2018 ONSTAGE Festival: Volume Control Wants to Head Your Way!

After one of the busiest semesters of my life, I’m proud to announce that this year’s peer review process is underway!  Phew!

One of the AWESOME challenges of running Little Black Dress INK is that LBDI is essentially me + a team of awesome Partner Producer collaborators.  Without these amazing people, I would only be creating lists of amazing new plays – not getting them read all over the country.

Which brings me to the following:  It’s time to start recruiting Partner Producers for our 2018 Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Festival!

And we have some awesome reading opportunities – so if you’re a fan of female playwrights, and you love sharing new work, I hope you’ll consider joining us in bringing this year’s ONSTAGE festival to a theatre, bar, art gallery, park – the possibilities are nearly endless – near you!

What is expected of Partner Producers?

  • Once you’ve declared your intention to participate, LBDI will make our list of 25 semi-finalist plays available for you to select a line-up of short plays/monologues from.
  • LBDI will provide poster art, program templates, and press-release templates for you to customize to your event!
  • We also provide social media support and link to your company on our page!
  • How you structure your reading is up to!  We’ve had readings in bars, galleries, theatres, and parks (this one was a “Brown-Bag Reading” where guests were invited to pack a lunch, and producers brought popsicles and ice-cream cups!) So there’s really no wrong way to go!
  • Once plays are selected, we’ll connect you with the playwrights and begin promoting your event!

When do readings take place?

  • We have the opportunity to share this year’s semi-finalist readings on International Women’s Voices Day, January 21st 2018.  This event is being organized by Women’s Voices Theatre Festival in DC.  It’s a fantastic way to participate in both this year’s ONSTAGE Festival and to commemorate last year’s Historic Women’s March on DC in solidarity with other theatres across the nation!
  • BUT – If IWVD is too soon for you to organize your reading (or if you already have something planned for that event) – you can also present a semi-finalist reading in the month of March as part of Women’s History Month!

We’d love to see this year’s semi-finalists shared in your city!  Please don’t hesitate to contact me to sign up, or with questions.  Let’s get these new plays heard in as many corners of the country as possible!

#FemalePlaywrightsROCK!

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2017 ONSTAGE Wrap Up… for now

What a great year!  Our 2017 ONSTAGE Festival: Hot Mess was a hot mess of awesomeness!  We are incredibly grateful to the playwrights, actors, directors, and partner producers who helped bring our festival to life.  This year’s semi-finalists were read in six cities before the winning plays went on to production in Prescott, AZ.

Los Angeles audiences will have a chance to hear the winning scripts read later this fall!  In the meantime, we’d like to share a few photos from the Prescott production and offer our heartfelt gratitude to all who made our 6th year a success!

Kevin Goss and Karen Murphy in Karen Lothan’s EVEN EDUCATED FLEAS DO IT

Rebecca Olmsted, Angi Bryan, and Linda Fine in Barbara Blumenthal Ehrlich’s FRUIT SALAD OF SHAME

Layla Tenney and Elaine Woods in ALlie Costa’s BOXES ARE MAGIC

Ali Cassidy, Julie Chaves Harrington and Karen Murphy in Mikki Shelton’s EVOLUTION FAST TRACK

Julie Chavez Harrington in Diana Burbano’s LINDA

Mikki Russ in Philana Omorotionmwan’s THE WORST OF ALL EVILS

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ONSTAGE Playwrights 2017: Meet Karen Loseff Lothan

Every year we interview our winning playwrights, and this year is no exception!  Join us over the coming weeks as we post more interviews with playwrights, along with information about each play’s director and cast!

This is our first time producing a play by Karen, but what a fun and wacky play it is!  EVEN EDUCATED FLEAS DO IT was actually one of the first ONSTAGE submissions I read this year, and I still remember silently guffawing to myself like an idiot (the baby was asleep right next to me) and thinking “My GOD, I want to see this thing on its feet!”  Fortunately, the playwrights who read and evaluated Karen’s play during our peer review process must have been similarly charmed, because here we are.  And – I dont’ want to ruin it for you – but you guys!  The costumes director/actress Karen Murphy has come up with?!  I am laughing again!  Seriously, don’t miss this play!


