When I think of playwright Deborah Brevoort, one word comes to mind: persistence. When we last talked, my mentor and friend (also a playwright and dramachick, whom I will be interviewing soon!), Juanita Rockwell, told me a story about Brevoort and what is probably her most well-known play, The Women of Lockerbie. In case you are unfamiliar, the plot of Lockerbie centers around a mother who has come to Scotland to look for the remains of her son after he died on the tragic bombing and subsequent crash of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie. Despite being a stunning, powerful script about grief and hope and finding closure, Brevoort had a hard time getting Lockerbie produced. In fact, as Juanita tells it, she sent the script out OVER SEVENTY TIMES and was rejected OVER SEVENTY TIMES. And then…she WON silver medal in the Onassis International Playwriting Competition. Which is HUGE! Lockerbie went on to win the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award (again, HUGE!) and has now been produced all over the country and the world including New York City, L.A., little ol’ Bloomsburg Pa. (by the ever-amazing Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble!), London, Australia, Japan, and even in Lockerbie, Scotland.
Brevoort was not only persistent with sending out a play that she knew deserved to be produced; she continued to write incredibly unique works such as Blue Moon Over Memphis (a Noh play about Elvis); Of Men and Mountains (a one-woman show); Embedded (a modern musical re-imagining of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado, part of a trilogy of opera’s called The Poe Project) and The Poetry of Pizza (an award-winning play about falling in love…and pizza).
As a wanna-be playwright who struggles with sending things out (how much rejection can one person TAKE?! Not sure I want to find out…), Brevoort’s tale is encouraging to me. Not only did she continue to put her work out there, she wrote (she writes!) AMAZING PLAYS, completely worthy of production, and even SHE struggled to get noticed, no matter how deserving she was. So the mantra I keep bringing to mind (and encourage you dramachick-playwrights to as well) is this: I just need to find the theater or group that loves my play as much as I do. THOSE are the people you want funding or producing it anyway; the ones who love it and believe in it the way you do.
Thank you, Deborah Brevoort, for giving us hope.