Wanted: New Takes on Old Tales

THOSE WOMEN WANT YOUR PLAYS!

Call for short plays from Bay Area writers. Deadline: March 8, 2015

Those Women Productions seeks one-act plays from local San Francisco Bay Area writers for “In Plain Sight: Stories you never knew you never knew,” a collection of original short plays to be given a full professional production at the Metal Shop, an 80-seat theater in the Elmwood neighborhood in Berkeley. The show will open Labor Day weekend 2015 and will run for 7-9 performances. We are looking for scripts that fit our mission to bring hidden truths of gender and power to the stage. Plays should offer new takes on old tales, reimagining a story from world mythology and/or classic literature. We are particularly interested in scripts that bring marginalized characters and storylines to the center of the action. All plays must stand on their own and have the potential to appeal to a broad audience, including those not familiar with your source material.

• Length: 10 – 30 minutes
• Cast: no more than 5.
• Deadline for submissions: March 8, 2015
• Scripts may be produced or unproduced. If previously produced, include production history in the body of your email.
• Send us no more than two scripts.

To submit:
~ Email <ThoseWomenProductions@gmail.com> with a blind copy of your script(s) attached as Word or PDF documents. Author’s name should not appear anywhere on the script but each page of the script should include the title of your play. Number your pages please!
~Include the title(s) of your play(s), the author’s name and your full contact information in the body of your email, and please affirm that you are a San Francisco Bay Area resident and would be available to attend some rehearsals and one or more performances of your play if it is selected. Rehearsals will be scheduled evenings and weekends during August and early September in Berkeley and/or Oakland.
~Questions? Email: ThoseWomenProductions@gmail.com

Performance dates (tentative): September 4-20.
Selected scripts announced in mid-April. Stipend.

Directors for In Plain Sight will include Norman P. Johnson, Christine Keating, and TWP cofounder Elizabeth Vega. In addition to 2-4 scripts selected through this open call, the production will include two short plays by TWP cofounder Carol Lashof.

Visit our website for more information about Those Women Productions: http://www.thosewomenproductions.com/

Thank you for sharing your work with us!

I Survived the 24-Hour Play Fest!

I want a t-shirt that says, “I survived the 24-Hour Play Fest”!

On Saturday, September 15, the Playwrights Center of San Francisco presented its second (but my first) 24-Hour Play Fest.  The experience was far more exhilarating and artistically satisfying than I could have imagined—and every bit as exhausting as I expected it to be.

For the playwrights, the adventure began on Friday evening about 6 pm at Theatre 250 on Mission Street when we (Vonn Scott Bair, Rachel Bublitz, Gaetana Caldwell-Smith, Modecai Cohen Ettinger, Jerome Joseph Gentes, Laylah Muran, and I) gathered to draw little slips of paper out of a hat.  By virtue of this wonderfully random process, we were each assigned actors and a director, and were collectively assigned a theme: “That’s Not True!”  We met briefly with our ensembles.  Then we went home to write a play for them.

7:45 pm on Friday: Since the sorting hat has assigned me a cast of four—three women and one man—my fancies turn to Macbeth and the witches … Scratch that, witches are overdone.  How about the witches’ “familiars”—the spirits who attend upon them, or perhaps, actually govern their actions?  Two familiars are named in the text of the Scottish play: Graymalkin and Paddock, a cat and a toad.  Google around to find a third appropriate name:  “Pyewacket.”  For variety, let’s call her a dog.  Set the scene: between life and death.  The time: the day after tomorrow.  Start writing dialogue.  “Pyewacket” rhymes with “thwack it” … If Macbeth had thwacked less and thought more, he might have lived to see tomorrow … Oh, this is fun … Write more silly lines …

And then discover, around about midnight, that my characters have no reason for being.  Why are they here?  What do they want from each other?  Why on earth did I volunteer to write a ten-minute script overnight when I am by nature a slow, deliberative, and matutinal writer?  In other circumstances, I would give the premise up as a bad idea.  But there is a 7 am deadline looming.  It’s way too late and I’m way too wired to come up with a new concept.  So I allow my characters to interrogate each other:  “What do you want from us?” they ask. And lo and behold, they answer.  The Familiars:  We want recognition.  The witches always get all the credit.  Macbeth: I want a chance for a do-over, not to make the same mistakes again.

A little before 4 am, I checked my formatting and e-mailed “The Day After Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow …” to festival producer Jennifer Roberts.  Twice.  Just to be safe.  Then I went to bed and failed to sleep.

Rehearsals were well under way when I walked in the front door of Say Media on 3rd and Townsend shortly after noon on Saturday.  (Thank you, Say Media, for loaning PCSF this fantastic rehearsal space.)  Rising from the stairwell came the clamor of seven casts rehearsing seven new plays.  I found my stalwart ensemble and settled in to watch. Their turn now to work.  My turn for the pleasure of seeing my characters come beautifully to life.

7:45 pm on Saturday:  Back at Theatre 250.  A sold-out show.  In spite of a non-functioning dimmer board, the house lights go down, the stage lights come up.  Paddock croaks.  The audience laughs.

Thanks. And thanks and ever thanks to director Amy Crumpacker and actors Riley Krull, Sarah Nowicke, Shaun Plander, and Ashley Sullivan:  you were brilliant, bold, and resolute!  And off book too.