If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

I wish I could stretch out time to get more done like this questionaire.

Describe your writing space…

I write either in my office, outdoors in my courtyard or I head to one of 2 coffee shops nearby when I find myself not taking my writing time seriously.

What is the title of your play?

Even Educated Fleas Do It

What play (by another playwright) have you read a gazillion times, and what about that play keeps you coming back to it?

Oh I love coming back to so many but Three Tall Women and Our Town come to mind because they both encapsulate the entirety of life and living in different ways.

Do you have any upcoming productions elsewhere that our readers should know about?

My 10-minute play Twirling was just performed as part of Toronto’s InspiraTO Festival.

Even Educated Fleas Do It is also being performed this summer in the Short and Sweet southern India as well as Hollywood festivals.

Karen’s Bio:

Karen Loseff Lothan is thrilled to be a part of LBDI’s ONSTAGE Festival. She is currently pursuing an MFA in creative writing at Spalding University. Karen has enjoyed performing  a series of her essays for Chicago Public Radio, but is even more excited to see how actors and directors will stage her words. In a previous life, Karen was an advertising art director with many awards to her credit, including Addys and a Clio.

And don’t forget to grab your tickets to the 2017 Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Festival: Hot Mess running July 6-8 at the First Congregational Church in Prescott, AZ.

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ONSTAGE Playwrights 2017: Meet Philana Omorotionmwan

Every year we interview our winning playwrights, and this year is no exception!  Join us over the coming weeks as we post more interviews with playwrights, along with information about each play’s director and cast!

This is the first year I’ve gotten to read Philana’s work, but I tell you what – I look forward to reading more of it!  Her play, THE WORST OF ALL EVILS, is a quick and powerful look at the Pandora myth – but the way she’s written it, you really feel for Pandora in a way that highlights just how absent the voice of women (especially women of color) is in popular history and mythology.  The play is also funny, and with awesome actors Mikki Russ and Kevin Goss in the roles, I’m having a blast directing this super awesome piece!


If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

Healing power might be nice because there’s a lot of pain and suffering in the world I’d like to end. That’s one of my goals for my writing, but I suspect I’m the only person I heal with it. And then I only do so partially.

Describe your writing space…

It changes, but I usually write first drafts by hand in my bed. Second drafts are on my laptop in my couch. Any subsequent drafts get written on the floor of my meditation room. I spread out the handwritten draft, typed drafts, and any notes I’ve gotten in front of my altar and get to work. I really just need to invest in a really big desk.

What is the title of your play?

The Worst of All Evils

How did this year’s ONSTAGE theme inspire you to write/share this play?

I’m currently in grad school at Ohio University, where we write, cast, direct, and stage short plays every week on different themes chosen by our classmates. I wrote this play a few weeks earlier in response to the theme “Privilege,” but I think it definitely fits better with “Hot Mess.” Greek myth blames Pandora for releasing everything evil, thus creating the “hot mess” that is today’s world.

What play (by another playwright) have you read a gazillion times, and what about that play keeps you coming back to it? 

I often return to Funnyhouse of Negro by Adrienne Kennedy because I want to figure out how to do what she’s done in it with language and visuals. However, I’ve probably read A Raisin in the Sun more than any other play because I had my classes read it when I was a high school English teacher.

Do you have any upcoming productions elsewhere that our readers should know about?

I don’t have any productions coming up in the near future. However, my thesis play (currently titled A Sway Too Free) will receive a workshop production at Ohio University in Spring 2018. I haven’t written it yet, but it’s going to be about how society polices black femininity.

Please share a brief synopsis for a full-length of yours that our readers should know about!

