Saturday, September 28, 2013

Appreciating "Breaking Bad" without Watching It

I have never seen an episode of "Breaking Bad." I'm not holding out in protest, nor do I feel any overwhelming desire to rush out and begin binge watching. I'm not keeping any high moral ground against violence on TV or trying to start a movement.

If someone forced me to watch it, I might indulge. A few years ago, a friend demanded that I sit through an episode of "Game of Thrones" and I really enjoyed it. Another friend dared me to sit through two episodes of "Mad Men" which I found rich, stirring, and elegant. In a way, I think both shows are works of art. "Breaking Bad" might be an even greater work, and there's also "Orange Is the New Black" as well as "House of Cards." There is so much great TV out there that I have a strange reaction to it: happiness that it's in the world without feeling the need to partake of it.

My reaction is partially due to living in New York City and having concerts, theatre, and indie movies to keep me occupied. It's partially due to the fact that I haven't consistently followed a TV series, game show, or video game, since I was in high school ("The Wire" being the one exception). My lack of actual TV watching is also due to the fact that when I have gaps of free time I'm either reading a book, writing a play, working on dharma. But more than all of those excuses, I almost feel like I don't need to watch "Breaking Bad" to get a hit off its buzz.

For me, "Breaking Bad" is like making coffee from scratch. I don't drink coffee. I do, however, love the feel of coffee beans. I enjoy the rich smell of grinding these beans into mix. Past roommates have indulged me in letting me watch them make coffee. The ritual is a beautiful thing. The cultural dynamics that revolve around coffee are fascinating. Once I ran into a man who was obsessed with it. He could explain all the variations, methods of grinding beans, the preparation of water, and the history. I was transfixed. As he spoke, I nodded, dreamed of coffee empires, and sipped my green tea.

Even though I've never seen so much as a minute of "Breaking Bad," I have read many essays, critiques, articles, and stories about it. I root for the lead actor, who I still think of as the Dad from 'Malcolm in the Middle."  It's exciting that people are talking about the issues of crystal meth's rampant spread through the country, White privilege, violence, and all themes the show brings up that are relevant in our lives. I feel as if I'm absorbed in just listening to the dialogue being stirred. I also know that many people consider the show to be glorification of drugs, misogyny, and violence. To both sides, I politely nod and take it all in like a Martian who has landed on earth and is being forced to watch "Divorce Court" and give an opinion.

I'm wondering if "Breaking Bad" will stay on the ever-growing list of critically acclaimed shows that I missed. So far the list includes:

1. Lost
2. Desperate Housewives
3. The Sopranos
4. Six Feet Under
5. Dexter (although I did watch a few minutes of a season finale)
6. Sex & the City (sat through an episode for a college health orientation)
7. Glee (watched an epsiode at the behest of a friend)
8. Walking Dead
9.  Homeland
10.  Sons of Anarchy
11. Rome
12. Deadwood
13. True Blood
14. Buffy, the Vampire Slayer
15. Downton Abbey
16. Boardwalk Empire
17. The Good Wife

Perhaps one year, I will set aside a summer and just plough through all of these shows. If I had to pick an order of priority it would be:

1. Breaking Bad
2. The Sopranos
3. Homeland
4. Orange is the New Black (there's still time for me to get on board)
5. House of Cards (still time to do this)
6. Six Feet Under
7. Boardwalk Empire
8. finish off the rest of Mad Men
9. Downton Abbey
10. Treme

Anyway, Sunday is "Breaking Bad." Apparently something very exciting is going to happen. I can't wait to read the essay on it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Julius Caesar and the NSA

In honor of Constitution Day, Learn Liberty is releasing another video I wrote/produced about the NSA Scandal. The video was shot and edited by Tafadzwa Chiriga. Professor Otteson gave his perspective on why this wasn't just the usual issue of a government overstepping its role in our daily lives.

As artists we have the ability to draw attention to these issues. I remember reading Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" in elementary school. Yes, "Julius Caesar" in elementary school. I have no idea why kids were being assigned this dense and dry classic in class. I can say, thought, that this was before the era where ADD became the expected diagnosis for most kids.  Our schools demanded and expected kids to 'muscle' through difficult things in order to build intellectual stamina. I think "Julius Caesar" was one of those academic tests of wills: only the strong will survive. I found the play completely enthralling and confusing. On the one hand I realized that a child shouldn't be excited about this play. The language was very dusty and I had problems keeping track of all the characters. On the other hand, this was the first piece of writing I came across that strictly dealt with the rights of man in a society and to a republic. I couldn't get enough of it. I would re-read passages to myself as my classmates dozed.

When it came time for the teacher to give us our 'Roman' names I was knighted with 'Augustus.' The first true emperor of Rome and the quiet victor at the end of "Julius Caesar." This just fed my child-like ego. I would walk around imagining myself in a toga and being addressed as "Octavius Augustus.' This delusional grandiosity conflicted with my intellectual understanding of the freedoms of man. Yes, Augustus turned out to be an even bigger tyrant than Caesar. Yes, he's only a minor character in play. But it's good to be the emperor...even if it was just in my head. I was Augustus historically and theatrically. I was one of the few Shakespeare characters who returns in "Anthony and Cleopatra." I was less a personality and more like a slow, unstoppable, iceberg-like force for adversaries to wreck their ships against and die. Usually this spell would be broken by someone yelling at me or a ball hitting me in the head during PE class. I would return to my very un-emperor like existence.  Those Augustan flights of fancy made me realize how intoxicating power was; just imagining it could make me forget about all the civic lessons taught in school. If being a 'fake child emperor' could cause me to shuttle all of my beliefs, then I can't even fathom how magical and dangerous it would be to have a chance at being a real tyrant.

