking up on ramen.



New York Times

By Anita Gates

A movie star walks into a small, run-down New York studio. Earning $6 million a picture, she feels like a fraud. She has come to seek the help of an acting teacher who was once a distinguished actor and now has a major chip on his shoulder.

That’s the setup for Charles Evered’s play “Class,” which has its world premiere at Cape May Stage in a run starting Friday. Mr. Evered’s past plays have included “Running Funny” and “Adopt a Sailor,” which was made into a 2008 film with Bebe Neuwirth and Peter Coyote. He acknowledges that he has written about a teacher this time because of three cherished mentors in his own life.

Born in Passaic and raised in Rutherford, he attended Rutherford High School. His English teacher there was Hugh Thomas, who had been in the original (1960) cast of “The Fantasticks.”

“He was the first person to turn me on to theater, that it deserves respect,” Mr. Evered, 45, said in a telephone interview from a friend’s home in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Thomas acted out Shakespearean scenes in class, Mr. Evered recalled: “He’d do the murder scene from ‘Julius Caesar,’ ” playing both parts.

After graduating from Rutgers, Mr. Evered studied drama at Yale, where he was taught by George Roy Hill, the Oscar-winning film director.

Because of his background in making successful, popular movies like “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” Mr. Hill did not get a lot of respect at Yale, Mr. Evered said.

“There was a real interesting snobbism,” he recalled. “It’s a kind of proof of failure if you’ve reached a lot of people.”

Mr. Evered’s third mentor was the actor and director Austin Pendleton. “I basically got coffee for him at the Williamstown Theater Festival for a couple of years,” Mr. Evered said, referring to the prestigious Massachusetts organization.

In “Class,” the mentor is played by Thaao Penghlis, best known as a television soap-opera actor; he played Tony DiMera — kidnapper, rapist, count — on “Days of Our Lives.” The play’s director is Roy Steinberg, who worked on that soap opera as a director and producer.

The actress is played by Heather Matarazzo — yes, little Heather Matarazzo of the 1995 indie film “Welcome to the Dollhouse.” She’s 27 now.

Mr. Evered plans to be there for the play’s opening night performance, on Saturday. Although he and his family are living in California now, while his wife recuperates from an automobile accident, they own a house in Princeton and consider New Jersey home.



AOL News

By Charles Evered

It amazes me when I read accounts today of the comparatively non-acrimonious relationship that existed between the military and the Hollywood establishment of yesteryear, particularly before the war in Vietnam.

Reading accounts of major stars who joined up to fight during World War II, of socialites and actors in Los Angeles establishing the Hollywood Canteen and encouraging the mingling of those who serve with those who portray, boggles the 21st century mind.

Charles Evered wrote and directed the film “Adopt a Sailor,” about a sailor from Arkansas who spends the evening with a sophisticated couple from New York City.

One need not go into a long treatise about why this doesn’t happen anymore. Wars are different now. It is — at least on the surface — a more complicated time.

So when I started to travel with a tiny budgeted film I wrote and directed called “Adopt a Sailor,” I girded my loins and readied myself for a gauntlet of rolling eyes and exasperated sighs of indifference.

I had myself lived in both worlds, having joined the U.S. Navy Reserve at a comparatively old age (in my mid-30s). My recruitment began as I toured an aircraft carrier in San Diego while writing a script called “Carrier” that I had sold as a pitch to DreamWorks. I met kids on that ship who were just 18, making an annual salary of what would constitute a week’s stay at a high-end hotel on Central Park West or in Santa Monica. I was humbled by their dedication — and since my life had become nothing more than sitting around and whining at Starbucks about the state of my career, something in me seized on a chance to break out of my own complacency.

After I joined, some of my friends were supportive, while some of them where aghast. One asked why I would “want to take a step back like that.” An actor (and ex-friend of mine) said that he thought my joining was the same as “ending up a garbageman or something.”

So when I got the opportunity to write and direct a little film about a sailor from Arkansas who spends the evening with a sophisticated couple from New York City, I harbored no illusions about it jumping into a “Juno” stratosphere.

On paper, the film is almost unmarketable — mostly dialogue, no overt political ax to grind, no drug deals gone bad, no effects per se, no sex, no overt auteur directing style. (I studied with George Roy Hill at Yale, who said, “If you want to direct, find a compelling story, hire great actors and get out of the way.) My expectation was that we’d screen the film for patient friends and my stunned agent on a white sheet strung across the living room at my producer’s house.

Miraculously, however, great actors did agree to appear in the film, including Emmy winners Bebe Neuwirth and Peter Coyote, who worked for about one-sixtieth of their usual salary.

Charles Evered wrote and directed the film “Adopt a Sailor,” about a sailor from Arkansas who spends the evening with a sophisticated couple from New York City.The film features Bebe Neuwirth, Peter Coyote, and Ethan Peck as the sailor.

