Friday, December 19, 2014

Two Web Series Writing Classes I'm Teaching



Anyone want to learn Web Series Writing with me?

Spring Semester at ESPA in NYC.  (My third semester teaching this 10 class course.)

Mini course at Playpenn in Philly. (Pre conversation and two classes)

Both start in Feb.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

I Interview Playwrights Part 712: Chiara Atik




Chiara Atik
Hometown: San Diego, CA

Current Town: NYC!

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  I’m writing a play called “I Gained Five Pounds”. About a girl who gains five pounds.

I'm doing a SuperLab with Clubbed Thumb/Playwrights of play called "Daisy: A Study of Americans Abroad," which is about a girl studying abroad in Italy. (Loosely based on Henry James' Daisy Miller.)

And I'm thrilled to be in rehearsals at EST for "Five Times in One Night," which opens Feb 14th!
Q:  Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person. 

A:  In 8th Grade, I wrote a parody newspaper of our school newspaper “The Middle Scoop”, which I called “The Middle Snoop.” Biting commentary about the school curriculum, homework loads, and -- this was my downfall -- middle school gossip. (Which I didn’t claim was true, I was merely printing what people were saying…..)

I got in huge trouble but I learned important lessons about humor, brevity, and marketing. And building an audience!! (Did I peak in middle school???)

Q:  If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?

A:  MANY more theater critics. I’m traveling through Peru right now, and I’m obsessed with TripAdvisor. It’s so democratic -- everyone can weigh in about a restaurant or hotel, and you can read lots of different opinions. Leave your own opinion if you feel strongly! Ratings are based on cumulative opinions! Tourists look to that to decide where to go.

Maybe a TripAdvisor for Theater??

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  David Cromer, Annie Baker, Amy Herzog, Paula Vogel, Lin Manuel Miranda, Playwrights Horizons, Henrik Ibsen, Rodgers & Hammerstein and Julie Andrews.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Short theater!!! Haha, jk. Sort of.

Well, I always find it very exciting when a production has something that feels theatrical in a primal way -- BIG moments. Walls crashing down! Musical numbers out of nowhere! A complete and unexpected shift in perspective or structure! I love a real show.

But I think ultimately what is most exciting to me in theater is when I see something tiny, and intimate, and quotidien that I recognize from my own life reflected back to me from the stage. Weird example, but in The Great God Pan, there’s a scene where a character has to stop talking to his mom because he’s about to go into the subway. I’ve had to end 10,000 phone calls in my life for that reason, and never thought twice about it, so seeing it onstage, something from my life, that happens to me, seems so revelatory.

And in Clare Barron’s You Got Older, a character has to get up very early in the morning and says “I feel like I’m about to go take the SATs.” I love that line. Because I know exactly what she means!

Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?

A:  Get on Twitter!!! Oh, I have lots of esteemed peers who flat out disagree with this. But it’s a way to reach an audience! And don’t all playwrights, especially the ones starting out, need an audience?

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  I just read Sarah Ruhl’s book of essays and thought it was so so so fantastic and inspiring, a must-read for any playwright.

I’m a fan of the Maxamoo podcast and blog! They’re a group of young reviewers/theater fans who see a TON of theater and discuss it in a fresh, fun, intelligent way.

And come see my play! “Five Times in One Night,” at Ensemble Studio Theater, February 14 - March 6th.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I Interview Playwrights Part 711: Guy Picot




Guy Picot

Hometown: Brighton, UK

Current Town: Los Angeles

Q:  Tell me about The Christmas Present.

A:"The Christmas Present" is a seasonal comedy about a man who checks himself into a hotel and hires a prostitute for Christmas. The three characters are the man, the prostitute, and the prostitute he was hoping for, so it alternates between fantasy and reality. It's been done a few times in the UK and this is the third time it's been done in the US, it feels super Englishy here.

Q: What else are you working on now?