The arguments in "Julius Caesar" have stayed with me all these years later. During times of war and when individuals try to usurp their position I imagine the Senate debates on the Ides of March that would change the fate of mankind. I can see the scribes writing down the words of men for posterity so that their children would know where they stood. I can see thousands of years later in Philadelphia a similar debate taking place without the need of daggers and poison. The founding fathers of America debating for months in sweltering heat, setting down the course this nation would take. And I wonder if the great leaders of today (and they are out there) will ever have that same debate about our rights as our government veers closer and closer to the edge of tyrannical abuses and treasonous scandals.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

White Privilege Among Friends and Facebook

In the midst of Zimmerman trial, a few 'friends' approached me. Apparently I talked too much about race. It wasn't appreciated. It made them uncomfortable. I thought about this for a while and resisted the urge to explain the sociological and historical terms of why Trayvon Martin is indicative of a larger problem. I became aware that I was dealing with White privilege and then I did something I should not have done: I stayed silent. I censored myself because the issue that endangered my actual ability to live...made them squirm. They would rather not talk about it. Some of these friends were spiritual, others were atheist, but I did notice one common trait: they were all White men.

I noticed that other people of color were experiencing the same thing in person or on social media sites. I would look at the Facebook newsfeed and notice the occasional comment of weariness: did we have to always make this about race? Once again, these were almost always White men. In one incident there was a questioning of why the news was only showing the young picture of Trayvon. Why was the news not showing the much larger and I guess scary, threatening Black man who was still gunned down for walking back home. When I explained the protocol of how the news media defers to the family to ask for pictures, his suspicion remained. Why was the media still running this picture, as if there was some conspiracy involved to show a murdered Black teenage boy as innocent victim of an overzealous neighbor with documented past incidents of racism, rather than acknowledging that the only conspiracy involved was one of facts aligning with our previous experiences of racism in America.

It's a blessing to have so many friends of different colors, ethnicities, and religions. But the issue of White privilege has to be addressed. For people of color to be told by their White 'friends' that they talk about race too much, the scenario should be flipped. In the midst of inequality, how can their counterpart be so silent?

Willful blindness and silence doesn't make one more Christian or Buddhist or spiritual. Quite the opposite. To allow systematic injustice to go on and to not even speak of it because it's messy or not your family, is a sign of weakness and privilege. It makes you a part of the problem.

The concepts of karma and emptiness do not mean we ignore the world and injustice. But we use the world to work through our own stuff. Activism on and off the cushion is a must. But there can be no work done when the inequalities of the day are ignored. Having a friend of color doesn't mean you've escaped the matrix of White privilege or have 'figured it out.'

This morning I saw a story about a Black man in Florida who was beaten up by a cop, arrested, thrown in jail for a night, and brought to court for walking on the wrong side of the road (the story can be read here). This is something that all people should be aware of; not because it highlights an isolated incident. The reason why this is news is because it's symbolic of systemic inequality. Although these societal problem appears to flares up every once in a while in outrageous crimes, they exists on a subtle level in the lives of millions every day.

When I walked down the street yesterday and hear the car doors lock, I am aware of the small, everyday things. I can't knock on the car window and explain to this person that I just came from a workshop at Juilliard. I can't explain to the cop who wants to frisk me that I'm actually an award-winning writer on a fellowship to the best arts school in the country. I can't explain to the women on the Upper West Side who scrunch up their faces in anguish/anger/contempt when I walk into a subway car, that I would no sooner ask them for money, than I would own a gun, or smoke crack, or do any of those things they may associate with someone who looks like me. None of these things can be said. Instead, people of color walk around with those everyday slights, with a feeling of anxiety and low-level paranoia.  It's not helpful to be told to bottle this up until the next riot or crisis, at which point people of color will be forced into another artificial dialogue, contrived to assuage the immediate fears of violence but not to address the actual problem of racism.

As a nation, we have to do better. As friends, we have to talk about what concerns us. There is no such thing as 'talking too much' about an issue if it's in the news and directly affects the your friends. Instead of willfully creating a wall of ignorance, we can use social media to actually break down those old barriers and listen to each other.

That is all. Namaste. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Everything Will Be On Time (unlike this Prophecy)

Background: My friend is doing an "Oracle" exhibit in Germany based around prophecies for the future. I wrote a few prophecies to be handed out to audiences. I did not meet my deadlines, but they were forgiving.

EVERYTHING WILL BE ON TIME (unlike this Prophecy)

All things are relative and no facts are ultimate. The two most transient things in our world are time and space. It is no coincidence that as our universe appears to expanding, time seems to be speeding up. In fact, today’s time is nothing like your parents or even grandparents. The measurements have changed and humanity’s energy toward this ephemeral thing has become more rapacious. We devour our time and, in turn, time will devour us.

  • Time will be reduced to fragments of a scintillas broken off from second. Even the most backward and “Italian” of places will be forced into greater efficiency of time and space. We will reach the end of wandering unknowing and the beginning of efficient, punctual madness. Some examples of this exciting new frontier include:

  • Children will be uploaded into college level courses by the time they can wobble up on their atrophied legs to declare independence.

  • mothers will go from postpartum depression disorder to empty nest syndrome by their second cup of coffee.

  • Buddhas will blink themselves in and out of existence like dying light bulbs.

  • Traffic jams will take place over half-seconds, with horns blaring at outrageous setbacks within their minute of life.

  • Operas and the entire collected works of Shakespeare will be conducted and completed within the 180 seconds allotted for commercial breaks.

  • People will pack these scintilla-seconds with a dazzling, stupefyingly dense layer of information that will be projected directly on to the eye’s iris to be downloaded with diuretic  intensity into the cerebral cortex, which will float in electrified plasmic pools of time. These gelatinous substances will occasionally leak out of the edges of our eyes when people experience a loss of something un-nameable but that which science will label as ‘inefficiency.’
  • During times of ‘inefficiency’ leaks, we will have data blasted into our eyes until the leakage stops. The surface of the eye will resume placid tranquility of unblinking intake.
  • Our madness will be punctual and efficient and, therefore, won’t be seen as madness at all. Rather, these spontaneous moments will be considered 'epileptic creativity.' Each person will be allotted one moment of 'EC' during the day, to be executed in a free scintilla-second.
  • If 'EC' is not used it can be 'banked' and saved up for the holidays. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

GET WHAT YOU WANT: September 2013

It's a new theatre season. And a time for new contests, commissions, and fellowship opportunities for new work. Here are 17 highlighted chances to 'get what you want.'

