Unexpected Impacts, Part II

The Burlington Players of Burlington, Mass., took a trip to the State House in Boston July 26  as guests of the Massachusetts Legislature. The occasion: The community theatre troupe had walked off with the highest prize in its field a month before—Best Show Award at the 2013 American Association for Community Theatre (AACT) annual festival […]

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The Troublesome 9.7 Percent and the Break-Through Play

Caridad Svich invited me to participate in the Artistic Innovation blog salon that she is curating for the 2013 TCG National Conference: Learn Do Teach in Dallas). The post below is cross-posted from the salon and can be found at the TCG Circle here.   Playwright Caridad Svich asks how a path can be made for innovative theatre artists.   That’s a […]

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The Christmas Card from Hell

I got a Christmas card today from the child molester’s wife.   This is not an unusual event. For the past several years, this woman has persisted in sending me birthday cards, Christmas cards, Easter greetings—this despite what should have been a clear directive to her years ago never to contact me again. Yet she […]

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Breaking the Block Part 6: Cooking With Commies

I confess to a panic attack the other day when I realized that not only  am I behind on the promised scene, I cannot tamp down my anxiety to write it. The excuses are piling up—production, yadda, hurricane, yadda, production, yadda, nostalgia tour, yadda, yadda, yadda—and now the latest: a nasty flu, which I soothed […]

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Salvation Road Redux

Salvation Road‘s run at the Steinhardt School of New York University ended abruptly with the arrival of Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 29. Compared to the loss of life, injury, damage to property, chaos and disruption visited upon the good people of Manhattan–one friend I know of is still without heat two weeks later–curtailing the run […]

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Salvation Road Opens Tonight

Salvation Road opens tonight with a cast of thousands ….   It has been a long process developing this play, a comic drama about a boy searching for a sister who has disappeared into a fundamentalist cult.   Originally a one-act for three actors (hated that version) the play underwent a massive rewrite in the […]

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Breaking the Block, Part 5: The Exploratory Scene

We’re back with my series on feeling my way through a draft of a new play. How to break through the block? In this installment, I’m looking at laying the foundations for an exploratory scene that might not necessarily make it into the play. This is my play about a man with an amazing memory, […]

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Now, Who Can’t Relate to This?

Sometimes you just have to open the Jack. Tamara Federici’s production notes show why some playwrights ought to write fiction and be done with it. I particularly liked this one:   Regarding pauses: short pauses are short, three seconds or so, like the time it takes to sneak out a little fart, i.e. Lucia’s line “No, […]

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Breaking the Block Part 4: The Worst Case Scenario

Some years ago I came across a funny yet utterly serious book called “Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook” by Joshua Piven—a guidebook on how to survive a series of unlikely disasters—from an avalanche to a shark attack to the crash of a jumbo jet. So I immediately bought a copy for  an artistic director who has […]

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Playwriting: Breaking the Block, Part 2

I have a play in my head that has frightened me for a long time because it will require considerable research to write authentically—and the stack of books I’ve accumulated to begin the work is a bit intimidating. Not that I can’t read; I figured that out when I was six, but there is a […]

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Why a Play? Are Some Topics Too Hot for Stage?

An invitation arrives in my email to consider writing a new play about  a topic so current that taking it on at all seems  to be almost irreverent, given the anguish that many of the players still feel.  But I am not about to pass up an opportunity to work with the theatre in question, […]

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Playwrights Interview Playwrights: Me and Jackie

The wonderful Jacqueline E. Lawton has included me in her series on women playwrights in D.C. You can check out the interview here. Thank you Jackie for thinking of me and including me in such illustrious company as  Laura Zam, Karen Zacarias, Renee Calarco, and Jennifer Nelson. And you can check out Jackie  here. And […]

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Playwriting: Breaking the Block, Part I

  Eric Barker asks us to consider whether we are more creative when forced to work – or whether we ought to wait until inspiration strikes.   Citing Daniel Akst’s book Temptation: Finding Self-Control in an Age of Excess, he concludes that pressure to produce actually results in productivity.   No surprise to me—I’ve long known […]

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The Drama in Drink, or Vice Versa

Barking Up a Wrong Tree is one of my favorite blogs and here is why:   Eric Barker routinely compiles fascinating observations about all aspects of human nature and experience, with the stated purpose of learning to live life to its full awesomeness.  But me being me, which means predisposed to moments of dark ruminations, […]

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The Trickster in Your Play

One of the pleasures of stealing away to a theatre conference such as  the American Alliance for Theatre in Education’s (AATE) gathering in Lexington, Ky., last week is meeting theatre artists with a distinctly different view of process.   Such an artist is Steven Barker, who currently teaches at Camp LeJeune High School in North […]

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The Subject of Study

“The strength of Gregory’s characterization of Judy is that she does not allow disability to become an all-encompassing character trait that merely paints Judy as either bitter or heroic. …  In short, by using disability as a dramaturgical device rather than a metaphor, a stereotype, or an all-encompassing world-view, Gregory has made the play and […]

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