Anne Hamilton/Hamilton Dramaturgy

BCWJ Profile of Rachel Bonds

Profile of Rachel Bonds

By: Anne Hamilton, M.F.A.

Brooklyn Playwright Rachel Bonds has had a terrific year.

A reading of FIVE MILE LAKE appeared in Manhattan Theatre Club’s 7@7 series, SWIMMERS was part of the Reading Series in the Powerhouse season at NY Stage & Film, and Philadelphia’s Arden Theatre presented a workshop production of her new play AT THE OLD PLACE in July.

Bonds developed the play in a four-month residency at Arden called The Writers’ Room. Artistic Director Ed Sobel, who also directed Bonds’ production, explains: “The Writers’ Room is a playwright residency program in which a writer is in residence at the Arden for six weeks completing the draft of a new play.  A few weeks after completion of the draft, the play is given a workshop and rehearsal process which culminates in public performance.”

“They gave me 6 weeks to write a first draft,” Bonds commented just as she was going into rehearsal. “And I got nervous and wrote it in 3 weeks. It was very useful to have a deadline. It’s a unique and wonderful program, because sometimes as playwrights we have to wait years to see our plays performed.  The Writer’s Room experience is so immediate. It’s rare and exciting. The Arden supports writers in a way that very few others do.”

In the play, a professor of English returns to her family home in Richmond, VA following her mother’s death, to find two young people camped out on her lawn. “AT THE OLD PLACE is a quiet play,” she says. “The events are small and human, and it’s about two people opening up. It’s about the little ways that we begin to change.” Describing the dialogue as “hyperrealistic”, she notes that the set design is abstract, portraying the overgrown yard of a rundown house in fabric and other unusual materials.

This is the first time Bonds has worked in Philadelphia. “It’s a great community and the actors are really wonderful. I’m so pleased with the cast that we got. They’re lovely and hardworking,” she says. “The whole experience has been a gift and a rare opportunity.”

Last year Wendy MacLeod, author of HOUSE OF YES completed the first Writers’ Room residency.

Anne Hamilton has 22 years of dramaturgical experience. She is available for script consultations and career advising through Season Three of Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! launched with an interview with Kate Valk, a leading actress with The Wooster Group.

You may download a copy of the article here: BCWJ Profile of Rachel Bonds by Anne Hamilton