A:  A play called "The Life You Wish For", which has a twenty-five year intermission We meet some ambitious twenty-somethings in the first act, then see what they become in their late forties. One of them starts out as a comedy hypnotist and ends up as a motivational speaker, hence the title.

Q:  Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.

A:  I remember going to see "A Midsummer Night's Dream" as a field trip when I was maybe thirteen. The actor playing Puck climbed a scaffolding spider's web to spy on the lovers. A light socket hung down from the grid and he playfully batted it. In class the next day, the teacher brought up the moment, saying that the actor was pretending it was a vine or something. I knew he was wrong, the actor was reminding us that we were in a theatre. And that was good.

Q:  If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?

A:  Your spelling of it.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  Beckett and Pinter.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  I love spectacle, you go to see a play, not just listen to it.

Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?

A:  When writing your brilliant play, remember to write brilliant parts. In small scale theatre, plays get done because actors want to be in them.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  The Christmas Present is at Theatre of Note Dec 9-24th. www.facebook.com/events/834816729912224/


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Thursday, December 04, 2014

Upcoming Productions of My Plays


Upcoming Productions of My Plays--



Clown Bar 

Production #4 of Clown Bar
RedWhite + BlueArt Productions
Pasadena, CA
Opens January 8, 2015

Production #5
Indiana Players 
Indiana, PA 
Opens March 20, 2015


Hearts Like Fists


Production #13 of Hearts Like Fists
Outcry Theatre
Dallas, TX
Opens March 19, 2015




Production #14
Know Theatre of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, OH
Opens March 27, 2015

Production #15
Stephens College
Columbia, MO
Opens April 9, 2015

Nerve

Production #16 of Nerve
DePaul University
Chicago, IL
Opens June 5, 2015




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Monday, December 01, 2014

I Interview Playwrights Part 710: David Bucci



David Bucci

Hometown: Providence, RI

Current Town: Seattle, WA

Q:  Tell me about Possum Carcass.

A:  The play was first commissioned in the early 2000s by Woolly Mammoth Theater Company and the New Play Network. Possum Carcass is a “cover” of The Seagull. I’ve always been a huge Chekov fan, and I wanted to see what I could learn by compressing the play to six characters and relocating it to New York City. Ultimately the goal was to write a play that let a theater audience see The Seagull in a new way and a non-theater audience to enjoy a this dark-comedy without being alienated by the distant time and location in which it is set. In the ten years since I first wrote the play, it’s been read or work-shopped at Woolly Mammoth (DC), Clubbed Thumb (NY), University of Maryland, Kitchen Dog Theater (Dallas), Knitting Factory (NY), and Annex Theatre (Seattle).

Q:  What else are you working on now? I hear you have retired from playwriting. What is that like and how has it changed your perspective?

A:  These days my main creative project is my band “The Gallow Swings.” I started playing music and writing plays at about the same time, but I’ve always been much more passionate about music than theater. Playing music allows me to write, direct, and perform in a much more nimble creative unit than a traditional play production, and it allows for more concrete documents of the work (recordings and videos). In my experience, music draws a much more varied audience than theater. I was disappointed by how few working class or non-theater artists seemed to attend plays in New York.

My “retirement” from playwriting was not a sudden or conscious choice. After moving to New York from Austin in 2000, I slowly lost interest in writing for theatre. It gradually stopped being fun, and slowly became a futile hassle. After about a dozen full productions of my work, I began to wonder if it was ever really going to feel new or exciting again. Living in New York let me see the “finish line” for a playwright in the US, and it just didn’t seem worth the effort to me if it wasn’t going to be fun.

Since moving to Seattle in 2007, I’ve been able see a lot of strange and provocative performance work at On the Boards, who host wide variety of national and international artists. I’ve worked as a sound designer, musician, dramaturg, and performer in some short works at OtB, but that is about the extent of my theater work these days. As far as writing goes, I’ve been focusing on short fiction, comic strips, and screenplays.

Q:  Where can I go to see your band play?