This is the blurb for my full-length Strong Face: Maybe it’s her “energy.” Maybe it’s her hair. Or maybe it’s just her skin. Whatever it is, no one in Follywood seems to be able to see that actress Bentley Jones is a woman. Not even her hip-pop star girlfriend Yoni Baker. Or her man-in-a-dress rival Whip Williams. But when Bentley learns that major studio 19th Century Cocks has greenlit a slavery-themed biopic guaranteed to earn its female star an impOSTOR nomination, she has to decide if she’s ​ready for her real close up.​

Philana’s Bio:

Philana Omorotionmwan is originally from Baton Rouge, LA. Her writing frequently explores how the processes by which we are “othered” can often restrict us from experiencing the fullest expression of ourselves. Her play BEFORE EVENING COMES was developed as part of the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, the Br!nk New Play Festival, and the La MaMa Experiments Series. FIREFLIES has been developed at the UC Berkeley TDPS New Play Reading Series and STRONG FACE was recognized by KCACTF Region II as a Finalist for the NPAT Award. Production of Philana’s short plays includes THE SETTLEMENT (Ensemble Studio Theatre) and BLACK BOYS DON’T DANCE (Manhattan Theatre Source), and her ten-minute play DIS DA HOOD was a finalist for the 2016 Heideman Award. Philana earned her BA from Stanford University and is currently pursuing an MFA in Playwriting at Ohio University. philanaplays.weebly.com

You can learn more about Philana at philanaplays.weebly.com or follow her on Twitter @playphiphiplay

And don’t forget to grab your tickets to the 2017 Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Festival: Hot Mess running July 6-8 at the First Congregational Church in Prescott, AZ.

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ONSTAGE Playwrights 2017: Meet C.J. Ehrlich

Every year we interview our winning playwrights, and this year is no exception!  Join us over the coming weeks as we post more interviews with playwrights, along with information about each play’s director and cast!

C.J. is officially a two-time ONSTAGE playwright with this year’s incredibly funny piece, CO-WORKERS.  If you saw last year’s festival, you’ll remember her beautifully sweet play, THE LILAC TICKET (audiences “Awe”d at the play every night!).  This year you better hold onto your tights though, because Batman and Batgirl are hanging by a thread over a vat of hot, molten, messy, steel – so grab your bat-masks and get your butts to the theatre to find out what happens to the (admittedly older and slightly out of shape) Batman this time…

 

 


If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

To stare at someone until they are filled with a sense of uplift, reasons to be cheerful, and their own potential to do good. It would be disarming! And people would give up their seats on the subway!

Describe your writing space…

My office, overcrowded with books and paper and color. My desk faces a stand of pine trees, where the squirrels do naughty things that shouldn’t be possible on those tiny branches. Also outdoors if I have a pen and an A4 notebook.

What is the title of your play?

Co-Workers

How did this year’s ONSTAGE theme inspire you to write/share this play?

In Co-Workers an old-school superhero interviews an abrasive potential sidekick, as they dangle over a vat of boiling steel. “Hot Mess” seemed like a super fit. This is its premiere production and I hope no one gets melted.

What play (by another playwright) have you read a gazillion times, and what about that play keeps you coming back to it? 

I may be swimming against the tide of the “theatre of significance,” but I favor the “theatre of enjoyment”. I come back to classic comedies and farces with an unshakeable architecture. Like Frayn’s Noises Off, of course. Cooney’s It Runs in the Family — mayhem in a hospital doctor’s lounge (the Brits do out-through-door, in-through-window so well). Durang’s Vanya and Sonia. Also plays by August Wilson, and Sarah Ruhl, which are indeed significant.

Do you have any upcoming productions elsewhere that our readers should know about?

The Cupcake Conspiracy, my full-length comedy about marriage and terrorism (co-written with Philip J. Kaplan) is coming to the Florentine Theatre of Omaha in August. “When a nearly-divorced couple mix up internet dates, they wind up on opposing sides of a conspiracy involving cupcakes. Really evil cupcakes. This could be the greatest night of Max’s life, if he can just convince the sultry Natasha he’s the dread-sexy mastermind Bob X, foil her evil scheme, ditch the G-man hot on their trail, and most important, keep his wife from finding out.”

The Ridgefield Theatre Barn, Ridgefield CT, is producing A Package Deal, in their summer shorts, June 30-July 15. “On a super-bargain tour of Eastern Europe a couple is confronted with challenges and possibly house arrest.

Please share a brief synopsis for a full-length of yours that our readers should know about!

The Maltese Babka, my full-length noir comedy, was just produced in New York and had a staged reading in Valdez, Alaska:

Join private investigator Jake Pantograph on a delightfully comic sally into the world of noir, as he tries to track down a missing girl, a blackmailer, a one-of-a-kind black diamond necklace, a hot babka, and some ice for his drink.

