Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019: Year in Review

JANUARY
I started the year in Miami Beach with Yilong. I was here doing research for Louis Armstrong and a reading/pre-production for CONFESSIONS OF A COCAINE COWBOY. Yilong was stressed out because of rewrites for JUNE IS THE FIRST FALL and had a skin outbreak. I was rewriting CCC and prepping an outline for the Armstrong musical. Rehearsals for FIRE SEASON were also starting in Seattle. It was a very massive kick-off to the year.

We spent one afternoon walking around on the beach. Otherwise, we wrote by the hotel pool or in the room.

CCC was already going through a rough patch. Well, the rough patch started artistic differences on the creative team.

I’m back in the room on THE GOOD FIGHT as a co-producer. Upon returning to Brooklyn, I go to the Mothership Meditation session organized by David. I bring Yilong with me, who isn’t really feeling it. But I run into Akin Salawu for the first time...in person. He talks about how THE DIAMOND CUTTER helped him. I’m glad I could recommend it.

By the end of the month I was in pre-production meetings for my episode of THE GOOD FIGHT. Brooke Kennedy was directing it. Little did I know that it would be listed by EW as one of the top episodes of the season for all of TV!

I saw NASSIM again because colleague and friend Jonathan Tollins was in it this time.

The writers group started off again. The amount of people showing up is starting to overwhelm the Signature Theatre lobby. We need to change so I start looking around for other places.

FEBRUARY

Geshe Michael Roach came to NYC and brought with him new teachings on Master Kamalashila commentary on THE DIAMOND CUTTER. Truly inspiring and brilliant. I also saw THE SKITTLES PLAY on Broadway. Funniest thing ever. Will Eno is a genius.

I traveled to Seattle to see the world premiere of FIRE SEASON. It rained that weekend...surprise surprise. And Yilong was sick...surprise surprise. But the premiere went really well. Standing ovation. I wish more people could see the show. But it got a fitting introduction to the world thanks to the Emerald Prize and SPT investing in a new play.

MARCH
World premiere of CONFESSIONS OF A COCAINE COWBOY. It was an arduous, torturous journey. It felt like I burned off some heavy black seeds during the process that often saw me in between collaborators who hated each other. The play was a success, but we were mostly miserable. It was one of the most joyless creation processes I've been through in my life...but I was happy about the work we put out there.

After COCAINE COWBOYS got up on its feet, I was focused on the Armstrong musical. Tentatively and terribly titled LOUIS AND THE LADIES, I spent my free time writing out pages of outlines and plot points at the Gaythering and having meetings with Andrew and Christopher.

I met up with Arthur Spector again and he pitched an idea based on a former inmate who becomes a Yale lawyer and has to fight to get his bar license. I’m intrigued. I’m also waiting on a long-time lingering development deal from MRC.

On the same day of meeting Arthur, I was traveling to Medgar Evars College to be on a panel at the National Black Writers’ Conference.  Amina Henry and Keith Josef Adkins were also on the panel for a very lively and entertaining hour of conversation.

I also start to look for an apartment. Yilong and I are going to take a leap of faith. This is my first time living with someone.

On the dharma front, I arranged a LHI talk at The Juilliard School. It goes okay, but it feels like something is off. Not as thrilling or compelling as I hoped it would be. But that comes from my own seeds.

APRIL
Wrap party for season 3 of THE GOOD FIGHT. At the same time, Yilong has his play JUNE IS THE FIRST FALL opening in between our birthdays. I met up with Armstrong colalboratos Michael O. Mitchell when Christopher is in town. We both go see him at The Apollo Amateur night, where a soulful violinist wins the evening and the prize.

In mid April, the WGA orders its members to fire their agent. We comply. It’s a mad world, but I’m assured that I’ll be back on THE GOOD FIGHT. And then I’m asked if I want to be on a new show that’s in the pilot pipeline: EVIL. I say ‘yes’ and wait to see if something is going to happen.

By the end of the month, we have secured a Williamsburg apartment through some finagling.

The un-official writers' group moves into the Dramatists Guild, thanks to Tina Fallon.

MAY
EVIL is going to happen. I sign on to be a producer and CBS offers a new type of 12-month deal so that I can work on THE GOOD FIGHT and EVIL. I’ll be paid a minimum. At the same time, the MRC deal falls apart. I’m out $100,000. Not happy. I’m not going to lie, I was very upset with Paradigm and Zack...but time passes. Very upset that the one development deal is something that I set up and that they can’t even close on it. What’s the point of having an agent? Well, oops, we don’t anymore. I fired mine along with 6,000 other writers. And maybe the CBS deal weighs out against this failing.

I go to South Carolina to begin research on a Gullah/Geechie play. I meet the people behind Lean Ensemble, and spend a week on Hilton Head Island. I’m starting to get a sense of the voices and how this play can be done. I don’t want to let down the ancestors and the white board members of Lean. On the last day, we take a boat to the Dafuskie Islands. The history and the place are so rich. I wish I could have spent an entire day of Dafukskie. I take some of the voodoo books from the gift shop near the dock.

I fly back to NYC, change my suitcase and then fly out to LA for a week. It’s more a courtesy visit for me now that I’m locked into a CBS deal, but I do want to see a lot of old friends and colleagues.

I start doing research for a Harry Belafonte musical. I interviewed him twice, read his book, watch his doc. And I’m pitching on a movie for Maven Pics. When I’m in LA I meet with the married director/producer team. We hit it off. They like my pitch. I pitch this again in NYC and then they want to know...can it be a tv show? I told them I can’t do tv, but they said they would keep me in mind.

JUNE
We start EVIL. This is a new situation. A bit unsettling and a bit surprising. There is a brief workshop of the Armstrong musical, A WONDERFUL WORLD. I see BAD FAITH, a new Mike Daisey play and it’s riveting. Yilong has a play in the NQT reading/workshop series...JOKER. I support him. I have another workshop coming up and things are going to be hectic.

JULY
The long workshop for A WONDERFUL WORLD begins. At the same time I’ve agreed to a museum project research on domestic violence for a piece in San Francisco. And I have a reading of my WILLIAM DALE play at Theatreworks in Hartford, CT. Leif comes in while Yilong is in China. He stays with me for that week working on the Armstrong play, going with me to CT, and also helping out with the museum project.

A lot of things are happening this month. It’s overwhelming I never want to be this busy. It’s not enjoyable but exhausting. Every day is filled with something. It’s a struggle to keep my head above the surfeit of commitments.


AUGUST
The musical workshop ends at the start of August with a public reading. The actors are amazing. The crowd loves them and the story. Success and now time to rewrite.

I participate in the Harlem 48 Hr Festival and get to write RAINBOW for 3 funny black actresses. I finish my first episode of EVIL by the end of the month.

SEPTEMBER
Start of THE GOOD FIGHT and I’ll still be on EVIL until the end of the season while popping in upstairs to TGF. The first episode of EVIL comes out on TV. Trump impeachment inquiry is announced and approved. I decided to try the ridiculously expensive ASKA restaurant in Brooklyn.

OCTOBER
EVIL and TGF writers go apple picking upstate. Yilong is away during this time. It feels weird sleeping without him in the bed, even though we’ve only been living together for a few months. I get a second episode of EVIL. SCORE!! I’m excited about getting this done before the Thanksgiving break. I turn in a draft by the end of the month. This is the the start of the two-shows at the same time period.

EVIL gets picked up for a second season but also our first season is shortened to 13 episodes...two less than planned. I think the Kings wanted it so they could avoid losing their mind with YOUR HONOR being filmed and THE GOOD FIGHT consuming so much time.

I turn in the first act of the Belafonte musical amidst all this and a new outline for the South Carolina project.

NOVEMBER
I’m in preproduction for my second episode of EVIL and our room ends early. We were ahead of schedule the entire season and finished a month ahead of the calendar. That means I’m able to switch over to THE GOOD FIGHT quicker. But I’m still on EVIL for some stuff and on-set for another episode. It’s a bit exhilarating to go back and forth between two highly intelligent shows and great writers’ rooms.


DECEMBER
We do another polish on A WONDERFUL WORLD, secure an amazing team of designers and choreographer. At the same time I’m writing outline material for OJ play at Miami New Drama and start writing Gullah Geechie play.

The Dramatists Guild Writers is now at over 100 members, and about 20-30 ppl attending each meeting. We gave over $1000 in donations to other orgs this year. We are moving forward.

Decade Rewind: 2011 (Year of the Beach)

Before going into silent three-year meditation retreat in the desert, my teacher (Ven. Lobsang Chunzom) put me in charge of fundraising. Why? Because I was low on money, so she said I needed to create the causes for it...by helping other people get money. So I started a small fundraiser that scrambled together a few hundred dollars. And then I started another one, among my friends who were as broke as me. I also wanted to do a silent meditation retreat of my own but had no idea how that was going to happen. And then I started up a volunteer program in which I was...the first and only participant.

I was working MEALS ON WHEELS in Hells Kitchen on a rainy Saturday morning. I got an email invitation to an event. I went and collected $28,000. Just like that. It was a sudden ripening from all the seeds I had been planting the past several months.

I used $28k to pay off some of my debts, give to the charity, pay my rent for several months, and go back to Miami so I could take care of my Dad while my mom was having surgery. While I was sitting out on a Miami beach one day, I was wondering about the retreat...when I got a call from Sunshine Ross, who wanted me to come down to Nicaragua and use her house as a retreat space.

I went to Nicaragua with David and we did our first lerung meditation retreat. After I finished I hung out with Sunshine at a resort in the woods. I did yoga every day, ate incredibly healthy, and thought 'how the FREAK did this happen?!? A few months ago I was struggling to pay the rent, and now everything is taken care of, I did a meditation retreat, and now I'm at a luxury beach resort doing yoga at sunrise.