A:  If you’re in Seattle, you can see The Gallow Swings in Georgetown, a neighborhood south of downtown. Seattle is losing its small rock venues at an alarming rate. Clubs can no longer operate in previously affordable neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, Ballard, and Belltown. If you’re not in Seattle, you can find us here: www.thegallowswings.com.

Q:  Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a artist or as a person.

A:  My very first memory is of a music class my mother brought me to when I was five. The class was in the form of a puppet show about classical music. Apparently I was transfixed.

Q:  If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?

A:  The audience.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  “Heroes” is strong word. But I’ve been most inspired by Chekov, Brecht, Sam Shepard, Paula Vogel, Mac Wellman, and Ruth Margraff.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  I’m more excited by broken narratives and performance art than conventional theater productions these days. Last year I got see Kristen Kosmas’ “There There” at OtB and it was amazing. OtB is bringing Richard Maxwell this season, and I’m excited to see some of his work again.

Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?

A:  #1 Be born into a wealthy family. Use that privilege to pay for housing, food, and health insurance.

#2 Go to an obscenely expensive private east coast college. Use that network to find collaborators and funders for your work.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  Possum Carcass at Theatre of NOTE in LA: Dec 2-22th and Jan 2-10th http://theaterofnote.com/

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

I Interview Playwrights Part 709: Michael Gorman



Michael Gorman

Hometown: Warren, Massachusetts.

Current town: Palermo, Maine and NYC

Q:  Tell me about "If Colorado had an Ocean … " 

A:  Colorado is the third and final play to be produced in my trilogy, "The Honor and Glory of Whaling", that deals with opiate addiction in the commercial fishing industry. It is actually the first play in the chronology. The previous two plays—The Honor and Glory of Whaling and UltraLight were produced at La MaMa. UltraLight had an extensive New England tour following its premier at La MaMa. In style, Colorado is kind of a cross between the first two plays. It combines imagery and music with physical storytelling to create both a realsitic and a mythical realm. In watching rehearsals, it seems to me that the play, and the direction that Director David Bennett has taken it in, has taken on an almost primitive Irish quality. Dave has chosen to have all the actors play instruments, in addition to having recorded music as well as two live accompanying musicians. Watching and listening to some of the scenes reminds me a great Irish session. There have been times when I've closed my eyes just to listen to the performance. That said, the play is very physical and gets quite raucous—the action is set on a commercial construction site in New Bedford, Massachusetts, a major and historical fishing port. The action of work—the actors actually employ construction tools—and the punk/progressive rock music era and attitude of the characters contrasts sharply with the mythical moods created by the music. The shifting energy allows us to flow back and forth between time periods easily. It just feels like a great story is starting to take shape. One that I think Melville couldn't help but enjoy.

Q:  What else are you working on now? 

A:   The biggest thing that I am working on now is getting all three of my plays—the full trilogy— to the next level to be performed in repertory. All three plays stand on their own but it would be quite an epic production to see them performed together. That's our goal at La MaMa and we've been working cooperatively with other theaters both regionally and in NYC to make that a reality. I feel a sense of destiny with these plays that's been pushing me for some time to see them complete their full journey as a trilogy. It will be both interesting and exciting to see where and when the full trilogy ends up and where I end up as a consequence. I fully intend to "get to the next level" with these plays, whatever that means.

Q:  Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person

A:  I recently had the opportunity to publish a bunch of my plays with Martin Denton of indietheaternow and through the process I found myself looking back and going through a lot of old archival stuff to glean information that I needed to include with publication of the plays: time and place of the premier production, actor credits, etc.. In the process, I came across a really early childhood essay that I wrote called "The Path". It was something that my mother had saved and tucked away for me—a habit of hers that used to slightly irritate me as I found my adolescent writing quite embarrassing. But in re-reading the essay, which was hand-written in red ink on white lined paper, I started to feel a sense of pride at the courage of this little kid who used to walk out alone into the woods (on the Path) with his pen and paper and try to capture, above all things, POETRY, and a connection to nature. And in re-reading that little essay I discovered that all the threads of my writing ever since were contained in it. At a little later point in my publishing excavation, I came across another essay entitled "Fishing" that I was actually able to incorporate into my new play, which was pretty exciting. The actors seem to be very impressed and quite touched by this bit of writing, even before they knew that I had actually written it as a kid.

