Our Final Planting the Seed Poster!

I’m so excited to share our final poster for the Planting the Seed fest going up in Prescott, AZ Jan 2nd and 3rd!  YAY!

Planting the Seed Fest Poster

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2015 Submission Guidelines are HERE!

Female Playwrights ONSTAGE cropIt’s official!  This year’s festival theme will be Outside the Lines. 

Every year I try to come up with a theme that is not only visually evocative, but which is also relative to the female playwright’s journey… it’s a pretty tall order, if I’m honest, and I can get a bit obsessed with trying to find something that works.

I mulled a lot of possible themes this year, but I kept coming back to the idea that, as female playwrights, we oftentimes find ourselves at the theatrical perimeter production-wise.  I’ve also been thinking a lot about how important it is to flex our creative muscles, to look beyond the pat, the expected, the “easy”, to push through whatever obstacles keep us away from the keys and to just fucking write!

And I also love the image of us as beautifully complex theatricians doing our best to break boundaries.

Outside the Lines as a theme encapsulated all of these thoughts, and hopefully it will inspire an exciting mix of original work for this year’s peer review!

So, without further ado, here are this year’s submission guidelines.  Please read through them completely—especially if you’re new to the ONSTAGE Project—to ensure that your play receives our fullest consideration.

Little Black Dress INK is creating production opportunities for female playwrights through its Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Project; a short-play festival dedicated to producing peer-selected works by women. In addition to contributing to the selection of plays, participating playwrights are able to review and revise their work via online-streaming of play readings, and are encouraged to blog about the process along the way.

Submissions are now being accepted from awesome female playwrights for consideration in this year’s festival! This festival utilizes a peer-review process for evaluating submissions, so please make sure to read over the following guidelines carefully before submitting.

  • This year’s festival theme is Outside the Lines. Playwrights are invited to submit short plays and/or monologues written on this theme. In the past we’ve had great success with short scenelets as well (10-minute plays comprised of a couple of scenes, which we can sprinkle throughout the show)
  • LBDI strongly suggests you do not submit plays or monologues longer than ten minutes. Keep in mind that in all instances, shorter truly is better. Plays running longer than ten minutes stand very little chance of making it into the festival, as we strive to produce as many playwrights as possible.
  • Little Black Dress INK utilizes a peer review process for evaluating plays. By submitting to this fest, you agree to participate in this unique opportunity to help select plays for production.
    • Once our submission window is closed, you will receive a selection of plays to read and score using the LBDI online eval form. You MUST read and submit your evaluations by the required date in order for your play to remain in consideration.
    • Submitted works will be read by other participating playwrights and LBDI artistic personnel. By submitting to the festival, you agree to share your work for review in this process.
  • Submission materials must be emailed to LBDI by January 1, 2015 and should include:
    • The following information in the body of your email:
      • Your name
      • The title of your play
      • Your contact information *It is very important that you use a reliable email address as all correspondence will be done via email!
    • A blind PDF of your script – do NOT include your name anywhere on the script!
    • Email materials to submissions@LittleBlackDressINK.org

LBDI will be producing readings of the top scoring plays at eight locations nation-wide. The top eight to ten scoring plays will also move on to full production in Prescott, AZ.

Happy writing!   We can’t wait to read your work!

~Tiffany

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Meet our new 2015 Partner Producers!

Holy COW – what a summer!  First I got married (yay!), then my husband and I taught a devised ensemble workshop, and then I had my thyroid removed

Suffice to say, it took me a little while to catch up.

But, now that things are simmering down (just in time for them to work their way back to a boil) and we’re in rehearsal for our Prescott, AZ production of the 2014 Planting the Seed Festival, I can start sharing some exciting news about our 2015 fest!

Are you ready?

We have three new Partner Producers signed on for the 2015 fest!  Which means we will have a total of at least eight semi-finalist/finalist readings this year!  (I say “at least” because I’m still in negotiations with a few more potential producers – yay!)