How far will a socialite go to break up her son’s engagement? What happened at the scanties-party on the yacht? Will the will be read on time? How many sides are there in a love triangle? Can Jake make it through this tangle of suspects, seductions, red herrings, and off-kilter theories, to punish at least one bad guy? There won’t be any black-and-white answers in this homage to the shapely characters, snappy innuendo, and sultry settings of film noir.

C.J.’s Bio:

C.J. Ehrlich’s award-winning plays have been performed in many states, notably of undress and panic, around the US and on five continents. Full-lengths include: The Cupcake Conspiracy: “Terrorism is Easy. Marriage is Complicated” (w/Philip J. Kaplan): performed in NE, TX, HI, WA, NY; finalist, Getchell award; Mountain Playhouse International Comedy competition. Zane to Gate 69 (TX, AK) The Maltese Babka (NY, AK). Published: Best American Short Plays of 2014-15 (Applause/Hal Leonard); five S&K Best Ten-Minute Plays anthologies; Heuer: Rutledge. C.J. is thrilled and honored to again be part of the Female Playwrights Onstage project with her brand new piece, Co-Workers (no heroes were harmed in the writing of this play). With great appreciation to the actors, Kila, Jennie, and Tiffany, who makes all good things happen. Visit at CJ-Ehrlich.com.

If you want to learn more about C.J., you can do so at CJ-Ehrlich.com or you can foller her on Twitter @cjelondon

And don’t forget to grab your tickets to the 2017 Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Festival: Hot Mess running July 6-8 at the First Congregational Church in Prescott, AZ.

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ONSTAGE Playwrights 2017: Meet Tiffany Antone

Every year we interview our winning playwrights, and this year is no exception!  Join us over the coming weeks as we post more interviews with playwrights, along with information about each play’s director and cast!

It’s always a little weird to include myself in these interviews because I’m essentially interviewing myself, but, well, here we are.  My monologue Mommy Knows Best is a wacky, short piece and with the brilliant Mary Timpany attached, I’m all kinds of excited to see it.  Anyone who knows Mary knows that an opportunity to hear her give awkward sex advice is something NOT to be missed.


If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

The ability to pause time – and not because I want to meddle with things better left un-meddled, but because I’m a new-ish mom and dog tired every damn day.  Hitting the pause button would give me unfettered access to naps.  NAPS, I tell you!  Who can I talk to about making this happen?

Describe your writing space…

I have a super awesome red writing desk in our home that cries out for me to sit at it… but it is covered in bills.  And hard drives.  And things the baby has tried to put in his mouth.  So I work on my laptop on the couch or in bed… anywhere I can hide from parenthood for a few minutes.

What is the title of your play?

Mommy Knows Best – it’s a short monologue

How did this year’s ONSTAGE theme inspire you to write/share this play?

The monologue is actually part of an under-construction full-length play called CAGE, which focuses on the constraints and dangers of inhabiting the female form.  Although it explores some pretty heavy stuff, the play also employs some dark humor.  This monologue is one of those dark but funny bits, and the woman talking is definitely a hot mess.

What play (by another playwright) have you read a gazillion times, and what about that play keeps you coming back to it? 

August Osage County, The Pain and the Itch, and Melencholy Play are some of my most well-worn plays.  I can re-read them again and again, and every time I notice something new, something I can learn from.  Every time I walk away from these plays in awe.

Do you have any upcoming productions elsewhere that our readers should know about?

THE EGG just enjoyed a run at the Prism Fest in NYC, and I have a reading of CRICKET WOMAN MOTHER EARTH coming up in LA next month with The Theatre at Boston Court – I am SO excited!

Please share a brief synopsis for a full-length of yours that our readers should know about!

