Anna Nugent

If you had told me a year ago that I would write a play in 6 weeks I would have laughed at you. I don’t think of myself as a writer. And a play? Come on, you need mad skills for that! Well, I would have been wrong. Working with the fabulous women’s group at Marble Collegiate Church, we were looking for an event for the Diversity Series that would focus on women. That directive coupled with the decision to spend our 2015-2016 season exploring grace got me thinking, what if? What if we interviewed women in the group and around the church? There are so many interesting stories! Eventually the idea began to gain traction and with the approval of my boss and the assistance of Marble’s theatre festival, produced by Brian Hampton – The Puzzle – work began.

During the process, I interviewed 12 women. One of the interviews was sadly not recorded so we did our best to remember some of the salient points. After trying to edit the recordings for transcription, I realized that the process was too time consuming and so we went ahead and got each interview transcribed. From there I went to work editing, compiling, weaving together these beautiful stories. My first draft was somewhere around 113 pages. After workshopping it with the fabulous director Marya Spring Cordes and actors Marcia Fingal, Rose Stoller, Joan Porter and Aronda Way, I was able to get it down to 32 pages for our public reading. There is nothing like deadlines to get that work in! And nothing like trying to honor beautiful, talented, diverse, complex women in an hour and a half presentation. During the creation of Living Grace, I learned an awful lot about success, about grace, belief and resilience. These are remarkable women and I am privileged to help tell their stories.

Today I embark on a long overdue final edit. A little restructuring and rearranging is needed. I look forward to seeing where it ends up. And then I get to choose some excerpts to share at our women’s retreat. I am so thankful to be able to delve back into these stories and see how they speak to me now.

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