It’s super, super, super exciting and I want to share a little information about each of our new Partner Producers:

Theatre Unbound – Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN

Theatre_UnboundTheatre Unbound delivers thought-provoking live theatre conceived and created by women, providing audiences with engaging, rarely-seen perspectives on issues that are relevant and universal.

I became familiar with Theatre Unbound through executive director and playwright Anne Bertram, who I had the distinct pleasure of meeting at the Great Plains Theatre Conference this past May.  Anne is awesome!  Her play, THE GOOD FIGHT, was the first play I saw at the conference and it made a huge impression on me!  The play tells the true story of Grace Roe, an early-twentieth-century English women’s suffrage activist, who organized a bodyguard of women trained in martial arts in order to protect the leaders of the militant suffrage movement.  Awesome!

Anne and I found ourselves gravitating towards several of the same readings, and after some delightful meals (which included the amazing Jennie Webb of LAFPI fame) I asked Anne if her company might be interested in working with us on our ONSTAGE Project.  I could barely contain my excitement when she said “Yes!”

Since it’s founding in 1999, Theatre Unbound has given production opportunities to 137 female directors, 435 female actors, 109 male actors, and 126 female playwrights from the 10th century to the 21st!  You can check out their website here–>Theatre Unbound <–

Amber Ryhne Hanel – Auburn, AL

Amber was one of the first people I met after we relocated to Waco last year. She was immediately welcoming, funny, and refreshingly cheery as she helped me navigate this strange new place called Texas.  So imagine my disappointment when I found out she was moving to Alabama this summer!  My loss was Little Black Dress INK’s gain, however, because Amber is totally excited to bring the festival to Auburn, AL!

Amber works throughout the Southeast region as a producer and director. She began working in the industry in Perth, Australia while completing her degree at the Western Australia Academy for Performing Arts. She co-founded Sculpted Entertainment. Since 2007, She and her business partner, Stephanie Icke have focused on bringing more theatre opportunities to local artists and communities. They have worked hard to ‘sculpt’ lives one production at a time. From 24 Hour Playwriting Festivals to educational tours dealing with bullying, Amber has enjoyed finding funding for projects that will positively affect audiences. She also enjoys producing murder mystery dinner theatre, packing houses every weekend as they run shows for public and private events! Sculpted Entertainment has recently moved their home office to Asheville, NC where they are excited to begin producing work in the region.

In 2008, Amber began working with youth theatre programs in North Louisiana, and then with the Waco Children’s Theatre in 2012. Teaching, directing, and marketing for the LSU Summer programs and Waco Children’s Theatre prepared her for the current work she is doing with the Rising Starz Performing Arts Academy in Auburn, Al.

Amber is thrilled to be involved with Little Black Dress INK’s Female Playwrights ONSTAGE  Project!

Charissa Menefee- Ames, Iowa

I first met Charissa four years ago when I attended a Tomorrow’ Theatre Tonight reading in Prescott, AZ.  Charissa is a playwright and professor who was then head of the theatre department at Prescott College.  She has since moved on to a fantastic faculty position at Iowa State, where she’s writing, teaching, directing, and just generally being her usual awesome and creative self.

Charissa has worked with Little Black Dress INK before as both a playwright and director, so it’s wonderful news to know that she’ll be helming a reading in Ames, Iowa.  We are SO excited to have Charissa on board as a Partner Producer this year :-)

(*I’ll be updating this post with a more formal bio for Charissa soon!)

Theatre Unbound, Amber, and Charissa join our awesome and super talented returning partners, Kate Hawkes and Red Earth Theatre (Sedona, AZ), Kate Bergstrom (Santa Barbara, CA), Darcy Martin Rose (Ithaca, NY), and Mary Jo DuPrey (Los Angeles, CA).  I will be producing a semi-finalist reading in Waco, TX again this year as well.

And with that, it’s almost time to release this year’s submission guidelines!  Stay tuned, because we’ll be posting the guidelines sooooon!