THE LOW TIDE GANG:
Full Length –  4 M, 1 W… and 1 Chicken

Four odd gentleman, one sandy room, two shovels, a curious board game, and a couple of unexpected guests make this absurdist play quite an unusual ride. THE LOW TIDE GANG is an “examination of masculinity, violence, gender stereotypes and power dynamics—with a hefty dose of fearless good humor.”  *Brand New Work*  Semi-Finalist: O’Neill Playwright’s Conference, 2016

Tiffany’s Bio:

Tiffany Antone is a playwright, director, and the creative mind behind Little Black Dress INK (LBDI). Tiffany’s plays have been read and/or performed in Los Angeles, New York, D.C., and Minneapolis.  Her play Twigs and Bone was a 2014 Great Plains Conference selection and received a developmental workshop production by Acadiana Repertory Theatre in 2015. Tiffany’s play The Low Tide Gang was a 2016 O’Neil semi-finalist and her play Cricket Woman Mother Earth (or) A Nasty Comeuppance, was a 2011 O’Neil finalist. Her plays Ana and the Closet and Twigs and Bone were both Jerome Finalists and O’Neil semi-finalists for 2009 & 2010.  Her play The Good Book is available through Samuel French. Tiffany is also a contributing writer for LAFPI.com and Howlround.com.  In addition to her work in promoting female playwrights through LBDI, Tiffany has recently launched the Protest Plays Project, which seeks to foster connections between playwrights working in creative resistance and the communities they seek to change.

If you want to learn more about Tiffany, you can do so at www.TiffanyAntone.com or follow her on Twitter @LadyPlaywright

And don’t forget to grab your tickets to the 2017 Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Festival: Hot Mess running July 6-8 at the First Congregational Church in Prescott, AZ.

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ONSTAGE Playwrights 2017: Meet Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich

Every year we interview our winning playwrights, and this year is no exception!  Join us over the coming weeks as we post more interviews with playwrights, along with information about each play’s director and cast!

Barbara has participated in our past ONSTAGE fests, and shared a beautiful short play with our We’re Not Playing Initiative last fall, but this marks the first time one of her pieces has made it to the final line-up.  Her play, SPARK is a lovely bit of femme powered magical realism about a dissolving marriage.   I love the simplicity and the power of this piece and I know our audiences will too.  I absolutely cannot wait to see this play come to life! 


If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

Unlimited energy (no need for sleep). Because there’s always more that needs to be done!

Describe your writing space…

My kitchen when my family’s not around. The library when they are.

What is the title of your play?

Spark

How did this year’s ONSTAGE theme inspire you to write/share this play?

Joan and Steven’s marriage has imploded, and he’s running away with the travel agent who booked their anniversary trip. That’s a pretty big hot mess. But when she finds solace in house full of whirring appliances, she realizes that maybe there’s hope after all.

What play (by another playwright) have you read a gazillion times, and what about that play keeps you coming back to it? 

Master Harold and the Boys by Athol Fugard. I’ve read and seen this play a zillion times and continue to be in awe. It’s perfectly crafted, deeply felt, and crazy intense. It’s alternately life affirming and depressing as hell. Most impressive is how Fugard masterfully personalizes the complexities of Apartheid in the finely layered story of three interconnected lives.

Do you have any upcoming productions elsewhere that our readers should know about?

SACRED SPACE in the Neil Labute New Theatre Festival in St. Louis, (July). And, SHUT UP AND DANCE, in the Women in Theatre Festival in NYC (June).

Please share a brief synopsis for a full-length of yours that our readers should know about!

STILL LIFE: Lydia’s daughter, Jackie, hasn’t returned home since a series of subway bombings in an unnamed city. Now she’s stuck waiting for news with her annoying son-in-law, Donald, and a mysterious millennial photographer who won’t stop following her. A darkly comic look at the way we adjust to life and loss in a terrorist age. (Produced in Seattle at Forward Flux Productions, and a reading this month at Cherry Lane in NYC)

Barbara’s Bio:

Full lengths produced at Northern Light (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), Overtime (San Antonio), Forward Flux (Seattle) Trustus (Columbia, S.C.), Trinity Rep (Providence), the New York International Fringe Festival, off-Broadway Summer Play Festival, and more. A contributing writer to the upcoming 2017 national tour, THE GRIEF DIALOGUES. Plays have been developed in NYC at Playwrights Horizons, Second Stage, EST, ARACAworks, Rattlestick, and regionally at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Geva, Victory Gardens, Elephant Theatre, Hangar, among others. Winner of the 2016 Beverly Hills Theatre Guild Julie Harris Award, Capital Stage Playwrights’ Revolution, and a runner up in contests that include the Sundance Playwriting Lab, O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, the Heideman Award and Princess Grace Fellowship. Her play STILL LIFE was named to the Kilroy List (honorable mention) and nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award. Published by Smith & Kraus, Applause Books, and Indie Theatre Now.

