Monday, December 17, 2012

Music Monday: Chris Chen ROUND 2

From the premiere of Chris' show The Hundred Flowers Project
Photo by Pak Han
For today's Music Monday we return to a real lybusy playwright here in the Bay Area: Christopher Chen. Some of you may remember that when Music Monday was in its infancy during the 2012 BAPF, Chris compiled a playlist for The Hundred Flowers Project for us [Chris' first Music Monday].

Since then, Chris' Hundred Flowers Project received it's world premiere with Crowded Fire Theatre, and recently was featured in the very successful 3rd Annual SF One-Minute Play Festival.

Chris had such fun creating a playlist for us before, he jumped at the chance to create a second.

Here's what he had to say about this playlist: "I think there's a lot of theatricality and drama, and a lot of interesting structures running through these. Enjoy!"

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wait for it

Picture provided by oneminuteplays.wordpress.com
By Patricia Milton

As a playwright, I’m very interested in structure. I find that using an explicit structure creates ease in my playwriting. I have used a very conventional two-act play structure for my own full-length plays, although, as an audience member, often I enjoy alternative structures.

As I sat down to write one-minute plays for this year’s #1MPF, I decided I wanted to try applying a common structure.

But trying to create a two-act one-minute play felt daunting. So I considered the structure of a joke. To be more specific, I considered the idea of working toward a “punchline.”

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Blazing a New Trail

Picture provided from oneminuteplays.wordpress.com
By Marisela Treviño Orta

This is the third year that the One Minute Play Festival has come to the San Francisco Bay Area. And I’m sure each year festival producer Dominic D’Andrea returns the process of organizing the festival here becomes easier. But it’s important to remember that easy has its own pitfalls.

It would be very easy for the festival producers to simply repeat themselves—call up the same list of actors, directors and playwrights who previously participated and be done with it. That would be easy. But sometimes the easy route means we aren’t seeking out new talent and voices.

Happily, this scenario isn’t what’s happening with the San Francisco One Minute Play Festival (SF OMPF).  Check it out:
  • the upcoming festival is the biggest SF OMPF ever
  • it’s the most diverse festival yet with more women and people of color participating
  • and while many of the artists are returning, there are plenty of new voices and talent added to the mix
  • all the artists—playwrights, directors and actors—are local!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Music Monday: Magan Biggs

For today's Music Monday, we give you the playlist of the Playwrights Foundation glue: Magan Biggs our wonderful administrative director. Magan has really taken the helm of many of our projects here at Playwrights Foundation and helped us propel them to success this year. From BAPF to the Rough Reading Series to our most recent endeavor, Play After Dark (more on that soon).

Whenever you walk into the Playwrights Foundation office and everyone's at work, you can be guaranteed at some point seeing Magan hard a work at her desk listening to music as she keeps this thing going. So who better to be our Music Monday subject today than Magan.

Enjoy!

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Are Moments When Time Stops


By Aimee Suzara
Playwright, 3rd Annual One Minute Play Festival
There are moments when time stops.
Those split-seconds seem to last eternity –  marking time like little notches of memory along a measuring tape.  In looking back to those moments, all others seem to dissipate – or even, stretch to meet the others, as though they are planets orbiting towards those suns.
Those moments –an insult said in sixth grade that changed everything, the first time you opened a love letter and the smell of notebook paper, the scathing words of an elder on her deathbed, the moment you met eyes with a soul-mate, a particular perfect sunset – may verge on cliché, but then again, clichés are repeated for a reason. Those moments when everything falls away into silence, time stands still– the stuff romantic dramas thrives upon – are real, and everyone has had at least a handful.  In those few seconds, you realize, as the Buddha said, “there’s only one moment for you to live, and that is the present moment.” And often, those moments are turning points, be they big or small – the moment we realized we were becoming women, the moment we understood that to be brown-skinned was less-than, the moment we realized we were going to be in love (for x amount of years); or those tough-love moments where reality slaps you across the face.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A One Minute Music Monday

For today's Music Monday (as master of the PF blog) I, Kevin, decided to do a fun little game that relates somewhat to the upcoming 3rd Annual Ome-Minute Play Festival San Francisco. Yes, that annual festival of 70 or so great plays in a little over an hour. Each a one-minute masterpiece by some of the greatest playwrights in the Bay Area.

This year's festival will feature plays from Joan Holden, Christopher Chen, Anthony Clarvoe, Lauren Gunderson, Aaron Loeb, Chinaka Hodge, J.C. Lee, and 30 other Bay Area Writers.