~Tiffany

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Pulling Minutes Out of Thin Air or How I Made It to the Los Angeles Reading

By Jen Huszcza

I know I am not the first woman on the planet to complain about being overbooked and having a lack of time. Back when we all lived in caves, I’m sure the women were busy keeping the fires going in a time before lighter fluid or even matches.

Still, in the last few months, my life has become a caffeinated schedule. I try not to be too booked, but there are jobs to do and boats to sail (someone has to do it).

On the Sunday that the Planting the Seed LA reading was happening in downtown LA, I had to go into a job in Marina del Rey that morning.

The week before the reading, I was emailing Tiffany.

Where is my play in the order? I asked.

Fourth. She emailed back; then I promised to do my darndest to get there. The reading was scheduled to start at noon.

But theatre never starts on time in LA. 12:10. Three ten minute plays would take thirty minutes. 12:40. Please theatre gods, let one of those plays not be a two minute monologue. 12:32.

On the Sunday of the reading, I pulled out of the parking lot in Marina del Rey at 11:44. There was no traffic on Lincoln.

I might actually make it.

These thoughts whispered in my head as I settled in behind a Range Rover doing 65 on the 10 as we cruised toward downtown. It was a miracle. There was no traffic on the 10 on a sunny Los Angeles afternoon. I might actually see my short play read by actors.

There was no traffic on the 10, no traffic on the 110, no traffic on surface streets, nothing was happening at the Staples Center. I parked in a park-n-lock lot on 6th.

Then I realized.

I didn’t know where I was going.

I knew the reading was happening at LA Theatre Center on Spring. Do I walk right or left on Spring? My car’s clock said 12:10 as I turned off the car. If I go the wrong way, I’m done.

I asked the parking lot guy for directions to LA Theatre Center. He took a full minute to tell me he didn’t know. Oh LA Theatre Center, you elitist conclave you.

I was about to start running when the parking lot guy called over to a local lady who was pulling groceries out of her parked car. She didn’t know, but she asked Siri on her phone. LA Theatre Center (an extremely common phrase) baffled Siri, but the local lady and I had a nice chat about what a beautiful day it was.

As we walked down the sidewalk, I looked up and noticed a sign with LA Theatre Center and an arrow. I thanked the nice lady, cut right, and sprinted down the block. Realizing that I need more cardio in my gym workout, I huffed as I ran across the lobby and got on an elevator with two guys asking me if I believed in the Lord. I told them I was a female playwright. They said they’ve been seeing a lot of them that morning.

Off the elevator, I was no longer puffing. As I walked the last few steps, I felt myself grow taller and transform into a tall super heroic female playwright. I went into the room and immediately saw one of my favorite actresses, June Carryl, reading up onstage. Then I saw Tiffany and some other writers I knew. I was where I needed to be. I had walked in during the second play, but I had made it. I was as on time as I could hope to be.

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Catching Up

Wow – my head is just starting to come out of the ONSTAGE spin.  What a wonderful couple weeks.  Our Los Angeles reading went beautifully – beautiful actors, beautiful words… What a blast!  And the Los Angeles Theatre Center was the perfect place to hold our reading.

(If you missed the reading, you can watch the video archive HERE)

And if you’re wondering what I’ve been up to, I’ve been busy writing about the ONSTAGE Project for HowlRound.com and traveling to the Great Plains Theatre Conference where I got to see a bunch of great new plays!  I definitely didn’t intend to leave you out of the loop – and if you’re connected with us on FB or Twitter, you’ve seen our updates – but you can read more about what we’re up to at the links below:

Read our Increasing Playwright Engagement Through Peer Review series on HowlRound.com

And check out our posts for the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative

And so now we get to work on our production in Prescott in the Fall, as well as plans for 2015’s fest.  We won’t be blogging as frequently as we were, but we hope you’ll stay in touch with us, keep us up to date on your successes, and continue to support our Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Project.

thank-youWith Gratitude for a successful 2014 reading series,

Tiffany Antone

 

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Planting the Seed E-Program

It’s here!  Months of planning all coming together
for today’s reading and we are SO excited! 

