Award Winners / Artist Profile

About the Artist

Amy Wheeler (Seattle) received 2003 GAP Award funding to defray living expenses and rehearsal costs while finishing the first draft of (Not in) Our Town and preparing for a staged reading at Capitol Hill Arts Center. The idea for this play is rooted in school violence. “It was (several years ago) after another school shooting—this time in California—and I was struck by the phrase repeated by neighbors and townspeople following these unfathomable events: ‘This doesn’t happen in our town.’ With Thornton Wilder’s classic play Our Town as a starting point, Amy will use theatre and video to illuminate the images and values we cling to, while exploring our collective denial of the darker realities that define who we are.

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.
From the Artist

Ireland is the enchanted land of writers. Before I arrived in June – the delighted recipient of Paul Goode’s generous residency – the implications of being a playwright in the home of Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett hadn’t fully sunk in.

Paul’s home (I call it “the Goode House”) is a brilliant writer’s haven – full of windows looking out on Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s holy mountain, lovely Clew Bay and Clare Island, home of the 15th century “Pirate Queen,” Grace O’Malley.

The Goode House sits on a hill above a cove. And as I would write and daydream and gaze out the windows, nature would unfold her story: clouds obscure the cap of Croagh Patrick then suddenly clear to reveal a tiny white chapel at the very top. Below, the water ebbs and flows from the Bay of the cove, floating the tiny fishing boats, then setting them to rest on the mud. My thoughts are guided by nature’s story, as they cloud and clear, float and settle, ebb and flow.

Stories show up – several a day – a motley crowd impatiently waiting their turn to catch my attention. Grace O’Malley shoves her way to the front of the line, demanding I put her in a play or screenplay. She’s so forceful that she sends my Mom and I off on a blustery day in search of the chapel where she’s buried. We take a ferry, rent bikes and ride out on the edge of Clare Island, where we encounter the “holder of the chapel key” – a nearly toothless fellow with windswept gray locks who looks for all-the-world like Ichibod Crane – and who regales us with stories of the infamous “she-queen of Clew Bay.”

Stories abound. Pubs are a storyteller’s haven, and I spend many an evening sipping Guinness (it is better there) and eavesdropping on tall tales being spun all around me (research, you know).

And at the end of the day, there are so many more stories to tell than there’s space on the page. So get yerself a Guinness, pull up a stool and I’ll bend yer ear for a spell.

Amy Wheeler