Monday, June 20, 2016

Hardworking Me

Do you think you're a hard worker?

My trainer caught me off-guard with this question because I was so exhausted from dragging a sled of weights across the gym floor. I gasped for breath..


Then I added an addendum after a few moments...

In comparison to others...yes, probably. 

But usually I don't compare my performances to others. I only juxtaposition my 'now' with what I did before and what I'm trying to do. So the question of 'being a hardworker' is a moot point. I'm only as good as my last session, my last written page. And every moment is an opportunity. I've had some bad sessions and written some atrocious pages. And then I have had good moments. But there isn't a hard-working or lazy 'me.' There isn't a smart writer or a fraudulent hack. Only this time right here. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

OBAMA-OLOGY: The One (Again)

I was asked to write some author notes for the American premiere of OBAMA-OLOGY at Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles. I revised the notes I made for RADA when this play opened in London last spring. 

Our culture has a messianic fixation on ‘the one.’ That’s who Barack Obama was in 2008: not a presidential candidate, not a junior Senator Illinois. He was ‘the one.’ In my past I have been held that token position. I have been saddled and paraded out with impossible expectations that traded my humanity for symbols of someone else’s virtue. Being ‘the one’ is a terribly fraught because even the slightest setback seems to not only reflect poorly on your entire race, but enrages your so-called supporters who feel as if they have been morally betrayed, while delighting your detractors who feel as if their bigotry has been vindicated. It is a perversion of tokenism where a person becomes fetishized into statue, a robot, a slogan. After eight years, the Obama presidency has very little to do with his actual accomplishments. It is a national Rorschach test of our vices and virtues. Who do we think we are as Americans and how do we see ourselves reflected in the one.  OBAMA-OLOGY is about that strange ‘oneness’ that can drive a person crazy, incite an act of heroism, disintegrate familial ties, win an election, re-arrange a character’s DNA, and change our destiny. 

OBAMA-OLOGY opens July 19th. For tickets see Skylight Theatre's website:

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Orlando thoughts

I met up with Oshri in Beverly Hills on Saturday. We walked around and went to Whole Foods for a smoothie while he carried his baby nephew on his shoulder. He shared his intense experience with hatred and loss with me. Walking back from Whole Foods, we went over the election and Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, and the insanity. It felt like we were talking around the issue that was underneath all these frustration: ignorance. The lack of knowledge is not only rejected it's now become emboldened. To know-nothing and lash out with rage at different groups is lynch-mob mentality. That kind of thinking creates chaos while leaving the actual problem untouched. Our world seems obsessed with fear, scapegoating, rage, and violence because we don't understand how the world works. We conceived of a cartoon story for Oshri to animate that deals with love and hate.

The next morning I woke up to the news of the Orlando mass shooting, which is the deadliest gun massacre by a lone criminal. It felt like the themes are repeated again and again.

Columbine, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Charleston, Orlando, and a hundred other cities are graveyards commemorating our continued and prolonged insanity. 

Friday, June 3, 2016


The Civilians R&D
Deadline: June 15th

Please read these directions carefully BEFORE completing the application. Note: this application cannot be saved.

The Civilians R&D Group is comprised of theater artists from various disciplines (writers, directors, composers, performance, etc.) interested in exploring different strategies for making investigative theater and being a part of The Civilians' community of artists.

We define "investigative theater" broadly, meaning any creative process of inquiry that feeds the creation of a work of theater. Methods may include research, a community-based focus, interviews, company-devised strategies, or other experimental strategies of the artist's design. The artists meet on a regular basis for nine months to share and discuss their methodologies and the resulting work with the group, facilitated by the R&D Coordinator. The generative artists in the group (writers, composers, writer/actor, writer/director, etc.) are expected to attend all of the sessions; regular attendance is critical and should be considered when applying.

Additionally, a group of directors are chosen to complete the group. Directors are invited to meetings, but not expected to attend all; the directors become more active at the end of the season, with the direction of the public readings.

The intention of the group is that each writer will finish a draft for public presentation by May 2017. Given the nature of the process, it is understood that these drafts will be in various stages of development when they are presented.

