I spent about a full morning, from 8am Alaska time yesterday to 8am New York time today, traveling back from the 2022 Valdez Theatre conference. This didn’t leave a lot of time yesterday to write a blog post. And I didn’t have much time during the conference itself; apart from working on my own pieces, seeing everybody else’s work, and exploring the spectacular environment around me, there was far too much carousing and reveling going on for me to have time to unpack the ol’ laptop.
Which is strange, because the pieces at this year’s conference were dark.
I presented a play about climate disaster and encroaching fascism entitled An Arctic Confederate Christmas. It’s pretty damn grim, and I was worried that it was simply too grim for a celebration of theater. Once I arrived in Valdez, however, and saw the overall lineup, it became clear that there was a horrific vision of the future every single day. The programers of the festival were clearly in a dark mood (can’t image why), and had put together a festival brimming with nightmares. Some were comical, some were deadly serious, they alternated between naturalism and symbolism and weirdo comedy. But there were many of us. An almost overwhelming number.
So naturally, we all banded together. Went to each other’s shows, went out drinking together, generally made a loud raucous party out of our fears of the end of the world. We called ourselves Team Dystopia.
I’m barely able to think at the moment, after a week-long theatre binge and an epic journey home. So rather than gab on about my own writing (which I’ll be busily revising over the next few weeks anyway – the conference is inspiring like that), I wanted to salute my fellow members of the Team:
Tamar Shai Bolkvadzhe, The Lottery Winner
Tracy Carns, 27 Moths
Emma Gibson, if nobody does remarkable things
Libby Heily, After Ultra
Nicholas Walker Herbert, Severed
Heidi Kraay, see in the dark
Greg Lam, Treachery Island
Where possible, I’ve included NPX links for all of these titles, so that you too, Constant Reader, can enjoy the dystopia!