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Christine Deavel & J.W. Marshall on Playwriting

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A conversation with two fixtures of the Seattle poetry scene on what they’ve learned and uncovered in the process of becoming playwrights.

This event adds to and compliments the book launch event at Open Books that happens in October, so if you’re interested in the playwriting process or poets writing plays, you’ll want to mark your calendars for both!

Second Art Christine Deavel John Marshall Theater

Second Act with Christine Deavel and J.W. Marshall

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Please join​ us to celebrate the publication of Vicinity/Memoryall, a play written by Christine Deavel and J.W. (John) Marshall, the former owners of Open Books.

Vicinity/Memoryall follows two characters as they move through a disorientingly changing urban landscape, seeking a memorial to an act of violence that ​stained​ their culture. They share the stage with a character whose quirky personal stories speak lyrically to their ​effort​. Christine and John will read from their​ play and read pieces of other plays they admire. T​hey ​will discuss the process that brought the play to life and to completion and hope to take questions and not be sorry they did. This event will include a viewing of a short film by Sarah Lintakoon, winner of the press’s 2018 Emerging Visions Filmmaker Award. Her film, Olive, draws on themes in Vicnity/Memoryall ​while​ wholly being a product of her own vision.

​Christine Deavel is employed as a Patient-and-Family Liaison at Harborview Medical Center. In 1995 she collaborated with J.W. Marshall, opening Open Books: A Poem Emporium which they ran until 2016. She has published poetry and prose in countless magazines and journals. Her full-length poetry collection, Woodnote, was published by Bear Star Press and won the Washington State Book Award for Poetry.

J.W. Marshall originally started Open Books as a small general bookstore in 1987. The store was moved to its current location when it was converted to poetry-only. After selling the store to current owner Billie Swift in 2016 he has kept house and happily found more time for reading and writing. Poetry and prose of his has been published in a wide variety of magazines and journals. His full-length poetry collection, Meaning a Cloud, won the Field Poetry Prize and was ​published by Oberlin College Press.

Christine and John co-wrote a chapbook of poetry, Work Together, in 2014. They hope to see their play produced in 2019, bringing new layers of collaboration into their creative process.

Vicinty Memoryall Deavel Marshall Press check

Press Check! Our first play, Vicinity/Memoryall!

By | Books, Learning How to Be a Publisher

I knew that we’d likely be able to bring back from the Midwest industrial printers this book for local printing. It’s a simple “saddle stich”, that is stapled booklet, meant to reference (and celebrate) the Dramatist Guild playbooks. I’ve got great memories of these functional playbooks from drama club in high school and so it was with great happiness that the writers, Christine Deavel and J.W. Marshall, also were intrigued to put the play in this format.

It’s the same size, the same tight gutters, and really designed to be used by actors, with page breaks made thinking through how actors might memorize their lines. I’ll be curious to chat with them on it as this play moves into production. Printing in this format also helps keep our cost down so I am hopeful we can print another play soon by Northwest playwrights or poets turning toward play writing.

I am very happy to be printing with Girlie Press, a woman-owned small business that I can walk to. How wonderful to not have to pay shipping as well as reducing the carbon from that. I’ve only done a few press checks and feel quite silly at them, though it’s exciting to see if how you imagine it printing is going to be the way it actually works in the real world.

I’ll be mostly curious to put this book next to the Dramatist Guild books and see how it feels. Will it feel ready to use for work?

Vicinty Memoryall Deavel Marshall Press Check Title PageVicinty Memoryall Deavel Marshall Press check 3