At the resort, I met someone who introduced me to A COURSE IN MIRACLES. I started reading that book and loved its message, which has a lot of Buddhist undertones.

When David and I returned to NYC, we had to do an extra ceremony to close out our lerung. So we rented a place in the Poconos for a fire puja. There were a lot of bears and nothing on the tv except old school sitcoms from the 1960s. We completed the fire offering and headed back home.

On the afternoon we arrived back in NYC, the city had its first tremor/earthquake in decades. I was sitting with a friend in a coffee shop in midtown when I felt a subway car rumbling beneath my seat...but we weren't near a subway line. it wasn't until we got out of the shop that we read the news about the very low tremor that rumbled through NYC.

I continue raising money and doing fundraisers, as more people joined in. I remember being on an upstate bus to go work at VISIONS camp (for the visually impaired), talking about Buddhism, and enjoying life when Rihanna's YOU DA ONE came on the radio for the first time. I ended the year back on the beach.



Decade Rewind: 2010. Buddha Begins

I picked up the violin again, continued studying Buddhism, and jumped between Miami and NYC. For work, I was a mystery shopping at different movie theatres, and temping at both Bard College and New School for Jazz...some times on the same day. On those doubleheader days, I would have to run from the Bard admissions office to the 1 train, cross my fingers, and hope to get downtown to my second job in time.

I got into a serious car accident that wrecked my mom's car. Fortunately, no one was hurt, it was 100% the other guy's fault, I was driving way below the speed limit (highly unusual), and chilling out while listening to James Taylor on a cool Miami evening when...WHAM!!! A car tried to cross Biscayne Boulevard right in front of me. I slammed on the brakes, but it was too late. The cop looked at the crime scene for 5 seconds, said it was 'the other driver's fault' and then wandered down the road to a second car accident that had just happened.

I returned to NYC and started temping. I was working in the Bard office when my phone rang. A Miami lawyer called to see if I wanted to sue the other driver. I declined. They insisted that I might have some 'unexplored, injuries...late on-set.' Hmmm...I briefly considered the chance to cash in on $10,000. But I couldn't do it. Another lawyer called as I was rushing to the 1 train to get downtown to my second job. And this continued for a few weeks. Ambulance chasers who read the police report and thought I could sue the other guy, get the insurance company to pay me $20,000 and they would take 30% or half.

After a few weeks of this, when an unknown caller showed up on my phone I assumed it was another lawyer...but it was a former producer for Michael Jackson. He was looking for a writer to adapt something. I was told the truth: I was a back-up choice to a few more successful writers. I appreciated his honesty, and we started a back-and-forth conversation about different songs. He sounded excited. Great great...and then I never heard from him again. Oh well, maybe one of the other writers took the job. I went back to temping.

By the end of the year, I was doing a cross-country road trip to deliver supplies to Arizona and help build houses for the start of a 3-year-retreat for my teacher and several others. We were told the 3 yrs would fly by...2011-2013. We should continue studying, do our own meditation retreats, and try to stay together.




Monday, December 30, 2019

A Review of CATS: Not the Worst Thing Ever Produced By Humans

CATS!
I just saw CATS. I've been through the war, only walked out once to compose myself. I felt low-level nausea, discomfort, early on-set ‘no Idris!’ Eventually this led to giggles, tears, more nausea, uncanny valley horror, gas, and ennui. The full range of seasickness symptoms.

CATS!!
CATS is not the worst movie I've ever seen. It's not even close to the worst. But it is the most baffling. You have a hit Broadway play, celebrity casting, and there are actually good songs to be sung. It's about freaking cats! Cat owners are everywhere. And it's sexual. Yes, the original Broadway show is much ridiculed and maligned, but it also started the furrier movement because of the sexy dancers purring and rubbing on people. Deep down inside, you know that CATS is about that creepy sexy energy that is rarely...um, scratched. And yet...
- from the moment the picture begins, there was this deep unsettling dread. My stomach started rumbling and I squirmed in my chair. Halfway through the movie is when the giggling started, pockets of conversation popping up, people audibly sighed. Phones were checked frequently, close-ups triggered laughter and revulsion.
- these are not cats. These are furry digital zombies. They don't act like cats, they don't feel like cats, they don't move like cats.
-When you catch sight of your favorite star covered in gross fur, you want to rescue them, ask them how did this happen; you certainly don't want to see them sing a song. Every moment I was reminded 'that's Rebel Wilson showing her furry digital zombie asshole, that's Idris Elba mean mugging in mangy fur, and Jennifer Hudson...lawd, that's JHud telegraphing 'I'm so pitiful' with every weepy, snot-nosed, over-acted, shaky-voiced note in such hacky broad-acting that you can see it from space. 'Mem-mem-mem-meeeeeeeeemorieeeeesss'

CA-CA-CCCATS!!!!
- the CGI effect of mixing cat zombies with human faces gave me the infamous 'uncanny valley' effect where something is so close to having human details, that the digital rendering makes us feel both disturbed/disgusted and unable to look away.
- the CGI cats movements were also uncanny valley: neither too human or too cat. The spastic slightly unnatural digital rendering creates an unintentional effect of a computer zombie movie.
- the shaky-camera is nausea-inducing. Seriously. The movements are herky-jerky, tilted, and spinning around...for no reason at all. There is nothing being told by these exaggerated camera angles. It's almost as if the editors re-directed the movie and gave everything the subplot of a mysterious cameraman who needs medical attention.
- wet close-ups. Apparently furry digital zombies are on the verge of tears when they're hungry, sad, horny, winking their asshole, angry, and filled with mem-mem-meeeeemories. I've never seen so many wet, snotty faces. The lead offender of the snotty, wet close-ups is Hudson. The overwrought wetness had me wishing for an establishing shot...across the street.
- - overwrought, gasping, breathy vocals. Imagine a 5-year-old asthmatic child on the verge of tears trying to tell you a story...for 2 hrs. That's the singing technique here.

CATS!!!!
- CATS should either be A) an animated cartoon that would have taken it out of the realm of creepy human faces and made it purely artificial or B) stay forever a stage show where the costuming is still primitive enough to seem unreal. When human acrobats rub their fur-covered genitals on aroused Wall Street stockbrokers, we should still feel a bit intrigued... instead of repulsed.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Playwrights in TV

Yes, playwrights are diving into tv b/c of money, healthcare, stability, getting seen by millions of people, and being able to go from idea conception to an actual series in a year (as opposed to most plays which take several yrs to develop). But nobody goes into the theatre expecting money or stability. So what gives? The larger reason for the sudden love of tv is respect: of our voices, of our time, of our development, of our place in the world. There's more of that in the TV industry than theatre.

At Juilliard, they asked us -if all things were equal and you didn't have to worry about money- would you prefer to work in TV/film or theatre? 6 out of 8 playwrights immediately said 'theatre.' No hesitation, dead certainty. We didn't get into this wildly unprofitable and fickle field expecting to get rich. It wasn't the money that was the deciding factor, it was the ability to be seen and heard, diversity of voices, and working with a team of equal creatives who are dedicated to actually figuring out a way to produce the thing...rather than a board of elders who are more likely to tell you why your work isn't ready.

BUT! BUT!!! BUT... theatre isn't a monolith and I don't want to be just negative. There are exciting institutions focused on the development of artists and/or producing new work in a timely fashion. Here are a few of my favorites....

1. National Black Theatre "I AM SOUL" residency
- it's 18 months and they do a very high-quality workshop production of your play
- they pour as many resources as possible into getting the play seen.
- with limited resources, NBT has changed theatre by putting the artists first and the board second.

2. Brooklyn Arts Exchange
- this is a development platform but it takes place over 2 yrs and involves different workshop/production levels.
- they are supportive while requiring certain benchmarks to be met. You have to actually put up sections of the work while you're developing it. And this is actually a great thing b/c you are forced to see your work come alive as you're creating it.

3. Seattle Public Theatre
- created a new prize with the sole purpose of creating new work by POC and women... and then putting it up.
- no non-sense, let's get it done attitude
- the creation-to-production pipeline was 18 months. I won the Emerald Prize in the spring of 2017 for FIRE SEASON. It got its world premiere in January 2019.

4. Miami New Drama
- 'Here's a commission. Let's put your production in the calendar...for next season.' And guess what? You experience panic, pressure, deadlines. These are the things TV writers work with all the time, multiple times a year. And -for the most part- you are forced into being a sharper writer, less precious, more no-nonsense. A lot of times that pressure creates innovation.
- CONFESSIONS OF A COCAINE COWBOY got greenlit on Dec 2017. It was produced in 2019. In the calendar.
- A WONDERFUL WORLD got greenlit in Dec 2018. It's going up in March 2020.

These are just some of the theatres that have helped me out so much. Please include your own list of innovative theatres that are cranking out new work and fostering new voices.

(BTW, I'm not including many excellent development labs like the O'Neill, Sundance, Ucross, Ojai. These institutions are huge but I wanted to focus on theatre companies producing work.)

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Rebranding Plan for CATS

Be honest: it's so bad you want to see it. It's like that Anne Rice vampire musical on broadway or your middle-aged boss inviting you to his African dance recital. Like porn and horror, revulsion and titillation live in the same part of the brain. And how often does a movie offer the chance to feel both true visceral revulsion and arousal? Don't look away. Let the warm, dark, horror envelope you like a hot tub rash. Your eyes are like that mesh underwear inside a bathing suit...a flimsy, pointless barrier that will not protect you from the infection of...CATS!!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Impeachment Detractors and Pessimists

Donald Trump was impeached last night for abuse of power and obstruction of justice. In truth he has committed much greater crimes during his occupancy of the White House. In private, most Republican lawmakers detest him but continue to publically coordinate a blatant campaign to obfuscate Trump's obvious high crimes. Meanwhile, some online Dems didn't even wait for the vote to go into pessimistic mode: what difference does this make? Trump is going to be acquitted by the Senate, so it would have been better to do nothing, to ignore whistleblowers, ambassadors, and countless government workers sounded the alarms. It would have been better to let Trump try to rig the 2020 elections, use foreign countries to smear his opponents, coordinate with Russian intelligence to put the blame on the Ukraine (which is already happening). What difference does it make to follow the law under lawless leadership?