So, for today's Music Monday I set down, set the timer on my phone for one minute, and wrote down all the songs I could think of. Sadly, I only thought of twelve. Here I am, thinking I can create a huge list and I only create twelve. Try it yourself, see what you come up with. It's really interesting the songs I came up with. Maybe it subconsciously says something about me. But I don't know. Anyway, enjoy!



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For more information, visit www.oneminuteplayfestival.com

Tickets for this year's One Minute Play Festival are on sale NOW. Get tickets here

Monday, November 12, 2012

Music Monday: Sunset Baby

Image from ThrillCity.com
In preparation for Dominique Morisseau's Sunset Baby Rough Reading today and tomorrow we honor it with it's own music monday, with music that the PF staff has chosen that we feel fits the play.

Music is a big part of Sunset Baby. After all, according to Dominique the main character is named after Nina Simone. The last four songs on this playlist are even incorporated into the play.

In Dominique's blog about her play, she said one of her inspirations was Tupac Shakur. She says of Tupac: "this is most important.  He would've been in his forties now were he not a victim of gun violence in 1996.  I was always moved by his deeply thoughtful yet contradictory music.  One minute he'd be an intelligent orator breaking down the poverty-mentality of a lost generation, and the next he'd be the contributor to a violent generational abyss. How can my generation be so brilliant and so self-destructive at the same time?"

We hope our musical choices have faithfully represented this incredible play.

Enjoy!



Sunset Baby will be part of our Rough Reading Nov. 12th at Stanford and 13th at the ACT Costume Shop in SF. It is 100% FREE of charge. A $20 donation in advance comes with a reserved seat and a drink!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Black Power Babies

By Dominique Morisseau


My play, SUNSET BABY, began as an experiment that Jose Rivera gave to me and my fellow writers in the 2011 Emerging Writers Group at the Public Theater.  He asked us to write a quick and fast play in ten minutes, and gave us all of these creative elements to storm the play with.  It included an orange rolling on the stage.  Someone eating food.  A ton of things that are not at all included in this play.  But what I did was write a quick scene between a father and a daughter who were estranged and had agreed to meet in a restaurant.  Daughter was giving the Dad a hard time.  This ended up being what SUNSET BABY is bulit on.  This dinner date that never happened.

That was the spark that got me writing this play. But once I discovered what I was writing, the inspiration to SUNSET BABY changed.  These few important things are what became my driving inspiration:  1- a picture my father took of me as a little girl (the picture described in the play is it), 2 - all of the Black activists throughout time that have shaped the world in which I live, and 3 - Tupac Shakur - one of the most complex and brilliant hip hop artists there ever was. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Oskar Eustis on Hurricane Sandy



Recently we were forwarded a special message that was released from Oskar Eustis of The Public Theater in NYC about Hurricane Sandy and we felt it necessary to share with you here. This is the message as we received it in it's entirety. Please read and share with your friends and family.

Dear Friends,

Hurricane Sandy dealt our entire region a huge blow this past week, and it will require effort and collaboration from all of us to support those who are suffering the most. I know your thoughts, like mine, are with those of our citizens in the Rockaways and Hoboken, in Staten Island and New Jersey, who are still without power, heat, or homes.

For the next few weeks, we will be using our home at The Public Theater at Astor Place as a collection site for material aid to help those without homes and those in need of immediate assistance. We're told that water is most urgently needed, in addition to, work gloves, batteries, flashlights, face masks, thick black garbage bags, tarps, cleaning fluids and supplies, band-aids, Advil, Tylenol, baby wipes and diapers. If you bring your items to The Public, either on your way to work, to a show or any other time during the day, we will make sure your much-needed contributions are distributed quickly and efficiently. A collection bin is located right in our main lobby.

Music Monday: The Randy Man

Randy, PF Managing Producer
For today's Music Monday, we look inside Playwrights Foundation to our Managing Producer, Randy Symank. Randy has been with us for a while now and here we give you a small look in. Here's what Randy had to say about work and music at Playwrights Foundation.


As the Managing Producer of Playwrights Foundation I'm responsible for overseeing and managing our programs and fundraising. As I move from task-to-task and project-to-project, I rely on music to keep me motivated and energized throughout the day. 

What you'll find here is a cross-section of songs from a variety of my Spotify playlists that I'm currently listening too. Whether I'm finalizing spaces for our Rough Readings, confirming schedules with playwrights to teach in our New Play Institute, or managing the staff and production team during our Bay Area Playwrights Festival, I can always find a song that fits the mood and tasks for the day. Hip Hop, Electronica, and Rock are good when there a variety of tasks that I need to work through. If I'm editing marketing materials or crafting a proposal for a program, Classical Music allows me to zone out and lose myself in the writing.

Enjoy!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

To "Wright" Plays

by Lauren Gunderson
Playwright

In preparation for Lauren Gunderson's upcoming PlayMath Class at the PF New Play Institute, we invited her to explain her class and what she loves about teaching it in her own wonderful words.