Q:  If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be? 

A:   I would get rid of a lot of the show-business business, the noise of fame and over-emphasis on marketing. It interferes with the directness of theater and the encouragement of people to think for themselves and see with their own two eyes. Theater is such an amazing, deeply seeking process. There's nothing like it, and there is no end to the things you can discover through the dedication of working with a creative group. Outside distractions with results which can only come from a completion of the process itself can be very frustrating and ultimately ruin the joy. That is not to say that reviews and marketing aren't good and necessary. It just means that these things need to be kept in balance. The most important thing is the work and sometiimes it doesn't feel that way.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes? 

A:  My theatrical heroes WERE J.M. Synge, Samuel Beckett, all the absurdists, Sam Shepard, Ellen Stewart … My theatrtical heroes ARE the wonderful and courageous people who have undertaken this production with me, from the director and actors to the designers, stage manager, marketing and graphic designer … honest to God, that these people have the generosity, trust and faith to follow me down this PATH, amazes me and touches me very deeply. We have to accomplish something amazing. What are the other options?

Q:  What kind of theater excites you? 

A:   I like physical theater with a strong story but I don't really like straight or traditional theater. In fact, Ellen Stewart wouldn't allow it in her theater. I guess that's where my fascination with myth and the altered logic of the absurdists comes in. I like language and dialogue but I often use it to other purposes. I do like the presence of the physical story-teller, like the old Irish Shanachies who used to practice their gestures by watching their shadows on the white-washed wall of a sunlit cottage. I like to feel that the storyteller is in the same room as us and can reach out and grab us by the collar if we're not paying attention. I've actually adopted the mythical name Michael Seamus O'Gorman in my letter-writing correspondences and alter ego text messaging. Seamus is both a good and bad influence on me. He's fond of a pint or three and a bit loose lipped with the women but a willing scapegoat for my failings.

Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out? 

A:  Get your hands on a old GMC pick-up truck with a rack and an eleven foot long wooden whaling boat. That appears to be what a playwright needs from my experience with this play. In lieu of that, write a play, if that's what you're inspired to do, and put it on. Don't wait for someone else to do it if you feel strongly about it. You learn everything by doing, and the sooner the better. David Mamet once said that the one thing he remembered from his first play is that he knew that he had written a play. He didn't know how good it was, but it was indeed a play. No small accomplishment. If you can build a boat that floats, you're on your way. As you master certain things you can craft a beauty that really starts to "sit on her lines".

Q:  Plugs, please 

A:  I would like to give a big shout out to La MaMa, Martin Denton and Indietheaternow and the thriving culture of original independent theater.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

I Interview Playwrights Part 708: Amy E. Witting



photo by Jody Christopherson

Amy E. Witting

Hometown: Maplewood, New Jersey

Current Town: Sunnyside, NY

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  My colleague Nicole Pandolfo and I are working on a documentary play on acquaintance rape called A Bad Night that will have a reading at the Dramatist Guild on February 20th.

I was also super grateful to have just received a 2014-2015 LAUNCH Commission from The Atlantic Theatre company which will have a reading in August. 
 
My 10-minute play Planted, inspired by the The Lotus Eaters from The Odyssey will be included in ReLeaf Theatre companies spring one-act festival.

Lots of wonderful creative collaborations!

Q:  Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.

A:  I recently went through boxes of my childhood writing at my parent's house and was surprised by the existential pieces I was writing in elementary school. I have always been fascinated by the unseen. I think that shows up a lot in my writing now. When I was eleven my grandmother died and I sang a solo in the choir the day after which I insisted on doing. I remember it helping me with the overwhelming feelings of grief. I've always been turning to art to express the feelings that are hard to articulate in words. Usually it's in relationship to those mysteries of life. 
 