Great Plains Theatre Conference
Deadline: Nov. 1st

The Great Plains Theatre Conference offers playwrights the opportunity to interact with, and have their work seen by top writers, directors, and actors from around the country. In addition, playwrights will be able to work directly with these professionals in hands-on writing and industry workshops. Playwrights will also participate in daily panel discussions and have tickets to evening performances with master playwrights and theatre practitioners.

Plays submitted are considered for the following categories:

The MainStage Series

Five plays are chosen for the MainStage Series and recognized with the Holland New Voices Award. For the playwright, this includes a $500 honorarium, travel, room and board, Conference registration, all meals, and admittance to all special workshop sessions and Conference events. MainStage playwrights will also receive a rehearsal period working on the script with local and national directors and actors, and a staged reading of the script for all the Conference attendees. A panel of top theatre professionals will serve as respondents to the work. The five MainStage plays chosen are published in the 2014 GPTC Reader.

Daily PlayLabs

Approximately thirty plays are chosen for the daily PlayLabs. For the playwright, this includes room and board, Conference registration, breakfast and lunch (dinner on selected evenings), and admittance to all special workshop sessions and Conference events. These scripts will be rehearsed by local and national directors and actors, and receive a staged reading for conference attendees and the public. A panel of select theatre professionals serve as respondents to the work.

Playwrights whose scripts are chosen for MainStage and PlayLab readings must be available to attend the entire conference.

Submission Guidelines:

The GPTC will accept both full length and one act scripts; however, the majority of slots will be given to scripts that have a running time of 90 minutes or less.
  • Playwrights may submit a maximum of one script.
  • Scripts co-written by multiple playwrights may be submitted. If chosen, the benefits outlined above will be provided for ONE playwright only.
  • Plays that have received an Equity production, plays for young audiences and musicals will not be accepted.
  • Notification to playwrights on the status of their plays will begin on Jan. 15.
  • All selections will be finalized by March 15.
  • There is a $10 fee for each submission. Submissions will not be considered without payment. The entire fee is applied toward the costs for readers.

Submission Inclusions:
Submission documents will be accepted in .doc or .pdf formats ONLY.

  • Your PLAY with no personal identifying information in the document. Plays will be forwarded to readers without identifying information to allow for the “blind” reading process.
  • A TITLE PAGE listing your contact information including: name, address, phone number and email address.
  • A PLAY SYNOPSIS of 150 words or less to be used as an introduction during the blind read process, for publicity purposes and for use in the Conference program if selected.
  • A CHARACTER LIST with descriptions and notations as to whether characters may be doubled up or must be of a certain ethnicity for reading during the Conference.

Vermont Studio Center
Deadline: Oct 3rd

VSC awards a number of Fellowships for 4-week residencies throughout the year. Open to all artists and writers, the Full Fellowship application deadlines areFebruary 15th, June 15th, and October 1st. In addition to VSC Awards, a variety of special fellowships are also available for full or partial funding as well as specific international fellowships with deadlines on April 1st.

To apply for a Full Fellowship, please use our brochure or download an application:

Hodder Fellowship (Princeton University)
Deadline: October 1st

The Hodder Fellowship will be given to writers and non-literary artists of exceptional promise to pursue independent projects at Princeton University during the 2014-2015 academic year. Potential Hodder Fellows are writers, composers, choreographers, visual artists, performance artists, or other kinds of artists or humanists who have "much more than ordinary intellectual and literary gifts"; they are selected more "for promise than for performance." Given the strength of the applicant pool, most successful Fellows have published a first book or have similar achievements in their own fields; the Hodder is designed to provide Fellows with the "studious leisure" to undertake significant new work.

Hodder Fellows spend an academic year at Princeton, but no formal teaching is involved. A $75,000 stipend is provided. Fellowships are not intended to fund work leading to an advanced degree. One need not be a U.S. citizen to apply.
Applications must be submitted by October 1, 2013 through the Princeton Jobs website at, requisition # 1300448.

Submit a resume, a 3,000-word writing sample of recent work, and a project proposal of 500 to 750 words.

Performing and Visual Artists:
Submit a resume, a project proposal of 500 to 750 words, and examples of ten minutes of performance through link(s) to sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Flicker, etc. Visual artists should provide up to 20 still images saved as a PDF file and submit as part of their online application or supply a link to a website, YouTube, etc.

We cannot confirm receipt of applications nor can we accept applications submitted after the deadline. Limits on the statement size (500-750 words) and sample size (3,000 words) are strict.

Deadline: October 1, 2013
The appointment of the Hodder Fellows will be made in January 2014. An announcement of the award will be posted here.

Princeton Fellowship in Creative and Performing Arts
Deadline: October 1st

Princeton Fellowships in the Creative and Performing Arts, funded in part by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will be awarded to artists whose achievements have been recognized as demonstrating extraordinary promise in any area of artistic practice and teaching. Applicants should be early career poets, novelists, choreographers, playwrights, designers, performers, directors, and performance artists -- this list is not meant to be exhaustive -- who would find it beneficial to spend two years working in an artistically vibrant university community.
Because our inaugural fellows are in the fields of Music and Visual Arts, this year we will only be accepting applications for Theater, Creative Writing, and Dance.

Fellowships are for two 10-month academic years. Fellows will be in residence for academic years 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 at Princeton, interacting with our students, faculty and staff as part of the Lewis Center for the Arts and the Department of Music. The normal work assignment will be to teach one course each semester subject to approval by the Dean of the Faculty, but fellows may be asked to take on an artistic assignment in lieu of a class, such as directing a play or creating a dance with students. Although the teaching load is light, our expectation is that Fellows will be full and active members of our community, committed to frequent and engaged interactions with students during the academic year.