I love leading PlayMath classes because I'm a nerd for theatre. God I love plays. Don't you? I love them. I love talking about them, arguing about them, imagining them. I love the feelings I discover watching them in the hands of great actors, I love the surprising poetry that beams forth from the page, the pulsing silences earned by great directors, and I love digging deep into the structure of plays to figure out how the damn things work.

And it's the working that we convene to explore together from the greats and from each other in class. It's the working that makes us playwrights. The "wright" in playwright comes from the archaic English word "to work". A wright is a craftsman, a builder, a maker of new things. We gather to learn how to wright plays, not just write them.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hundred Flowers Blooms Great Reviews

The reviews for Christopher Chen's The Hundred Flowers Project [co-produced by Crowded Fire and Playwrights Foundation] are just sweeping in. As the show is in it's opening weekend at the Thick House and you're ordering your tickets, check out these great reviews from Chad Jones of Theater Dogs and Robert Hurwitt of the SF Chronicle.

From Chad Jones at theaterdogs.net

Christopher Chen's The Hundred Flowers Project
Photo by Pak Han


If Apple or some other high-tech giant was really smart, really forward thinking, they’d head down to the Thick House and check out the West Coast premiere of Christopher Chen’s The Hundred Flowers Project, a play that not only has a lot to say about our instantly archived society and its millions of digital histories but also utilizes technology in a fascinating way.
There’s something utterly primal about the premise of this Crowded Fire/Playwrights Foundation co-production: members of a San Francisco theater collective gather to create, in the most organic, zeitgeist-melding way, a dazzling piece of theater about the life and rule of Mao Tse Tung that has deep metaphorical connection to our own times. These theater folk are pretentious – the words “zeitgeist” and “congealing” are used so often they may cause indigestion – but they’re also real artists trying to create something new and interesting and meaningful.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Music Monday: Hundred Flowers


The Hundred Flowers Project
Photo by Pak Han
Today's Music Monday is a little special. Today we look at The Hundred Flowers Project by Christopher Chen. It's a play that has been in our lives at Playwrights Foundation for a while. But really it goes back to this summer when it was one of the great plays being read at the 35th Bay Area Playwrights Festival. Co-Produced with Crowded Fire Theatre Company, Chris' great work was a great play to see develop and now it is finally in full production over at the Thick House (get tickets here) playing now until November 17th.

To really get an insight to the play's development, make sure to check out the blog Chris wrote for us during the BAPF this summer. Titled "Meta-Blog", Chris describes in funny and insightful detail about the challenges and fun of writing play that has come to be labeled the popular "meta-theatre" brand.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Music Monday: Whole Lotta Lauren Gunderson

Here's how it goes. When I have send a music monday request to a playwright I ask for 15 songs or so, that way if a song is not on Spotify then there should be enough song options to put on a good size playlist.

When it came time to ask Lauren Gunderson for a Music Monday playlist, I asked her for 15 songs. When I get to putting together her playlist, the first song is: "The song 'Love Letter' by Clairy Browne that's in that Heineken commercial. Good song. Thanks, Heineken". So I look on Spotify and of course it's not on and I start thinking, this might be a small playlist if the first song is not on there. But I go on...

The Commercial

The Full Song

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Looking for a Better Play

By Dominic Orlando
Playwright 

Reparations Rough Reading Oct. 22 & 23
In preparation for the next Rough Reading, which features Reparations by Dominic Orlando, we asked him to speak about his play, it's history, and what it all means.  

This play began when I was participating in a theatre festival a few years ago (not in California).  I was watching one of the other plays-- it was a disfunctional family drama, fairly well-written--for the first third of the piece we heard a lot about the crazy sister.  She was unbalanced, she was dangerous--it was a real build-up.  But when she finally appeared, the character seemed a little muted and hemmed in.  Now, when I say this character then spoke to me I don't mean I had some kind of psychotic break and heard her voice aloud, but as close to a psychotic break as you can have without it actually happening, this character of the sister spoke to me, and basically asked if I could write a play for her in which she didn't have to feel trapped by the writer's fears and agenda.  Where she could just be her screwed up and frightening self.  She had things to say and she wanted me to provide a forum in which she could say them freely.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Music Monday: Dominic Orlando

Oct. 22 & 23 Rough Reading 
Oh, Dominic. Dominic Orlando is a favorite around Playwrights Foundation. From the classes he teaches to the plays he brings us. The man is so, so busy. From working with Berkeley Rep's Ground Floor on his new musical The Barbary Coast to bringing us his new play Reparations for our Rough Reading series he has also managed to write two blogs for us (one up already) and provide us with a playlist.

