Monday, November 22, 2010

Quiet opens in Columbus, OH, December 2-18

OG Productions, an enormously fun small theatre company in Columbus, Ohio, will be including my ten-minute play, Quiet, in their upcoming collection of short pieces, Hannukah, The Christmas Musical, at the Madlab TheatreQuiet isn't actually a holiday piece of any kind, but they liked it so much they're doing it anyway.

There's some photos and an interview with Amanda Bauer and Stephen Woolsey, co-founders of OG here.  He likes to say nice things about my play, which is always something I look for in a producer (or in anyone, for that matter).

If you're in the area, I hope you'll check it out.  I'm positive these folks will be putting on an entertaining show.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Four New Plays Published by Brooklyn Publishers

In the past few weeks, I've had four more of my short plays published by Brooklyn Publishers.  This brings the total number of my plays with them to 37, plus they also publish a collection of my short plays for women, Tightly Bound.

Though Brooklyn primarily markets their scripts to students and the school market, almost all of my plays were originally written and produced for adults (including these four new plays).

The new plays (all ten-minute duets) are all a lot of fun and great for students or adults (you can read samples at the Brooklyn site).  They are:

Confirmed Sighting: Fiona and Kelly have spotted an ivory-billed woodpecker, once thought extinct, in the swamps of Arkansas. Fiona is an ornithologist and this sighting will make her career, but Kelly owns the photographic evidence that Fiona desperately needs.  (This one was in the Boston Theatre Marathon and won the UMBC's In10 International Playwriting Competition.)

Recognition:  A chance encounter between an adoptive mother, Allison, and the birth mother of her child reopens old wounds. How far will Allison push Tanya for information?  (This was a T Play and has been produced in Boston, New York, and California.)

Schedule-Meisters:  Schedule-Meisters promises to help ease any mother’s busy schedule, but Mary might be their most challenging customer yet.  (This was just produced in Australia last week, and won the Lakeshore Players new play competition this past summer.)  (It's a hoot.  A dark comedy that harried parents will appreciate.)

Stick Up for Mars:  Fiona and Kelly are halfway to Mars, but after a year in space their personalities are wearing on each other. One little Post-It note might be the last straw. A zero-gravity comedy.  (Originally produced in 10x10 in North Carolina.  Think "Odd Couple" in space.)

Here's a photo from Schedule-Meisters in Minnesota:
(photo by Joan Elwell of Anissa Lubbers and Jan Arford)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wind and the Cold radio play available on-line

Shoestring Radio Theatre, which produced my radio play, The Wind and the Cold, a number of years ago, now has posted the audio files to their Facebook page.  The play runs about 28 minutes and is a good listen.  I'll paste the synopsis below.  You can download the mp3 file by clicking here.  I hope you'll check it out.

The Wind and The Cold
  Pierre and Katrina are two lovers stranded and lost in a blizzard.  As they try to find their way back to each other, they become caught in a romantic battle between the mystical forces of the Wind and the Cold.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Schedule-Meisters in Australia, November 16-19

My short play, Schedule-Meisters, which premiered in Minnesota this past summer, at the Lakeshore Players festival, will be on stage next week in Australia, at the Short & Sweet Festival, November 16-19, at the Judith Wright Center for Contemporary Art.  Heidi Manche will direct.  Short and Sweet is a huge festival that presents more than 300 short plays by writers from around the world in cities in Australia, India, Singapore, and Malaysia.

This marks the first time my work will have appeared on stage in Australia, so I'm pretty psyched.  (My work has also been on stage in Canada, England, and Mexico.)

The play has just been published by Brooklyn Publishers, and you can read a sample here.  It's a fun comedy about a woman left on the verge of sanity by her seemingly infinite brood of kids, and a young woman from the Schedule-Meisters service who promises she can provide some help.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

a response to New Play Ecology

I've been having an interesting discussion with Thomas Garvey about the New Play Ecology posts I wrote.  He's responded in detail on his blog, The Hub Review.  Our thoughts are pretty different on whether there should be more or fewer new plays by local writers, but I understand where he's coming from.  One of his main assertions, that the biggest deficit in the quality of professional theatre in Boston is local playwrights is an interesting one.  In some ways it's hard to compare actors, directors, and designers with each other--is Cristina Todesco a better designer than Paula Plum is an actress than Lydia Diamon is a playwright?  As a Boston playwright, I like to think we hold our own, but clearly not everyone agrees.

One small note:  I'm hoping to continue the New Play Ecology posts, making them into a series doing a national survey of cities and regions across the country, to see how this season looks for professional theatres doing new plays and staging plays by writers in their own regions.  I'll have a number of guest bloggers writing about their regions and giving some numbers, in an attempt to give a picture of what's happening for playwrights this year.

I'll post my comment to Tom Garvey's post below, just for fun, and to help clarify my own previous posts:

Thanks for the detailed and thoughtful response.

I just wanted to clarify a few points:

1)  We should definitely have more plays produced by people named Gabridge.

2)  I think there are actually lots of opportunities in Boston for early-stage development of plays.  The Huntington and Boston Playwrights Theatre both have reading series, as do a bunch of the smaller companies (I've been fortunate to have readings from the Huntington and BPT this year already).  New Rep is doing some readings.  Rhombus has staged two festivals featuring readings of new plays.  And there are lots of new things happening at the small-theatre level--Boston playwrights have plenty of opportunities to have their short plays staged in various festivals.  But it's professional productions of full-length plays that seem to be lacking (in my opinion).

3)  I'm excited about all the regional premieres, and glad that Boston audiences are getting to see plays by Annie Baker and Alan Ayckbourn and Neil Labute, but those plays all were developed somewhere, through readings, and workshops, and productions.  That's the key thing to keep in mind, that even Sarah Kane and Caryl Churchill's plays grew and developed and transformed in rehearsal and production.  New plays don't just get sucked off the page and mounted as is.  All the classics you see were extensively rewritten in rehearsal, over and over again.  If the Boston theatre community wants to have some importance nationally, and I think it does, it has to become a place where plays get that chance to grow in rehearsal, where writers have the chance to work with the top-notch professional actors, directors, and designers that you mention in your post.  I think one can reasonably argue whether the modern "development" process of multiple readings and workshops ends up helping or hurting new plays, but I don't think you can avoid the central nature of how plays are ultimately made and refined, and that's in rehearsal for full-staged production and then in response to what happens in that production.  One of my plays, Blinders, received five productions in various cities, and from each one, I was able to make improvements and learn more about the play and playwriting in general. 

Clearly what we need to satisfy us both is more theatres--a few who focus on new work and local writers, and a few who focus on classics and rarely staged work.  (A guy can dream, can't he?)