To the Trump impeachment pessimists and detractors: you do the right thing so you can look your kids in the eye. You do the right thing to maintain some integrity. You do the right thing to uphold a standard. When someone lies, cheats, steals, breaks laws...guess what? You still do the right thing. Even if the other side is stronger and wronger. Even if they acquit, even if the killer walks free, even if they laugh at you as being foolish or powerless. Black ppl have been forged in the fire of righteous action: hundreds of years doing 'the right thing' against more powerful and villainous forces. You don't sit at home and think 'oh well. Might as well do nothing' because you can't see the end of the road. You never know what so-called 'futile right action' leads to in the future. But guess what: you don't have control over the future. You only have control over the present moment...and here and now...you impeach a president who has bribed, cheated, abused power, obstructed justice, laughed with our enemies, insulted our allies, betrayed our Kurdish friends, put kids in cages, enriched himself while in office, corrupted every branch of government with criminals and con artists. You do the right thing against terrifying immorality. Do not hang your head or give in to self-pity. You take joy in doing the right thing because your kids are watching, friends and family are watching. And maybe they will see you and do the right thing when they are faced with the same moral dilemma. 

Saturday, December 14, 2019

The Decline and Fall of an American Democracy

Russia hacked our elections. All US intelligence agencies confirm that. But the success of the hack has more to do with the moral rot of our own institutions than the savviness of Russian programmers. We have a 2-party system and neither party has any real commitment to solving society's ailments, and so people have no real commitment to the integrity of our politics.

On one side you have the Republicans who have decided that the political passions of its base are steeped in covert racial bias and discrimination. In order to maintain power, they have committed to the propaganda of outright lies and misstatements. They knowingly promote policies which put kids in cages, deport people back to their country to be murdered, disenfranchise black voters, incentivize polluters/mucrackers/con artist evangelicals, and the worst players in our culture. Once you have a party that has decided to systemically lie about facts to its citizens, there is very little difference between taking its own lies or adopting those of Russian intelligence. A lie is a lie...and any lie will do if it serves the purpose of continuing to trigger fear/terror and mistrust in an aging white population.

On the other side, you have the Dems who are mostly own by corporate America (as opposed to Republicans who are entirely owned). With the exception of Bernie Sanders, all the Dem presidential frontrunners are backed by billionaires who are committed to maintaining inequality and suffering. Our healthcare system is THE worst in the Western World. The worst. Full stop. It criminalizes sickness, punishes weakness, leads to tens of thousands of preventable deaths every year. Dems know this, corporations know this, insurance companies know this. They either are unwilling to change or don't care about Americans dying. The explosion in student loans is robbing future generations and -once again- everyone knows that these things are very bad and 100% preventable. But there is no willingness to do anything. There is almost an enraging impotence of leadership on the left.

This is how societies die from internal corruption. On one side you have the crooks, and the other side you have the people who should know better...but don't have the energy to do anything substantial. At a certain point, the people stop believing in the community principles, and the gates to the city are open so the invaders can rush in to plunder everything. The political process becomes an entertaining empty spectacle. Presidents dance for votes, sing for likes, seriousness is seen as a flaw because there is no belief that anything substantial can be accomplished by the serious men of policy. We live in the age of clowns, tap dancers, and karaoke singers. 

The Republican party has opened the gates while the Democrats sit around fretting about how to 'manage the looting.' Even if Trump is kicked out, the gates are still open and the people believe the locks of protection are broken. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

LA LA LAND and MARRIAGE STORY

I really really like "Marriage Story.' Admittedly, I have a weird neurotic spot in my heart for all things Noah Baumbach. Scarjo and Driver were amazing, so many-layered moments, great acting from Wallace Shawn and so many others. But...I also found myself laughing at all the LA LA LAND-ism in the movie, such as:

- this is what good experimental theatre looks like to film ppl: hop on my back and I'll carry you around stage while looking constipated. LOL!!!
- - hey, I'm poor and came from nothing. But I started up a successful director-based theatre company in NYC without a trust fund, or an insanely rich celebrity friend. I did with my vision. Btw, I don't live in a shoebox and I have an actual human child who, apparently, has healthcare. I can also afford to see a therapist. Did I mention I run a theatre company in 21st century NYC and I'm not rich?
- 'Guess what? I just won the MacArthur Grant. Yeah, it is really random. But you don't love me so I'm sad.' Um... as someone who has been awarded one big-money theatre prize in my entire life, I can tell you that you could have run over my dog and then shot him and -in that moment- I would have nodded like 'okokok, things happen. Hey, I won something!' And if I won the biggest prize in the arts- the MacArthur Grant- you could waterboard me a few times and I would still be like 'wow, that was kind of refreshing! We drinking tonight? Champagne on me!!'
- my experimental ELECTRA play is going to Broadway. Gosh, I hope it does well.
- my experimental ELECTRA play on Broadway did not go well but only b/c I wasn't there to guide the process (yeah, that's the reason) 😂😂😂
- new tv actor makes one observation and is told 'would you like to be in the writers' room? They would love you being there.' Ummm...would we?
- hey, you brand new actor...would you also like to direct TV? Well, you watched your ex-husband direct stageplays so...it's almost like you could figure out this medium.
- hey, remember the unrealistic sci-fi tv show we set up? Not only is it a hit, but our lead actor just got nominated...for directing. She has a directorial vision now! Call her Miss Bossy Pants! She's in charge! But how did this happen? Well...feelings!!
- both our leads can't really sing or dance, so let's have them sing Sondheim to the camera. It will be really brave and vulnerable to watch to them on the struggle bus (like LA LA LAND). No, don't cutaway. Let's watch them sing out of tune for a few minutes. It serves no narrative purpose to go on this long but they're so brave to be that imperfect.
- hey, we're both the WILDLY successful .00001% now. I have a fucking MacArthur grant, a hot off-broadway theatre company, and a play that was on Broadway. Now let me take this job at.... UCLA so I can be closer to my ex-wife and sleepy-ass son who can't poop without encouragement. Yes, I am going to direct in Los Angeles...at a college...which is like going from directing in the West End of London to doing summer stock theatre in Peoria. I'm an insanely ambitious egotist to get this far in life, but I'm also going to light my entire career on fire b/c -awww shucks- I'm a dad first. Love ya bae! Now tie my shoes!!

Monday, December 2, 2019

Get What You Want: December 2019

1. MANY VOICES FELLOWSHIP
Deadline: December 5th
Website: https://pwcenter.org/

The Many Voices Fellowship is intended to support early-career playwrights of color and Indigenous playwrights who demonstrate artistic potential and a commitment to a year-long residency in Minnesota (July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021). The fellowship is additionally supported by a professional theater artist mentor. Previous mentors include Christina Ham, Mark Valdez, and Daniel Alexander Jones. Fellowships provide an $18,000 stipend and $2,500 in play development funds. Fellows spend a year-long residency in Minnesota, working in an individualized and hands-on way with the Playwrights’ Center artistic staff—some of the most experienced and connected theater professionals in the country. Beyond the financial stipend, the value of fellowships is more than doubled with the year-long support the Playwrights’ Center adds through workshops with professional directors, dramaturgs, and actors and through the connections the Center makes between playwrights and producers of new work. This holistic and customized combination of financial support, access to talent, and professional connections is career-changing for most playwrights. Applicants may not have had more than one play fully produced by professional theaters at the time of the application. Fellows commit to spending the 12-month fellowship period in Minnesota and actively participating in the Center's programs. Housing and travel are not provided.


2. MCKNIGHT NATIONAL RESIDENCY
Deadline: Dec. 12th
Website: https://pwcenter.org/programs/mcknight-national-residency-and-commission

The intent of the McKnight National Residency and Commission is to support an established playwright from outside of Minnesota who demonstrates a sustained level of accomplishment, commitment, and artistic excellence. Recipients of the Residency and Commission will spend the year creating a new play script over the course of several residencies in Minnesota, including opportunities to engage with the Twin Cities and Playwrights' Center community. Benefits include:

A $15,000 commission
At least two U.S. round-trip airline tickets
Housing during the residency period
Up to $5,750 in workshop funds to support the development of the play
A public reading of the commissioned play
Past recipients include: Kia Corthron, Erik Ehn, Idris Goodwin, Karen Hartman, Daniel Alexander Jones, Sibyl Kempson, Craig Lucas, Taylor Mac, Dan O’Brien, Betty Shamieh, Mfoniso Udofia, and Mac Wellman.

Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Applicants must be nationally recognized playwrights who have had at least two different plays fully produced by professional theaters at the time of application. Minnesota-based playwrights are not eligible for this fellowship. Recipients of 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 McKnight Artist Fellowships in any discipline are not eligible. Full-time students are not eligible. Staff and board members of the McKnight Foundation and the Playwrights' Center or their immediate families are not eligible. Recipients may not receive any other Playwrights' Center fellowships, grants, or Core Writer benefits during the grant year. If a recipient is a Core Writer, their Core term will be extended by one year. Applicants may only apply for one McKnight Artist Fellowship each year in any discipline. Recipients commit to spending up to four weeks in residency in the Twin Cities (not necessarily consecutively). Recipients must create a new play according to the terms set forth in the contract.


