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.’

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.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Because If You Can Walk, You Can Work!

Garret Groenveld is the next up in our Rough Reading Series!  His reading of The Hummingbirds is scheduled to be read on May 14th and May 15th.  It got started at PF when Garret was a Resident Playwright, and has developed over this past year!

For this week's blog post, we'll be taking a 'bird's-eye' view at The Hummingbirds from our Marketing Intern, Deepika Ambalal!

Reading The Hummingbirds, I was left with a bunch of thoughts running through my head.  Unemployment is something that many, many people in the United States are dealing with right now, and it's coming down to taking any and every opportunity one can get.  It no longer matters what the job, but more so having a job.

"I thought I was going to do something quite dangerous, and instead I get the great honor of giving people work.  It may not always be the best job for them.  It may not even be safe for them to do.  But it's a job.  There are so few jobs these days, and so much needs to be done."
 -The Hummingbirds

The Hummingbirds uses two characters, working as Unemployment Agents, helping unemployed people find jobs.  He highlights the difficulty when it comes to finding a 50 year old woman a job:

"I'm sorry, I don't know exactly how a 50 year old woman of 115 pounds will work as a bouncer of a roughneck drinking establishment.  But it sounds like an adventure- to be sure!"

Throughout the play, the phrase, "because if you can walk, you can work" is constantly repeated.  It is interpreted in many ways, but for me, it means that working is always an option if you are healthy enough to do so.  It's very difficult in this economy, but not impossible.

"When you are young you make decisions, difficult ones, and you struggle to make them.  You chose what your life will be.  Some of these decisions are made for you.  If they end up going against you- I'd call those disappointments.  What job you tried to get, which job you didn't get, and how you go about the getting, and if you don't get- what do you do then?"

These words resonated with me - and made me think - a humorous bittersweet little reality pill.  I am graduating this month, which is something to celebrate, and working as an intern for Playwrights Foundation - which is awesome.

The play is really great, and made me think.  Graduating soon.  Unemployment.  It really hit home.  Reading this play has made me realize it's going to be hard in the real world - on the one hand - but on the other hand, the irony of just finding a job after spending so much time and (money) on a good education is troubling.

The Hummingbirds brings out contradictions and humor in a theatrical way - and for me - it's a MUST SEE!

"I witnessed a swarm of hummingbirds attack a civilian.  Several of us ran forward and tried to swat them away.  Didn't do much good, I'm just not tall enough.  Such a nuisance.  Lucky I got out with just one small puncture to my upper arm!"

For information about The Hummingbirds and Garret Groenveld, please visit:

For more about Playwrights Foundation, and our upcoming events, please visit:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

How I Got Shorter by Anthony Clarvoe

Playwrights Foundation is on the blogging train, and this week, Anthony Clarvoe has written a little something for us! Anthony wrote a play for the Bay One Acts Festival...for fun, and he tells us about his experience doing so!

Here are some things I resolved many long years ago:

Don’t write little bitty plays.  Full length plays only, as befitting a dramatist of my extreme seriousness. (I know: Beckett.  And Chekhov. Shut up.)

Don’t write prose for public consumption. We Are Playwrights, and Dialogue Is Ours. (I know: Beckett.  And Chekhov. Shut up, I said.)

Don’t write plays for fun.  I spent years trying to convince my mother this was a career, and careers are not fun.

Welcome to my blog post about writing a play for the Bay One Acts Festival for fun.

Yeah, well. 

I blame my students, actually.  (I wasn’t going to teach, either. Honestly, the number of wonderful things I didn’t do while I was busy writing those full-length plays.) My students at Stagebridge write delightful and harrowing short pieces, some of which have more to say than many a full-length play, and have a grand time doing it. My play-writing colleagues deserve their share of blame as well, having learned their considerable craft at Playground and Killing My Lobster.  Meanwhile, here I sit, waiting for years between first idea and full production of those damn full-length plays.

So when Jessica Holt and the Playwrights Foundation said they’d be interested in considering a short play of mine for this year’s BOA, I thought, time for some new resolutions. One small problem:  as you will have gathered from the opening sentences above, I had no short plays for them to consider.  So I took this one-minute play I’d written for the One-Minute Play Festival and re-conceived it.  (Confession: I wrote some one-minute plays for the One-Minute Play Festival. Struck as I was by the sheer absurdity of it. One-Minute Plays, the Entry-Level Drug. I didn’t know.) 

Maybe that’s how I convinced myself that something of mine might stand in public with the work of more experienced practitioners of the short form: when you’re going from one minute to ten, a ten minute play feels full-length. Kind of epic, actually. I’ve written epics. No problem.

Among the big discoveries I’ve made long after everybody else:  short-form plays enable you to experiment in a way that a full-length play can rarely sustain. My piece, “Cello,” features someone (the fabulous El Beh) playing the cello, while not being literally there. El’s there, she’s on the stage, but her character isn’t there. Nor is she a dream, exactly, nor a ghost precisely. It’s all a mystery to me, but our highly talented director and actors Jill MacLean Heavey, Maria Giere Marquis, and Cooper Carlson don’t seem a bit phased. 

That’s playwriting for you: you suspect you mean something, and a bunch of other people show you what.

Another major discovery that everybody else already knew:  mere moments after having come up with an idea, I get to watch people put it on.  It’s all so startling.  Look at me, inadvertently having fun.  Seriously, you know the scene in A Christmas Carol where Scrooge goes to Nephew Fred’s house and plays party games with the young people?  That’s me at BOA meetings: Uncle Ebenezer.

So, now I’m working on some new resolutions. 

First one:  try never to be too old to be the least experienced writer in the room.  

Second one: get out more.
-Anthony Clarvoe

For more information about the Bay One Acts Festival, please visit:

As always, to learn more about upcoming events and readings, please visit: