"Howard has a strong, passionate voice. His dialogue has that intangible quality of confidence that all great writers have and he's not afraid to let his characters suffer for the good of the play and the audience. PAINT MADE FLESH is about an artist's passion, like John Logan's RED or Timothy Daly's KAFKA DANCES at the same time as being relevant to anyone who's found themselves being drawn to their own dark side." - Dawson Moore, Last Frontier Theater Conference
ABOUT THE PLAY
Willa, a transplanted NYC painter, now teaches at American University in Washington, DC. The star of her Masters program at Columbia University she has had crushing disappointment career-wise since graduating that precipitated her retreat to a lower profile existence. After ending a long and passionate relationship with a rising NYC star performance artist (during and post her Columbia years) she is now about to marry a seemingly “normal guy” and “settle down.” Keir, her husband-to-be, is a Washington DC politician from a good DC family who is diligently working his way up the political ladder. Although able to find humor in daily life, “the senate sucks the funny out of him.” He’s constantly trying to lose weight, as he was heavy set in college. He loves Willa and thinks he can create a stable life where she will be happy, but also has a huge secret from his college years that Willa is confronted with when, Dylan, Willa’s performance artist ex makes a reappearance in their lives. Dylan’s attempt to reclaim what he thinks has been lost forces them all to face the cost of deception in the service of ambition and love.
by Howard Meyer
Two months after we married, my wife got in a car and moved to Baltimore, Maryland. It wasn’t because of a big fight, wet feet, or a sudden realization that our marriage was a mistake. She had been accepted for a year of study at MICA, one of the most respected art schools in the country. Our fate had been sealed a few months prior to our wedding, when she received the news of her acceptance. She was returning to school and full-time art making after a long hiatus, and this was an amazing reentry into the art world. Thus began my education into art making as well: the daily passion and rigor, the single-minded sacrifice, the mandate for exceptional craft, and the competitiveness of a career as a fine artist. I was no stranger to all of these attributes having spent almost twenty years as a theatre artist. Our lives as married art makers, with all the many joys and demands had officially begun.
It was on these many weekend visits to Maryland as a newlywed that Paint Made Flesh was born. In fact, some of the earliest sketches for scenes were written in my wife’s Baltimore art studio. She, working away on her latest creation, me at a table writing. Although I have always cherished the privacy of the writing life, I loved those days, quietly creating our work in the same space.
One of my wife’s assignments was going to art openings in Maryland and Washington, D.C. to view the work and also sit and sketch. One weekend I tagged along on a visit to the Phillips Gallery in D.C. to see a retrospective of groundbreaking painting of the human form. My writing work had long been influenced and taken inspiration from the seminal forms of Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon. So intricately detailed, and psychologically revealing. And people that were not considered “beautiful” by conventional standards. I loved that. I wanted my characters to be as intricately rendered. To see Freud and Bacon side-by-side was such a gift, but I was also introduced to many other amazing frontiersmen and women. The show was called "Paint Made Flesh." I had already been exploring scene sketches about a love triangle tested by the pressures of art making careers, but after spending time with the show (I went back to the gallery several times by myself), I knew I had discovered the world of the characters (and the title) of the new play.