3. KERNODLE NEW PLAY AWARD
Deadline: December 16th
Website: https://fulbright.uark.edu/departments/theatre/callboard/kernodle-new-play-award.php

The University of Arkansas Department of Theatre administers the Kernodle New Play Award, a national playwriting competition named for George R. Kernodle, beloved U of A theatre professor and author of "Invitation to the Theatre". The award recognizes full-length plays that invite the audience’s imagination and are inherently theatrical.  Visit our website to Learn More about the Kernodle New Play Award.

2019-20 Kernodle Submission Information

All playwrights must fill out our Online Submission Form below during our submission window, November 1 through December 16, 2018. Plays submitted before November 1, 2019 will not be considered.

Additionally, please understand, due to staffing levels (and a desire to keep unsolicited submissions free), we can only accept the first 100 unsolicited submissions received in 2019-2020. We will post on our website when we have hit our limit.*  We will review our unsolicited submission policy again after this year.                           

*Playwrights whose work has been directly solicited, agent submissions, and playwrights who currently reside in, or are originally from, Arkansas are welcome to apply until the Dec. 16, 2019 deadline.


4. SAMUEL FRENCH OOB SHORT PLAY FESTIVAL
Deadline: December 16th
Website: https://oobfestival.com/

Short plays and musicals can be no longer than 15 pages and have a max run time of 15 minutes (ideal run times are between 8-13 minutes). If submitting a musical the page limit should reflect the libretto.

Writers may submit only 1 play, including plays they have co-authored. Producers (writer’s groups, theatre companies, universities, etc.) may submit up to 15 plays accredited to their organization, but can only submit one play by an individual playwright.

Script submissions will be accepted in digital format only, via Submittable.

Each nomination must submit a separate application form. Conglomerate entries on one application are not acceptable.

Plays must be written in English (non-English words or phrases within the context of the play are allowed).

Plays must be typed, and in no less that 10-point type, in conjunction with formatting listed in the Submission Formatting Guidelines. Note that cover pages or additional cast size pages are not required and will not be counted against the 15 page limit.

Playwrights previously published by any Concord Theatricals company, including Concord Theatricals, Samuel French, Inc., Tams-Witmark, Rodgers & Hammerstein, or The Musical Company, are not eligible for submission into the Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival. This includes winners of previous Samuel French Festivals.

If a play was submitted to the Festival in a previous year but was not chosen for production, it may be resubmitted for the 2020 Festival.

Poetry and short story readings will not be accepted.

Festival submissions will be open from Monday, December 2 to Monday, December 16. No submissions will be accepted after 11:59pm EST on December 16, 2019.

Concord Theatricals in its sole and absolute discretion, shall select plays for participation in the 2020 OOB Festival from among all entries, and its decisions are final. Concord Theatricals reserves the right to remove any selected play from participation if the play, its producers, and/or its authors are not in compliance with the Application and/or the Competition Guidelines, and/or if the additional documents are not timely signed and returned. Production of selected plays shall be at the sole cost and expense of the Producer, and no royalties or other payments are or will be owed by Concord Theatricals.


5. NEUKON LITERARY PRIZE
Deadline: December 31st
Website: https://sites.dartmouth.edu/neukominstitutelitawards/

The Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth College is accepting book and play submissions for the 2020 Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards.

The Neukom Awards, now in its third year, offers prizes in three categories of speculative fiction. Each category will receive an honorarium of $5,000 at a Dartmouth-sponsored event related to speculative fiction.

The speculative fiction awards are offered for playwriting, established author and first-time author.

The deadline for all submissions is December 31, 2019. The awards will be announced in the spring of 2020.

The award in the playwriting category is a partnership between the Neukom Institute, the Department of Theater at Dartmouth College and Northern Stage based in White River Junction, Vermont.

Plays should be written in response to the prompt: “What does it mean to be a human in a computerized world?” The award is reserved for plays that have not received a full production.

Additional information on play and book submissions as well as previous winners may be found on the Neukom Institute website at: https://sites.dartmouth.edu/neukominstitutelitawards/


6. LA MAISON BALDWIN RESIDENCY
Deadline: December 31st
website: https://www.lamaisonbaldwin.fr/

Shortly before James Baldwin passed away, he told close friends in Saint-Paul de Vence that he dreamed of seeing his beloved house made into a writers' colony. This medieval village, with its uncommon light, its majestic mountaintop placement and surrounding countryside, has for centuries attracted artists, architects, alchemists and thinkers, great minds intent on changing the world. Here is where Baldwin wrote some of his most enduring books, including If Beale Street Could Talk, Just Above my Head, and his sole book of poetry, Jimmy's Blues.

Writers in residence are offered a room in the village center to pursue their current creative project. While in residence, they will contribute to the literary culture of Saint Paul de Vence by offering a community event or creative public program.

They are hosted at La Maison Baldwin Residence for Writers, a house in the historic center of St. Paul de Vence located directly across the street from the village church. The home features a 3rd-floor bedroom suite with a sunny terrace overlooking the tiled roofs of the village and the valley beyond.

Residents also stay in a charming artist cottage made available to the program through a partnership with the city of St. Paul de Vence.

Lunch every day is offered to the resident writers through partnerships with local restaurants and host families. The fellowship includes a $700 travel stipend.

Eligibility and How to Apply

This fellowship is open to emerging writers working in the spirit of James Baldwin. Eligible to apply are poets, playwrights, essayists and fiction writers with no more than one published book or staged production.

The review committee will select ten fellows for residencies of 2 to 4 weeks in fall 2020 (Sept 15 to Oct. 31) or spring 2021 (April 1 to May 15).

To apply, send a cover letter, a brief bio and writing sample of ten pages to residency@lamaisonbaldwin.fr with the subject line "residency application." The deadline is December 31, 2019. Please indicate your preferred residency duration and period.


7. PULITZER PRIZE FOR DRAMA *hey, why not?!?*
Deadline: December 31st
website: https://www.pulitzer.org/page/drama-submission-guidelines-and-requirements

Plays written by U.S. citizens and produced in the United States during 2018 are eligible. After submitting information and payment online, send six (6) copies of play scripts and one video recording (if available) to the address below. Packages must be postmarked by December 31, 2018.

Columbia University, on the recommendation of The Pulitzer Prize Board, annually awards a Pulitzer Prize in drama of $15,000 "for a distinguished play by an American author, preferably original in its source and dealing with American life."

ENTRIES FOR THE AWARD
Productions opening in the United States between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019 are eligible. Submit playscripts of productions to the Pulitzer Office for forwarding to the Drama Jury.  Entries should be made in advance of the December 31, 2019 deadline.

Please follow these entry procedures:

Complete the online entry form and pay non-refundable $75 entry fee by credit card.

Send 6 copies of the playscript and video recording (if available) to:

The Pulitzer Prize Office

Columbia University

709 Pulitzer Hall

2950 Broadway

New York, NY 10027

Scripts must be postmarked by December 31, 2019.

A video recording of the production is strongly urged but is not required. If a video is submitted, it will be used only to assist the judging process and will be returned on request after the awards are announced.

Please note that a dramatic work need not be formally submitted in order to be considered by the Drama Jury. However, it must be produced and receive a press opening within the deadline dates.

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE AWARD
Columbia University awards the Pulitzer Prize in Drama annually on the recommendation of The Pulitzer Prize Board, which acts on the nominations of a distinguished committee of Pulitzer Drama Jurors. The award is announced during the Spring.


8. YADDO
Deadline: January 5th
Website: https://www.yaddo.org/apply/guidelines/

Artists who qualify for Yaddo residencies are working at the professional level in their fields. An abiding principle at Yaddo is that applications for residency are judged on the quality of the artist’s work and professional promise. There are no publication, exhibition, or performance requirements for application.

Artists in all disciplines who are enrolled in graduate or undergraduate programs, or are engaged in completing work toward an academic degree at the time of application, are not eligible to apply to Yaddo.
Artists may apply once every other calendar year. For example, if you applied in 2017 (January or August), you will be eligible to apply again in either January or August of 2019.
Yaddo encourages artists of all backgrounds to apply for admission. Yaddo does not discriminate in its programs and activities against anyone on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, marital status, ancestry, disability, HIV status, or veteran status.

Artistic Disciplines
Five admissions panels consider applications to Yaddo in the following disciplines:

-Literature, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, translation, librettos, and graphic novels.
-Visual Art, including painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography, mixed media, and installation art
-Music Composition, including instrumental forms, vocal forms, electronic music, music for film, and sound art
-Performance, including choreography, performance art, multi-media and/or collaborative works incorporating live performance
-Film & Video, including narrative, documentary and experimental films, animation, and screenplays


9. SESAME STREET WORKSHOP
Deadline: January 10th
Website: https://sesamewritersroom.org/

Sesame Workshop Writers’ Room is a writing fellowship from the creators of Sesame Street. And we’re looking for YOU! Fresh new writing talent from underrepresented racial backgrounds. Emerging storytellers who are selected to join the Writers’ Room will receive hands-on writing experience guided by Sesame Street veterans and other media industry leaders. Each participant will develop and write a pilot script for their own original kids concept. Past fellows have gone on to develop their own original content with Sesame Workshop, as well as write for Sesame Street and various programs at Nickelodeon, Disney, DreamWorks, and more!
-Up to 8 writers from underrepresented racial backgrounds will be selected

-Weekly sessions will take place at the Sesame Workshop NYC offices in Summer 2020 (early May through mid-July)

-Includes eight, three-hour sessions on creating original children's content

-Learn from industry writers, producers, agents and executives

-Complete at least one original script during the program

-Up to two participants will have the opportunity to receive creative development deals and further mentorship

Eligibility Check List
-Participants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
-Participants must be 21+ years old
-Must come from an underrepresented racial group
-No extensive media writing experience, such as having written more than six episodes for a network or cable scripted/narrative series
-Participants must be able to attend all eight weekly sessions in NYC, which will be held from early May to mid-July. Travel and lodging expenses are the participant's sole responsibility.