Q:  If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?

A:  I would continue to push for producing more work by women and artists of color.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  My theatrical heroes are all the artists that continue to work in the theatre with passion and love. It's a business that is easy to give up on and harder to stick with. But how wonderful is it when you watch the magic of the theatre and see words you have written leap off the page and into the hands of talented creative collaborators. I think everyone that continues to do theatre from the love of creating are heroes. I'm constantly meeting new and inspiring artists that continue to make the theatre an exciting on-going conversation that I'm grateful to be a part of.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Honesty in both writing and performance. Pieces that spark genuine conversation and allow audience members to engage in something outside of their comfort zone.

Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?

A:  I think that we are all here to support one another. So seek out artists who have a little more time in the business and ask them out for coffee. Pick their brain and in return say yes when someone with less time in the business asks you for coffee. All we can do is share our own experience and writing is such a solitary profession we need each other to continue to create exciting new pieces of theatre.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  You can keep up with on-going news at amywitting.com my website which was created by another fabulous playwright - Daniel John Kelley!
I'm also on twitter - @wittywitting
February 20th - A Bad Night - Friday Night Footlights @ The Dramatist Guild



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Monday, November 17, 2014

I Interview Playwrights Part 707: Kate Hamill



Kate Hamill

Hometown: Lansing, New York. Population: More cows than people.

Current Town: New York, New York

Q:  Tell me about your adaptation of Sense and Sensibility.

A:  The world premiere just opened off-Broadway, produced by Bedlam (www.theatrebedlam.org) and directed by Eric Tucker. I started working on the script in 2010; it's been more-or-less finished since 2012. This production is 10 actors, but it can be done with as few as 7-8; it's running in rep with a new version of The Seagull from Anya Reiss. I'm also playing Marianne Dashwood in S&S, as well as Polina in The Seagull.

Q:  What else are you working on? 

A:  Sense and Sensibility is headed to a big regional theatre in the spring after this run; it should be officially announced soon! I recently finished The Little Fellow, which is a play about Harriette Wilson, the major courtesan of late 18th c. England, and I'm talking to people about workshopping that. I'm also finishing up a tryptich of plays with music based in Greek myths, as well as a modern two-hander about a high school student who ends up in a relationship with an older man. And I'm about halfway through a Mansfield Park adaptation; Austen isn't quite out of my system, yet!
I have some future stuff in the works with Bedlam, as well.

Q:  Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.
A:  I had this wonderful teacher when I was growing up: Cynthia Howell. She ran the music program K-12 in our little rural school system, as well as all of the school plays and musicals. She introduced me to theater, and it proved to be my lifeline - my road out of dysfunction, out of farm country. She used to say to us (and we were really young kids at the time) "you girls shouldn't just be actors; you have to write plays, you have to be directors; the theatre needs strong women" - and that really stuck with me. I owe her such an enormous debt; I grew up in an environment where I saw a lot of injustice perpetrated every day, and she really gave me an avenue to tell the stories of misfits, of dismissed people, of underdogs, of less-than-perfectly-sympathetic-protagonists, of crazy people, of have-nots. She gave me a creative outlet that saved me.

Q:  If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be? 

A:  I'd eliminate pay-for-play internships and auditions. It's creating more and more of a system where only privileged young people can even aspire to work in the theater. It's even worse now than it was 10 years ago, in my experience.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you? 

A:  I love playful, passionate stuff that doesn't take itself too seriously but which tackles big scary issues. I like language-driven work and I like a willingness to go profane. I like stuff that embraces theatricality and includes the audience.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?
A:  I feel like my biggest heroes are people I know and collaborate with. The entire team on Bedlam's shows right now is so amazing - really so so talented and playful and whip-smart and creative. Actors I adore include: Mark Rylance, Janet McTeer, Fiona Shaw. In terms of playwrights, I do love the classics: Shakespeare, O'Neill, Miller, etc. - and modern playwrights I really emulate tend to, again, be people I know and have seen work and re-work things until they're shining. There are a lot of them out there, but three of my favorite writers working now are: Janine Nabers, Jose Rivera, and Meghan Deans.

Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out? 

A:  I feel a bit pretentious giving advice, but I think anyone who wants to write plays should take an acting class. Or two. Or three. Maybe even go on some auditions. My background as an actor has really given me utmost sympathy for anyone who may have to muscle through an awkward line.
I also can say what I say to myself when writing a play, which is heck, try crazy ideas - if doesn't work, you can always re-write. Even bad drafts teach you something.

Q:  Plugs, please: 

A:  Come and see Bedlam's fall rep, running until Dec. 21st! Tickets are available at www.theatrebedlam.org. You can also catch up with where my plays are going next at www.katehamill.com.


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Saturday, November 15, 2014

I Interview Playwrights Part 706: Matt Schatz




Matt Schatz

Hometown:
Childhood: Turnersville, NJ.
Adulthood: New York, NY

Current Town: 
Los Angeles, CA

Q:  What are you working on now?

A:  OK, let’s see:

I just finished a draft of a play with songs about quantum physicist Hugh Everett III and his wife Nancy called WHERE EVER IT MAY BE.

I just started a musical with Anna Ziegler about 1950s quiz show prodigy Lenny Ross.

I have a commission from a Broadway producer to write a musical about hip-hop in early 1980s NYC that I should probably get started on. But she doesn’t want me to write the music (just the book and lyrics) so we need to find a composer first…

Also, some TV stuff. But who fucking cares about that?

Q:  Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.

A:  I “flunked” the third grade and had to repeat it. It was hard, but I used it as an opportunity to sort of reinvent myself.

Since then, I’ve tried to use all my flunkings as reinvention opportunities. And I am constantly flunking.

Also, when I was a teenager, my family had to move and I had to get rid of my dog, who I am certain was shortly thereafter destroyed. So now, I love everyone very much, but am emotionless when they leave me or when I leave them. My dog’s name was Wolfgang.

Also, from a very young age, I have been obsessed with the film Amadeus.

Q:  If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?

A:  No more adaptations.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  Here’s some heroes, not all theater types:

Frank Loesser, Sheldon Harnick, Yip Harburg, Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Fields, Martin McDonough, Adler and Ross, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Mike Leigh, Nicole Holofcener, George Bernard Shaw, the Cohen Brothers, Noah Baumbach, William Goldman, Peter Shaffer, Kurt Vonnegut, Phillip Roth, Paula Vogel, Kanye West, Billy Bragg, Regina Spektor, Stephin Merritt, David Mamet, Woody Allen, Allan Sherman, Allen Iverson, and all of my playwright, musical theater writing, songwriting and screenwriting friends who inspire me with bitterness and bitter me with inspiration.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  Theater that is inexpensive and short. Or theater that is so exciting, surprising, entertaining, funny and/or heartbreaking that I didn’t even notice how long or expensive it was.

Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?

A:  Try to live in New York. At least for a little while. Its not-worth-it-ness is totally worth it. Also, when you’re there don’t see too many plays. Its worth-it-ness is totally not worth it.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  My aforementioned play with songs WHERE EVER IT MAY BE is having its first and maybe only reading at the Ensemble Studio Theatre (549 West 52nd Street) as part of the First Light Festival on Monday, November 24th at 7PM. It is free and short and we have an amazing cast, a brilliant director and I will be playing the guitar and piano. Come! You don’t even gotta RSVP.
 