While Fellows need not reside in Princeton, they will be required to spend a significant part of the week on campus.

This Fellowship cannot be used to fund work leading to a Ph.D. or any other advanced degree. Holders of Ph.D. degrees from Princeton are not eligible to apply.

Applicants must apply online at, requisition #1300450 by October 1, 2013. All applicants must submit a cover letter, a curriculum vitae, a statement of 500-750 words about how you would hope to use the two years of the fellowship at this moment in your career, and contact information for three references. Please indicate in your cover letter which program you wish your application to be reviewed by: Theater, Creative Writing, or Dance. In addition, poets and novelists are requested to submit a 3,000-word writing sample of recent work; performers such as choreographers are requested to submit examples of ten minutes of performance through link(s) to sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Flicker, etc.). This information can be included in your cover letter.

We cannot confirm receipt of applications nor can we accept applications postmarked after the deadline. Limits on the statement size (500-750 words) and sample size (3,000 words) are strict.

As of this application deadline, applicants will only be allowed to apply for the Creative and Performing Arts Fellowship twice in a lifetime.

Appointments will be made at a professional specialist rank; in addition, successful candidates will be appointed as lecturers when they are doing formal teaching and/or advising.

Interviews of finalists will take place on campus the week of December 2-7, 2013.

Selection will be based on artistic achievement; the potential for excellent teaching; and the likelihood of significant contributions to the artistic life of the Princeton community.

PlayPenn New Play Development Conference
Deadline: September 30th

Beginning September 2, PlayPenn will be accepting applications for its 2014 New Play Development Conference; we are pleased to request your full length, unproduced script for consideration. Application materials will be accepted between September 2 and September 30, 2013. Your application must be uploaded and complete by September 30, 2013 or it cannot be considered.

The 2014 Conference will be held in Philadelphia, PA from July 11 – 27. Invited playwrights will have the opportunity to work with a director, dramaturg, designers and Philadelphia-based professional actors over a 17 day period that allows for 29 hours of rehearsal and staged reading time along with ample time to reflect and write. The work will be preceded by a three-day pre-conference retreat (July 11 – 13) that will help lay the collaborative groundwork for the development time ahead. These three days give the artistic teams the opportunity to get to know each other and the six scripts at the center of the Conference. The Conference concludes with public staged readings that are intended as a part of the process, not a final product, giving playwrights an opportunity to measure the efficacy of their work and provide an opportunity to gauge the work ahead. PlayPenn will provide travel for casting for both writer and director, travel to and from the conference, housing, per diem and a stipend.

Applicants should be aware that we are a development Conference rather than a festival or showcase for new work. The distinction is important and meaningful to us in the current climate of the increasing commercialization of play development. We work to avoid participation in what has become known as "development hell" by fostering an environment in which risk is rewarded and honest assessment is provided and encouraged.

Please follow the instructions to upload your play into our system. Because the data base identifies you through your registration, NO NAME SHOULD BE INCLUDED ON ANY DOCUMENT, INCLUDING YOUR RESUME. Please submit the following:
  1. An original script in pdf format with no identifying information. Applications that are submitted in non-pdf format will not be considered (pdf) (no name on the document).
  2. Your current resume (pdf) (no name on the document)
  3. A casting breakdown and the number of actors required (pdf) (no name on the document)
  4. The play's development and production history Plays that have been produced or that have been through an extended development process are not eligible. Plays that have had readings are eligible. (pdf) (no name on the document).
  5. An articulation of your goals for the development process using the resources offered by PlayPenn. Please be specific in regard to what aspects of your text you would like to focus on during the course of the conference. (pdf) (no name on the document).

We cannot consider plays for children, plays under one hour in length or musicals.

PlayPenn does not accept applications by agents.

And as stated above, applicants should be aware that we are a development conference rather than a festival or showcase for new work. The distinction is important and meaningful to us in the current climate of the increasing commercialization of play development. We seek to avoid participation in what has become known as "development hell" by fostering an environment in which risk is rewarded and honest assessment is provided and encouraged. TO THAT END, WE FOCUS ON THE NEEDS OF THE TEXT. THE END-OF CONFERENCE READING IS INTENDED TO PRESENT A GLIMPSE INTO HOW THE TEXT LIVES OFF THE PAGE RATHER THAN HOW THE PLAY MIGHT BE STAGED IN PRODUCTION.

Ruby Prize (Women of Color)
Deadline: October 15th

Southern Rep is pleased to announce that it will accept submissions for The Ruby Prize, effective immediately. The $10,000 annual award is named in honor of Ruby Bridges, who showed incredible perseverance in the face of formidable obstacles. The Ruby Prize seeks to support women playwrights of color whose work changes the voice of American theatre.

This program was conceived as part of ongoing efforts made by Southern Rep to develop new American plays, support a diverse community of artists, and incite a stimulating dialogue within our community.

- $10,000 prize
- A week long development workshop with collaboration of full artistic team at the Southern Rep New Play Bacchanal, held in New Orleans in January 2014.
- A sponsored trip to New York to continue development of the play and introduce the new work to a larger audience (All travel includes roundtrip air and accommodations.)
- Two finalists will be selected to have their new works read at the Southern Rep New Play Bacchanal in January 2014. (Includes roundtrip air and accommodations. There is no cash award associated with the selection of finalists.)

- The contest will be open to US citizens who self-identify as women of color, and may be either emerging or established playwrights.
- Southern Rep’s in-house readers will review and evaluate scripts, selecting finalists that will be move into the next round of judging. The final panel consists of national and local theatre artists with Southern Rep’s Artistic Director, Aimée Hayes.
- Plays may be of any genre: drama, comedy, musical, etcetera. We will not accept collaborative scripts, translations, one-acts, or any play previously submitted to Southern Rep. In the case of musical submissions, only the playwright will be eligible for the prize.
- Plays that have had a professional production may not be submitted. Plays that have received a workshop, reading, or non-professional production are eligible. (“Professional production” shall be defined as a production with paid actors and an official press opening.
- Only one submission per playwright is allowed.