10. HELEN WURLITZER FOUNDATION RESIDENCY (TAOS, NM)
Deadline: January 18th
Website: https://wurlitzerfoundation.org/apply

To apply for an artist residency, submit an application form (below) along with the application fee and required work samples.

The annual deadline for applications is January 18th to be considered for a residence grant the following calendar year. Online applications must be received, and mailed applications must be postmarked, by January 18th. Grantees will be notified of their fellowship awards in June. For more info read the FAQs online.

Online applications received between now and 11:59PM MST, Jan. 18 2020 will be considered for residency grants in 2021. Supplemental work samples sent via mail must be postmarked by January 21st!


11. DRAMA LEAGUE: DIRECTING FELLOWSHIP IN TV & FILM
Deadline: February 3rd
Website: https://dramaleague.submittable.com/submit

For many decades, emerging directors felt they had to choose between working on the stage, or working in film and television.  The skills sets overlap to some degree, but not in totality…which made the acquisition of experience difficult.  Recently, however, the field of directing has begun to widen.  The notion of a director successfully transitioning back and forth between these overlapping industries is now not only possible, but in some cases, encouraged.  Their imaginations are vital to the future of both mediums.

The Fellowship for Directing in Television is a career development initiative for stage directors to observe the craft of film/TV direction.  Through network building with industry professionals and shadowing successful film/television directors, the Fellow will gain essential skills and contacts to begin working in both mediums.

COMPONENTS

1) SHADOW DIRECTING ASSIGNMENT

Those selected to participate become part of the Drama League Directing Talent Pool. Drama League staff, entertainment executives, executive producers and/or producing episodic directors select individuals to shadow on an episode of produced television. Shadowing assignments are not guaranteed; however, if an assignment is secured, the Fellow will shadow production and shooting. Observing post-production is solely at the discretion of producers. Drama assignments typically run three or more weeks, and comedy assignments usually run one to two weeks. The duration of an individual's participation is at the discretion of the Drama League staff, executive producers and/or episodic directors.

2) STIPEND

Directors on shadowing assignments will receive a paid stipend when actively shadowing on a production, the amount of which will be disclosed prior to acceptance. In the 2019 cycle, the Stipend was $2,000, but could be less or more depending upon the length and location of the assignment.  Taxes will be deducted from the stipend in accordance with federal, state and local law.

3) TRANSPORTATION

Fellows will be provided with travel to the city of the shooting location.  In-city travel is not included.

4) HOUSING

Fellows will be provided with housing in the city of the shooting location.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

My Local Food Truck: A Performance in Masculinity


*Me waiting for falafel. A woman walks by.... Two old men waiting for food look at the woman...and then look each other*

Old Man #1: I gotta look
Old Man #2: Of course, you gotta look. You're not dead.
Old Man #1: the things I could do to her.
Old Man #2: I'm married but...for her I'd be willing.
Old Man #1: They say 'if it smells like fish, eat all that you wish. But if it smells like cologne leave it alone.'
Old Man #2: Never heard of that. (to Falafel guy) You heard of that?
*Falafel guy shakes his head*

Old Man#2: I've heard 'lick it before you stick it.'
Old Man #1: Yeah, but he can't do that (re: Falafel guy). He's not allowed to do that. Yeah, if it smells like fish means if it's a woman-
Me: Yep.
Old Man #1: but if it smells like cologne it's a dude. So you gotta leave it alone.
Me: Yeah...that's the way it goes.
Old Man #2: These days you can't say no if it's a dude. Because it's a hate crime. They'll throw you in jail. You gotta be real polite when you turn them down like  'no thank you sir...I would prefer not to.'

*Slow fade as Old Men continue to talk about 'fish' and 'cologne' and all those 'tricky dudes' who try to sexually entrap these old guys (*wink wink*) b/c that's a real threat. That's their reality. I eat my sandwich in the cold.

BLACKOUT

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Bloomberg 2020: Wealthy Asshole Tax

There's a new Michael Bloomberg video on Youtube. "Bloomberg: Taxing the Poor is Good Because They'll Have Less Money to Hurt Themselves."

It's a good title for causing outrage, but it's misleading. Bloomberg is using the example of the sugar tax which helped reduce the amount of soda consumption in poor neighborhoods...which is good b/c soda leads to high rates of obesity and diabetes.

Still, it is surreal that a billionaire is talking about regressive taxes as a way to stop poor people from harming themselves...and he is NOT talking about progressive taxes to stop billionaires from destroying the economy as they did in 2008 or a progressive real estate tax to stop urban blight which is what's going on in NYC and many other cities around the country that have blocks of empty storefronts because of greedy landowners. Or bringing back the inheritance tax to stop one of the most dangerous aspects of wealth...that most of it in this country has not been earned, but passed down. Inherited wealth unbalances a society, leads to stagnation of growth and ideas, triggers class inequality, corrupts the wealthy, and leads to social decay. That was the purpose of the inheritance tax...it was a penalty to stop rich people from acting in a way that harmed society.

I'm all in favor of a good penalty tax to discourage sociopaths, predators, and bad actors. But is there any doubt that a billionaire acting in bad faith can do A LOT more damage to society than a poor person who will mostly hurt themselves through bad lifestyle choices (soda, smoking, drinking alcohol, etc)? Therefore shouldn't most social-based taxes be aimed at people like...Bloomberg. Now that would be a great platform for a billionaire. The wealthy asshole tax...to prevent sociopathic behavior in uber-wealthy irresponsible, dangerously corrupt ppl who wreck cities, markets, and the economy.

Bloomberg, I just gave you something to run on that the avg person could support: the demise of you and your kind.

Friday, November 29, 2019

AOC Gratitude

It is amazing to think that 2 yrs ago Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was a bartender... no trust fund, no relative-hookups to Goldman Sachs, no billionaire backers, and no obvious pathway to the most elite club in America. She ran for Congress, won in a miracle, and immediately galvanized a movement. She speaks her own mind, asks whip-smart questions in committee, pays her staff better than most, rallies progressive causes, promotes progressive candidates, and terrifies Fox News so much that they're obsessed with one millennial Latinx woman trying to make a difference.

If you ever think that one person can't make a difference look at AOC, the squad, and the hundreds of first-time women and POC office-seekers who have leapt into the fray without golden parachutes or corporate cash.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Random White Wine Thoughts: The Crown

THE CROWN is still amazing. My God! Worth the price of Netflix. So many nuanced emotions, passions, fears, and disappointments. And no one has to throw a plate or scream about adultery or find hidden letters by secret lovers, or resolve issues with schmaltzy hugs or 'victory montages' that wrap everything up. It's so incredible to see a drama without the crude hacky tricks. All Peter Morgan does is resist the typical shortcuts, forcing audiences to look deeper; like a jazz musician that rises to a crescendo and then goes UNDER the signature note, catching the audience by surprise, making them aware of how programmed they are to the lazy cliche pop music endings. Some without patience will think it's boring or there isn't enough devious plotting and smacking and screaming. And they're right. There is almost none of the hysterics. The show risks losing its audience because it knows that some will look deeper...deeper under the surface...and actually feel something indescribable.

I wish more American tv dramas could emulate this model...some times less is more. Some times silence speaks volumes. And some times it's the minutiae, the mumbling and fumbling for significance that's devastating, tragic, ironic, absurd, and transcendent.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Race GPS: Levels of Looks

I was introduced to someone and got 'the look.' Every black person knows this look. It's the slightly shocked 'ah! Okay...in the presence of a person of color.' You play along, exchanges pleasantries, nod, while thinking 'this person is probably racist AF.' I walked away from the exchange and resumed my life..as you do. Usually I reserve some doubt in my mind: maybe they had something in their eye, maybe they got a sharp jabbing pain in their stomach the moment they saw you.' Whatever. This has happened to me hundreds of times and I keep living. A few days later my friend (white) sent me a frantic text about the person he introduced me to b/c they had found out some disturbing news. Turns out... the person I was introduced to was racist AF. Surprise! After a few drinks, 'the looker' openly expressed his disgust for black people in very vivid details. Shocked my white friend, asked me 'did you know this person was racist?!?' Um...yes. I figured he was. My friend asked...'but how? How could you know from one brief conversation? And why didn't you say anything?'

Okay, here's the thing: most poc encounter microaggressions, negative body language, and 'looks' every day. Racism usually doesn't come in the form of someone screaming 'N-word, AHAHAHA' in an elevator or burning a Colin Kaepernick jersey in front of us. The form is non-verbal and subtle...like a slow-release capsule dripping out poison into the bloodstream throughout the day. If you're a POC you become an expert at differentiating between plain negative body language (which does happen a lot) and that subtle shift in non-verbal communication that is...something else: the kind of warning sign sets off your alarm. Just like how gay people have gaydar, people of color have 'race GPS' and it pings...usually quite accurately. If I start flagging and posting about each one of my 'pings,'  then it's like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500. Exhausting. Pointless. Furthermore, a white ally usually doesn't possess the same race GPS so they don't believe you or they just don't see it in the same way straight friends say 'I never knew about (file in the blank celebrity). But he was married...to a woman! I just thought he was sensitive.' With race GPS, you just file away the ping with notes: never get drunk with this person, never talk about politics, make sure to never reveal any personal info. The non-verbal takes its form on several levels from subtle to outright hostile....

1.  the bemused 'hmmm...ok' - the person has low-level racist thoughts, maybe they just had a conversation where they said something 'problematic.' They can be changed b/c they clock themselves when they see you. They almost laugh about the irony. Fuck this person but...okay, we can work with this. Maybe you will be their 'Greenbook' story years later that they'll tell at an MLK ceremony...how meeting you changed them. This person may write an article or book or movie about how the 'one respectable POC" transformed their lives and they went home for Thanksgiving and cussed out their racist parents...or had sex with a black person...and they are so proud of themselves for their bravery. That person they reference might be you. You might be a bit 'magical' in their retelling. Ugh, fuck this person...but also I guess they can be helpful.


