Category Archives: News

OMPF Broadcast on HowlRound TV.

Philly’s first One Minute Play Festival was a smashing success. It played to a packed–and oh my, do I mean packed–house on opening night, and we were lucky enough to have the second evening’s showing broadcast live by HowlRound TV.

The event’s special for a bunch of reasons, but what struck me hardest was the overwhelming sense of community the festival builds. I sat in a room with every playwright in Philly and watched almost every actor and actress in Philly bring a dizzying amount of work to life in a rapid-fire frenzy. The work went up and down so quickly that no one had an opportunity to check who wrote what and had to try and remember after the fact which was which, allowing for a sort of warm haze of instantaneous theatremaking to wash over everyone in the room. It was, for lack of a better term, super way awesome cool.

Check out the HowlRound recording here.

My plays occur at the 18:05 (Rittenhouse Square) and 26:20 (The South Philly YMCA) spots.

In other news, 1 play down, 30 more to go. Bring it.

Plays in 256(ish) Characters.

As a warm-up to this year’s 31 plays in 31 days challenge, our fearless leaders ask we open an Alpha social media account and post (roughly) 256-character plays for five days. It’s already been lovely forcing myself to write a bit each day, and as such, here’s the fruit of my labors:

1: This feels remarkably like the way when we started.
2: How so?
1: We sit across from each other, you pretend to listen as I pretend to answer questions you don’t care about.
2: It’s been a pleasure working with you. Best of luck.
1: Likewise.

/////

E works a needle into her skin; lets loose the tourniquet; collapses into an older woman’s arms.
E: No, no, this is what I wanted to have happen, what it is is what. You, too, said it’s best.
E slowly slumps into silence.
E: I’ll never be a mom.

/////

A huge photo of the Eiffel Tower, black and white, projected upstage.
E: If in the wildest flights of fancy you can muster you dredged up a picture of what you love best, you’d not feel an atom of the love we share. Me. My lover. Skin on metal.

/////

M: Your breath became labored and you gasped for more, why didn’t you stop to check my eyes?
W: They, you, were across the room, watching what you allowed.
M: I would never have allowed it.
W: Then why did it happen?
M: I wish I was drunk again.

/////

Megan, 12, and her dog, Spot. Megan reads the paper and Spot leans against her.
They look to one another and Spot licks her nose. She puts the paper down and sighs.
M: Mom said the pills would begin working anytime now.
S: I can’t say I agree.

Soon begins the main event. Into the breach!

31 plays in 31 days.

August approaches and with it, the terrifying prospect of writing 31 plays in 31 days.

The challenge is just what it sounds like and is the brainchild of Rachel Bublitz and Tracy Held-Potter, Berkeley-based playwrights with a savvy sense of meaningful theatre challenges. It’s also sponsored by Play Cafe, a Berkeley-based playwright group. For a thumbnail sketch of what the project is, check this snippet from the website:

1. Each play should, by your standards, have some semblance of being a complete play. The length, structure, presence (or lack of presence) of a through line, and all of the other “rules” about what makes a “good” play are all subject to your whim.

2. Submit the work that you’re not happy with. We don’t care if your characters are believable, if your plot is plausible, or if your ending is satisfying. We just want you to write a bunch of stories in a fixed period of time. We won’t publish or perform anything without your permission.

3. Do your best to submit one play per day. Although you will be able to submit everything at the end of the month, you’ll be more likely to keep up with the project if you submit frequently and regularly.

4. Create space in your day to write. Consider scheduling specific times to write each day or writing alongside a friend to make sure you follow-through on your commitment. (Yes, you can collaborate on plays with other writers, and you can each submit the same play as part of your 31 plays in August.) We are really excited that you’re interested in participating in this writing challenge. We’re as nervous as you are about figuring out ways to succeed in writing 31 plays in 31 days, but we know we can do it, and we know you can, too. Honestly, this project is about helping us overcome the things that get in our way. Whether or not you follow our guidelines or write 31 plays, this project will give you a chance to stretch your playwright’s muscles. Go for it!

And go for it I shall.

I’ll be honest and up-front in admitting that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. The challenge here will be an excellent opportunity for me to run screaming out of my comfort zone, as my approach to writing is typically to carry an idea around for months and then blast a draft out in two or three days. Setting aside space daily for me to jot down a complete idea smacks of a certain growing experience that will either open up new ways to develop stories or confirm that yeah, I’m better suited to explosive writing binges rather than gradual accretion.