Each submission shall include a letter of introduction which should contain a brief play synopsis, a character breakdown, playwright bio, and brief history of the play’s development. The manuscript should have a title page containing the playwright’s name, address and contact information. This information may ONLY appear on the title page.
Submissions must be sent by email, as an attached document, in PDF (preferred) or Word doc format.

T. Schreiber Studio New Works
Deadline: October 1st

The T. Schreiber Studio New Works Project is committed to supporting the development of new plays in a safe and nurturing environment-one that serves the playwright and enriches the T. Schreiber Studio community as a whole. The studio provides the playwright access to the expertise of experienced theatre professionals, sophisticated and well trained actors, and a supportive, interactive, audience. In the New Works Project, T. Schreiber will develop new theatrical productions through a series of staged readings and collaborative refinement, culminating in a professional workshop production. The goal is to foster and elevate writers’ work to its fullest potential.

The winning play will receive two staged readings, in Winter and Spring, 2014, performed by T. Schreiber Studio actors. To further develop the play, audience feedback is solicited and the production staff of T. Schreiber will work directly with the playwright to refine the play.  The New Works Project culminates in a workshop production of the winning play for a short run in the of Summer 2014.  There will be no cash prize provided for the selected play.  However, the developmental assistance provided for the selected playwright is invaluable.

The New Works Project is committed to script development and successful production of new works.  Winning playwrights are expected to participate fully in the development process: working directly with the director and T. Schreiber staff during staged readings; interacting with audiences post-readings; and participating in the workshop production.  While T. Schreiber cannot provide transportation or housing to playwrights submitting works from outside the NYC area, every effort will be made to help selected playwrights find local accommodations.

  • Submission deadline for the New Works Project is December 1st, 2013.
  • Submission must be full-length in any genre.
  • Plays must not have received a full-scale, professional production prior to submission.
  • Playwrights with past production experience are especially encouraged to submit new work.
  • Productions should be developed for the stage, not other media: e.g. screenplays or teleplays submitted as theatrical plays.
  • One script per author.
  • Character age range: 16 and up
  • There is NO submission fee for the New Works Project.
  • Do not send more than the materials requested below. No incomplete submissions will be accepted.
  • Please NO PHONE inquiries.

Submission is a two-phase process.
Phase I: Submit a two page maximum treatment of the play including title, character breakdown (please include age range and gender), and brief story synopsis. Also include 5 pages of consecutive sample dialogue. Playwrights should also include a one page bio and resume including contact information. All abstracts and dialogue samples will be read. From these, selected manuscripts will be solicited for Phase II.

Please do not submit a manuscript with or instead of the abstract. Unsolicited manuscripts will not be read. Electronic copies must be emailed to with “New Works Project: Phase I” in the subject line.

Send treatment, sample dialogue and resume to:

Phase II: All manuscripts that have been solicited for Phase II will be read and reviewed by the selection committee. Manuscripts should be properly formatted and have the playwright’s name, contact address and phone number on the front page. PDF’s and MS Word file formats preferred. No unsolicited manuscripts. Please email manuscripts to with “New Works Project: Phase II” in the subject line.

Theatre Three One-Act Festival
Deadline: Sept. 30th

THEATRE THREE, Port Jefferson, New York, is now accepting submissions for its... 17th ANNUAL Festival of One-Act Plays to be held on its Second Stage, the Ronald F. Peierls Theatre, during March.

Only UNPRODUCED works will be accepted. Plays that have had staged readings are eligible.No adaptations, musicals, or children’s plays. Cast size maximum: 8
Length: 40-minutes maximum. No minimum. 
Settings should be simple or suggested.
Playwrights may make multiple submissions. (These need not be made under separate cover.)

Please do not submit works that have been previously submitted.
Scripts must be post-marked by September 30th. Please submit a cover letter, a synopsis, and a resume along with one copy of the play.  Cover-sheet of play should have title, author, author’s address, author’s telephone number, and author’s e-mail.  Plays should be neatly bound or stapled on the left hand corner.  (No loose pages and no binders, please.)  All submissions must include a standard SASE for correspondence.  Or, if playwrights wish to have their works returned, an appropriate SASE must also be included.

Selected plays will be presented for ten performances.  Playwrights will receive a small stipend.

Plays should be submitted to The 16th Annual Festival of One-Act Plays, Attn. Jeffrey Sanzel, Artistic Director, THEATRE THREE, PO Box 512, Port Jefferson, NY 11777-0512.
We do no accept electronic (e-mail) submissions). Please do not call or stop by the theatre.

Milwaukee Rep Lab Short Play Festival
Deadline: Sept. 16th

Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s annual Rep Lab Short Play Festival features The Rep’s Artistic Intern ensemble in an evening of short plays. In the past, Rep Lab festivals have included work by established playwrights and emerging playwrights, funny plays and serious ones, published and unpublished scripts, and even a short musical.

As we plan our fourth season of Rep Lab, we welcome submissions of short plays for the 2014 festival. Plays should be between thirty seconds to twenty minutes in length with a cast size between one to twelve actors. Plays will be cast from The Rep’s multi-ethnic ensemble of intern actors between the ages of 22 and 35, directed by a combination of staff, Artistic Associates, and Directing Interns, and produced and designed by The Rep’s Production Interns, all under the guidance of The Rep’s professional staff.

Playwrights whose plays are selected for production will receive commensurate royalty payments.

*Selection Process:*

Short plays received by September 16, 2013 will be considered for the 2013/14 season festival. Scripts may have received productions at other theaters or may be as-yet unproduced work. Playwrights may submit as many pieces as they like that they feel fit the stated criteria.