Join us at the LATC (514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles) at
or online at www.HowlRound.com  at 12pm PDT (Los Angeles) /2pm CDT (Chicago) / 3pm EDT (Toronto).

Planting the Seed LATC Program FRONT

Planting the Seed Program LATC - INSIDE You can read more about our playwrights HERE

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Meet Finalist Jennie Webb

Little Black Dress INK will be posting interviews with our ONSTAGE Project Finalists everyday between now and our Jan 2nd/3rd production in Prescott, AZ.  Bookmark our Blog or follow us on Facebook!

What can’t I say about Jennie Webb?  The woman is a force for change (LAFPI) and a mad creative to boot, and I adore her.

I also really, really like her play, Rebecca on the Bus.

It’s a tough piece.  And it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea – but this is of course why we had to produce it.  The play tackles rape culture and the grotesqueness of the oft-employed societal shrug that accompanies sexual violence.  Obviously, it’s a big issue – and it’s an issue close to the heart of LBDI’s goal to give voice not only to female playwrights, but to women.  

Which is why we’ve decided to partner with a guidance clinic that specializes in working with victims of sexual violence for this autumn’s production in Prescott.  LBDI always partners with a non-profit in order to share ticket proceeds with our community, and we look forward to working with this year’s partner organization on that front.

But back to the fabulous Ms. Jennie Webb.  Let’s meet this woman, shall we?

JennieWebb-LA FPILBDI: Why did you decide to submit your work to the ONSTAGE Project?

Jennie: Because Tiffany Antone is amazing and I want to be a part of whatever she’s up to. Seriously, I am so thrilled about Little Black Dress INK’s support of women playwrights, and love seeing the way the project’s grown.

(And I’m honored to think that LA Female Playwrights Initiative may have played a part in its initial creation!)

From Tiffany:  Yes it did, Jennie!  I have been so on board with the LAFPI, that when I moved to AZ I wanted to keep the action going – thanks for lighting that candle!

LBDI: Describe your writing space…

Jennie: I am lucky enough to live in a great part of LA (Eagle Rock), and have an office with a fantastic view. I like to think that opens up my world or creative mind (esp when the mind’s not being very creative), but it probably just gives me an excuse not to get up and take a walk.

LBDI: If you could be any cartoon character for just 24 hours, who would you be?

Jennie: Man. I so do not have cartoon characters in my head to even consider. Go-to: Wonder Woman? But I’m exhausted just thinking about what all that lasso action would mean.

LBDI: What was your first play titled/about?

Jennie: KILLING MISS AMERICA. It was co-written with Brent Morris (we ran a theater company for a short while), and about a fired female TV journalist who takes contestants hostage as a protest against the objectification of women and traditional standards of beauty. But it’s a dark comedy, so it all gets personal and goes terribly wrong.

LBDI: Which playwrights do you admire and what about them inspires you?

Jennie: I always wish my first responses were women, but to be honest on the top of my list are Ionesco and Beckett: the rhythms, the absurdity and the possibilities. Over the past few years I’ve become a fan of Suzan-Lori Parks for petty much the same reasons.  And of course Caryl Churchill.

LBDI: Why do you write for theatre?  (as opposed to other written media…)

Jennie: Laziness, because that’s what I know. I’m pretty sure I am the only playwright in LA who’s never written a screenplay. But I’m supposed to be starting on adapting a novel with my friend Janis Hashe (her novel) and other stuff (TV, webseries) keeps popping up in conversations. So we’ll see.  But fiction is too hard.

LBDI: What is your spirit animal?

Jennie: I just googled “What is your spirit animal” and took two different quizzes and apparently I’m a deer. Or an owl.

LBDI: Paper or Plastic?

Jennie: Neither. I have my own damn bags, thank you very much.

