A Letter from Robert O'Hara
It hasn’t been easy being a writer and a director. Constantly throughout my career I’ve been asked which one do I enjoy the most. As if it was necessary to enjoy one more than the other. It’s like asking me which one of my arms or legs I enjoy the most. They both operate to make me who I am. It’s the same for me with playwriting and directing. And there are very few places that would not only allow but encourage an artist to write and direct their own work.
Well, Playwrights Horizons is one of those places. They don’t set limits on my abilities. Instead they support and cheerlead them.
They see me as a Whole Artist. And they are not afraid of it.
Take for instance this fact: before I even began to direct my production of my play, Bootycandy, Playwrights offered me a commission to write a new play. I had not even begun what would be my first production with them and they wanted more. That is rare, and it is a gift that not many artists receive.
It requires a commitment to the voice of the artist, not just the product. And it gave me the confidence that the stories I have inside me would have a home.
Immediately following the production of Bootycandy, Tim Sanford asked if I would like to develop the voice of another writer. That has led to my directing the upcoming production of Kirsten Childs’ brilliant musical, Bella: An American Tall Tale, at Playwrights in May 2017. They acknowledged the fact that I wasn’t solely a playwright. They took into account my other arm. My other leg. They see me as a Whole Artist. And they are not afraid of it.
I can honestly say that my playwriting career did not reach the level of my directing career until my production of Bootycandy. I was not fully acknowledged, at least in my estimation, as a Writer/Director, until my Playwrights production. And mind you, I’d already directed Bootycandy twice regionally. Every major theater in New York came to see one of those two regional productions, but it was Playwrights who stepped up to the plate — and stepped up fully.
That is why I am writing to you today, to ask you to step up to the plate. You and I both know that season after season, Playwrights Horizons knocks it out of the ball park… and if you know anything about me, then you know this will be the end of my baseball metaphors.
But seriously, without your support it would be unlikely that Playwrights could have the ovaries to commit to a certifiably crazy voice such as mine, and to commit to me as a Whole Artist. So please show your commitment to this amazing institution of theatrical mayhem by giving a gift today.
Playwright and Director