Friday, November 14, 2014

UPCOMING -- Productions of my plays

Upcoming Productions of My Plays--



Clown Bar 

Production #4
RedWhite + BlueArt Productions
Pasadena, CA
Opens January 8, 2015

Production #5
Indiana Players 
Indiana, PA 
Opens March 20, 2015


Hearts Like Fists



Production #12
The Episcopal School of Texas
San Antonio, TX
Opens November 19, 2014

Production #13
Know Theatre of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, OH
Opens March 27, 2015

Production #14
Stephens College
Columbia, MO
Opens April 9, 2015

Nerve

Production #16
DePaul University
Chicago, IL
Opens June 5, 2015


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Tuesday, November 04, 2014

NOW PUBLISHED: GEEK THEATER !!!!

Geek Theater: 15 Plays by Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers



Now Published!!  (I have a play in this very cool book)

Buy it here or on amazon.


from Underword's site:
  
Geek Theater: 15 Plays by Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers

 

Geek Theater showcases 15 science fiction and fantasy stage plays by some of today’s top authors and award-winning playwrights and is the first anthology that truly delves into the world of speculative fiction theater. Until recently, modern science fiction and fantasy stage plays have largely gone unnoticed despite the proliferation of plays and performances by theater companies around the world. These plays are an important part of the science fiction and fantasy cannon as they represent a unique intersection of authors and playwrights producing work at a time when these genres are flourishing.


Table of Contents:

 

Short Length Plays
Mission to Mars by Jeanne Beckwith
For the Living by Chie-Hoon Lee
Rapunzel’s Haircut by Cecil Castelucci
Promise of Space by James Patrick Kelly

Monologue
Consider the Services of the Departed by F. Brett Cox

Medium Length Plays
Zombies of Montrose by James Morrow
Clockwork Comrade by Carlos Hernandez
The Long and the Short of Long Term Memory by Cecil Castelucci
Geek! by Crystal Skillman
Faustfeathers by John Kessel

Full Length Plays
Thunderbird at the Next World Theatre by Andrea Hairston
Universal Robots by Mac Rogers
DEINDE by August Schulenburg
Hearts Like Fists by Adam Szymkowicz
Dog Act by Liz Duffy Adams


BLURBS:

 

“In case you didn’t know, there is such a thing as SF theater. It has been around for a long time, and there is quite a lot of it. In recent years there has been a strong growth and diversification, a lot of new plays, original, not adaptations of stories–though there are a lot of those too. This is a book full of the new stuff, original plays that, all together point to a renaissance of SF theater. Pay attention, and it will blow you away!” – David Hartwell, Hugo Award-winning editor

“Dim the lights, raise the curtain, and be transported to worlds strange and wondrous, times far and near, with tales thoughtful and thrilling — and then give this book the standing ovation it deserves.” — Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of FlashForward


ABOUT THE EDITORS:

 

Jen Gunnels is the Theatre Editor/Drama Critic for the New York Review of Science Fiction and a contributing editor in performance for the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. She received her PhD in Theatre History and Criticism at the University of Texas at Austin and has contributed scholarly essays to several journals and books. She also started the Forum for Science Fiction in the Theatre on Facebook for artists and scholars in science fiction theatre to share ideas and build community.

Erin Underwood is a writer, editor and publisher. She is also the founder of Underwords Press, specializing in science fiction for young adults and other specialty science fiction projects. Her fiction, nonfiction, and interviews have appeared online and in print. Erin is the co-editor of Futuredaze2: Reprise in addition to co-authoring a quarterly column for The Bulletin, published by the Science Fiction Writers of America.

Title: Geek Theater Publisher: Underwords Press Date: November 4, 2014 ISBN: 978-0-9858934-6-0


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Monday, November 03, 2014

I Interview Playwrights Part 705: Cecilia Copeland

photo by Jody Christopherson

Cecilia Copeland

Hometown: Des Moines, Iowa.

Current Town: New York, New York!

Q:  Tell me about R Culture.

