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2005 Writers Forum
Laurel Anne White

Laurel Anne White began writing at the age of four, primarily oral histories for the benefit of Fuzzy Creature, Lambchop, and Tedward Bear. Throughout her youth she composed many plays, poems, speeches, and short stories until she was wooed away to a life in the theatre. Years of fast living in regional repertory theatre as actress, director and producer found Ms. White returning again and again to the comfort of the written word. As Artist in Residence for the Washington State, Seattle and King County Arts Commissions, schools, hospitals, corrections facilities and other diverse organizations, and with Jack Straw, Laurel has written or co-created over 200 scripts. Also a voice and acting coach, she thinks of writing as "giving back by giving voice" to the silenced and unheard. Her latest work is River Bed, a full-length magical-realist play inspired by the women whose voices were stolen by the notorious Green River and Ciudad Juarez murders and a dismissive media. Laurel earned her MFA in the Professional Actor Training Program at the University of Washington, and is currently working toward her MEd at Antioch University. She is the delighted recipient of a 2004 Artist Trust/Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship in Theatre, and is thrilled to be in the excellent company of Jack Straw's Writers Program. Laurel Anne White photo
photo credit:
dean wong
Listen to an excerpt of Laurel's reading (MP3)
Read and listen to excerpts from a discussion between Laurel Anne White and 2005 curator John Mifsud.
Riverbed (excerpt)

Act One, Scene Two: Martha’s Story (excerpt)

Late summer moon light. A forest clearing near a river: blackberry bushes run wild, a few seemingly gathered piles of leaves, some boulders/large rocks between the audience and the river. We hear the river throughout the play except when noted. An overgrown car path ends in the clearing, winding in from the blackness.

Stage lights dim; during the following MARTHA’s face and shoulders are in light that shifts with her words like flashes of street and store lights, red stop lights, and shadows of rain as through a windshield spattering and running down her face & shoulders.


The minute I got in – into the car? I had a feeling, like I should’ve – I dunno. I was in, had my hand on the handle, the inside of the door, and I yanked it closed and just as it latched, crunch click, a lock clicked. I had this – knot – like a knot of vomit just shot up hot in my throat, sour. And I looked back and I could see the bus stop slippin’ away, getting small in the rain, and the Quick Stop just this bright, white square of light, the flashing red sign on that tall, tall pole, all shrinking away, all ripply through the rain coming down on the glass. A plastic bag kicked up by the wind, I saw how it flew, hit the window like that, and gone, just a blue spot in the night…

The radio was on, and there was a – chicken, an actor playing like he was a chicken, about being fresh, Washington grown. And then a woman, chatty, talking about the I-90 traffic, 405, the "S" curves, and how it was slick from the new rain and everyone should take care driving home tonight, maybe take "alternate routes." He was laughing about that, or maybe about the chicken, and then he switched to some music. And you know, he was nice, I mean so nice – with the radio on, and he was talking about the Huskies and the first big game coming up. Wasn’t it chilly for still being summer, he said. And he pretended to shiver and then laughed, like he was – laughing at himself, and he was so, you know, relaxed. So I relaxed.

We must’ve stopped at ten, fifteen lights, stop signs, and I was relaxed, okay. I didn’t think of jumping out, and I could’ve. I thought it was okay, after all, that he was okay. I was relaxed. And then he took that turn. He took that turn, and I didn’t say anything. I didn’t say anything, because in the movies they always say – the woman always says "What are you doing, where are we going?" And then she gets it. So I didn’t say anything so I wouldn’t be like the woman in the movie, and he just hummed, and drove, windshield wipers swish swish swish.

And then – he didn’t look at me – then he asked me if I wanted "some." Didn’t I want some of his "stuff," his "thing," he said. I thought, "Oh no" – then, "okay, he’s just a perv, he’s a perv and he thinks I’m a prostitute," so I said, laughing, kinda, "Hey, I’m not into that, if that’s what you thought." I said, "I’ve got a job." And he looked at me, sideways, still driving, and he smiled, real sweet. Real Sweet. And I was all at once real cold, I remember, staring at that smile, that face. Cold.

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