Treasure, Zombies, New Theatre Projects, Oh My!

In residency news…

Here’s a letter from TSKW’s June resident artists, playwright Dean Poyner and actress Monica Wyche.

Dean and Monica spent a week in residence at TSKW this month, doing research on Dean’s most recent work-in-progress, a new play based on the treasure-hunting industry.  Special thanks goes out to Carol Tedesco and the many treasure hunting folks who helped provide interviews and information for this ongoing project.

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June 23rd, 2010

(insert sigh of contentment here)

We are so happy to be back for our second summer at TSKW. There have been a number of changes since our last visit- most importantly, Dean and Monica got married! Yes, we fell in love during our last residency, and are excited to return this summer as husband and wife. Last year, we came as the first-ever theatre company in residence, and workshopped our zombie apocalypse play, Homo Apocalyptus. The experiences we had last summer, and more importantly, the people we met, are directly responsible for our current visit.

It started when Jay Scott suggested we pay a visit to The Chart Room, the legendary Key West watering hole, and our new project snowballed once we met TSKW member and numismatist, Carol Tedesco.

This summer, we have been researching and writing a new piece based on the treasure hunting industry- a vibrant part of the history of the keys. With the help of Carol Tedesco, we have spent our time here conducting interviews with key players in the discovery of the wreck of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha, which shipwrecked in 1622 off the Marquesa Keys. To better understand the treasure diversʼ experience, we took SCUBA diving lessons at Captainʼs Corner, and enjoyed diving in the gorgeous reefs here in the keys. (Admittedly, Dean was the real diver of our duo- Monica made it through the pool sessions, but resorted to snorkeling instead.)
Simply being here in the Mango Tree House has had a profound affect on our work. The tropical plants in the courtyard here set the perfect tone as Dean writes, bringing his characters to life. Itʼs so peaceful here, weʼve also been able to focus on creating our new theatre company, The Salvage Company. Since weʼve arrived, we have begun work on a website, created a mission statement, and are almost finished with our first grant application.

Of course, our time here hasnʼt been solely devoted to working. We had a fantastic time at the Rick Worth retrospective, and have practically eaten our way across the island (Santiagoʼs, Nine-One-Five, and Help Yourself are our favorites so far!) Weʼve visited Fort Zack several times, and even brought our dog, Hank, along for the ride. He loves the beach, weʼre glad to learn, but apparently has no interest in the lizards we share the courtyard with.

The work weʼve been able to do here in Key West is essential in the growth of our new theatre company, and the influences of this place and itʼs people have been at the core of our latest piece of work. We continue to be grateful to TSKW for their willingness to support the development of new art of all varieties, and look forward to coming back in the future…who knows who weʼll bring with us next time?

The Studios of Key West