Bloomingplays I this Saturday

July 31, 2009

Saturday is the start of the BloomingPlays development series. This weekend features two all-day workshops where plays are read and then structured feedback given immediately by the actors and audience. It’s a great way for playwrights to develop their work and hone their skills. The revised plays will be back in November and then January for additional reads.

Kindred, the one-act play I wrote with Lori Garraghty, is up for a read on Sunday at 2. I’m nervous about the feedback. It will be facilitated and I know people will be nice, but it’s always a little nerve-wracking to have someone critique your work!

I’ll also be reading the part of Lena in Auditions Saturday morning at 11. Sunday at 11 I’m in The Dragon’s Wrath. Both are full-length plays. They will be “table reads” but “without the table” as Tracy Bee says. The actors set in chairs on stage and read from the script. The facilitator reads the stage directions.

The most nerve-wracking part of all is a phone sex scene I have to play in The Dragon’s Wrath! Eek! I’ve never done anything like it and suspect it will be the source for ongoing mocking from Gabe, perhaps for the rest of my life. I’m wondering if I can have a coughing fit in the midst of it. I envision either being so embarrassed that I can’t pull it off, or laughing so hard I fall off my chair. Either is sufficiently mortifying. Ah, acting!

See the full schedule of readings at the BPP’s site and come out! It will be a lot of fun and a unique experience. You get to give feedback directly to playwrights, who may actually listen! Imagine! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Seriously, come out. We’d love to hear from you.


Prepping for cold read

May 13, 2009

I mentioned earlier that my co-written play Kindred made it into the 2009-2010 BloomingPlays festival. The cold reading/first reading of it is on 23 May at the BPP. Lori, my co-playwright, will play Pam, while our much-respected colleague Margot will play Rose (I can’t relate to a character who’s a member of the Junior League!).

Earlier that same day, I’ll be reading the part of Daisy in the new play The Good Daughter. It’s written by Brenda Hiatt Barber, about 30 minutes long, and is a great snapshot of family dynamics.

Like our play, it examines mother/daughter relationships, but in a more humorous way. Mom decides it’s time to stop living independently, so she offers a million dollars to any of her three daughters who’ll take her in. The daughters are very reluctant until they hear the dollar figure, at which point they start falling over each other to get at it.

Daisy’s a very fun character to play; vain, self-involved, a touch of Valley Girl, and lovable. She has some sort of issue with her sister Barbara — she’s continually needling her.

While the plays are supposed to be cold reads, I’ve been reading through my part silently and aloud like crazy. I might even have bits memorized by the time the read happens. Stop me now! I’m having fun. Thanks, BPP!


All in a day’s slack

May 8, 2009

What a day! It started with the good news that Kaia’s CD Get Down, Rise Up! is featured live & in person at Wandering Turtle Art Gallery. Not only is Wandering Turtle run by one of Bloomington’s coolest people (Jaime Sweany), it features fantastic art and great greeting cards. It’s a wonderful place to browse for a creative boost and, of course, a great place to buy things!

Next came an email from the Bloomington Playwrights Project saying that Kindred, a mini-play I co-wrote with Lori Garraghty, has been selected for the 2009-2010 BloomingPlays Festival! While I’ve published poetry, fiction, screenplays, and non-fiction over the years, this is the first piece I’ve written for the stage.ย 

There were 77 entries, I believe, and only a handful of Bloomington playwrights (5? 7?) were selected, so it’s an even bigger honor to me to be selected. My other entry, a mini-play entitled A Day In The Life, did not make the cut. I wasn’t sure if it was just self-involved rubbish but thought I’d throw it into the pot. I think I was right! ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

Tonight I went to go see Cardinal’s production of Doubt and Randy stopped me to say they’ll be calling me back to audition for The Sound of Music! I felt bad that I couldn’t focus entirely on the excellent production in front of me because my brain was busily imagining possible audition sequences and flashing back to my high school appearance as Maria. (Diane Kondrat was a non-stop revelation in Doubt; go see it if you can!)

I ran into the fabulous Janiece Jaffe after the show and talked a little about taking voice lessons with her. I’ve thought about it for a while. My current voice coach has been brilliant to work with in the past but he seems to have a serious block about teaching now. He’s suggested I find a woman who understands the voice of a woman over 40: voilรก! I’m sure I would learn a lot from Janiece but I need to set with it a little bit longer before I decide. I want to be sure Jeduthun is truly uninterested in working together.

It’s been a wonderful day for affirmation of my artistic self. I only hope I can live up to it all! My brain is in a tremendous whirl. Time for milk and some popcorn to calm me down!


BloomingPlays submissions

February 19, 2009

I just submitted my first scripts. To the Lora Shiner Studio Series as part of the BloomingPlays festival at the Bloomington Playwrights Project. My palms are still sweating.

While I’ve written a number of scripts and performed them in theatre and video, I’ve never entered a contest before. Consequently, I’m all fluttery in the stomach region.

Winners will go through a workshopping process. One of the scripts was co-written with Lori Garraghty, so we’d go through together if we’re chosen.

That script is called Kindred. It’s about two very different sisters whose conflicts come to light while trying to take care of their ailing mother. Lori and I created it by improvising dialogue and characters when we took an acting class at the BPP in 2004. We taped the improv and then took the script from there. It was a great way to start.

My goal with that script was/is to make both characters believable and sympathetic rather than easily label one or the other. And of course, expose old sibling rivalries.ย 

Rich Perez gave us the beginning and the ending. The ending is exactly how I ended all my stories in 8th grade, so I’m amused by that. Overall Lori and I think it’s a really good script and a good character study for both actresses (actors?).

I’m much more nervous about the second script. It’s called A Day in the Life. Again, we find two sisters in conflict, but this time everything is much more extreme. Judy, the younger character, is seriously mentally ill but has to keep functioning. Julia, her older sister, works her tail off to keep them together and help get Judy through college. The fact that their father’s trust fund is contingent on Julia’s doing this is a source of conflict.

But larger than that is the rage and despair of a sister-bond gone horribly awry. Judy is capable of communicating only through fragments of songs or quotes from movies. Julia is at the end of her resources. Both women need somehow to keep going.

It’s a very dark script. I have no idea if it’s any good. I asked Rich to read it several months ago but he never got around to it. I’m terrified that it’s just a load of self-involved angst. ๐Ÿ™‚ It would certainly require top-notch actresses.

But I’m ahead of myself. There will be so many submissions from playwrights far more experienced (& produced!) than I am. I was afraid to even try. But the scripts are out there, nothing to be done about it, and all I can hope is that they’re not total crap. ๐Ÿ™‚ Cross your fingers for me.