Now, in the confusion of multiple emails asking him to write these things for us I did ask him if he could provide us with a playlist that was related to his play Reparations, coming Oct. 22&23, and he gave me a list of songs with the short message: "here are the songs. They fit both into Reparations and songs to write by".

As far as which songs fall into the Reparations category and which ones falls into the 'songs to write by' category you'll have to come check out Reparations in our Rough Reading Series to make that judgement yourself. Either way, listening to his playlist, their all good for creative inspiration.



P.S. Yes, he included a full album in his playlist.
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To find out how to see the Rough Reading of Dominic's Reparations, click here

Monday, October 8, 2012

PNG: Paradise of Mixed Delights

By Andrew Saito, PF Resident Playwright abroad in Papua New Guinea

I write these words through the haze of an anonymous tropical disease.  My appetite is reduced, and fatigue sets in early and often.  The upside is that my frequent lack of hunger is shaving off the double chin I acquired a couple of months ago in East New Britain and Bougainville, two large islands off the eastern coast of Papua New Guinea’s mainland, where my diet often consisted of generous portions of rice, crackers, and little else.  PNG, as locals call it, is a far cry from the Bay Area.  I cannot count the number of times while on bumpy, unpaved roads through remote jungle highlands that I’ve pined for a cone of salted caramel from BiRite Creamery, dim sum from the Inner Richmond, or even just a cheese slice from Arinell’s on Valencia  Street.  The good news is San Francisco will still be around, and certainly with new culinary, and theatrical, treasures to savor when I get back next March.  Until then, I’ll content myself with endless portions of sweet potato and greens, canned tuna and carrots.  I can’t bring myself to sample the Ox & Palm tinned corned beef ever again.  Although, if I find myself in the middle of the jungle, with no options other than the good ole’ O & P, I suppose I’ll give in.  After all, that greasy, grey slop is considered a luxury among Papua New Guineans.  When in Rome, they say…

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Adventures in Music-Theatre

At Playwrights Foundation, playwright and teacher Dominic Orlando is a real favorite. He will be featured in our Rough Reading Series and he's getting ready to teach a class for our New Play Institute, a Musical Bootcamp for those who want to really learn how to write a musical. Dominic is currently working on the book of lyrics of for The Barbary Coast for Berkeley Rep. Here's that journey so far.

July, 2012:  My composer Brian Carpenter and I in residence at Berkeley Repertory Theatre’sGround Floor development program, at their new facility on Harrison Street. 

I wish I had some juicy dirt to impart, but actually TGF was a collaborator’s paradise.  Brian had a studio on end of the facility, complete with several keyboards and his laptop (the essential musical instrument of the 21st Century).  On the other end of the space, I had my little grotto for hammering out the words.  In between our offices, were the common areas, and—most importantly—the kitchen, from which a delicious dinner would (to our minds) magically appear at the end of the work-day.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Music Monday: The Road Till Now

Welcome to another Music Monday. This is usually where I would hand it off to this week's playwright, but today we're doing it a little bit differently. Today, I'll take control of the blog. Hopefully it goes just as well as last time I took over. A little look back and a playlist that includes 10 songs chosen by yours truly and nine of my favorites from our nine past Music Mondays.

How did this start? Well, it was during the 35th Bay Area Playwrights Festival this last summer that Magan, the structural glue that holds most things together at the office, came to me with an idea. A way to produce content for our blog that was simple and easy.

Ask playwrights for a playlist of songs they are listening to and post them up.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

This Play is a Suitcase











Playwright, Bike America

Bike America is a comedy about a cross-country bike trip, staged on stationary bikes. Or maybe even real bikes. Or maybe just handlebars that the actors carry around to look like real bikes. We haven’t really figured that out yet. Anyhow, this bike trip starts in Boston and ends in Santa Barbara, with stops in iconic American towns like Newport, New York City, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Memphis, El Paso, and Flagstaff.

Bike America won the Kendeda Grad Playwriting Competition and will be having its world premiere at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta in February 2013. It’s had workshops at the Kennedy Center (NNPN MFA Playwrights’ Workshop) and at Juilliard, and its latest ride will be with the Playwrights Foundation. I am overjoyed for this chance to keep working on the play, because it’s still very much in process.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Music Monday: An Infinite Loop with Mike Lew


Writing and Biking. Two things Mike Lew knows a thing or two about. When we asked him to give us a playlist of music he writes to, not only did he give us a great heart bumping list, he gave us a little insight to the method behind his madness:

"Ok, so this is admittedly insane, but when I listen to music while writing it's to block out the world. (Think: big chunky headphones, maximum volume) But when I want to block out the world, the last thing I want to do is get sucked into song lyrics.