I thrive under pressure, or so I’ve told every job interviewer I’ve encountered. Blundering into this project I go, focusing on my breathing and cracking my knuckles. Let’s do this.

Keep your eyes peeled: I’m being interviewed by the gang running the project, and will post a link when it’s up. Also, I’ve created an Alpha profile for a warm-up project we’ve been asked to participate in: for 5 days, we’re writing 256-word plays via Alpha’s social media machinery. Feel free to follow the carnage there, if you please.

The future’s so bright, I gotta write plays.

The First Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival.

It’s my pleasure to announce that two of my one-minute plays will be produced as part of the first Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival in partnership with InterAct Theatre Company! No big deal, just mentioned on Broadway World and the Philadelphia Inquirer’s website is all.

The event promises to be an obscene amount of fun that’ll showcase some exquisite talent from a hodgepodge of Philly’s best and brightest:

Ian August, P. Seth Bauer, Barbara Bellman, BJ Burton, Joe Byers, Jim Christy, Joy Cutler, WIllaim DiCanzio, Paula Diehl, Alex Dremann, Quinn Eli, Jeremy Gable, Jacqueline Goldfinger, Brian Grace-Duff, Katharine Clark Gray, Lindsay Harris-Friel, Warren Hoffman, Michael Hollinger, Ken Kaissar, Arden Kass, Sharon Kling, Julia Lopez, Sarah Mantell, Kathryn Petersen, David Robson, Jackie Ruggiero, John Stanton, Samuel Toll, Walt Vail, Nick Wardigo, David Strattan White, Douglas Williams, A. Zell Williams, Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon, Robin Rodriguez, Mark Costello, Bill D’Agostino, Annie Such, Sara Madden, Chris Davis, Kate Brennan, Elizabeth Scanlon, Wally Zialcita, and Seth Rozin.

Directors:

Daniel Student, Suzana Berger, Seth Reichgott, Liam Castellan, Meghann Williams, Tina Brock, Terry Brennan, Noah Herman, and Michael Durkin.

Seth and Liam are directing The South Philly YMCA and Rittenhouse Square respectively, and I couldn’t be more excited to dive in. I’ve had the pleasure of working with a good many of the playwrights listed above as a collaborator, classmate, dramaturg, and workshop participant, and can assure you there’ll be some cool stuff up and running.

Special thanks to Dominic D’Andrea, the tireless curator of these awesome nationwide events.

Details:

What: The First Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival

When: Monday July 29th, Tuesday July 30th, and Wednesday July 31st at 8PM

Where:

InterAct Theatre Company
2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 568-8077

How much: tickets are $20 and can be purchased by calling InterAct’s box office at the number above.

Be sure to swing by and take in some frantic theatre action!

Rockin’ the first annual Sue Winge Playwriting Competition.

I was informed today that my strange, sex-and-power fueled m4m has been named the winner of the first annual Sue Winge Playwriting Competition!

It is a special honor in that it is awarded by my master’s program at Villanova University; this is the first iteration of a competition aimed at celebrating members of the ‘Nova community’s work while offering promising plays a chance at further development. That my mentors and former colleagues find value in my work is entirely humbling and meaningful to me, and I hope that they derive as much satisfaction from the coming process as I will.

There will be two intense rehearsals in which I’ll have an opportunity to workshop the entire piece–find alternatives to ugly language that doesn’t work and try it through the voices of the inestimable talent produced and cultivated at ‘Nova.

The rehearsals will culminate in a public staged reading for the community to digest on Sunday, September 8 @ 6PM. Further details are forthcoming, but all the same, I encourage you to set the night aside and come hang out with some awesome folks.

While I do not know who I went up against, I have some ideas, knowing many of the playwrights that passed through the program. I am sure they produced stellar work, as they always have, and I look forward to having them at the reading (if they come) to lend me a few hours of their brilliance. Moments like this make me celebrate others’ work more. Theatre is a collaborative art, and my plays are made better for knowing the writers I met at ‘Nova.

All the same, I hope Earl Bader will be impressed.

GPTC 2013: Re-Cap.