This year, members of the R & D Group will have the option to curate or co-curate an evening at Joe’s Pub as part of The Civilians’ Let Me Ascertain You cabaret series. The curator(s) will be primarily responsible for the creation of content and execution of the cabaret in close collaboration with The Civilians staff. Artists will pitch project ideas and draw upon the talents of fellow R & D group members, their own networks, and/or The Civilians’ network of Associate Artists to explore their cabaret subject. The curator(s) will receive guidance and support from The Civilians including the Field Research Team of artist/interviewers. Curators will be expected to identify the subject of their cabaret approximately 6 months in advance of the set date. While we are excited to offer this opportunity to members of the Civilians R & D Group, we understand that it is an additional set of responsibilities above and beyond the demands of the group. We ask you to please be honest and genuine in expressing your interest to participate in this portion of the program; interest in being a curator WILL NOT be a deciding factor in admission into the group. There may also be opportunities for R & D Group member participation in some of our other programs such as contributing to our online platform,Extended Play, and our podcast series.

IATI Play Development Program
Deadline: June 30th

In its 16th season, IATI’s Play Reading Series spotlights a curation of national and cross-continental contemporary writers. Play readings will include a talkback with the playwright, director, actors and guests to focuses on audience reaction and constructive feedback to bring the new work closer to a fully-realized production. Plays may be written in either English or Spanish. Submissions lacking any of the following guidelines will not be considered.

  • Submission will only be accepted through the online form.  See link here (only visible in June 2016.)
  • Submissions must be the author's own work. The piece shall be free from copyright restrictions and the author agrees to hold IATI Theater and directors free and harmless from all copyright claims.
  • The playwright must commit to be present on the staged reading performance of his/her work.
  • The playwright must commit to be present on the PPP (Pal Playwrights Panel) assigned to his/her work.
  • This program is open to authors from anywhere in the world with original works in English or Spanish who are interested in a New York audience feedback. However, because of the PPP (Pal Playwrights Panel), every playwright must be present to take part in the monthly meetings or commit to presenting feedback electronically or in written form on the dates of the PPP's and with no delay.
  • Only one play may be submitted per playwright, per season.
  • Submissions must not exceed 90 minutes in length.
  • The play must require 5 actors or less.  Plays that have more than 5 actors and do not provide a clear and stageable doubling explanation will not be reviewed. If doubling is possible, it must be expressed clearly on the online form.
  • The submission must be a completed full-length play that has not previously been produced in any setting. If the play has undergone a workshop, staged reading or development of any kind, the playwright must inform IATI Theater of the specifics on the online form.
  • The author’s name(s) should be nowhere within the script, any authorship information must not be visible in the play document.  Scripts will be read ‘blind’.
  • Please use a standard playwriting format.

Nashville Rep: Ingram New Works Project
Deadline: June 13th

The Ingram New Works Project was launched by Nashville Repertory Theatre in 2009 thanks to the generous support of Martha Ingram. With the mission to support the creation of new works for the theatre, Nashville Rep created a project that includes the New Works Lab.
The Ingram New Works Lab is intended to be an artistic home for emerging playwrights to share and develop new work, hone craft, receive support, and springboard themselves into the next phase of their writing career, providing a fertile environment for the emergence of great new plays.
Nashville Rep seeks committed playwrights for residency in the 2016-2017 Ingram New Works Lab.

Submission deadline is Midnight CT June 13, 2016.