2. the 'ah, ok' racist look - It's clear, it's strong, it's probably been unchallenged. BUT they possess enough social etiquette to hide it. The 'ah ok' will only happen once...at first contact. You will never see it again. They will get nervous around you b/c they know what they believe. You can usually co-exist with this person. Not friends, not buddies, but you can be in the same space and be pleasant for a set amount of time. The person will only change their views if a truly traumatic event happens that causes them to doubt past assumptions. Cancer and getting treated by POC doctors who save their lives. It has to be something huge to move this boulder.

3. the 'sigh....ok' - this person is barely concealing their annoyance at your presence. Barely. The sigh may come with a slight frown. They have social etiquette but the racism is just overflowing enough that they can let you know 'I don't know you, but I already don't like you, fyi.' Depending upon how deep the sigh, it lets you know their passive-aggressiveness.

4. the 'eyeroll introduction' - Now this is open hostility. They will deny it, gaslight you into thinking its something else. But you GPS is pinging too strong. But usually, they will walk away first.

5. the 'grimace/frown'- there is almost no entry point here. Do not talk to them. How do you know it's racist? They are fine and smiling with everyone except you...and you're the only POC in the area. Yes, this happens. Most other white ppl don't notice it.

6. the 'physical hello' - I've gotten this. The clutched purse, the 'ahhh' with a strong sharp physical gesture like we're about to get into a fight or robbery situation. In the more aggressive physical hello, someone (always a white guy) will jostle me physically, jab me. Some have spat on the floor in front of me and I have never seen these people before. They are itching for a fight with a stranger. They might be armed. They might be an off-duty cop or security guard. They might be Liam Neeson. Walk away. Not worth it.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

2020 Warning Signs

Despite corruption, racist policies, 40+ sexual assault allegations, environmentally devastating policies, record rates of resignations/firings and criminal conviction of official, impeachment, various acts of treason committed to enrich the Trump family, exploding deficits, student loan crisis, and worldwide hatred...I still think Trump is on track to be re-elected in 2020. Call me a pessimist, realist, catastrophist, whatever, I still think it's harder to kick out an incumbent president in an economically stable year than anything else, especially when the opposing party is lackluster, class-blind, and lacking a cohesive message.

If you think American voters can't disappoint you two times in a row, then remember the certainty ppl felt in 2004 that there was NO way the incompetent, barely-literate, lying Bush could be re-elected. And remember the shock-silent streets of NYC the day after Kerry lost. Bush lied about a war, he was hated around the globe, his tax cuts did NOT work, he exploded the debt, and his minions were ransacking the nation. But evangelicals still loved him, the GOP found wedge issues for certain states, and the mushy-centrist Dems decided that the best platform...was the quietest one. A safe, conservative, 'we're the adults in the room' appeal to America's reason and sense of justice. AHAHAHAHA, yeah the election became about the GOP finding ppl to lie about Kerry's "Vietnam record and the idiotic media chasing after the non-story instead of the disastrous president right in front of them. If you don't notice some of the themes between then and now, you're not paying attention. The parallels between 2004 and 2020...

1. The economy is good enough...for the wealthy and they will back him up. Right-wing media -which has even more of a hold on smaller markets thanks to Sinclair Media- will just pound the same story of 'fear the socialist' that will convince white voters in the middle of the country.

2. Unless Dems unify and go hard as fuck with a clear vision of a new American dream, they will propose unsatisfyingly bland policies to satisfy Pelosi and Schumer centrists. The platform will be blah, but propped up by 'diverse-looking' array of speakers which already sounds utterly boring and pandering.

3. The media will chase a bullshit #butheremails/Swiftboating story for the Dems. The GOP with the help of Fox News and Sinclair, will send out trial balloon scandals throughout 2020 to see which one hits the salacious buttons. And then they will pump up the volume on that story to an incredibly loud level. The more nonsensical the better: Pizzagate, child sex rings in DC, Illuminati sacrificial offerings. It no longer matters when 49-50% of the country no longer cares about facts. They will listen to the loudest and ugliest voice. Mainstream media outlets will feel the need to respond to the noise and, thus, report the fake story about Hunter Biden being Lucifer or Elizabeth Warren being a Trotskyite terrorist, or whatever bullshit. The conversation about Trump's abhorrent record will fade into the background of faux outrage against the Dem candidates controversy.

4. Around October 2020 will be the last great push. Trump is hated by about 60% of Americans. But the media will get bored with that story and the GOP will save an explosive Dem scandal (10% truth weaved together with 90% bullshit allegations) for an October surprise. The goal will be to scare Evangelicals with one great push AND to depress Dem voters into staying home or splitting to a third party.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Devil Next Door

"The Devil Next Door" is a powerful doc series about the Israeli gov prosecuting a Ukranian autoworker in Detroit for being a Nazi concentration camp guard. One of the things that stuck out about the series is that so many Americans neighbors kept saying they didn't believe the accused could be a Nazi because he was a nice grandfather who lived nearby. No way a Nazi could be a nice grandfather.

As a person of color, I can relate to the dominant culture's disbelief in 'pleasant evil'; because they do not code-switch they think that 'niceness' is the same as goodness. And evil is the same as abhorrent-horns-in-head villainy. But if you are a person who has to code-switch in your life -i.e. a person of color, woman, LGBTQI, repressed religious minority- you are VERY VERY aware that ppl switch etiquette and behavior...all the time. Someone acting 'nice' is simply a collection of signifiers and manners.

How many times do we hear the next-door neighbor of a killer act surprised b/c 'he was so nice.' Ted Bundy was a clean-cut, nice looking white man you would take home to your mom. He was also a serial killer. Many rapists, racists, and truly awful ppl can be 'nice.' In fact, our inability to see the difference between 'nice' and good' is what allows evil to thrive b/c awful ppl only have to code-switch into 'nice mode.' In fact, sociopaths and psychopaths depend upon this loophole. Rapists aren't just hunchback ghouls...they're Stanford swimmers, Hollywood moguls, presidents, glamorous people. Their ability to put on a suit does not excuse their acts. And the same is true with evil political movements.

Fascism never comes at you cackling and covered in the blood of your children. Fascism arrives at your door clean-cut, smiling, maybe a grandfather or grandmother filled with nostalgia. Evil movements can speak politely or sway you with that feeling of honesty, 'he's just speaking what we're all thinking.' Restore German strength, return to simpler agrarian times of Cambodia, restore the strength of the Japanese emperor in the face of Western imperialism and, yes, make America great again (and btw, Trump is not the first time this slogan has been used to imply racial degradation) Fascism promises to make things better for you, often insinuating ever so slightly that a certain group of people is responsible for your pain...wouldn't it be better if they were gone...or in camps? Evil movements smile, speak charismatically.

As a POC some times it feels like I'm the crazy guy trying to convince white allies that the smiling nice guy is actually up to no good b/c of his actions, or that the other POC artist or politician who claims to represent the people is actually just a low-level sociopath who has found the loophole. It makes me feel crazy, like the world is gaslighting me. I begin to think 'maybe...I'm overreacting...they are so nice...how bad could it be? Okay, maybe he raped a little bit...but that was the past. Okay, he didn't kill but maybe he incited people to kill...but he didn't really mean it. He was just talking. Okay maybe he also killed..one...or a few. But he's not killing right now. He's just smiling at me. Okay maybe it's bad...but is it really that bad? They seem so nice."

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Bloomberg 2020

*HOW IT HAPPENED*

BEZOS: Dems are attacking me as an elitist so me and Bill think you should run for president...as a man of the people?
BLOOMBERG: How am I a man of the ppl?
BILL GATES: Well you only have a few billion dollars. I mean, don't take this personally MIkey, that's not like...real money.
BEZOS: Absolutely. You are salt of the earth, a simple apple, a used diaper rolling across the floor of an Amazon Prime warehouse, like a tumbleweave of working-class anxiety and incontinence.
BLOOMBERG: Guys, I have over $50 billion. I have money like you. I...I...
BILL: -you're like a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cap floating in the clogged sink of Middle America. Cheap, dirty, but resilient.
BLOOMBERG: *crying*: I have real money!! I am not made out of wood! I AM REAL BOY-
BEZOS: -you're like a worn grain of sand at Coney Island, covered w/ insulin syringes, oxycodone pills, and hobo pee.
BLOOMBERG *runs off in tears*
BILL: Oh come on, don't cry, Mike. Do you need a tissue? I got a billion dollars you can wipe your eyes with....we just gotta show the ppl how we're common folks like you.
BEZOS: So...should we just vote for Trump again or what?

Play Submission Advice

 Oct-Nov is the time of year when I get a lot of emails from ppl applying to certain programs and fellowships. A few years ago someone was asked me to read their play b/c they wanted to get a fellowship. So I read it.  The play was...fine. I told him the play was steady, sturdy, well-made and something he shouldn't submit. He was upset. Was I implying that he wasn't a worthy writer? No. The play was good but it was also a work that could have been written by 100 other middle-of-the-road guys. There was nothing distinctive about it. It was the sort of play you might see from a mid-career writer who was coasting off reputation. It was okay. As someone who has been reader for various fellowships, the 'okay' play usually gets either a mild grade or a pass from me.

What a lot of these fellowships and contests want is a confident voice: this means unique dialogue, distinctive characters that have a certain intimate connection to the writer, and a world-building/mythology. Usually, a writer who has all 3 will stick out, but 2 out of 3 is still very good. Someone with an uneven but unique voice will win 99% of the time over a well-made writer cranking out work that could have been written by a committee.