If you want to learn more about Barbara, you can do so at barbarablumenthalehrlich.com or follow her on Twitter @1BarbaraBE

 

And don’t forget to grab your tickets to the 2017 Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Festival: Hot Mess running July 6-8 at the First Congregational Church in Prescott, AZ.

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ONSTAGE Playwrights 2017: Meet Ellen Davis Sullivan

Every year we interview our winning playwrights, and this year is no exception!  Join us over the coming weeks as we post more interviews with playwrights, along with information about each play’s director and cast!

Sometimes a play lands in your reading list that is just so on theme it hurts. Ellen Davis Sullivan’s The Fruit Salad of Shame is probably the messiest play in the bunch this year – just ask her director, Layla Tenney, who’ll be prepping the food that makes it a literal hot mess before every show!  Of course, we’re no strangers to fast clean-ups after a messy piece (just ask anyone who’s been in a Jen Huszcza play, LOL) so I’m actually really excited about sharing Ellen’s play with our audiences!  But first, read our interview with her below.


If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

If I could have a super power I would want to be able to snap my fingers and insert people into the bodies of people who are very different from them so they could understand what it’s like to be someone else.  Of course that’s what I try to do when I write but it would be a lot easier to do it by snapping my fingers.

Describe your writing space…

I write at my desk in my home office surrounded by piles of papers (scripts and short story drafts and one unfinished novel).  Many of the piles are neat, others, not so much.  I top the piles with whatever gives good vibes, like souvenirs of art exhibits, old postcards and theater programs that inspire me to be creative.

What is the title of your play?

The Fruit Salad of Shame

How did this year’s ONSTAGE theme inspire you to write/share this play?

This is the messiest play I’ve ever written and so it seemed to fit the theme perfectly.  It started one evening in my book group when one of the members began to tell us about the politically incorrect fruit in the salad.  Luckily for me, several theaters have been willing to take on a ten-minute play that requires serious clean up after each performance including the Boston Theater Marathon.

What play (by another playwright) have you read a gazillion times, and what about that play keeps you coming back to it?

I’m drawn to David Ives’ Venus in Fur which I saw on Broadway with Nina Arianda who gave an amazing performance.  Because I repeatedly find myself writing about issues of women and power, I’d love to understand how Ives creates the menace and control Vanda gathers and exerts in the play.  Also, I can’t believe it was written by a man.

Do you have any upcoming productions elsewhere that our readers should know about?

The Fruit Salad of Shame is being given a reading as part of Clamour Theatre Company’s Five at Seven at the Urban Bean Coffeehouse in Orange Park, Florida on June 23rd.

Please share a brief synopsis for a full-length of yours that our readers should know about.

One of Those Women is a gender-bent play about women’s reputations and what happens when a daughter worries that her widowed mother’s love affair is dangerous.  The lover is a disbarred lawyer and the daughter has been doing some digging.  What she’s learned has convinced her this individual is no good.  Her mother claims she’s in love, but who with: Billie or Billy?  And will she have the courage to stand up to her daughter and live the life she wants?

And don’t forget to grab your tickets to the 2017 Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Festival: Hot Mess running July 6-8 at the First Congregational Church in Prescott, AZ.

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ONSTAGE Playwrights 2017: Meet Anne Flanagan

Every year we interview our winning playwrights, and this year is no exception!  Join us over the coming weeks as we post more interviews with playwrights, along with information about each play’s director and cast!

Anne Flanagan is a two time ONSTAGE Playwright (2016 and 2017) and fabulously funny to boot! Last year’s play, THROWN FOR A CURVE, was one of my favorites, and absolutely bonkers.  This year’s winning play, THREE GHOSTS OF ELIZABETH BATHORY, is another wild ride told in three scenes sprinkled through the second act.  I don’t want to ruin it for you, but let me just say that it is most definitely a hot mess and I love it!  This writer has a flare for fun (don’t miss her bio at the end – what a wild and interesting human being!) and we are so glad she’s part of the ONSTAGE posse.