The Ingram New Works Lab is an artistic home for playwrights and a fertile environment for the creation of great new plays. During monthly Lab meetings in Nashville, playwrights share and develop a new work and receive transformative support and project guidance from dedicated staff. In addition to the monthly meetings, each playwright will participate in a week-long New Works Symposium in January 2017 with the recipient of the Ingram New Works Fellowship. During their residency, each playwright will be expected to work toward the creation of a brand new play that will be presented in a staged reading featured at the Ingram New Works Festival in May 2017.
The Ingram New Works Lab is a generative residency in which selected playwrights will create a brand new work for the theatre. Nashville Rep will serve and support selected playwrights as they work to develop their play from the idea stage to a muscular full draft. Nashville Rep will provide the playwrights-in-residence:
  • A season-long playwright-run script lab that meets once a month.
  • Access to professional actors, providing a choice of collaborators amongst theatre artists in Nashville.
  • Workshop sessions involving professional directors, designers, and dramaturgs.
  • Access to professional marketing and audience development resources.
  • A week-long symposium with the Ingram New Works Fellow.
  • Participation in the Ingram New Works Festival, giving the playwrights the opportunity to work with a professional director and actors in rehearsal and hear their script read in front of a live audience.
  • A supportive environment to foster and support the playwright’s process.
  • Housing during residency dates in Nashville.
  • Travel allowance for each trip to Nashville.
  • A small stipend to defray additional expenses.
The New Works Lab will meet once a month to provide playwrights-in-residence with a supportive but disciplined environment to workshop their scripts. By definition a laboratory is a testing ground inasmuch as it offers opportunities for observation, practice and experimentation. Every playwright will have the opportunity to hear multiple drafts of their script read aloud by actors and receive feedback from their fellow playwrights. The lab will provide the opportunity for playwrights to shape, mold, and develop as many drafts as they feel necessary before festival rehearsals begin.
Please use the form for your submission. Upload your letter of intent, one page bio, one page artistic statement, and play in PDF format. Your application must include all four files. You will receive a confirmation email shortly to verify your submission.
Submission deadline is Midnight CT June 13, 2016.
Additional questions can be sent to Nate Eppler, Ingram New Works Lab Director,

Mario Fratti-Fred Newman Political Play Contest
Deadline: July 1st
The Castillo Theatre sponsors the Mario Fratti-Fred Newman Political Play Contest and reading series bi-annually. The contest is intended to encourage the writing of progressive plays that engage the political/social/cultural questions affecting the world today and/or historical events and issues that impact on our communities.
The contest encourages scripts that experiment with form and seek new ways of seeing and new ways of experiencing theatrical performance.  Castillo welcomes scripts from all countries and cultures.
The plays submitted to the Fratti-Newman Political Play 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 per year will be accepted.
The contest is judged by a team of distinguished theatre artists. The winning script(s) will receive a reading at the Castillo Theatre in New York City during the theatre’s 2017 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 with no accompanying 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
Please note:
  • Receipt of script will be acknowledged via email.   
  • Scripts will not be returned.
  • Castillo does not give critical feedback to playwrights/contestants.
  • Contest winners are required to sign a letter of agreement, which will include, but not be limited to, granting the right for Castillo to produce one or more readings and/or a full production of the winning play.
  • Contest winners are responsible for travel expenses or any other expenses incurred as a result of participating in the development of the play with Castillo, or as a result of attending the reading and/or production.
All scripts must be postmarked by July 1, 2016. The winner(s) will be publicly announced at the Otto René Castillo Awards for Political Theatre in New York City in May of 2017.
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

Theatre LiLA
Deadline: July 10th
Theatre LILA, an Equity theatre company in Madison WI, is accepting submissions from playwrights and poets for our upcoming original work entitled The BED: a Theatre LILA invention. We are seeking short scenes ranging from five minutes to maximum of thirty minutes.  We will not be accepting monologues. We are also seeking all styles of poetry, spoken word and original songs.
Writers should know that the entire scene will be set around a large four poster bed. Submitted works must revolve around this set piece only plus props. This is a highly theatrical play-space and we encourage artists to consider LILA’s style of storytelling (see our portfolio at when submitting. Previously produced works may be submitted.
Your cast may not exceed 8 actors. We are a company dedicated to presenting plays that represent our community and are seeking a diverse collection of voices from all cultural backgrounds, races and ages. We love to get inventive and say ‘YES’ so we encourage you to be fearless in your ideas.
All selected scripts will be combined to create the world premiere of The BED.  This collage-like production will be produced by Theatre LILA in March, 2017.  Writers will receive a small stipend, a pair of complimentary tickets to the production and acknowledgement in press, website and playbill materials.
Submissions are DUE JULY 10th, 2016.  Please email your submission in a PDF format to  Subject line should read ‘The BED-(your last name)’

33 ⅓ Book Proposal
Deadline: open

33 ⅓ is a prestigious book publishing company that focuses on albums. It’s been around since 2003 and has gained a fairly good reputation, pays their writers a small advance, and offers a healthy percentage from book sales. You write a proposal for an album you want to cover, write a chapter, give a table of contents, and go. It’s great for the music lover who is also a great non-fiction writer able to give solid critique, cultural analysis, and understanding of where an album fits in the trajectory of music.

If you would like to submit a proposal for a 33 ⅓ volume, please submit ALL of the following The word/page counts below are not exact but should point you in the right direction of what we are looking for. Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
Submit the content below in one single document as either .doc, .docx or .pdf. No .rtf files will be accepted. Please put your name, album and artist in the subject line of the email.
Proposal requirements:
1. Your professional CV/resume, including full contact details + a short biography (25-50 words).
2. A draft annotated table of contents for the book. This should include chapter titles and a brief 50-500 word summary of each chapter. If you plan on deviating from a chapter structure, please explain why in 500 words.
3. A draft introduction/opening chapter for the book, of around 2,000 words.
4. A concise description of the book (up to 250 words). This needs to be clear, informative and persuasive. It should be suitable for use as the book’s blurb. It should be written so that people who are unfamiliar with the album will understand what this book is about.
5. Your analysis of the most relevant competing books already published (or forthcoming) about the artist in question or the scene surrounding that artist – and how your book will differ. Are there any films or film projects in the works? 200 words or less.
6. At least 500 words about yourself and why you are qualified to write this book. Why are you the best person to do it? How you would help Bloomsbury Academic market your book? Please list websites/forums/listservs you’d contact directly; any artist involvement you might expect; any college-level courses on which you think your book could be used, and so on.
7. Which existing 33 1/3 books or other types of music writing you like or dislike. Why? 500-1000 words.
8. Describe the audience for your book. What are the fans like? Describe your target market. How large is this market? 200 words.
9. Please list the amount of time it will take you to complete your manuscript.
10. Do you have any feedback? How is the series doing so far? What could we do better? Not required.
Upon submission you will receive an auto-reply message. Unfortunately we are not able to respond to each submission individually, but we will reach out to you as soon as we can if we would like to move forward with a project.
Just in case you need a refresher, here are the other books in the series and here are the ones currently contracted to come out in the next 3 years.

Yale Drama Series Prize
Deadline: August 15th

The Yale Drama Series is seeking submissions for its 2016 playwriting competition. The winning play will be selected by the series' current judge, distinguished playwright Nicholas Wright. The winner of this annual competition will be awarded the David Charles Horn Prize of $10,000, publication of his/her manuscript by Yale University Press, and a staged reading at Lincoln Center Theater.

There is no application form or entry fee.
Please follow these guidelines in preparing your manuscript:
1. This contest is restricted to plays written in the English language. Worldwide submissions are accepted.
2. Submissions must be original, unpublished full-length plays written in English. Translations, musicals, and children's plays are not accepted. The Yale Drama Series is intended to support emerging playwrights. Playwrights may win the competition only once.
3. Playwrights may submit only one manuscript per year.
4. Plays that have been professionally produced or published are not eligible.  Plays that have had a workshop, reading, or non-professional production or that have been published as an actor’s edition will be considered.
5. Plays may not be under option or scheduled for professional production or publication at the time of submission.
6. Plays must be typed/word-processed, page-numbered, and in standard professional play format.
7. The Yale Drama Series reserves the right to reject any manuscript for any reason.
8. The Yale Drama Series reserves the right of the judge to not choose a winner for any given year of the competition and reserves the right to determine the ineligibility of a winner, in keeping with the spirit of the competition, and based upon the accomplishments of the author.

The Yale Drama Series Competition strongly urges electronic submission. By electronically submitting your script, you will receive immediate confirmation of your successful submission and the ability to check the status of your entry.

Electronic submissions for the 2016 competition must be submitted no earlier than June 1, 2015 and no later than August 15, 2015.

If you are submitting your play electronically, please omit your name and contact information from your manuscript.  The manuscript must begin with a title page that shows the play's title, a 2-3 sentence keynote description of the play, a list of characters, and a list of acts and scenes. Please enter the title of your play, your name and contact information (including address, phone number, and email address), and a brief biography (optional) where indicated in the electronic submission form.

If you would like to submit an electronic copy of your manuscript please go to:

Briefs: A Festival of Short LGBTQ Plays
Deadline: June 30th

It's that time of year again, and we are opening short play submissions for our sixth annual Briefs: A Festival of Short LGBTQ Plays, which will be held in Spring 2017 in St Louis, Missouri. The festival is well attended and received and usually gets excellent coverage.