Jennie Webb is an independent Los Angeles playwright, currently in residence at Rogue Machine (where her dark retail comedy Yard Sale Signs premiered) and Theatricum Botanicum (where she runs workshops and “Botanicum Seedlings: A Development Series for Playwrights”). Her plays, including Remodeling Plans, Unclaimed Assets, GreenHouse, On Tuesday, It’s Not About Race  and Buying a House, have been produced in LA (most recently at Theatre of NOTE and Santa Monica Rep.), on stages across the country and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She’s been part of The Playwright Center’s PlayLabs, past Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Festivals and the Virginia Avenue Project, and is published by Heinemann Press and ICWP. Her play Crazy Bitch will be developed at the 2014 Great Plains Theatre Conference. She is a member of The Playwrights Union, EST/LA’s Playwrights Unit, Fell Swoop Playwrights and co-founder of the LA Female Playwrights Initiative (LA FPI). jenniewebbsite.com + @jenniewebbsite

Don’t miss our Planting the Seed reading on May 18th.  Two ways to watch: Attend our reading at the LATC (514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles) or watch online at www.HowlRound.com.  The staged reading begins at 12 pm PST.

Planting the Seed LATC poster_web

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Meet Finalist Anne Hamilton

 Little Black Dress INK will be posting interviews with our ONSTAGE Project Finalists everyday between now and our May 18th Live-Stream reading at the LATC.  Bookmark our Blog or follow us on Facebook!

I’ve got to say, we received some pretty creative interpretations of this year’s theme Planting the Seed.  I so enjoyed reading these works by women who had run with the idea and landed in some delightfully messy or hilariously weird or painfully meaningful places with their scripts.  Anne Hamilton’s OFEM, a monologue featuring a feisty woman with some hilarious and passionate ideas about produce, was one of those pieces that was just so unexpected that it had to be included in our line-up!

So, without further ado, meet playwright Anne Hamilton:

Anne Hamilton - OFEMLBDI: Why did you decide to submit your work to the ONSTAGE Project?

Anne: I realized that I had some 10-minute plays and monologues that were worth submitting. I had heard of Little Black Dress INK and its mission to put plays by women on stage, and so when the call for plays came out, I realized that it was the perfect fit. I submitted a dramatic monologue called GROUNDING and a comedic monologue called OFEM.

LBDI: Describe your writing space…

Anne: I have an office in my home, where I work as a freelance dramaturg. That said, I take my laptop to many different locations in the house depending on my mood for the day. Do I want to sit on a comfy couch? A cushy chair? Do I want to look out the window at the tree blooming in my back yard? Do I want to sit outside in the sun with my dog by my side? I feel like a DJ spinning sometimes, because my artistic projects are set up all over the house and I go from one to the next, according to how the inspiration hits me.

LBDI: If you could be any cartoon character for just 24 hours, who would you be?

Anne: Without a doubt, Bugs Bunny. He is the ultimate cartoon character of all time. I admire his wit, his irony, his use of language, his passion for the task in front of him, and his use of different personae. Yes, I would be Bugs Bunny, and I would play tricks on everyone I know, and a few strangers, too.

LBDI: What was your first play titled/about?

Anne: My first play was called ANOTHER WHITE SHIRT, and it was a hybrid piece with dance, music and puppets about two women who lose the men they love in accidents. It’s about how grief moves through the body, toward healing. The women speak, but the men only dance. It’s about how grief and healing are ineffable, but there is movement in both.

LBDI: Which playwrights do you admire and what about them inspires you?

Anne: Oh, that is a big topic. As a dramaturg for the past twenty three years, I have been helping playwrights to develop their scripts and place them on the stage. I admire the ones I’m working with at the moment, and I admire the ones whose works I travel to see. There are just too many to name.

