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First thing you should know is, of the four playwrights Venus Theatre is producing this year, three of them studied under the same master teacher, Milan Stitt.  This simple little fact kind of blew my mind.  I’d read 80 plays last year and what were the odds?

Just a few days ago, our PH Lin went back to NYC.  She’d seen opening and two shows to follow and gladly told me that the experience with Venus Theatre “exceeded” her expectations.  In fact, Debbie Jackson of DC Theatre Scene (http://dctheatrescene.com/2010/03/16/zelda-at-the-oasis-2/) agreed.

Another tip I didn’t know when I chose the plays was that Pat is actually from this area.  She was asked to write a play about F. Scott for a celebration in Rockville, MD.  A one-act to which she replied that she thought in terms of full-length plays and would see what surfaced.  She ended up writing about Zelda.  And, that was a while ago.

How the work found its way to Venus is fascinating.  There are bios on all of our playwrights, as well as the four directors, this year at www.venustheatre.org/about_us.  I’ll paste Pat’s below.  I can tell you that this event we had on Saturday past was a big deal in the historical part of Laurel, MD.  Venus collaborated with the museum at the end of Main Street.  My idea was to bring in people who could walk to the theatre.  And, they were a delightful bunch.  This was a terrific collaboration with the Museum Director and the Laurel Historical Society.  Afterall, Zelda was from this general area.

It was catered by a woman who runs her own catering service and the BBQ house on Route one.  I was rushing out of the museum before the event to run two trays full of scones down to the theatre just as Pat was coming in.

She drove me down and back.  Twice actually, because in my rushing around I’d forgotten the postcards I was to bring on the first trip.  What a gift!  It was our only time to really connect directly in this whirlwind weekend.  In this time she told me her story and it was absolutely fascinating.  She was in real estate in Montgomery County.  And she was a director.  Her first marriage ended and she met the person she is with now.  Once their kids had grown up she began to journey into NYC on the weekends.  She simply began writing plays because it left her evenings much more available and she thought she’d try her hand at it.  While in NYC, she bumped into a man and had a long conversation with him about the state of theatre and what was to be done.  He immediately invited her into his master class having never read her writing.  He was Milan Stitt.

She began his master classes in NYC on Saturday mornings at 10 with the agreement that she would stay and study on into the evening.  They covered all of the classics and in doing so came up with a common language.  (Brilliant!  If you ask me this is a common struggle in theatre.).  From there she rented a third story bedroom in a brownstone and to this day remains great friends with that landlord.  Now she could travel up on Friday and be more refreshed on her Saturdays.  And if she liked she could stay through the weekend.  Then, she would go back and resume her real estate life in Washington, DC.

Well, family business was coming to close for her in Washington.  Her husbands job allowed him flexibility in location and the lovely landlord had to sell the brownstone.  So, they made a lateral move and bought a place on the same block as the brownstone.  All of her friends remained and the transition was a smooth one.  She’s had works produced all over the world, but coming back to the DC Theatre region with Zelda was something special.

I’m only grateful to have met and collaborated with such a talented artist.

Patricia H. Lin (ZELDA AT THE OASIS)

Patricia H. Lin (P.H. Lin) grew up in Washington, D.C. She raised her family in Bethesda, and Rockville, MD. During her “DC-MD Years,” Pat was a member of the Playwrights Forum. Locally, she had work produced by the Source Theatre Festival, The Baltimore Playwrights Festival, The Center Theatre Co. of Fairfax, VA, and Horizons Theatre. Since moving to New York, Pat has been produced and/or presented by Women’s Project & Productions, The Lark Play Development Center, Pulse Ensemble Theatre, Nomad Theater Company, and Diverse City Theater Co… all of which are located in NYC.

In addition to DC, MD, and VA, Pat’s work has been seen in theaters or Festivals in MI, IL, NC, OH, PA, KY and CA. An excerpt from this play, ZELDA AT THE OASIS, has appeared as part of an International Women’s Playwriting Conference in Greece.

Pat has won the Dayton (Ohio) Playhouse’s National Playwriting Competition. She is a recipient of George Mason University’s Mary Roberts Rinehart Award. She holds an MFA in Theater Arts from the Catholic University of America, and is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow.

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