Usually, a writer's style leans one way: either more toward world-building/mythology OR toward crackerjack dialogue and characters that pop from personal experience. When you pick out your submission play consider these question: could this play have been written by anybody but me? If so, why? Is there any work in my repertoire that is so 'me' in tone, world, characters that I am the only one who could have written it? Then that's the play to submit.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Drowning in a Dark Room



As a child, this what I thought adulthood was going to be: shelves of books in my apartment, stacks of New Yorkers, dense layered works of art, NYTimes crossword puzzles in the bathroom. I would pour all the work on to my bed and drown myself in language...dense, thick, obtuse waves of words, Baldwin-esque sentences strung together for half a page with semicolons and jazz riffs.

Well some days, adulthood works out like the fantasy. I got to see two incredibly rich pieces of staged literature with THE SOUND INSIDE and THE UNDERLYING CHRIS. Much like THE FLICK, I don’t consider them plays. They are novellas of ideas staged and acted out by alchemists who are able to make ‘the inside churn’ an external expression of sound and light. And then I came back to my apt and found an Amazon Sunday delivery (Sunday delivery?!?) of two brilliant voices. INTERPRETER OF MALADIES is the best collection of short fiction since Flannery O’Connor. Even though I’ve read it twice from friendly lenders, I wanted my own copy to review these stories again and again. Edwidge Danticat is in a class by herself and I don’t know why it took me so long to get this book.

Autumn is officially here. It’s jacket weather. I have my stack of books and my days of theatre are lining up. Leave me alone and let my introverted child drown in the word. He’s been waiting for #hotwhateversummer to be done with so he can wear a fall sweater and walk around the city with a book under his arm, as he is on his way to sit in a dark room and drown.

Friday, November 1, 2019

GET WHAT YOU WANT: November 2019


1. SUNDANCE THEATRE LAB
Deadline: Nov 1st
Website: https://www.sundance.org/programs/theatre-program#labRetreats

The Sundance Institute Theatre Program provides a catalytic process of artistic development for independent theatre-makers in the U.S. and globally, using a range of artist-driven engagement opportunities that connect, support, and sustain artists and their projects across their careers.

Led on an interim basis by Director Christopher Hibma, the Sundance Institute Theatre Program emphasizes intensive short-term interactions with creative mentors, held within the context of retreat settings removed from commercial pressures and other demands of contemporary life.

The Sundance Institute Theatre Program has a long history of supporting the development of U.S. and international new work for the stage, including projects such as Appropriate, Fun Home, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Taha, Circle Mirror Transformation, An Iliad, The Lily’s Revenge, Happy New Fear, The Good Negro, A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, The Light in the Piazza, Passing Strange, Spring Awakening, Boredom, The Laramie Project, 36 Abbas Street, I Am My Own Wife, and Night. To explore more projects that the Sundance Institute Theatre Program has supported, click here. The Theatre Program’s international activity supports mentorship and cross-cultural exchange, focusing now on artists from Arabic-speaking countries based in the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe.


2. EST SLOAN PROJECT
Deadline: Nov. 1st
website: http://www.ensemblestudiotheatre.org/est-sloan/submissions/

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.

COMMISSION AWARDS
Commissions will be awarded to individuals, groups and creative teams for full-length and one-act plays and musicals. Commissions range from $1000 to $10,000. Commission amounts are determined on a case-by-case basis, as are deadlines for drafts, finished work, and research support (if appropriate). Extant, full-length works may be submitted and are judged on a script-by-script basis by the EST/Sloan Project staff. Rewrite commissions for existing scripts range from $1,000 to $5,000.

Commissions are also available for regional theaters who wish to sponsor a local project focused on science and technology, either by commissioning a new script or developing an extant piece. Regional commission amounts are determined on a case-by-case basis, ranging from $2,000 - $5,000.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
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

AREAS NOT CONSIDERED FOR COMMISSIONS INCLUDE:
Science Fiction
Medical Conditions and/or Victims of Disease
Psychology and Human Behavior
HOW TO APPLY
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:

A one- or two-page description or a simple outline/synopsis of the project. This document should describe the actual story being explored and include in the description of the story how the science being portrayed would be inherently dramatic in the piece. Focus on plot and character development, and, as it ideally will in the finished play, how the science comes out through plot and character.
A resume or biography of each collaborator involved.


3. RICHARD ROGERS AWARD
Deadline: Nov 1st
Website: https://artsandletters.org/awards/richard-rodgers-award/

The Richard Rodgers Awards were created and endowed by Richard Rodgers in 1978 for the development of the musical theater. These awards subsidize full productions, studio productions, and staged readings by nonprofit theaters in New York City of works by composers and writers who are not already established in this field. Applications from individuals as well as collaborators are accepted. The term "musical theater" is understood to include musicals, plays with songs, thematic revues, or any comparable work. The submission of innovative and experimental work is encouraged. The work submitted must be of significant length to fill an evening; it may consist of a group of smaller, related pieces but only completed works will be considered.


4. ACP
Deadline: Nov 14th
website: https://www.queenscouncilarts.org/acp-artists

The Artist Commissioning Program (ACP) awards Queens-based choreographers, playwrights, and composers $10,000 each towards the creation of a new, original work. This program democratizes the traditional commissioning process, which has historically been reserved for a privileged few. The ACP supports projects that add to the canon of American art by telling an untold story of underrepresented person(s) relevant to the neighborhoods in Queens. Two things make ACP unique: 1) its aim to fill gaps in American culture, and 2) its format of pairing artists with a cohort of "Art Commissioners."

- FILLING GAPS IN AMERICAN CULTURE
ACP's priority is to support artists who present a fresh perspective by creating work that defies the cultural mainstream, privileges underrepresented identities, and/or speaks to the cultural diversity of Queens by telling an untold story of underrepresented person(s). Artists’ projects should highlight the stories of individual protagonists (e.g. heroine(s), hero(s), characters) in their proposed works to give underrepresented people a vision of themselves as leading characters. The new work should be replicable, capable of being interpreted and produced for dance, music, or theatre by other artist(s) or third parties throughout the borough, city, and country (e.g. if a high school or off-broadway theatre wanted to produce your work, they could do so - think Summer Stock or Swan Lake). By commissioning artists to materialize such works, the ACP aims to fill gaps in American culture by actively adding to the art historical canon. In doing so, the ACP aims to create a more democratic cultural sector that is more inclusive of the diverse narratives, cultural backgrounds, and values associated with our borough and nation.


5. JUILLIARD LILA ACHESON WALLACE AMERICAN PLAYWRITING FELLOWSHIP
Deadline: Nov 15th
Website: https://www.juilliard.edu/arm/drama/college/playwriting/artist-diploma

The Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program offers a one-year graduate-level fellowship. You may be invited to continue your studies through a second academic year, thereby completing a total of 52 credits for the two-year fellowship period and earning an Artist Diploma (AD) in Playwriting. The Playwriting Program is tuition-free and typically accepts 4-5 fellows per year.

It is preferred that you hold an undergraduate degree; however, you will also be considered if you have advanced training equivalent to a bachelor’s degree or exceptional artistic accomplishments.

International students are welcome to apply, however, play submissions must be in English.

While there is no limit to the number of times you may apply to this program, you are encouraged to critically consider your personal and professional development between applications. If you reapply, you should submit a new play with each application, unless it is a previously submitted play that has been significantly re-written.

The $60 application fee is nonrefundable and must be paid through your application status page upon submission of your application. Your application is not considered complete until the fee has been received.


6. BELLAGIO ARTS RESIDENCY
Deadline: Nov 15th
Website: https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/our-work/bellagio-center/residency-program/arts-literary-arts-residency/

The Bellagio Arts & Literary Arts residency is for composers, fiction and non-fiction writers, playwrights, poets, video/filmmakers, dancers, musicians, and visual artists who share in the Foundation’s mission of promoting the well-being of humankind and whose work is inspired by or relates to global or social issues. The residency is for artists seeking time for disciplined work, reflection, and collegial engagement with a diverse community of academics, practitioners, and artists.

The Center has a strong interest in proposals that align with The Rockefeller Foundation’s efforts to promote the well-being of humanity, particularly through issues that have a direct impact on the lives of poor and vulnerable populations around the world. These issues include but are not limited to health, economic opportunity, urban resilience, as well as food and agriculture.

To most effectively integrate the important voice of the arts throughout residency cohorts at the Bellagio Center, we are now holding one annual open call for residencies. The program will continue to welcome the same volume of high caliber artists to Bellagio, reinforcing the Foundation’s commitment to the arts and demonstrating its perspective that the arts are integral to the discourse around complex global challenges and critical to the well-being of humanity.

To further strengthen the reach of the program and ensure high geographic and disciplinary diversity among residents, we are also working with a range of new arts organizations to surface promising candidates. We have established outreach collaborations with four organizations: Khoj International Artists’ Association in Delhi, Fundacion Jumex in Mexico City, Africa Centre in Cape Town, and United States Artists in Chicago. These collaborations will extend our networks to attract a greater number of geographically diverse, highly distinguished artists working in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the United States.

The next application period for Arts & Literary Arts residencies will begin August 16, 2019, with a deadline of November 15, 2019.


7. BERKELEY REP GROUND FLOOR
Deadline: November 18th
Website: https://www.berkeleyrep.org/groundfloor/index.asp

We invite artists to apply with projects that would benefit from a residency in Berkeley for 1–4 weeks. Berkeley Rep will provide transportation, housing, rehearsal space, basic technical support, and a modest stipend. Applicants must be available for residency between June 16–July 12, 2020. Previous applicants may reapply. There is no limit on the number of projects an artist may apply with. We do accept applications from international artists.

