Meet Veva Dianne Lawson

I am a published poet, turned playwright, who had the good fortune to receive personal guidance from Edward Albee, Marsha Norman and Romulus Linney.

Mr. Albee taught playwriting and play production classes at the University of Houston each spring selecting participants based on manuscript submissions. I was chosen for a funny and somewhat naughty short story.

During the semester, he took me to lunch and told me I was a playwright. I was, of course, thrilled with his assessment. He wanted to see my short story as a production piece. Thus, THE SERVICES OF WOMEN was produced by Mr. Albee as part of his New Playwrights Series in 1999.

At that same lunch, I told Mr. Albee about my son, Jack, who is autistic. I wanted to write a play about Jack without creating something lugubrious and maudlin. He replied, “That’s easy. Write it from Jack’s point of view.”

One year later, when I presented him with the first draft of BROKEN THINGS, I said to him, “It may be written from Jack’s point of view, but it has my blood on every page.” He said, “Of Course,” and produced the play on April 2001.

Working on this play was a powerful experience, which I believe was shared by those who saw the workshop production. People came to me afterwards to say, “I was Ellen.” or “I was David.” Working with Edward Albee was pretty exciting as well.

BROKEN THINGS premiered in New York City in April, 2002 as part of the Curan Repertory Company’s 2002 season. It was part of the Moving Arts Theatre’s 2003 reading series. The play was also displayed in the 2003 New York Fringe Festival.

An earlier version of BROKEN THINGS was a finalist for the Eugene O’Neil National Playwright’s Conference, May, 2000, and my short play, THE STAFF MEETING was a finalist in the 1998 Scriptwriters/Houston 10×10 playwriting contest. I won the Howard Moss Poetry Prize in the spring of 1997 and I was a finalist in the Atlanta Review poetry competition in 1997.

In June of 2000, my short monologue, PASSION, was featured in FOOD, SEX AND LONGING, a play consisting of many women’s voices. In the fall of 1998, THE STAFF MEETING, had a professional reading, sponsored by Scriptwriters/Houston. It was also read at Archway Gallery in January of 2000.

My poems have been published in SuddenlyII, Waterways, The Old Red Kimono and Artword Quarterly.

Besides Edward Albee, Marsha Norman and Romulus Linney, I have studied poetry with Richard Howard, Jean Valentine and April Bernard. I have studied fiction writing with Gail Donahue Storey, Glenn Blake and Robert Phillips.

A confession: I even wrote research articles a long time ago when I was a lawyer (a career choice from which I have safely recovered).