Artistic Statement

Artistic Statement

Artists Statement: Arianna Rose, Musical Theatre Writer and Playwright (and sometimes composer)

I play a travel game on long car rides. When driving through an industrial area or place that I perceive as ugly, I play “Find Beauty”. Sometimes it’s how a shaft of fading sunlight hits the side of a building. Sometimes it is the starkness of a crane arced against the sky, or a repeating pattern of the metal exterior of a factory. Sometimes a reflection in a puddle, shimmering and seemingly limitless. I challenge myself to find what is beautiful and unique, in the landscape. I notice how this shift in perception of my surroundings changes the surrounding and my experience of it.

I apply this same vision to my theatre works. I strive to find the beauty in a scene, in a song, in the beat between the lines, and I am relentless in its pursuit. “Theatre is what happens in the space between the lines”. That’s where the story breathes. Where is the beauty in the scene or song I wrote? Does it lie on top of the words, or in the subtext? How can I use my perception of this beauty to create the same – or even better! - experience for the audience?

How do I find the beauty? Details. Research. I love researching a new topic, something a character is interested in, and finding new ways to incorporate that into the work. If it’s a musical, I delight in new rhyme schemes that come about from a particular vocabulary. If it’s a play, how can I create theatrical magic? How do I create the spaces where the audience dreams? Like the puddle, my ability to create becomes limitless.

I use quite a bit of art in my writing. I am a mixed-media visual artist in addition to being a writer. I worked with encaustic wax art – fusing colored wax with heat – and have always been drawn to texture in art pieces. The roughness of the edges, color – lots of color – something that is weighty. When I am working on a play or libretto, I feel like I am fusing all the ideas, all the research I’ve done and creating a colorful word palette.

Research. Art. Heart. I strive to write pieces that are filled with heart, that come from the heart, that will touch the heart. Back to texture. Creating scenes and situations not solved sitcom-style but that address the bigger questions we have about life and love.

I create strong women-centered plays and musicals, that are often non-linear, weaving reality with memories, dreams with day-to-day. My work is sometimes LGBTQ+-themed, reflecting and exploring my own journey and acceptance of myself as a bisexual Jewish woman. Loss and moving forward is often another theme: I became a widow unexpectedly a year and a half ago, and my family lost my 20-year old nephew in 2017. My theatre is one of imagination, of symbolism, and hope, often exploring the universal question “Am I doing what I am meant to do with my life?”

I’ve documented literary and historical fiction, personal experiences, sexuality and sensuality, spirituality, family dynamics, infertility, the life of artists, and how someone disappearing affects the entire family, all through the lens of women protagonists. My plays and musicals are sometimes naturalistic, sometimes fantastical, or a combination; but there is always a strong essence of truth throughout. I use symbolism and metaphor, language/composition and silence. More and more I write into that space where the audience uses their imagination. My challenge to myself is to make each piece as theatrical as possible. Having graduated from both the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Writing Workshop and the NYU Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, I expect and welcome a strong collaborative approach.

I want theatre to be constantly ‘finding beauty’ even in the most mundane. To serve as a mirror, as a tool of compassion and clarity, to take our breath away and to weave us all together in humanity. I want theatre to be an explosion of creativity that invites the audience to participate and be moved. To breathe, laugh, cry or gasp together: the only medium that can do this. I am privileged and honored to answer this calling as a theatre writer, to create the space where connection happens.