And then it went on to screen at more than 20 national and international film festivals, won a couple of festival awards, garnered a distribution deal of its own and actually started to get seen by people. Was it “Juno”? No. But it wasn’t on a white sheet in the living room either.

My heart was reinvigorated by the number of people who gave our “little film that could” a chance. People who put aside their own sometimes reflexive aversion to all things military and related to our little story.

The truth is, “Hollywood” — or what that word has come to represent — isn’t as close-minded as lots of people make it out to be. The town was fair to us.

And for a brief moment in time, I thought I saw — reflected in the response to my little film — a vision of what our country could be. Less divided. More integrated philosophically and, more important, on the mend.



American Theatre Magazine

Should a playwright making a movie stick to his guns?

By Charles Evered

Visions of calamity dance through the heads of playwrights when they think of exposing their work to the world of film. When I told people I was hired to direct a feature version of my play, most of my playwright friends peered back at me with scrunched-up foreheads and questioning eyes: “Why?” they would inevitably intone. (I couldn’t help thinking of Charlton Heston at the end of the first Planet of the Apes: Whyyyyyyyyy!!!?)

Some of their comments were: “You’ll be fired within two weeks.” “They don’t care about character.” And, of course: “Didn’t you see Barton Fink?”

A bit of background: The film Adopt a Sailor is based on a ten minute play I wrote in 2002 that was part of an evening of short plays presented at Town Hall in New York City in a program called “Brave New World,” meant to commemorate the first anniversary of the attacks on 9/11. A few years after that I wrote a longer version of Adopt a Sailor that, like most of my plays, was published by Broadway Play Publishing; soon after that, I decided to take a stab at adapting the longer version for the screen. It was this adaptation that attracted the interest of a film producer on the West Coast.

Now, it is at this point, (after the initial news of interest from the West Coast) that things usually go wrong for playwrights. However, there are things one can do to, if not prevent, at least mitigate these unavoidable developments. First, you have to understand at least the underpinnings of basic business 101. When you sell something, you no longer own it. In the world that we travel in, that means the following: Once you take “Hollywood money,” you’re an employee. A writer for hire only.

This is something people do voluntarily. I note that, because I don’t know if there’s anything more grating than hearing the lament of a well-compensated playwright complaining about how “awfully” Hollywood has treated him or her. If you don’t want to expose yourself to the possibility of mistreatment, by all means don’t sell your material to movie people. In fact, don’t even go out for coffee with them.

Thanks, however, to amazing technological advances lately, (namely cheap cameras), we have a few more choices. People can make credible movies themselves for very little money—in some cases, if you have lots of inspired friends with skills, no money at all. Feature films, (completed ones), are in fact, the new spec scripts— there are, in short, way too many of them. The bottom line: People should not make movies because they can but because they must.

Before I jumped off the cliff, I made sure my producer and I were on the same page. Did my producer and I agree on everything? Absolutely not. But at the same time, I didn’t assume that just because I wrote the play that I knew everything there was to know about making the movie version of it.

One of the first things my producer and I agreed upon was that a lot of movie adaptations of plays go wrong because the filmmakers tend to overcompensate and feel they have to rip apart the essence of the play in order to “open it up”—for fear of it being too “play like” in its final cinematic form. What I realized, after studying lots of films based on plays, was that, yes, sometimes the narrative benefitted from “opening” scenes up, but in just as many cases, “opening something up” just for the sake of it often diminished what was so powerful about the play in the first place.

So I decided that structurally I would indeed “open it up”—but only when it made narrative sense. The story remains the same: a sophisticated couple from Manhattan “adopts” a sailor from Arkansas during Fleet Week. The three of them have dinner—and change each other’s lives forever. That’s it. That’s the movie.

Now, did moving forward like this win the trust and utter confidence of all in the room? Not always. In fact, it was the theatre process that again saved me. We rehearsed the scenes, sometimes, just before shooting—just as we would during a theatrical production. When the producers saw how well the scenes worked—that they were taut all by themselves—it made them feel more confident the film might work this way.

What I’ve learned is: Audiences won’t mind if your characters talk a lot as long as they care about what it is they’re talking about. There were, of course, notes at some points about “adding a character here” or “a little more action there.” Why shouldn’t there be? But it was my job to convince the producers that within the context of our little film, Patricia burning the chicken, for instance, constituted all by itself an “action scene.” When a theatre artist opens his mind and heart to melding the intersection of the stage and the world of the cinema, wondrous things can happen. And more important, good work can get done.

When Bebe Neuwirth (who plays Patricia) was asked why the film successfully built on its dramatic origins, she said, “It works for the same reason it worked as a play: You know and see everything you need to within a spare but elegantly profound framework.”

Peter Coyote, (who plays Richard), added, “It’s the way the film was shot. The story was allowed to breathe internally—both in the writing and the filming. And when a story contains three complicated characters, there isn’t as much need to explore outside of the space between them.”

And so what did I learn? Well, mostly this: Don’t run away from the fact that you’re a playwright. Sometimes the best thing to do is to run toward it.



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