LBDI: Why do you write for theatre?  (as opposed to other written media…)

Anne: I started as a singer and a poet. Writing plays allows me to place lyricism on the stage. I have loved the theatre since I was in middle school and saw a high school production of GUYS AND DOLLS. I fell in love, and got more and more involved. I love creating theatre. I love how the words are expressed through the bodies of the actors in the collaborative process.

LBDI: What is your spirit animal?

Anne: The Barn Owl.

LBDI: Paper or Plastic?

Anne: Oh, paper for sure. I’m an eco-girl.

Anne Hamilton is the Founder of Hamilton Dramaturgy, an international consultancy based in New York City’s professional scene, and located in Bucks County, PA. She has over twenty years of experience across the country and internationally. The majority of her clients are located in N.Y. and L.A. Her clients have gone on to win the Pulitzer Prize, the MacArthur “Genius” Award, the Tony ® Award, and a Royal Court International Residency. In 2009, STAGE DIRECTIONS magazine named her a “trailblazer” in American dramaturgy.

Hamilton has consulted with Andrei Serban, the Joseph Papp Public Theater, the Harold Prince Musical Theatre Institute, Michael Mayer, Lynn Nottage, Yehuda Ne’eman, Classic Stage Company, B.T. McNicholl, Tina Andrews, NYSCA, Jean Cocteau Repertory Theater, Leslie Lee, Andrew Barrett, The New York City Public Library’s Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop, Tom Cavanaugh, and the Great Plains Theatre Festival. www.hamiltonlit.com.

Don’t miss our Planting the Seed reading on May 18th.  Two ways to watch: Attend our reading at the LATC (514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles) or watch online at www.HowlRound.com.  The staged reading begins at 12 pm PST.


Planting the Seed LATC poster_web

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Meet Finalist Brigitte Viellieu-Davis

Little Black Dress INK will be posting interviews with our ONSTAGE Project Finalists everyday between now and our May 18th Live-Stream reading at the LATC.  Bookmark our Blog or follow us on Facebook!

So many artists bridge multiple artistic fields – it seems almost necessary these days if you have any hope of surviving as an artist.  I’m constantly wondering if there will ever be a day when I get to focus on doing just three things instead of thirty!  But it’s always a joy for me to meet artists who are managing successful careers in more than one field, because their sense of vitality is contagious!  Brigitte is one of those artists.  She’s an actor, director, writer, and activist – and she’s written a beautiful play titled FLY GIRL FLY.

This lovely play is about longing, art, and the magic of stillness in a constantly moving landscape.  It was a big hit with the playwrights who read the script during our peer review process, and I can’t wait to see it this Sunday.

Readers, may I introduce you to Brigitte Viellieu-Davis.

BViellieu-DavisLBDI: Why did you decide to submit your work to the ONSTAGE Project?

Brigitte: A festival celebrating the work of women? I like everything about that – celebration, women, great work. I’m in.

LBDI: Describe your writing space…

Brigitte: I recently renovated my home office, and told my husband it is OFF LIMITS (he has a man cave in our home, so it’s all good). I used the Feng Shui Bagua Map  for my desktop and my book case and the placement of my desk.  I made a Pinterest Board for what spoke to me . I’m a Feng Shui novice, but there’s definitely something to it. And it’s amazing how decluttering and purposeful placement opens up the space to create in. Even visitors remark on the energy of the room.

LBDI: If you could be any cartoon character for just 24 hours, who would you be?

Brigitte: Bugs Bunny, of course – he gets away with everything.  Or Betty Boop (no explanation needed).

LBDI: What was your first play titled/about?

Brigitte: It was a collaboration developed over a few months of etudes and improvs with director Daniella Topol and a group of 6 actors — our source material being seven stories from the LIVES section of the New York Times Magazine. We wove the characters’ lives together into one piece with intersecting journeys.  It was called “Lives of the Times.”

LBDI: Which playwrights do you admire and what about them inspires you?