If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

TIME TRAVEL!   I’d dip in and out of eras I romanticize (like the 1920s for clothing/decor or the 30s for music) as well as scenes from my own past, for pure enjoyment and/or to see loved ones I miss terribly.  I’d also welcome the chance to re-visit one or two pivotal turning points in my life and choose a different path.  Who knows if the other direction would turn out any better, but I’d like the chance to try.  (Of course I’d also try to un-do some catastrophic world events, but if all the Sci Fi tropes are to be believed, I’d only end up making it worse.)

Describe your writing space…

A shabby chic-esque office in the middle of a f*cking construction zone.  (The house next door is being demolished/rebuilt.  I know I said that last year, but THAT was the house to the right – this year, it’s the one to the left.  I am soon to be surrounded by tacky, oversized McMansions like the little house in Pixar’s “UP.”

What is the title of your play?

Three Ghosts of Elizabeth Bathory

How did this year’s ONSTAGE theme inspire you to write/share this play?

Elizabeth Bathory was a sixteenth century Hungarian Countess who (allegedly) killed 600 virgins and bathed in their blood to preserve her own youth and beauty.  Fairly hot & messy, no?

What play (by another playwright) have you read a gazillion times, and what about that play keeps you coming back to it?

I don’t tend to re-read a play several times (unless I’m acting in it) but one that recently knocked my socks off was Ironbound by Martyna Majok.  The idea that random chance greatly affects one’s “success” in life; that effort does not necessarily triumph over circumstance is a common theme in my own work and this deceptively simple character study, insightful and unsentimental, will ultimately break your heart.

Do you have any upcoming productions elsewhere that our readers should know about?

Adulthood Nightmares just closed a run at the InspiraTO festival in Toronto, Canada and Three Ghosts of Elizabeth Bathory will, for the second year in a row, be featured in Roebuck Theatre’s Thalia festival in NYC.  I’ve also got a piece in the anthology 222 Comedy Monologues from Smith and Kraus that’s expected to hit book stores in July.

Please share a brief synopsis for a full-length of yours that our readers should know about.

In my comedy/farce Artifice (www.DramaticPublishing.com), visual artist Payne Showers finally gets his Big Break. He dies. At a subsequent auction of his work, we learn one guest may be a murderous gangster, another a gun toting psychopath, that Gandhi and Goebbels were, in fact, not the same man, and rumors of Payne’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

Anne’s Bio:

Anne Flanagan is a playwright, teacher and woman’s health advocate based in Los Angeles, CA.

Flanagan’s plays include Lineage, Artifice, First Chill, Skirts, and Death, Sex & Elves.  Her work has been produced throughout the US and internationally.  Anne is the recipient of several writing awards and zero sports trophies.  In 2016, Anne was a top 12 finalist for Project Greenlight’s “New Normal” contest and in 2017 she won five dollars from the Super Lotto.

Publications include her comedy Artifice (Dramatic) as well as many short play and monologue anthologies from Applause, Smith & Kraus and the like.

Anne has taught public school in New York’s South Bronx and LA’s South Central.  She’s worked as a Private Investigator on the mean streets of Los Angeles (and the not so mean streets of Sherman Oaks).  She’s climbed Machu Picchu,  used hot coffee as a defensive weapon, had a gun pressed to her forehead, spied on thieving bartenders, built a house alongside Jimmy Carter, got lost in Watts holding a giant pineapple, and never mastered the metric system.

If you want to learn more about Anne you can do so at www.anneflanagan.net  or follow her on Twitter @angrytimmyprod

And don’t forget to grab your tickets to the 2017 Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Festival: Hot Mess running July 6-8 at the First Congregational Church in Prescott, AZ.

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ONSTAGE Playwrights 2017: Meet Katherine James

Every year we interview our winning playwrights, and this year is no exception!  Join us over the coming weeks as we post more interviews with playwrights, along with information about each play’s director and cast!