Note: Due to the volume of submissions, we cannot respond to every submission. We will notify you by January 15, 2013, if your script has been chosen for the festival.  Additionally, all scripts received will be kept
on file for consideration in future Rep Lab festivals.


- Submissions should be emailed to Milwaukee Rep Literary Coordinator Leda Hoffmann at with the subject line “REP LAB – [Title of Play]”

- Please email scripts in PDF or Word format.

- Please include your name and contact information for you or your agent (if applicable), on the front page of the script.

- Please label the script file as follows: PLAY TITLE (Playwright’s Last Name)

Deadline: September 22nd

For the fifth Biennial Commission we’d like you to consider Robert Altman’s movie Nashville.

No, we aren’t looking for a cast of thousands, a 2 1/2 hour opus, a dissection of country music or of red state culture. But we love the way Altman’s movies move from the ridiculous to the heart-breaking, we love the combo of the highly auteured and the DIY, the obliqueness,  the leitmotifs and the red herrings, the imperfection of the characters and of the movie itself, the excruciating humanity that is never ever mawkish, and the monumental and surprising accrual. So watch the amazing Nashville and if you like, other Altmans, and let ‘em inspire you in whatever way that happens for you.

Please explore the following possibilities:

  • What if you created a cast with no dominant racial or cultural group, or/and in which more than one significant character was from a racial or cultural background different than your own?
  • What if your play started just as something BIG has just ended OR the moment after someone has been terribly hurt?
  • What if temperature is a factor?
  • What if there is at least one scene where there is a difficulty with a light source?
  • What if “close ups” are a factor in your play?  Yes, we are referring to cinematic-style close ups, but how might that translate in world of your play?
  • BONUS (just for fun):  What is the theatrical equivalent of an Altman-style epic tracking shot?

Please submit the following (BLIND submission, see notes below):

  • Completed info form (s)
  • 10 exploratory pages from the proposed project (either contiguous or from different sections of your play – your choice)
  • one page telling us about that project
  • a completed play
  • a resume


No names please, on 10 page samples or complete plays. The panel reads all submissions BLIND — the only place your name should appear is on the INFO FORM AND YOUR RESUME.

This year, in addition to submitting a letter of intent and ten pages and a resume, we are asking for writers to upload a completed play, along with a brief statement to help us understand its relationship to the proposed project, and recommending ten pages to look at for reference.  We are only requesting the completed script so that our committee members can get a greater sense of the writer’s voice, if they feel they need to.

The statement of intent should briefly map out the proposed piece and if need be, orient the reader to the excerpt’s relationship to the whole. You needn’t explain or repeat anything that your 10 page sample makes clear. Then give us an idea of where the piece is coming from and where you think you want to go with it.

One last thing: this is a commission for Clubbed Thumb. So scoot around our website take a look at our general submission policy and history for reference, if they are not familiar to you.


DEADLINE: Sunday, September 22nd, 4:44 EST. The Autumnal Equinox, at least according to the internet.

The proposals will be read and adjudicated over the course of the fall, and the commission(s) awarded by Thanksgiving.

The $15,000 commission — which might be split between writers if the panel so elects — will be paid out in three installments every six months, with the first installment following the signing of a contract. Send questions to info[at]


Clubbed Thumb will accept submissions that fall within the following guidelines:

  • Unproduced in New York City
  • Running time: 90 min or under.
  • Intermissionless
  • Must feature substantial and challenging roles for both men and women
  • At least a 3 character cast

Clubbed Thumb produces plays that are funny, strange, and provocative. Please check out our history area to get a feeling for our sensibility and a selected chronology.
Please do not send scripts that fall outside these guidelines.

For general submissions, please send scripts to:
Clubbed Thumb 195 Chrystie Street, #401A New York, NY 10002
Please do not bind scripts; pages should be loose or clipped with a binder clip.

Clubbed Thumb does read and respond to every play submitted. However, with a staff of two, this may take many months. Please be patient and do not follow up on the status of your submission. Please wait for a response to one play before sending another.

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati
Deadline: October 1st

We accept script submissions from June to October only. You may submit a complete script or 10 sample pages. Please include a cover letter, complete character list and synopsis with your submission. We look for: full-length plays only (no one-acts), adaptations and musicals; world and regional premieres; ensemble works; plays with music; multi-media works; and plays that address current social issues.


Please be aware that Ensemble Theatre’s stage is a full thrust with relatively no wing or fly space and limited backstage area; therefore, our space is not very conducive to plays that require significant scene changes or numerous settings and places that are not easily adaptable or implied.

Before submitting any material to Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, please read our mission statement and research our production history, which are located on our website. Considering the types of plays we have produced in the past, honestly assess whether or not your play would fit us.

Preferred maximum cast size: 8.
Response Time: 6-9 months.
Stage dimensions: 44’ x 46’.

Please email (preferred) script submissions

If you do send a hard copy, you must include a SASE for our response and/or return of the material.

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati
Attn: Script Submissions
1127 Vine Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Deadline: September 15th

Guggenheim supports work that require research, travel, or in-depth study.

Submission of work examples in support of your application After your application is received, you will receive an email confirmation. You may also receive a separate email with further instructions about when to submit examples of your work. Please do not send work examples until you receive these further instructions. Applicants in science need not submit examples of their work. Applicants in scholarship may (but are not required to) submit examples of previous work, following the procedures described below. Applicants in the arts (i.e., fine arts, music composition, photography, film, video, and choreography) must submit examples of previous work in order for their applications to receive full consideration by our advisers. If you do not submit examples, you will not receive consideration. The email will instruct you to log in to our competition website using your competition login credentials (i.e., username and password) and complete our Work Example Registry System. Follow the directions on the registry page to submit the information regarding the work examples you are submitting in support of your application.