Omaha was a nurturing mother, providing me with the respite I needed to refocus on art-making. I had been hurting for theatre-only time for quite a while and theatre-only time I had. Finer points:

  • MAYA: One of the purest beauties of finding new collaborators at the conference was that they approached my work with fresh eyes. They don’t know my work and as such had no biases. This allowed them to pick MAYA up and angle it in directions I had never seen and raise questions I’d never heard. Maxwell, for example, has a rich, deep, beating heart I’d neglected by focusing on his perversion; Raksha has a tragic story all her own that I neglected in focusing on Maxwell and Leslie’s conflict. The brutality of the piece will be made stronger by directing it toward proper targets rather than having generally angry, vengeful caricatures. Brilliant notes from brilliant people–I am ecstatic at having made their acquaintance.
  • OMAHA: Being an east coast asshole, I approached the trip thinking that a Midwest fly-over city would have nothing to show me culturally. I am lucky to have been wrong. Members of the Omaha theatre community took me under their collective wing and showed me some truly amazing sights–Hollywood Candy and Ted & Wally’s Ice Cream in particular. (Try the Rice Krispie Treat ice cream, if you get a chance.)
  • TALENT: The breadth and scope of talent I was exposed to still makes my head spin. Kevin Lawler and Scott Working have built around themselves a humming blur of energetic talent, capable of keeping over 30 playwrights, actors, directors, dramaturgs, and techies moving without crashing into one another. I was fortunate enough to attend workshops by killer playwrights Erik Ehn, Kate Snodgrass, and Constance Congdon which made me heavily reconsider certain aspects of my approach to writing–specifically the mechanics of finding inspiration and discerning red hot subject material. From that, I was able to produce a new 10-minute play, Water Line, which was presented at the conference as well.

It was a great week and the wheels are turning on new work. Nothing like freshly charged batteries…

Beyond that, we were only awakened by tornado sirens once.

This also happened:

Mike Weiner

on revision.

I’ve been knee-deep in the mire of revising m4m. After every reading, I draft a revision in preparation for the next. I find it’s generally a good practice to fall into: it makes me focus on my writing constantly, and keeps a work in progress progressing. It keeps on the forefront of my writer’s brain the notion that works are never finished, merely abandoned, and that at all points there’s a wealth of new efforts to wrap myself in.

All the same, it is damnable work. I find myself staring at pages of text and wondering if my first draft was my best effort. A line jumps out here or there that needs rewording, either for clarity or characterization, and sometimes the order of those same lines looks better rearranged. Those are the easy fixes–the ones that are glorified copy editing. If I gave the script to a friend, they could do the same work without an ounce of creation.

It’s when the dirt starts getting under my nails that the revising process becomes a fickle bitch. That’s when I begin doubting the strength of my creative powers, and wonder if a single word here or there needs work, or if the entire damn thing needs to be destroyed and restarted. Third drafts are a special hell; everything I suffered through in my first revision now feels like it was a waste of time, and I’m entering into that charming phase where I hate the whole fucking script and dear God, why did I ever even bother, it’s a hot mess that doesn’t deserve…

And so on and so forth. I find it best to rock some white noise in an out of the way browser tab and stare harder. Somewhere in the rubbish pile a story exists, and the only way to find it is by pushing aside the agonizing self-doubt. I’ll never hate a piece more than while revising it, but when I hear it out loud, oh how wonderful it is to fall in love again.

05/04/2013: m4m reading.

This upcoming Saturday, I’ll be having an incredibly informal reading of m4m at Plays and Players Theatre, located at 1714 Delancey Place in Philly.

NOTE: This is not a Plays and Players event; artistic director Dan Student has graciously allowed us to borrow the space from 1PM to 4PM. He’s a pretty awesome guy, as is the inestimable Brendan Norton for organizing a rock star cast of Philly’s best talent.

Swing on by and listen to a supercharged sex-and-power romp through my version of Shakespeare’s weirdest play.

What: m4m

Where: Plays and Players

When: 1PM to 4PM.

GPTC: Omaha Bound.

shiva

It’s an honor that my play Maya was accepted into the 2013 PlayLabs session at the Great Plains Theatre Conference! I’ll be in attendance from May 24 – June 2. My director and cast have been assigned, and Maya will be read at 9:30AM on a Tuesday.

The Maya time slot is confusing and weird in a neat sort of way. I’ve always thought that play should be read/watched at midnight, but an early slot early in the week leaves open the opportunity for a larger audience turnout.

I’ll be posting photos and updates whilst at the conference. Tune back in then–same Maya time; same Maya channel.