By Linda Evans
My bio does not tell the story. And I think how many of us have a disconnect between reading our own bio and our writer’s life lived between the dots.
“You have serendipity on your side,” my mentor said to me. He is Grayson Hirst in his 80’s, Tenor opera singer from the Metropolitan opera (who sang with Beverly Sills). I told him how I met Gary Garrison, Dramatists Guild of America, on a park bench in front of the Ft. Wayne, Indiana public library; then Maestro Crafton Beck in a park in my hometown in Ohio who told me I was writing symphonies.
It is Grayson who told me a few months ago to form my own 501(c)(3) to support the symphony orchestra I am creating to perform A YAQUI SPRING. “Do what I did. Form your own non-profit and I will help you.” And he has!
Mentorship is a serious thing in the arts taken from old European tradition. I am just now putting these bio dots together. Wealthier families have taken advantage of this system for generations but my own Grandfather was born in a log cabin in NW Ohio. It takes years sometimes to connect dots and to take giant leaps.
How did I transform from writing full-length plays into writing musicals and opera? In 2010 Brad Lyons, Artistic Director, of Timber Lake Playhouse (west of Chicago) gave me some awards and then the Lee Blessing Award and asked me to turn my full-length play about the Yaqui tribe in Tucson into a musical, A YAQUI SPRING. The next year I returned and gave a small workshop with my new libretto and about 6 songs. This began this entire entry into the world of the musical theatre and opera.
Last summer I wrote many songs from May 15 to about July 1, forgetting to eat and sleep. Now I have over 30 works with lyrics and orchestrations. BUT during that time I lost some good high school friends and my boyfriend of 12 years in the process. He finally “lost it” when once again I took off to Manhattan; this time Friday Night FOOTLIGHTS at the Dramatists Guild on Broadway. No, I’m not ready to settle down! I have a brain change like a propulsion lab formed inside my brain and I am compelled by inner forces to hear new sound and to write down harmonies from my inner spaces.
Well, now I am alone. But more “myself” than I have ever been! I think most of you understand about this. Sometimes it takes a long time to connect the dots. I am writing this to you on the 50th Anniversary of “Man Landing on the Moon.” Neil Armstrong was born and raised in Waupauk, Ohio, population 12,000 about 30 miles from my hometown, population 10,333 where I am blogging to you right now. Around me is perfectly flat black soil farm country where it takes years to take giant leaps.
I say take your own “one small step for a woman” and see what happens. Take little steps seen and unseen, but keep on taking them. We are applauding you on this home planet in our world of International Center of Woman Playwrights!
Linda Evans is a US PLAYWRIGHT living and writing in NY, NY; Ohio; and Tucson, AZ: director, MFA in Filmmaking.
A YAQUI SPRING Musical Opera: https://www.lindaevans.org/
America Regional Touring ART, non-profit, 501(c)(3)