So what do I do? I pick ONE song and play it on infinite loop until it's basically background noise."




Come and meet the man behind this Music Monday as he kicks off our Fall Rough Reading Series this Monday and Tuesday with a reading of Bike America.  

This Monday, October 1 reading will be held at Stanford University in Roble Hall at 7pm. 
The Tuesday, October 2 Reading will be held at The Thick House in San Francisco at 7pm.

Readings are 100% FREE!  You can save yourself a seat and a beverage for the reading in San Francisco for a mere $20 donation, simply click here


Monday, September 10, 2012

Music Monday: Anthony Clarvoe

Anthony Clarvoe, playwright of Cello, clearly has a love of music and probably knows a thing or two about a killer playlist to set you into a writing mood.

With Anthony Clarvoe's ongoing class with the New Play Institute, September 19 - December 12, we had a perfect excuse to ask him for a touch of his taste in music with our latest Music Monday! Listen to his playlist while you write, then take his class and take your play to the next level.

Enjoy!



For more information on Anthony's upcoming class, including price and registration, click here

Thursday, September 6, 2012

In the Same Boat with Anthony Clarvoe


by Anthony Clarvoe
Playwright and NPI Instructor

CELLO by Anthony Clarvoe for
Bay Area One Acts Festival.
Produced by Playwrights Foundation
Pictured (l-r) El Beh, Maria Giere
Marquis, Cooper Carlson.
I confess it:  I am inordinately fond of the writers in my classes.  They bring so much talent, imagination, and energy to the table.  They have striking stories to tell, strong values to argue for, remarkable personal histories and daily lives.  They are committed, brave, and thoughtful.  It’s no surprise to me that a sizeable number of their plays have gone on to receive public readings, workshops, and full productions.  They are also generous and supportive colleagues, attending each other’s plays, continuing to get together on their own after class is done, forming an enthusiastic community of writers.  I admire them and look forward to seeing them every week.

Right about now you may be saying to yourself, “I was thinking I might take a class.  But these dramatic paragons don’t sound much like little old me.  I bet I wouldn’t fit in very well.  I’d probably make an ass of myself.” 

Read on.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Music Monday: Lachlan Philpott

Lachlan is a Sydney based theatre and screen writer, dramaturge, teacher and director. His multi-award winning plays have been widely performed in Australia and The UK. Lachlan was writer in Residence at Red Stitch Theatre, Melbourne in 2006 and Griffin Theatre Company Sydney in 2010 and in residency at Playwrights Foundation. He has done a lot for us in the past few months he has been here, working as a dramaturg in BAPF 35, teaching a wonderful NPI class, and we had a small reading a while back of one of his plays at the PF Studio.

For today's Music Monday Lachlann has provided us with an amazing list of songs for you to listen to as you write your own plays.

Enjoy!



Monday, August 27, 2012

Music Monday: Aaron Loeb

Yes. That's right, it's another Music Monday and we have another playwright playlist for you to listen to while you work and write. Today's playwright: Aaron Loeb.

Aaron's plays are really different than anything you'll see. From a play where the audience decides which act to see first to his most recent effort from BAPF 35, Ideation, a dark comedy about a corporate boardroom assignment that tests people's morals; Aaron's plays really cover all sorts of ground. So it fits that his playlist too, covers all sorts of ground.



Enjoy Music Mondays? Share with us the playlist you like listening to while you write.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Music Monday: Aditi Kapil

Alright! Another Music Monday. Today, we present a selection of musical inspiration from playwright Aditi Kapil. Her play Brahman/i: A One-Hijra Stand-Up Comedy Show, which appeared in the Bay Area Playwrights Festival this past summer is already filled with tons of music. So it seems Music Monday is appropriate.



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Everyone's Loving on Gordon Dahlquist



While perusing the blogosphere this morning we stumbled upon an interview between Playwright Interviewer Extraordinaire, Adam Szymkowicz and Gordon Dahlquist, whose play Tea Party was a part of the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. They talk about all sorts of things, from theater to writing a novel, writing heroes to childhood. 

Here is a little snippet from the interview that we thought was both charming and inspiring. 

Adam: Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a person.

Gordon: As a kid I lived for several years on the shore of Puget Sound, near a protected area of beach sand that would be flooded by the rising tide, but without the impact of waves. This allowed me to construct very elaborate sand castles that would perish in reliably slow motion: the water would rise to the top of the walls, lapping away, until with a dam-busting rush the sand would give and everything in between this wall and the next (and there were always things in between - villages, monuments, churches, rooted in false security) would be swept away. The whole process would take hours. And the next day, when the tide was out, the beach would be flattened, empty and smooth as a page.

