Tuesday, August 31, 2010

CMU zombies in Australia

Should you happen to be in North Queensland, Dean Poynor (Dramatic Writing MFA '10) is bringing the zombie apocalypse. His play Homo apocalyptus, set one hundred years in the future, is playing the Cairns Festival. The collaborative team includes outstanding CMU colleagues Katie Wieland and Sarah Krohn.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

His fists hit hard, and his rage runs red-hot.

Now playing in Washington, D.C.: Cherry Smoke by CMU Dramatic Writing alum James McManus, a Princess Grace Award winner and a brand-new resident playwright of New Dramatists. Cherry Smoke was first produced in the New Works Series at CMU as Jim's thesis production. He was one of six guests we brought in to advise the Class of 2010 on their careers when the class traveled to NYC for their graduate showcase last spring.

Friday, August 27, 2010

I can't act and hate performing, so it should be interesting to see what happens.

Career advice from Young Jean Lee on Adam's blog: Don't fall into the trap of feeling entitled to career success solely on account of your talent. There's a huge market for mediocre art, and the less-talented wipe the floor with the more-talented every day.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The new needs friends.

I urge you to read screenwriter/playwright Michael Golamco on "When I Really Like Something, There are Two Things I Need to Do." (Also starring Mickey Mouse.)

Vote for Title of the Month

Candidate #1:
We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South-West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915
Last week at Victory Gardens's Ignition Festival.

Candidate #2:
Aw Keats, Keats Motherfucker!
Sept 2-4 at Incubator Arts Project. I assume this is based on Shelley's words upon hearing that Keats had died.

Candidate #3:
Brandywine Distillery Project 
Sept 9-18 at Incubator.

Send your vote for the best title (or additional suggestions) to Sailor Dog.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

with or without Vocoder

You will want to see this. Rebecca Hart is the most interesting singer-songwriter-actor-writer-foodblogger in the Northeast. For a taste, check out the Vocoder Outtake.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I have no idea what this blurb means

Matthew Maher with the company of 13P's production of Have You Seen Steve Steven.

"ORANGE, HAT & GRACE is a funny, fierce and provocative inquiry into our relationship with the natural world."

Nor do I care what this blurb means, because I would hasten to see Matthew Maher in anything.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Top Earners in Nonprofit Theater

This chart is being widely linked for good reason. It's worth bearing in mind that some of these names may be the artistic directors who are quoted in Outrageous Fortune (and in articles about the Outrageous Fortune backlash) as saying that American playwrights are a bunch of whiners.

I think Outrageous Fortune is widely misinterpreted. It's not actually a book about plays being messed up by the theatre system. It's a book about money. It's a book about who gets a salary.

By the same token, I've always felt that 13P is a project about money. It's an attempt to show what it looks like when money is used to advance new American plays — by the radical method of actually producing them.


Can we please stop pretending this is a legitimate system of thought?  @jasongrote

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Unproducibility, Brothels, and Pirates

Studio 42's Unproducible! series is mounting "such plays are those in which the cast size, subject matter, potential depravity, complexity of staging, or scale of spectacle take them out of consideration for most other companies." As part of their mission, they are mounting these plays for one night only.

I'm not sure I understand this model, in terms of the work and the artists having the opportunity to grow, but I'm curious. And for those familiar with the long-running pirate puppet rock musical serial Jollyship the Whiz-Bang, all that needs to be said to recommend Studio 42's This Sporting Life is that one of the writers is Nick Jones. (Also, the fabulous Greg Keller is in it.) See it September 10.

P.S. Free beer.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Whose career do you want?

A good question to ask yourself, no matter what part of the arts you work in: whose career would you like? It's a useful exercise, because to respond you not only have to be specific about your own goals, but you have to know who in your field has paved the way. (Or — thinking about it another way — who your competition is.)

Here's someone whose career I'd take — and it's available, because she just died at the age of 96. One of the writers on The Bicycle Thief among many other triumphs, Suso Cecchi d'Amico has 118 writing credits on IMDb, the first in 1946 and the last sixty years later. As I say, I'd take that.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Hint on starting your theatre company

If your name begins with a number, you'll often come first in an alphabetical list of companies. Like this one announcing 13P's grant from the never-boring MAP Fund. Mazel tov to Erin Courtney and Ken Rus Schmoll, who will collaborate on our 13th and final production in 2012.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Young Jean Lee's new book

THE SHIPMENT and LEAR now available from TCG. Buy it at the Young Jean Lee's Theater Company Store. You can also find news there of her upcoming residency at the New Museum and tour dates to Boston, Williams College (hello), Budapest, and Dartmouth.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Scientists betting on reality. No, actually betting real money on it.