Katherine James is another ONSTAGE alum (with plays in four of our six fests!) but she’s also worked with us as a Partner Producer, director, and actress!  She’s one of those super talented souls you dream of working with, so we’re kind of in awe of, and deeply in love with, this amazing human!  Katherine’s play, ZERO-SIX-TWO-EIGHT is a powerful monologue about a man suffering from PTSD.  Reading it brought tears to my eyes, and I’m very excited to be directing it for our July production.


If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

Time Travel. I would love to go backward in time and hang out with artists like Virginia Woolf and Louisa May Alcott and Gwendolyn Brooks and Jane Austen. I would love to go forward in time to figure out exactly what we have to do to fix the present so that the future isn’t a complete nightmare. There are so many things to work on and I would love to know the ones to concentrate on. I would devote ALL MY CREATIVE TIME to making art that would make a proven difference in the future.

Describe your writing space…

The room formerly known as Jordan’s (our older son’s) bedroom. I call it “The Inspiration Room”. It is filled with our theatre books and memorabilia. It also has all other creative endeavors from travel to my grandfather’s old radio. I sit on a purple velvet couch with my candles blazing on my great-grandmother’s hope chest. Fresh flowers and a clock are sitting on my grandmother’s cast iron stove. All my shows (that are at least at a first draft stage) are individually boxed in clear boxes and ready to work on or share. There is a little tv with a cable box so I can listen to music that inspires whatever show I am working on. I feel safe and free and fantastic whenever I am in there.

What is the title of your play?

Zero-Six-Two-Eight

How did this year’s ONSTAGE theme inspire you to write/share this play?

As soon as I read the title “Hot Mess” I knew I would be writing about a man I met who suffers from brain damage. His brain is, indeed, a hot mess. His terror, his struggle to remember from moment to moment, his inability to cope with the world, his need to survive and “fix” himself completely blew me away when I first met him. The play is taken from life. I personally find the idea that my brain could shake loose and I couldn’t think or create or be “me” completely terrifying.

What play (by another playwright) have you read a gazillion times, and what about that play keeps you coming back to it?

I keep returning to Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s plays keep showing up in my plays because I have played in them since I was a kid and grew up with a father who was a full time academic and part time playwright and man of the theatre. I find that so many of those plays are like in my DNA and they just keep coming out. The full length I just wrote has HAMLET as a core. Other plays that have “shown up” and demanded to be incorporated in my plays are ROMEO AND JULIET and MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.

Do you have any upcoming productions elsewhere that our readers should know about?

Just had my play “Muse Me” produced by Athena Cats here in Los Angeles. I wrote it for my sister who lived and died one day…but who seems to be with me all these years later. What is art? What is inspiration?

Please share a brief synopsis for a full-length of yours that our readers should know about!

FINDING COMMON GROUND is a play I am working with at the moment – rewriting it and letting it grow. Two women, one California Born Japanese-American and one White Midwestern-American, find themselves living next door to one another in 1959 in two identical tract houses. How friendship grows from what we have in common…and helps us through the crises of life that we don’t. Based on two women I knew…and the houses across the street from where I live now. As I start working through it again I fall in love with them all over again and hope I can do them justice. Since it is justice they will be seeking together side by side. I inhale, I exhale. I remind myself that, in the words of Anne Lamott, “Perfection is the Oppressor.”

Katherine’s BIO:

Katherine James (MFA from A.C.T.) has been in the theatre since her father first put her onstage in one of his shows at the age of five. An accomplished actress and director as well as playwright, she currently makes her home in Los Angeles where she is part of The Athena Cats  the Theatricum Botanicum Company and on The Seedlings (new plays) Committee. Recent projects include multiple productions of her play, THE PLAN including The GLO Project and Hall Pass. Several of her shows have been produced as part of Little Black Dress Ink. A proud member of LAFPI, her company, Free Association Theatre, has helped produce L.A.’s Swan Day.

Learn more about Katherine at katherinejamesplays.com or follow her on Twitter @katherinejames

And don’t forget to grab your tickets to the 2017 Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Festival: Hot Mess running July 6-8 at the First Congregational Church in Prescott, AZ.

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