Click here to read more of the interview. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Music Monday: George Brant

It's another Music Monday, and that means it's another Playwright Playlist. This week we are happy to present the musical inspiration from George Brant, playwright of Grounded. 

For any of you who who were able to see Grounded at the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, might be able to pinpoint a theme to his top music picks for this week, but we don't want to be putting ideas into your head or anything...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Playwrights' Playlist: Lauren Yee

It's Monday. Oh Music Monday.  Thankfully that means it's time for some good new music from one of our Playwrights.

This week, Lauren Yee, playwright of Samsara and San Francisco Native, shares with us ten songs that help her push through the writing process and into the final pages of her play.




With a playlist like this, it's no wonder Lauren was able to write a hilarious comedy about international surrogacy and a very rebellious zygote.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Playwrights' Playlist: Gordon Dahlquist

Gordon Dahlquist
Playwrights: What are you listening to?  We posed this question to those in our Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and here is what Gordon Dahlquist has to share with us.

"It doesn't have any specific connection to Tea Party, but I always listen to the same things over and over anyway, when I write." - Gordon





Monday, July 23, 2012

Playwrights' Playlist: Christopher Chen

Chris Chen
BAPF 35 Week 1 was great, an awesome slew of the best new plays on the underground that will surely impress their way to the mainstream of the new play world.  Riding the wave of inspiration form all of the plays that came crashing over us, we had an idea: "What are these playwright geniuses listening to while they write, and will that inspiration help us write? Right?!"

So here goes, our first, of many, Playwrights' Playlists for the blog. Each week we will ask a new playwright: What are you listening to?

Kicking off our new experiment is Christopher Chen, writer of The Hundred Flowers Project, with a few inspiring songs in his music library.  A few of the songs are directly related with his most recent work such as From the Air which Chris "appropriated and altered a lyric from for the play."

Enjoy!




Did this help you write? Did this inspire you? Did this make you wish Music had never been a thing? Share your thoughts with us!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Living a Metaphor

by Aaron Loeb
Aaron Loeb
Playwright, Ideation 



This is an absolutely true story.

At the Playwrights Foundation BAPF retreat with my director, dramaturg and designer we decide to go for a walk and discuss the play.

The play is a twisty little set of passages. The management consultants it centers around have just gotten back to the office from Crete. They’ve left one labyrinth for another.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Hell of a Way to Start


by Aditi Kapil
Aditi Kapil

It's Wednesday morning in San Francisco.

Excited to meet all the artists, sink into focus, write a lot.

Tomorrow afternoon it’ll be my turn to read my entire play, beginning to end, for the group [at BAPF retreat]. That’ll teach me to write an hour and a half of relentless comedy. My abstract compassion for the actor who has to sustain this role over a performance will no longer be so abstract.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My "First Love" Play

By Jonathan Spector
Director, Tea Party


I have been supervising the play selection for BAPF, on and off (under various titles), for the last six years.  My favorite moment in the process is invariably the first time each year that I read a play I fall in love with.  Usually this moment comes just after reading several plays that I don’t consider strong submissions, for one reason or another, and wondering why this year’s batch don’t seem to be as strong as the previous year.  And then I open THE PLAY, and just a couple of pages in, the temperature in the room seems to change.  I’m no longer reading dialogue executed with various levels of skill. Instead, I’m in the room in the present moment, living with a playwright’s voice. This First Love moment is significant not just for whatever that play might be, but for the possibility that the same kind of excitement and joy lies in many more of the as-yet-unread plays.
This year, my first love play was Tea Party. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Erasing History: My Moment in the Mind of Mao


By Desdemona Chiang

When Marissa Wolf called a month ago to offer me "The Hundred Flowers Project," I was ecstatic. Chris Chen is a dear friend, and I am very fortunate to have been around the social fringe of his process and thinking on this script for over a year. It is a piece that he has written, workshopped, re-written, re-workshopped, re-re-written, and now (with my involvement), currently being re-re-re-written. It has been previously led by three other directors in various incarnations, each contributing a significant imprint to its past prior to landing in my hands. I knew all this coming into the process, and had no doubt that the play had an elaborate history of its own. I soon found myself inheriting a script that I did not help develop, a schedule of design workshops that were committed to prior to my coming onboard, and a cast of actors hired by another director.

And suddenly, I understood why Chairman Mao had the desire to eradicate China's political history when he came into power.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Popping the Question


By George Brant
George Brant
Playwright, Grounded 

Oh, you can fool yourself. 

Perhaps it doesn’t come up the first rehearsal, or even the second.  Perhaps you’ve distracted them with the research images you’ve brought in, or the joke on page 12, or the debate over the proper pronunciation of a word you’ve made up. But don’t kid yourself; you’ve written a one-person show, sooner or later the dreaded question will rear its head.  Maybe it’ll be the director who poses it, maybe the dramaturge, most likely the actor.  Yes, let’s say the actor playing The Pilot*. Sooner or later, she will ask it:

“So.  Who am I talking to?”

Sigh. 

Your gut/defensive/true answer: the audience.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Meta-Blog

Christopher Chen
By Christopher Chen
Playwright, The Hundred Flowers Project

The central story of The Hundred Flowers Project involves a group of Asian actors making a play about Mao Tse-Tung called The Hundred Flowers Project, and, in a surrealistic twist, the play they are working on morphs into a play about the making of the play itself. Because of this play-within-a-play structure, I’m often met- when I describe the premise to people- with responses like: “Ooo, very meta.” It’s a response tinged with benevolent irony, as if the person is saying: “Good for you, trying something out. You must be aware this play-within-a-play thing’s been done ad nauseam, and I already feel above it and won’t think it’s clever... but good for you!”

Friday, June 29, 2012

Womb For Rent

An Interview with BAPF 35 Playwright Lauren Yee

Lauren Yee
The 35th Bay Area Playwrights Festival will feature six amazing plays from the unthinkably funny to the unbelievably real. Samsara by Lauren Yee, a Bay Area native, is both. Samsara is a hilarious and heart-wrenching four-hander that collapses 25 years, two continents and one Zygote, who finally has his day in court. I recently sat down with Lauren to ask her about her new play for the BAPF. 


Click through the jump to read Lauren's interview

Friday, June 22, 2012

What We Might Want Is Not Enough


by Gordon Dahlquist                                                                               
Playwright, Tea Party


My play Tea Party is a pretty straight-forward story of insurrection, civil unrest, sectarian violence, divided government, and foreign interference – which just happens to be set in Colorado.  I like plays that ask questions more than plays that provide answers (I guess I feel that if you’re that confident about answers, you ought to be doing something other than writing a play), and so the work I’ll be doing is aimed at making the questions in the play seem grounded and necessary, and as inevitable as possible.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The BAPF of My Life; or how the Bay Area Playwrights Festival changed my life for the good

By Kevin Scofield
Playwrights Foundation
Social Media Associate


Take a trip with me, will you, with Doc Brown in the DeLorean to the Summer of 2011. The Bay Area Playwrights Festival.

Of the seven plays on the festival, one of them had longest title of a play I’ve ever seen or heard of. As marketing intern, I was required to read every play. Something I wanted to do anyway. Most of the plays had short titles like Hong Kong Dinosaur, Home Below Zero, or even Rock Creek: Southern Gothic.

But the full official title of this play?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

For Your Continued Enjoyment...the 2012 Des Voix Festival



The 2012 Des Voix Festival...Found in Translation is over, and it was a great success. But it's not totally over. As previously posted, the Des Voix Festival, was recorded and streamed live on #NEWPLAYTV. The Bal Litteraire: New Play Nightclub and the Two Part Des Voix Colloquium were recorded and streamed live.

If you missed the live streaming of either of these events or would like to see them over and over and over and over again, then the good folks at #NEWPLAYTV have archived the video so you may watch it over and over and over again.

All the videos of the Bal and the Colloquium can her found: here

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Des Voix Festival on NewPlayTV



The Des Voix Festival opens tomorrow with the Bal Literairre or New Play Nightclub. A special event, all the rage in Europe, done in San Francisco for the first time. Featuring the collaborative work of 6 playwrights - Octavio Solis, Liz Duffy Adams, Marcus Gardley, Marion Aubert, Samuel Gallet, and Nathalie Fillion - the New Play Nightclub begins at 7pm.


For more information on what the New Play Nightclub is, click here.


For this special event we will be streaming the show online on NewPlayTV brought  to you by the good folks at HowlRound and NewPlayTV. So tune in at 7pm and watch the show. And tweet it up, let us know what you think. Use #newplay & #desvoix to tell us what you think.


BUT IT DOESN'T END THERE! On Sunday, we will present as part of the Des Voix Festival a Colloquium in two parts on International Playwriting and Dramatic Translation.


At 11am Sunday will be part 1 of the Colloquium, a discussion (not a panel) on the International Playwright and the future of the playwright in contemporary theatre streamed live on NewPlayTV. Participating will be Marion Aubert, Nathalie Fillion, Samuel Gallet, Liz Duffy Adams, Marcus Gardley, Lachlan Phillpott (Australian playwright in residence at Playwrights Foundation), Duca Knezevic from the former Yugoslavia, and five Russian theater producers. 