If I was writing a screenplay for the Sloan Screenplay Competition sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for the Public Understanding of Science (which I would be if I was a student in the dramatic writing program, and hoping to win the $20,000 prize which goes to a CMU student each year)... I might well discover a plot in this story from the Economist in which bookies actually make book on scientific discoveries and disasters. Think you know many polar bears will die this year? It's one way to make money from climate change. There's a range of bets on what the Large Hadron Collider will detect. And then there's the story that begins this way:

The story was different, though, for the fifth wager—that gravitational waves would be detected. News that the bookmaker was offering 500/1 against this happening spread rapidly among the small group of physicists and astronomers searching for such waves.

in which Ibsen drinks a beer

The young Somerset Maugham escapes school: "He persuaded his uncle to send him to Heidelberg. He saw Ibsen drinking beer in a café, looking 'angry, vexed, and disagreeable.'"

(via the London Review of Books)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

For people who want to play. And are not scared of deadlines.


8Minute Musicals is launching a new workshop and performance opportunity for musical theatre artists, and invites submissions from writers, composers, directors, musical directors, performers, management, and support staff.

We will be developing and producing eight new musical theatre shorts from September 24th – October 5th at the 2010 New York Musical Theatre Festival. We are interested in working with artists who can bring a fresh approach to what this genre can be. If you’re an experienced musical theatre writer, or even if you are a playwright or poet or pop songwriter or whatever who has never written a musical, but think it could be fun to try, we want to hear from you—this could be a great chance to test the waters. We seek artists with a high level of craft as writers or composers who are interested in collaboration and willing to dive into the creative process with a sense of abandon. That means we are looking for people who want to play. And are not scared of deadlines.

On October 4th & 5th, at the 2010 New York Musical Theatre Festival, we will present 8 new short musicals created through a ten-day collaborative workshop process. Here's how it works:

- 8 composers and 8 writers are paired on a Friday evening
- They are given guidelines to create a short musical theatre piece
- Their first drafts are sight-read by 10 performers that Sunday
- The writer/composer teams have 3 days for rewrites
- The performers have 4 days for rehearsal with 2 directors and 2 music
- Only 10 days after the first meeting, we present the new pieces to
the public

Our goal is to support and nurture the next generation of musical theatre writers and composers by providing them with the opportunity to meet new collaborators, explore new ways of working, and see their work performed off-book and fully staged in front of an audience. Inspired by the Jonathan Larson Award-winning Raw Impressions Music Theatre, which premiered over 150 new short musicals from 2001 to 2006, 8Minute Musicals is a program of Artists WithOut Limits (AWOL) Theatre Project.

If you are interested in participating, please see the submission guidelines.

Composers, Writers, Directors, Music Directors, Management and Support Staff, please email applications to submissions@8minutemusicals.org.

Performers, please email pix/resumes to casting@8minutemusicals.org.

Submissions are due by August 20, 2010. You can also find more info at 8MinuteMusicals.org.

We hope to hear from you!

8Minute Musicals Producers:
Jane Abramson
Masi Asare
Kristen Gongora
Laura Penney Shamir
Amy & David Southerland

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Color and Light

Maybe you're like this too: despite being a playwright, some of the most indelible experiences I've had as an audience member have been at theatrical events that were not classified as plays. Some of the first that come to mind are Cirque du Soleil's O; Penn and Teller, for my money still the best and funniest theatrical experience available almost nightly on this planet; William Forsythe's Eidos: Telos and his Quintett; and Jerome Robbins's Afternoon of a Faun and West Side Story Suite. 

But this list must be topped by Mark Morris's legendary evening-length dance work, L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato. Set to a ravishing, rarely-heard work by (G.F.) Handel, it epitomizes Mr. Morris's twin projects: the re-tying of dance to music (and theatre — he speaks of Wagner's Gesamtkunstwerk or total artwork); and the pursuit of beauty.

Total artwork means collaboration, and L'Allegro is the interweaving of many artists: an extraordinary trio of designers, whose flow of colored scrims, light, and fabric are as much a part of the dance as the Mark Morris Dance Group's athletic bodies and the singers and musicians in the pit.

You should see this work at least once in your life. It's playing this weekend at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival.