By Guest Blogger and 2016 ONSTAGE Finalist, Playwright Elizabeth Coplan
My name is “Elizabeth Coplan and I wrote Hospice: A Love Story,” I told the audience at curtain call. Did I hear a collective gasp of appreciation? More likely it was my imagination. Either way, I continued “I am honored and amazed by tonight’s performance.”
Honored to be a part of this terrific group of female playwrights, honored that Little Black Dress Ink selected my play as one of the 5th Annual Female Playwrights ONSTAGE project and the National Festival of New Work’s semi-finalists. I’m honored that Red Earth Theatre, its directors, actors, and crew, could take my good play, and make it a great play.
And I was amazed at how well the LBDI Festival submission and peer review processes worked from start to finish. I enjoyed reading the works of other female playwrights, discovering the commonplace situations they describe with new eyes and filters, and I was amazed by the opportunity to travel where my play would be seen by no one I knew, no one who had even heard of me before that night.
In reality, the entire LBDI process spanned nine months and counting; however, the excitement began three months ago when LBDI director Tiffany Antone sent an email that began:
Thank you for your patience as we’ve been working hard to make our way through this year’s ONSTAGE submissions. We had almost 200 plays submitted this year, and that meant a LOT of incredible peer-reviews to go through—so we are feeling incredibly grateful to everyone who shared their work, time, and talents with us!
We are pleased to inform you that your play has been selected as a semi-finalist for Little Black Dress INK’s 2016 Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Project!
OMGoddess! I won! Well, I won a semi-finalist staged-reading of my play along with other talented female playwrights.
My husband and I own a small business which means traveling is a very small part of our budget. Yet I did not want to miss the opportunity to see my work interpreted by Kate Hawkes at the Red Earth Theatre. I studied the area after, arranged our plane flights, snuck in a few days to see the Grand Canyon and a couple more to explore Sedona which celebrated Cinco de Mayo on the Saturday of my play.
We found an inexpensive flight, took the cheapest room at the Grand Canyon, discovered the perfect AirBNB at the end of Sedona, away from some of the tourist spots and with a full kitchen. We enjoyed Tlaquepaque for the First Friday Arts Walk and returned the next day to taste a Prickly Pear Margarita at El Rincon.
With the full kitchen we cooked our own meals and enjoy the view from our deck. We “stayed in” for our meals which gave me the time to work on other projects and deadlines.
By early afternoon, Saturday, May 7, I felt something shift. Red Earth posted a picture of the evening’s directors and actors. Okay, I am not going to lie. I felt much more excited and nervous than I thought. Up to that point I was cool, calm. I had spent the morning working on the re-write of my latest play and editing a press release for another writer’s play in Seattle. Ho hum. All in a day’s work.
Now Red Earth’s picture had my stomach doing flip-flops as if I was the one going on stage. I guess in a manner of speaking, I was. Or at least my play was and all my creativity and my life and…
My stomach did not calm down, not even by the end of the evening. In fact, even now I feel excitement as I remember those final moments on stage, right before Kate Hawkes asked us all to take a bow.
I would do this all again in a heartbeat. Thank you Little Black Dress Ink and Red Earth Theatre. I am honored and amazed that I shared the stage with playwrights Amber Bosworth, Anne Hamilton, Micki Shelton, Melanie Ewbank and C.J. Enrlich (in absentia). Thanks too Directors Kate Hawkes, Nichole Garrison, Sarah Ann Leslie, and Gerard Maguire…and all the talented actors, especially Nichole Garrison and Terra Shelman in my play.
Someone should notify the Sedona Chamber of Commerce (and any other city hosting a festival performance) of the high level of entertainment provided. I think the Chamber would be honored and amazed that such talent was presented right under their own starry-night.