Projects may be anywhere along their development path: from an idea without anything on paper yet, to a complete draft of a text. Whether you are a writer simply needing a room in which to write or an ensemble wanting intensive rehearsal time, we encourage you to apply. Artists from other disciplines interested in creating theatre pieces are also very welcome. If your project is ready for a small audience, we are happy to provide that, but there is no requirement for any kind of culminating event. Past participants have held events that were open to the public, no final presentation at all, small closed readings, and everything in between.

This is a developmental residency. Projects looking for a full production are not eligible. If you are applying for an adaptation, please have the underlying rights already secured. We do not accept scripts along with application forms. If a proposed project makes it to the second round, we will then request a work sample, which may include whatever is already written, if applicable.

To apply: https://berkeleyrep.wufoo.com/forms/p14cky3u1c5d2b4/

All applications and corresponding résumés are due by 11:59pm on November 18, 2019.


8. PUBLIC THEATRE'S EMERGING WRITERS GROUP
Deadline: Nov 29th
website: https://publictheater.org/programs/emerging-writers-group/

The Emerging Writers Group is a component of The Public Writers Initiative, a long-term program that provides key support and resources for writers at every stage of their careers. It creates a fertile community and fosters a web of supportive artistic relationships across generations.

Writers are selected bi-annually and receive a two-year fellowship at The Public which includes a stipend. Staged readings of works by Emerging Writers Group members are presented in the Spotlight Series at The Public. The playwrights also participate in a bi-weekly writers group led by The Public’s New Work department and master classes led by established playwrights. Additionally, they have a chance to observe rehearsals for productions at The Public, receive career development advice from mid-career and established writers, and receive artistic and professional support from the literary department and Public artistic staff. Members of the group also receive complimentary tickets to Public Theater shows, invited dress rehearsals, and other special events, as well as a supplemental stipend for tickets to productions at other theaters.

Receive stipend of $7,500

Participate in a biweekly writers group led by The Public’s New Work Department

Receive at least one reading at The Public in the Emerging Writers Group Spotlight Series Reading Series

Participate in master classes led by established playwrights

Observe rehearsals for productions at The Public

Receive an additional stipend for theater tickets to productions at other theaters

Receive complimentary tickets to Public Theater shows, invited dress rehearsals and other special events

Receive artistic support and professional development guidance from the literary department and artistic staff

Requirements for Eligibility

Cannot have professional representation for playwriting including, but not limited to, agent, manager or lawyer.

Cannot be a full-time student at any point during the duration of the program.
Cannot be enrolled in any academic playwriting course during the duration of the program.
Must not have had productions in New York other than those using the showcase code or in an off-off Broadway theater with 99 or fewer seats. (If your New York show used a higher contract tier than the showcase code, you are not eligible to apply. If your New York show received a festival production in a theater with more than 99 seats and did not use an Equity contract, you are eligible to apply.)
Must live within 90 minutes to The Public Theater via car or rail.
Must be able to attend evening meetings at The Public Theater every other week in 2020 and 2021 as well as other events throughout the year, such as master classes, retreats, observerships and other special events at The Public.
Regular attendance is mandatory and therefore applicants should view the program as a two-year-long commitment.
Must be available for an in-person interview in early March 2020.


9. TOFTE LAKE RESIDENCY
Deadline: Nov 30th
Website: https://toftelake.org/individual-group-residencies

Artist residencies are interdisciplinary in nature, and balance group activity, personal work time, facilitated conversation, with the exchange of work and performance. We strive to include artists from diverse backgrounds and communities. Residencies are structured around the artists’ specific  project needs. Days are self-directed, and could include individual/team work, afternoon excursions or on-site activity, dinners and evening gatherings with resident artists.

Access to dramaturgical conversations and feedback with TLC Director and Dramaturg Liz Engelman in available to any artist who is interested.

Tofte Lake Center is family-friendly. If you are interested in a family-focused residency, please check out our inaugural Family Artists Residency. This residency is grant dependent. For our Individual Residencies, artists are welcome to bring their families when space allows and when agreed upon in advance.  For these residencies we cannot guarantee child-care, though we are happy to help resident artist parents find part-time childcare for their stay, should this make their residency possible.

2020 Individual Artist Residency Weeks Available: June 15-21 (depending on grant funding, this week could be dedicated to our Family Artists Residency Program),  June 22-28, June 29-July 5, August 3-9, August 10-16, and September 21-27.


10. PREMIERE PLAY FESTIVAL
Deadline: Dec 1st
Website: http://www.premierestagesatkean.com/play-festival

Through the Premiere Play Festival, Premiere Stages has developed many plays that have gone on to have successful productions in New York and at regional theatres throughout the country. We strive to facilitate relationships between writers and theatre professionals who we think will respond to their work, in hopes that plays developed at Premiere will go on to subsequent productions. We offer Play Festival winners the option to retain the coveted “World Premiere” brand on their plays. Additionally, Premiere’s productions are consistently reviewed, scouted by major publishing houses, and honored by the American Theatre Critics Association.

Submissions due DEC 1 2019

Premiere Stages will accept submissions of unproduced plays written by playwrights affiliated with the greater metropolitan area from September 1, 2019 through December 1, 2019. All plays submitted to the festival are evaluated by a panel of professional theatre producers, directors, dramaturgs, playwrights, and publishers. Four finalists are subsequently selected for public Equity readings in March 2020.

Awards

Following the Spring readings, one play is selected for an Equity production in the Premiere Stages 2020 Mainstage Season and receives an award of $2500. The runner-up receives a 29-hour staged reading and $1000. The two other finalists will each be awarded $750.

Premiere Stages is committed to supporting a diverse group of writers; playwrights of all backgrounds, ages, and experience levels are encouraged to apply.

Submission Guidelines

All plays must be submitted as a PDF.
Plays must be full-length and have a cast size of no more than eight.
Plays must be unpublished and unproduced (readings and workshops are okay), with no productions and/or publication currently scheduled through September 2020.
Playwrights must have strong affiliations with the greater metropolitan area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware).
Musicals, adaptations (of existing plays or other sources), and solo shows are not eligible.
Submissions are limited to one script per playwright.
Please contact Premiere Stages to inquire about submitting a script that has been previously submitted.
Playwrights must be available for the development of their script (see the 2020 schedule table).
Submissions are accepted September 1, 2019 through 11:59 p.m. on December 1, 2019. Submissions sent early in the submission window are strongly encouraged.
All plays must be submitted as a PDF to:  premierestages.submittable.com/submit. Hard copies will not be accepted.


11. MCKNIGHT NATIONAL RESIDENCY
Deadline: Dec. 12th
Website: https://pwcenter.org/programs/mcknight-national-residency-and-commission

The intent of the McKnight National Residency and Commission is to support an established playwright from outside of Minnesota who demonstrates a sustained level of accomplishment, commitment, and artistic excellence. Recipients of the Residency and Commission will spend the year creating a new play script over the course of several residencies in Minnesota, including opportunities to engage with the Twin Cities and Playwrights' Center community. Benefits include:

A $15,000 commission
At least two U.S. round-trip airline tickets
Housing during the residency period
Up to $5,750 in workshop funds to support the development of the play
A public reading of the commissioned play
Past recipients include: Kia Corthron, Erik Ehn, Idris Goodwin, Karen Hartman, Daniel Alexander Jones, Sibyl Kempson, Craig Lucas, Taylor Mac, Dan O’Brien, Betty Shamieh, Mfoniso Udofia, and Mac Wellman.

Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Applicants must be nationally recognized playwrights who have had at least two different plays fully produced by professional theaters at the time of application. Minnesota-based playwrights are not eligible for this fellowship. Recipients of 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 McKnight Artist Fellowships in any discipline are not eligible. Full-time students are not eligible. Staff and board members of the McKnight Foundation and the Playwrights' Center or their immediate families are not eligible. Recipients may not receive any other Playwrights' Center fellowships, grants, or Core Writer benefits during the grant year. If a recipient is a Core Writer, their Core term will be extended by one year. Applicants may only apply for one McKnight Artist Fellowship each year in any discipline. Recipients commit to spending up to four weeks in residency in the Twin Cities (not necessarily consecutively). Recipients must create a new play according to the terms set forth in the contract.


12. LA MAISON BALDWIN RESIDENCY
Deadline: December 31st
website: https://www.lamaisonbaldwin.fr/

Shortly before James Baldwin passed away, he told close friends in Saint-Paul de Vence that he dreamed of seeing his beloved house made into a writers' colony. This medieval village, with its uncommon light, its majestic mountaintop placement and surrounding countryside, has for centuries attracted artists, architects, alchemists and thinkers, great minds intent on changing the world. Here is where Baldwin wrote some of his most enduring books, including If Beale Street Could Talk, Just Above my Head, and his sole book of poetry, Jimmy's Blues.

Writers in residence are offered a room in the village center to pursue their current creative project. While in residence, they will contribute to the literary culture of Saint Paul de Vence by offering a community event or creative public program.

They are hosted at La Maison Baldwin Residence for Writers, a house in the historic center of St. Paul de Vence located directly across the street from the village church. The home features a 3rd-floor bedroom suite with a sunny terrace overlooking the tiled roofs of the village and the valley beyond.

Residents also stay in a charming artist cottage made available to the program through a partnership with the city of St. Paul de Vence.

Lunch every day is offered to the resident writers through partnerships with local restaurants and host families. The fellowship includes a $700 travel stipend.

Eligibility and How to Apply

This fellowship is open to emerging writers working in the spirit of James Baldwin. Eligible to apply are poets, playwrights, essayists and fiction writers with no more than one published book or staged production.

The review committee will select ten fellows for residencies of 2 to 4 weeks in fall 2020 (Sept 15 to Oct. 31) or spring 2021 (April 1 to May 15).

To apply, send a cover letter, a brief bio and writing sample of ten pages to residency@lamaisonbaldwin.fr with the subject line "residency application." The deadline is December 31, 2019. Please indicate your preferred residency duration and period.



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