Diane Davis

God help me find the story in the slush of my life.

As a feminist, I have always been curious about the choices women playwrights have made in creating their stories. Why they choose to tell a particular story? What craft devices did they use and why? How did they go deep in their creative tool chest to find inclusivity in the male dominated theater world?

There is nothing arbitrary in playwriting: each word, line, and beat is a deliberate choice. As I examine their chosen aspects of craft and structure, I inch toward understanding how I make those choices in my writing. My goal is to learn: to let go, get out of my own way, and become my authentic writing self.

My stories are inspired by the history around us: the examination of the past to understand our present. I don’t write history plays, but I look at writing through the lens of an historian; a conduit to document some past thing, allowing the “audience” to decide its value. At first, unraveling with deliberate objectivity the known facts. And then searching what needs to be discovered for a more cohesive view of the contradictions between one’s physical state of being in contrast with their subjective soul.

My theater world started in the music pit: turning pages at age ten, but then rejecting musical theater for classical poetry and plays. OVID Metamorphosis, always in my pocket, readied me to give impromptu reads to anyone who would listen. Opera training helped my tenor voice reach far down the high school hallways, as small crowds gathered and encouraged performances.

Bennington encouraged creative spirits to roam and inspired me to go in whatever direction my intuition took me: studying Black Music with Bill; embracing atonal rhythms, devising theater, and taking a deep dive into Greek Dramas, Shakespeare, Chekhov or Ibsen, and Shepherd – all giving new meaning to my inner rebel. These studies laid the method for my posse to create “punk spectacle(s)” and/or photographed tableaus of our often-inebriated lives.

I graduated to New York City’s lower east side, coming out of the blackout decade. My pseudo-working artist-self took to the streets – playing in Goth, Punk or Jazz sessions – conjuring pop-up DaDa happenings – or writing poems about vices, capitalism, love, and using whatever was available to not feel the feelings. I looked for meaning in the past to better understand my skewed emotional present, which eventually took its toll.

The rocky road of “desire” eventually crashed. Then recovered. Then taught. Then family. And at the point in a crisis of age, I began writing plays. So I put in motion a life, working the days to unleash any dabbling of creative imagination that exists within my subjective soul.


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