Back in 1999, when one of my plays was in competition at the Edward Albee Theatre Conference at Prince William Sound Community College in Valdez, Alaska, site of the disastrous Exxon oil spill, there were lots of cocktail parties given by the oil companies for people attending the conference. Albee himself told us to be sure not to miss the one being hosted by British Petroleum. “You know what BP stands for, don’t you?” the playwright asked mischievously. “BIG PRAWNS! Lots of BIG PRAWNS!”
Well, given the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, thanks this time to British Petroleum, I’m afraid we’ll now get DEAD PRAWNS! Lots of DEAD PRAWNS! To say nothing of dead fish, dead birds, dead turtles, dead dolphins, dead whales. Maybe also DEAD PEOPLE! Lots of DEAD PEOPLE!
My play which was in competition at Prince William Sound back in 1999 was called “Report to the River.” It won the top prize at the conference. It was about a river, but it wasn’t about the Exxon oil spill. Maybe it’s time to write another one, and this time not just about a river.