Mario Fratti-Fred Newman Political Play Contest
Deadline: October 1st

The Castillo Theatre sponsors the Mario Fratti-Fred Newman Political Play Contest annually. In its seventh year, the purpose of the political play contest to encourage the writing of scripts for the stage that engage the political/social/cultural questions affecting the world today and/or historical events and issues that impact on our political/cultural heritage. While Castillo recognizes that in the broadest sense, all theatre is political, the contest is seeking politically progressive plays that: look at social and/or economic problems and challenges; explore possibilities of social transformation; and, reflect the
concerns and interests of communities and/or which explore the
importance of community. The contest also welcomes scripts that
experiment with form and seek new ways of seeing and new ways of
experiencing theatrical performance. The plays submitted to the
Fratti-Newman Contest may be written in any style, set in any historical time, geographic or imaginary location, contain any number of characters and be of any length. The plays must be in English and cannot be musicals or adaptations. No scripts will be considered that have previously been submitted to this contest, have received a production or won other contests. Only one script per playwright will be accepted.

The contest is judged by a team of distinguished theatre artists. The winning script(s) will receive a reading and/or a production at the Castillo Theatre in New York City during the theatre’s 2014 summer season.

All scripts should be submitted in hard copy and must be accompanied by:
  • a statement of the political/social/cultural questions that the script
  • engages (scripts without a statement will not be considered);
  • A brief synopsis;
  • A character breakdown, including gender, age and ethnic requirements, if any;
  • A 100-word biography of the playwright;
  • A current email address for the playwright

All scripts must be postmarked by October 1st

The winner(s) will be publicly announced at the Otto René Castillo Awards for Political Theatre in New York City in May of 2014.

Send all submissions to:

Castillo Theatre
543 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036
Attn: Fratti-Newman Political Play Contest

Questions and inquiries should be addressed to Madelyn Chapman at 212-356-8485 or

Deadline: November 1st

The EST/Sloan Project commissions, develops and presents new works delving into how we view and are affected by the scientific world. These plays examine the struggles and challenges scientists and engineers face from moral issues to the consequences of their discoveries.

The Project is designed to stimulate artists to create credible and compelling work exploring the worlds of science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes of scientists and engineers in the popular imagination. The Project commissions and develops new works throughout EST’s developmental season, including one Mainstage Production, as well as workshops and readings in an annual festival called FIRST LIGHT.

The EST/Sloan Project is open to a broad range of topics related to the issues, people, ideas, processes, leading-edge discoveries, inventions, and/or history of the "hard" sciences and technology.

Hard sciences include the following areas:

  • Mathematics
  • Physics (geological, nuclear, theoretical, etc.)
  • Biology (evolution, zoology, animal behavior, ecology, molecular, genetics, etc.)
  • Chemistry (industrial, biochemistry, etc.)
  • Neuroscience
  • Anthropology and Archaeology

Technology includes:

  • Computer Science
  • Software Development, Computer Development
  • Engineering (civil, chemical, mechanical, electrical, aerospace, vehicle design)
  • Space Research

New Commissions

Individuals, creative teams and theatre companies interested in receiving an EST/Sloan Project commission should submit the following as their application for a grant:
  1. A one- or two-page description or a simple outline/synopsis of the project. This document should describe the actual story being explored, the source of inspiration behind the idea, and how the science being portrayed would be inherently dramatic in the piece.
  2. A resume or biography of each collaborator involved.

Delivering Your Submission

We accept scripts in the following manner...

Email (preferred):

City Theatre National Award for Short Playwriting
Deadline: September 30th

City Theatre seeks to furthers the Company’s mission: to identify, acknowledge and award excellence in dramatic writing. Up to fifteen playwrights will be selected from among the hundreds who annually submit their ten-minute plays to the company for special recognition.  The winning play will be produced in the annual Summer Shorts festival, for which the playwright will earn royalties, be invited to Miami for the festival and to take part in the CityWrights Professional Weekend for Playwrights.  Transportation, hotel, the Weekend and a cash prize will be awarded up to a value of $2,000.00.  Finalists will receive free tuition to attend CityWrights, and may be considered for production in the Summer Shorts festival and other programming. City Theatre National Award scripts will be submitted to the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Festival. The Summer Shorts Festivals are produced annually in Miami in the month of June.

City Theatre Play Submissions Rules and Information;
Please review the criteria thoroughly before sending your submission to City Theatre. Plays will be accepted yearly from August 15 – October 31. Scripts won’t be considered sooner or later!

With the mission of developing and producing original short plays by established talents and promising new voices, City Theatre is looking for wonderful ten-minute plays for our annual Summer Shorts festival and other programming. Having produced hundreds of plays, we know what we want; scripts that are lively and timely, hilarious and thought-provoking, poignant and dangerous. We look for plays that span style and genre. We will consider bilingual scripts and ten-minute musicals. We have no restriction on the age range of the characters. In other words, for us to consider a script for production, we are seeking compelling plays that rise above the ordinary.

  • Each playwright may submit only one script - send us your best!
  • No scripts will be returned - save postage. No SASE required.
  • Each script must be no more than ten pages long. We start counting when the actual play begins. Please remember to submit scripts with page numbers.
  • Previously submitted plays, children's shows, and any unsolicited longer one-act or full-length plays are not accepted and will not be returned.
  • City Theatre will consider previously produced works, but there must be a production history included with submission.
  • Manuscripts must be typed and individually bound or stapled. Title page must include name, address, email address and phone number. We will accept electronic submissions provided all of the contact info and production history is included.
The volume of scripts submitted prevents us from providing feedback or criticism.

NOTE: City Theatre will only contact the playwrights with scripts the company is interested in producing. Playwrights with scripts in consideration will be contacted in February-March.

Electronic submissions should be emailed to

For questions email

Deadlne: October 15th

The Lark’s Open Access Program seeks to provide development opportunities for new and diverse voices for the theater by identifying and advancing promising plays that reveal unheard and vital perspectives.  This submissions program allows the Lark to serve a wide range of playwrights through a blind reading process.
Our support criteria emphasizes ambitious, fresh, playful, engaging, energizing, provocative, powerful and theatrical work by writers with clear statements of purpose who are open to a collaborative development process.