A:  R Culture is a carnival sketch comedy with a Ringmaster and two clowns. It’s a Satire about Our Culture and Rape Culture, where those two things collide. It’s funny and scary. I started the project a year ago and in the last year rape on campus has exploded in the media. It feels like we’ve hit a tipping point where women in particular are fed up with rape. I mean, when a Frat at Yale chants, “No means yes, yes mean anal!” as they walk down the street in a group it’s really a call for us to take a hard look at ourselves. I used comedy because I thought that’s the only way we could get through it. Also, Oscar Wilde said, “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” Considering all the death threats lobbed against FemFrequency’s Anita Sarkeesian for her serious video exposing the misogyny in video games it seems that Wilde was right.

Q:  What else are you working on now?

A:  I’m rewriting my Sci-Fi play Biolife for a production at The Chain in their Minor Variations Festival where writers do rewrites and as the title suggests, minor variations on their plays. That also opens in November. I’m working on another Sci-Fi Fantasy play “Atlantis Unearthed”, which deals with the end of the world, mass shootings, a mermaid-fairy cross species, mental illness, and Atlantis coming through another dimension in the floor. I’m also working on a new play called “The Box”, an intergenerational two hander about money, class, marriage and hypocrisy.

Q:  Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.

A:  I’m going to start in high school, but then transition back to childhood because they’re related in this story. I was going to Rocky Horror picture show for the first time and I was about seventeen. I was a definitely the kind of kid in high school who floated. I was a floater. I mean, I was a goth kid and I was in swing choir. I was in theater productions and I was a cheerleader. Most of my friends didn’t like each other, but I liked them. That was weird… but anyway as I was getting ready to go to Rocky Horror Picture Show for the first time I was getting dressed and trying to figure out what to wear. If you’ve been to Rocky Horror you know that people go dressed as the characters. Because I was a Rocky Virgin my friend was explaining to me that I needed to pick a character. She was telling me about the different characters and suddenly a light went off in my mind. I went up to my mom and said, “Hey mom, can I borrow that French Maid’s outfit of yours?” and she got this really shocked look on her face and said, “What French Maid’s outfit?” So I said, “The one in your special lingerie drawer.” She asked, “How do you know about that?” And I said, “Because when I used to play dress up in your clothes when I was little I used always play dress up with the stuff in that drawer. ” Okay, so that’s a story that tells you a bit about me as a kid and a lot about me as a writer…

Q:  If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?

A:  I would like all of the higher paying theaters have a 50/50 season with male/female writers in all programming. Right now most of the low paying theaters are close to 50/50, but the glass curtain at the higher levels really sucks, so I would like that to be different.

Q:  Who are or were your theatrical heroes?

A:  It’s really hard to say because the writers who were my heroes are now human beings to me. This isn’t to say that I don’t still see myself as influenced by having read them and deeply inspired by them, but Maria Irene Fornes who was a hero to me is indeed a human being. She lives in a special care situation on the upper west side. I contributed some small effort along with many other people to see to it that she went from a bad living situation where she almost died due to lack of care into a place where she has a much better quality of life. She’s still a literary giant, but she’s so very human to me now. The same is true of the others, Sarah Ruhl who I met and got to do a workshop with while I was interning at New Dramatists years ago, Sheila Callaghan who I quasi met via the Kilroys all of whom I deeply admire. They are all heroes to me, but they’re also flesh and blood people.

Q:  What kind of theater excites you?

A:  I love work that keeps me awake. I’m not being sarcastic at all. As a playwright with a full time day job trying squeeze in time to write and running my theater company, New York Madness, most of my days are between 15-17 hours long. I like work that has big stakes, that moves a good pace, that has characters I either make me laugh or I love or I hate and ideally a mixture of all of them. I like really smart and fun plays that keep me on the edge of my seat.

Q:  What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out?

A:  Work hard and care about excellence.

Q:  Plugs, please:

A:  RCulture opens November 7th at IRT Theatre and my sci-fi play Biolife opens on Nov 14th at The Chain! Also, I’ll be doing the One Minute Play Fest at INTAR this month on the 22nd and 23rd!


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