Brigitte: Tony Kushner – “Angels in America” changed the way I think about live theatre;  Anton Chekhov, and our American Chekhov, Tennessee Williams – for their complex and fierce female characters; Thorton Wilder for timeless truth telling; Jane Anderson because she tells stories nobody else tells. And I’ve worked with Eve Ensler and Anna Deavere Smith — they have influenced me tremendously in seeing the arts as an agent of civic dialogue.

LBDI: Why do you write for theatre?  (as opposed to other written media…)

Brigitte: I just write. I know the theatre the best because I’ve had the most opportunity to work in the theatre, but I’ll write anything. Right now I’m working on a screenplay. I just love stories…in all their forms.

Here's a photo of my garden in NJ.

Here’s a photo of my garden in NJ.

LBDI: Paper or Plastic?

Brigitte: I bring my own bags everywhere. I always have a chico bag in my purse.  I like my ocean, I like my trees. My back yard is a certified urban wildlife habitat…no kidding. I compost, we have rain barrels, recycle…I’m not messing around when it comes to Mama Earth.

...and the bird station (notice my NWF certification sign in the background). I'm a total Greeny Nerd. I feed my spirit animal because it's just good karma.

…and the bird station (notice my NWF certification sign in the background). I’m a total Greeny Nerd. I feed my spirit animal because it’s just good karma.

LBDI: What is your spirit animal?

Brigitte: I use bird metaphors often in my work. Besides “Fly Girl Fly,” “Frida Liberada” (Frida Set Free or Uncaged), my play about Frida Kahlo, comes to mind. What kind of bird?  It changes with my mood.  Beware my “bird of prey” days. :)

Brigitte Viellieu-Davis is an actor, director, writer and activist who has performed extensively in regional and Off-Broadway theatre, including Westside Arts, Hartford Stage, Ensemble Studio Theatre, City Theatre, Peccadillo, Bricolage, Portland Stage, Capital Rep, The Public Theatre, Urban Stages, The Drama League, 24 Hour Plays, Gorilla Rep, Irondale Ensemble Project, and the Moscow Art Theatre. Television credits include guest star roles on Blue Bloods, Gossip Girl, Law & Order, Law & Order: S.V.U., One Life to Live, All My Children, As the World Turns and Guiding Light. She is the playwright and director of Frida Liberada, about legendary artist Frida Kahlo, and The Whole World’s a Talkin’ for young audiences. She holds an M.F.A. in Acting from Carnegie Mellon University/Moscow Art Theatre and a B.A. from Purdue University. Brigitte has worked closely with some of the most exciting pioneers in socially relevant and activist theatre, including Eve Ensler (Brigitte played Eve in the Regional premieres of The Good Body) and Anna Deavere Smith & The Institute on the Arts & Civic Dialogue. – See more HERE.

Don’t miss our Planting the Seed reading on May 18th.  Two ways to watch: Attend our reading at the LATC (514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles) or watch online at www.HowlRound.com.  The staged reading begins at 12 pm PST.

Planting the Seed LATC poster_web

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Meet Finalist Denise St. Pierre

Little Black Dress INK will be posting interviews with our ONSTAGE Project Finalists everyday between now and our May 18th Live-Stream reading at the LATC.  Bookmark our Blog or follow us on Facebook!

One of the things that we really like doing with our festivals is including monologues and short scenelets between pieces.  It helps with flow, the audience gets to enjoy more work, and the pieces take place in front of the curtain while we set up for the next play.  While we didn’t get enough scenelets this year to include them, we did get a couple of really enjoyable monologues.

Denise St. Pierre’s monologue, The Beginner’s Guide to Gardening, captured our imaginations right away, and we can’t wait to see Los Angeles actress Emma Fassler perform it this Sunday!  Till then, enjoy our interview with the fabulous Ms. St. Pierre!

Denise-photoLBDI: Why did you decide to submit your work to the ONSTAGE Project?

Denise: I was no longer content with letting my work sit untouched, unread, and unseen in the dark recesses of my computer — it is no better there than it is unwritten. The theme piqued my interest in that it forced me to commit thoughts I’d long wrestled with to (virtual) paper, to see if I could fashion myself a stance instead of staying precariously divided. The prospect of being aligned with a host of inspiring female playwrights certainly didn’t put a damper on my enthusiasm for the project either.