Writers Selected for Playwrights’ Week are Provided with:
- A creative team for ten hours of rehearsal to address self-defined developmental goals
- A public staged reading
- Opportunities to engage with other Playwrights’ Week participants in a peer-based community of support and conversation.

A Complete Submission is  Composed of Two Parts:
1.) A completed application form.
2.) A full-length script, with your name or any identifying information removed. We are committed to a blind reading policy and it is important that each writer remains anonymous for the initial review.
We strongly encourage you to submit your application form and script (in Word or PDF form) electronically.

Email/Postmark Deadline
Deadline: OCTOBER 15, 2013 (11:59pm EST)
Please EMAIL your script and completed application as two separate attachments in the same email to:


MAIL completed submission materials to:
Lark Play Development Center
c/o Playwrights’ Week 2014 Submissions
311 West 43rd Street, Suite 406
New York, NY 10036

Submission Guidelines
Before submitting your materials, please review the following SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:
- Submit ONE completed application and ONE full-length play.
- No more than ONE play per playwright will be considered.
- List ONLY the play title on the cover page. NO personal information.
- If you are emailing your submission, please attach only Word or PDF files.
- If you are mailing your submission, double-sided pages are appreciated if possible.  Application materials should not be attached to the script itself.  Hard copies will not be returned.
- If you are submitting a musical, you must mail the script/libretto together with any recorded part of the score to the office.

Other Important Information
- Each applicant should expect a confirmation of application receipt by November 2013 and a final response by July 2014.
- While there is no official minimum number of pages for submitted plays and a one-act play can qualify as full-length, we do not accept 10-minute or multiple, short one-act plays.
- Writers living outside of the United States can apply if the script was originally written in English.
- Due to the volume of submissions to this program, we will be unable to accept revised drafts of scripts during the selection process.
- If you have any questions or would like more information, please email

Three D
Deadline: September 30th

Seeking Three-Section Play for Production

Three-D is seeking submissions from New York-based playwrights interested in workshopping a play (or developing a new one), culminating in a fully-realized production. We are particularly seeking plays that are ensemble-driven and open to interpretation.

Three-D is a group of artists interested in developing a new play through a workshop period with the playwright, followed by a fully staged production in the Spring or Summer of 2014 (dates TBD). The play must be divisible into three-sections (three acts, three scenes, or three groupings of scenes would all be fine) that are pretty equal in length and depth.

Playwrights whose plays are selected for further review will be asked to meet with Three-D artists to discuss the particulars of the project.

If you have a play that fits this criteria, please send us the play in its entirety. If it is not obvious where the sections fall (i.e. if it is not a three-act or three-scene play), please let us know how you envision it should be divided.

If you are interested in developing a play with Three-D that you have not yet written, please send an outline of your play idea and a writing sample of another play that you have completed—any length is fine.

Play submissions should be sent in PDF format. If you are submitting more than one play, please send each one in a separate email.

The subject line of your email should read as follows: PLAY NAME by YOUR NAME.

In the body of the email, please include a brief synopsis of the play (2-5 sentences) and a character breakdown (ex/ 3F, 2M).

Please send submissions to:

Submissions will be accepted until September 30, 2013.

Three-D encourages female playwrights to apply.

InspiraTO Festival
Deadline: Dec. 19th

InspiraTO Festival, Canada's largest ten-minute play festival, and we are currently looking for play submissions.
Open to anyone. Please visit

Submission guidelines:

1. The creative challenge: The staging of the play must involve two or more dimensions* i.e. fantasy & reality; fiction & history; past & present; living & dead; different psychological states (character & alter ego); spiritual & physical world;  reality & dream world; deaf & hearing; human & abstract; stage & breaking the fourth wall, etc.
*A dimension is anything occurring in the same time and space.
Please note: The actors in the script cannot just mention a different dimension - this needs to be shown on stage.  For example, a play where a character just talks about a ghost would not qualify: a ghost, would at some point, need to appear on stage, for the submission to qualify. 

2. The play must be a ten-minute play. You must submit online (see instructions below):
Fill out the submission form completely and submit your play to (click on the link):  

Attach your script in a WORD document or in a PDF file.  Hit "submit". The WORD document must be compatible with Window XP. (Note: Vista & Mac formats are notcompatible). 
The cover page should have the title of the play, the playwright's name and the list of characters. The pages should be numbered. The format should be easy to read.
We accept previously produced plays.  The playwright must own the rights to the play up to the end of June 2014 (i.e. the script cannot be owned by a publisher).  Any style is acceptable except musicals. We are particularly interested in scripts that aren't afraid to make bold choices: quality writing backed by imaginative staging.
Only those playwrights whose plays have been selected will be notified by January 21, 2014.   The plays will be selected by a committee from the Toronto theatre community.  
If selected, your play will be performed in Toronto, Canada from May 29 - June 7, 2014.  Between eleven to eighteen  ten-minute plays will be selected and performed. 1st Prize:$500 CDN.

Should your play be selected for inclusion in the festival, you are giving the non-exclusive right to Theatre InspiraTO to produce and perform the play in the 9th Annual InspiraTO Festival in Toronto (Canada's largest ten-minute play festival), in the May/June 2014.  The InspiraTO Festival will find the cast, crew and market your play.Authors retain copyright and full ownership of their plays.

The submission must be a play. A ten-minute play is distinct from a sketch, or a skit; it is a compact play, with a beginning, middle and an end. You need a character facing obstacles in pursuit of some specific goal. You need rising action, conflict, and a climactic moment. Your play must tell a complete story.  

The submission must be 10 minutes.  Generally speaking scripts (including the stage directions, character names and dialogue) that are over 1,900 words are more than ten minutes long on stage.  This does not mean that all plays under 1,900 words are under ten minutes.  So be wise - use Word Count.  It also helps to read the play out loud and time it (keeping in mind all the pauses).  You don't want your hard work rejected because it was too long.

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