We are looking for plays that are 8-12 minutes in length, have two to five characters and that can be done with simple staging/props (we only use cubes for the set and minimal props), and that are LGBTQ themed. You can read all about last year's festival on our website, at .

In the past few years, we have gotten a lot of pieces about coming out and also on marriage equality. We would prefer to get pieces based around other concerns unless the piece is really special or offers a new perspective. LGBTQ characters or themes must be central to the piece, and we are especially interested in reading plays that explore the experiences of LGBTQ people of color, trans experience, youth and seniors. Comedy is a plus.

We work with a dramaturg, and it proves a very successful addition to the festival, especially for work that has not yet been produced or that might have needed additional attention. Do let us know if you would be open to using his services if we suggest it.

Please do not send us pieces you have sent before as we keep previous submissions on file, if you are unsure, email Becky at and ask before submitting. You may submit more than one play, but please submit each play separately.
Deadline for submission is June 30, 2016.
Please submit the following in the cover letter or attached-
1)100 word bio of the playwright
2) a short synopsis of your play
3) production history if applicable (or note that there is not one)
4) full contact info including email, home address, and cell phone for the playwright, if there is another number you are reachable at, please include that too.
There are extra upload spaces available if you would like to send a headshot, photo or promotional material from a production or other attachment you think we might find of interest.

Due to our small staff and the volume of material we receive, once we confirm that the submission is received and accepted, we will only contact you if we have questions or decide to produce your work. We can't wait to start reading all of your wonderful submissions! If you have any questions, email our submissions manager Becky at

Deadline: June 21st

MPAACT is seeking submissions of full-length original plays by African American and African Diaspora playwrights for its 2017-2018 season. Selected playwrights will be given development opportunities over the next year to prepare work for world premiere productions with our Chicago company. Female identified playwrights strongly encouraged to submit.

Materials should be submitted electronically to, and include:
- Cover letter
- Brief biography
- Resume (optional)
- Synopsis, with casting breakdown
- Full script

Deadline for submission is June 21, 2016.

Questions about our programs can be directed to Demetria Thomas, Literary Development Manager, at

The Cloverdale Playhouse – Guidelines for Playwriting Contest Submissions
Deadline: June 15th

Plays may be submitted between May 15 and June 15, 2016. No fee required. Only one play per playwright accepted.

Here are the play guidelines:
- Non-musical, full-length plays for writers 19 years and older.
-Non-musical, one-act plays for writers 18 years and younger. Must have parent’s or guardian’s written permission. All other requirements are the same.
- No limit on number of characters
- No restrictions on subject
- Submitted scripts must be unpublished and must not have received a full production.

The Cloverdale Playhouse reading is to be a world premiere.
- No translations or adaptations of previously published works
- No changes or revisions after submission
About the Format
- Must be submitted by email to as an attachment in adobe acrobat pdf
- Must be written in English
- Adult Division: minimum 60 pages, maximum 120 pages, using the guidelines of
- Young Writers’ Division: minimum 10 pages, maximum 30 pages, using the guidelines at the link above.
- Script must include, near the front: Cast list, brief character descriptions, and set requirements
- Script must have no indication of the author’s name on any page or in the file properties (this allows readers to be totally objective).
About the Reading
- Winner will be notified by August 1, 2016
- Members of the Cloverdale Playhouse Artistic Committee will judge the submissions and select a winner. The judges’ decision will be final.
- The winning play will be read at the Cloverdale Playhouse by actors from the community on September 12, 2016.
- Publicity for the event will be handled by the Cloverdale Playhouse. The winning playwright may be asked to participate in preparing the event and any media/marketing relating to the event.

While all reasonable care will be taken, the Cloverdale Playhouse cannot accept responsibility for loss of, or damage to, submitted scripts. The Cloverdale Playhouse and judges will destroy all electronic script submissions after the close of the program.

Incomplete submissions will be ineligible for inclusion in the program.
Questions? Please contact the Cloverdale Playhouse at (334) 262-1530. Email or visit

Inoculation Theory in 2020 Election

The Art of Argument and Persuasion was one of the freakiest classes at Northwestern. Actual relevant info students could take out of the cla...