LBDI: Describe your writing space…

Denise: My writing space is wherever I have an idea and an implement. On a good day, it’s at my desk on my computer. On an even better day, it’s wherever I am on whatever I can write with.

LBDI: If you could be any cartoon character for just 24 hours, who would you be?

Denise: Anya from “Anastasia,” because she doesn’t take shit from anybody, and isn’t afraid of both saving others and being saved. I’d gladly supplant her post-film dramatics, since that’s when she gets to elope with the dreamy Dmitri. (What can I say? I’ve got a thing for John Cusack.)

LBDI:  What was your first play titled/about?

Denise: My very first play was a woefully misguided “two-hander” with an omniscient narrator who commented on the action of two young folks (named Cary Grant and Sloane) falling in love, and it will never see the light of day. It was called “Tilting at Windmills,” was embarrassingly derivative, and ended with an Elvis song (which says everything you need to know, really.) I’ve recycled bits and pieces of it in new projects, but the play itself is textbook overwriting. I’d like to call my second play, “Bette Davis Eyes,” my first real stab at the craft, but alas, that would be evading the toughest of truths: that the first go at anything is usually an unmitigated disaster.

LBDI: Which playwrights do you admire and what about them inspires you?

Denise: I’ve left the theatre agape after seeing the works of Tom Stoppard and Tony Kushner — both are so infuriatingly witty and brilliant — which simultaneously gave me hope in the prospect of life as a playwright, and crippling doubt that I would never reach the heights of these modern masters. Sarah Kane was the first playwright I read who took the form to another level, and who pushed the boundaries of what you’re even allowed to show onstage (and while I have also written a play that began with onstage masturbation, I don’t think I’ll ever craft a finale as stunning as a vulture descending to devour a corpse.) I recently started reading Neil LaBute, and I truly admire his keen ear for dialogue that is both realistic and engaging — nothing rings false in his work.

LBDI: Why do you write for theatre?  (as opposed to other written mediums…)

Denise: We are words, and playwriting is the only medium I’ve tried that has the potential to capture both the impassioned frenzy and the careful curation of human dialogue. Having spent a good part of my life rehearsing conversations in my head and then blurting out nonsense in the moment, I’m always keen to translate this oddity into art. That being said, there is the unique euphoria of sitting in a dark theatre and listening to my words in an actor’s mouth — it’s a brand of excitement that you just can’t replicate. There’s also an intense beauty the collaborative refashioning of a play in the hands of a gifted creative team — when a director effortlessly communicates the subtext of a scene, or an actor redefines your vision of a character with a single twitch of his hand. Theatre is full of loaded moments, and I’m happy just to be a cog in the glorious machine that realizes them.

LBDI:   What is your spirit animal?

Denise: Tina Belcher.

LBDI: Paper or Plastic?

Denise: “I just want to say one word to you. Just one word.”

Denise St. Pierre‘s first short play, “Bette Davis Eyes,” premiered at the Bishop’s University New Plays Festival in 2012, and will be revived at the Toronto International Fringe Festival in 2014. Her second short play, “Sehnsucht,” premiered at the New Plays Festival the following year and is currently licensed by YesPlays.com. Denise, a born and bred Canadian, graduated from Bishop’s University in 2013, where she studied under noted Canadian-American playwright George Rideout and served a term as the editor of The Mitre, North America’s longest-running literary journal. She spent the first third of 2014 interning at a literary agency in New York City and will be attending Simon Fraser University in the fall to pursue her Master’s in Publishing.

Don’t miss our Planting the Seed reading on May 18th.  Two ways to watch: Attend our reading at the LATC (514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles) or watch online at www.HowlRound.com.  The staged reading begins at 12 pm PST.

Planting the Seed LATC poster_web

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