At 1pm will be part 2 of the Colloquium, a panel discussion on the translation of dramatic work ALSO streamed live on NewPlayTV featuring Judith Miller, foremost Francophile dramatic translator, and Laurent Muhleisen, Artistic Director of Maison Antoine Vitez, and all the translators from the festival.


BOTH parts of the Colloquium will be streamed on NewPlayTV. 


For more information on the live streaming of the New Play Nightclub or the Colloquium on NewPlayTV,  click here


After all events, the videos will be archived on NewPlayTV. We will be sure to post a followup blog with links to those videos in archive once they become available.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Metamorphose by Marion Aubert...An English Translation


Marion Aubert
Recently— as part of the development process — the Des Voix team held a Skyped reading of Pride, Pursuit and Decapitation, with the playwright, Marion Aubert listening to actors read her play in English for the very first time. It’s a super challenging script to cold read and the actors were stunningly good! Here’s a fun journal entry from Marion about her crazy lead up to ‘talking to America.’
-Amy
________________________________________________________________

Tonight I’m meeting with America. I have put my children to bed. My parents are holed up in the living room. My husband is already gone on tour to distant Montluçon (six hours by train). I’m quiet. I will have America in my room, all to myself. At 8:55, I am glued to the screen. My father is knocking on the door saying, “Your mother told me to tell you that you have a stain on your sweatshirt. I tell you that because you have an appointment with America, you see? What is America going to think of you with that stain on your sweater? ” I put my parents in front of the TV to keep them calm. The presidential elections are tonight in France. I stick myself in front of the computer screen. I wait. I am a little nervous about all these Americans landing in my room. I have not seen Americans landing since 1944. 
I go to the toilet several times. Emotion. At 9:00 p.m. America will call me. I concentrate. At 9:02 p.m., nothing. At 9:03 p.m. I decide to call America. 9:05 p.m.. America does not respond. I see that America is connected but not responding. I say: “The Americans are probably eating fries or something.  Everyone must be getting ready.”  “All is well with your appointment? ”Says my mother.”I will wait until 10pm. And at 10pm I will call them again” I say. I turn. I watch the elections. Elections are sad here in France. On the set everyone is fighting viciously.
“Good. Now it’s half past, I’m going to call.” America does not respond. ”Did I dream America? ” I say to myself suddenly. I look at my calendar. It is April 22. I noted in my diary: On April 22, apt w/ America, between the tour to Montluçon and Saint-Etienne. Between 2pm and 5pm over there, 9pm and midnight at home. I recall making the calculation. I checked it out on a site. San Francisco, minus seven hours. I am looking through emails in my trash. Everything is consistent! I worry. In France the National Front is 20%. 9:45pm. I sweat heavily. ”How could you believe you had an appointment with America in your room, Marion Aubert? ” I tell myself several times.
I’m about to get into my pajamas. ”What’s troubling you? ” My mother asks. I say, “Oh! I am so sad for the elections.” I look at my computer screen one last time. Then suddenly through my intuition. Crazy intuition. ”Of course! I was wrong! Inevitably, I made a mistake counting the hours! It is not possible otherwise! We exchanged so many emails! We took so much time on both sides of the Atlantic to set the damn calendar! All those confirmation emails! ”I quickly look up a page devoted to local time in San Francisco. 12:35pm ! It is 12:35pm over there! And now I am happy. I go to the living room.  “America arrives in an hour and a half, actually.”
A panel of French citizens are invited onto the TV set. ”The French people have big problems with strangers.” Says a TV farmer. I fly into the kitchen. I make three gallons of coffee. I will have to hold on. At 11pm Amy calls. I reply. I see cans of coke on the table, books on minuscule shelves. The American actors are there. I’ve never seen Eric and Kimberly, but recognize them immediately. The actors start reading my play. “Someone always gets Killed when there’s a bullfight. One or two people. I come back and tell myself: “Maybe it’ll be me, this time. The dead one.”  It’s midnight, and America is in my room. I am the only one laughing in front of my screen. Sometimes, the Americans laugh too. Time no longer exists between America and France.
My parents come into a small corner of the room. ”Come on over! ”I say. They are happy to hear America, too. It is three o’clock in the morning, Ivan and Amy interview me. This is my first interview in the heart of the night. It’s a bit like being drunk. Ivan hangs up. Then America is finally gone. My parents want to ask me a thousand questions but I say, “Please it’s three o’ clock.” I dream all that miniature night in the sofa bed in the living room. At 5:30am I get up. Give a bottle to my child.Then I take a train to Montluçon (six-hour journey). The train controller asks for my ticket. I reply: “No problem, my dear! ” “You are an American tourist? ” He asks me, punching my ticket.  Oh ! Un petit peu ! I say with a foreign accent.
Montluçon, April 24 11 am.