Meet our Waco Directors!

Saturday’s Waco reading is officially moving to Baylor’s Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts bldg
(Room 128) on account of rain!

I am so excited about tomorrow’s Outside the Lines reading – it’s going to be a fun-filled afternoon of awesome new play readings.  (I didn’t realize until it was time to start casting the reading that, unlike last year, a majority of this year’s Finalists are made up of all female casts!  Which means we’ve got some truly meaty roles for women in the line-up, and that’s always fun. #GenderParity!)

Because we’re reading so many plays on Saturday (15 pieces is a long bill, even with 4 of them being short monologues) I needed to bring some additional directing hands on board the reading train, and I couldn’t be happier with the two gents (one of which I’m married to) who jumped at the chance to work with us this month.  Allow me to introduce you to our Waco directors:

Casn headshot-2CASON MURPHY is currently earning his Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Directing at Baylor University, and holds his bachelor’s degree in Theatre from UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film, and Television as well as his associate degree from Los Angeles City College. He previously served as the Technical Director at the Prescott Center for the Arts in Arizona, where he also co-founded The@trics Theatre with his wife/producing partner extraordinaire, Tiffany Antone. Professionally, Cason has produced, directed, and acted in shows in Texas, Arizona, Los Angeles, and New York City.

NickNick Hoenshell is currently pursuing an MFA degree in directing from Baylor University. Before coming to Waco, he worked as a scenic artist for the Alley Theatre, in Houston Texas and graduated from East Texas Baptist University, in 2009, where he received a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts. He is very excited for the opportunity to direct three truly wonderful new works for the 4th annual Little Black Dress INK’s playwrighting festival. 

Thanks to these two talented gentlemen for joining our female playwright party!

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Meet our 2015 ONSTAGE Finalists!

We can’t WAIT to share our 15 Finalists with our Waco audience this Saturday!  And I bet you can’t wait to know more about our Finalists…

Anne Hamilton at GPTC 2012Anne Hamilton (THE SHOEBOX) is a NYC-based freelance dramaturg and the Founder of Hamilton Dramaturgy, an international consultancy. She holds an MFA from Columbia University School of the Arts, and has worked with Andrei Serban, Michael Mayer, Lynn Nottage, NYMF, Niegel Smith, and Classic Stage Company. She created Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow!, and her specialties include new play development, production dramaturgy, new musicals, career advising, advocacy, and oral histories. She was a Bogliasco Foundation Fellow. www.hamiltonlit.com

Celine Song headshotCeline Song (THE FEAST) is a 2014-2015 Ars Nova Play Group member, a 2012 Edward F. Albee Foundation Writing Fellow, a 2014 Great Plains Theatre Conference Playlab Playwright, a 2014 resident at Yaddo, and a IATI Theater’s 2015 Cimientos Playwright. Her plays include The Feast, Family, and Tom & Eliza. MFA: Columbia

 

Ewbank HeadshotMelanie Ewbank (BOTTOM LINE) is an award winning actress and playwright with numerous Los Angeles and regional theater credits as well as film and television credits. A staged reading of her full-length play I Found Baby Jesus in the Cat Box was produced by Pasadena Playhouse, and her one-act play Platitudes of Perfect-ness took first place in Knoxville Writer’s Guild’s 2012 writing contest. She has worked as a voiceover artist in Los Angeles, and is the audiobook co-narrator for Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series.

 

playwright jenJen Huszcza (THIS) is a playwright currently based in Los Angeles.  Three of Jen’s plays (Rinse, POP, and Flowers) were performed in Little Black Dress INK’s first three festivals. Her short play, It Has to End in Tears, was produced by Greenlight Productions in Santa Monica in March 2015. Four of her plays have been presented as staged readings in the Monday Night Living Room Series at The Blank Theatre in Hollywood.  She wrote and acted in Gunfighter Nation’s collectively written piece, LA History Project: Pio Pico, Sam Yorty, and the Secret Procession of Los Angeles, presented at the Lost Studio in 2010.  She has guest-blogged for the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative. BFA in Dramatic Writing and MFA in Musical Theatre Writing both from NYU.

Sharon GoldnerSharon Goldner (DOWN THERE) is in love with the alphabet.  She learned early on that she has a knack for manipulating the alphabet into doing whatever she wants, like making phrases, sentences, and dialogue.  This made no sense to a variety of gym teachers  Sharon had through the years;  all they wanted her to do was climb a rope. The funny thing?  Upon graduating college, no prospective employers ever asked if she could climb a rope.  Anyway, Sharon took her love for manipulating the alphabet and turned it into plays.  Nineteen theaters from Off Broadway to California (and all in-between) have proven to Sharon that the whole rope climbing business doesn’t matter because thus far, there have been 28 productions of her work;  publications of her plays; awards; and one fellowship in Canada, where Sharon was one of only three playwrights chosen for the honor, world-wide. So right about now Sharon wants to say, “Take that, gym teachers!”  But she’s too nice to say it, so she’ll just think it.

Anne DimockAnne Dimock (SENOR ADRIA) is an author, librettist and playwright. Her plays and an opera have been produced in California, New York, Minnesota, and Hawaii. Her dramatic writing focuses on comedies, adaptations, and always includes strong roles for women. Her plays include Roxanne(dot)com, Debbie Does Death and Woman Bakes American Flag Cake (The Matriot Act). She is currently working on a cycle of short plays inspired by her favorite novel – Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.   Anne is also a narrative writer working in fiction and nonfiction. Her nonfiction book, Humble Pie – Musings on What Lies Beneath the Crust, was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award. She has received awards, fellowships and residencies for her narrative writing. She is currently working on a YA novel set in 1962-64, and a nonfiction book about the links between consumer product consumption, mental illness and hoarding.

DeliaWhiteheadDelia Whitehead (GREEN DOG) has been an actor, director, and writer for over twenty years. She’s had the great good fortune to play many plum roles in many venues in Prescott, Arizona, and at Canyon Moon Theater in Sedona, Arizona.  Her plays have been produced in Prescott, and include Undercurrents, The Key, and an adaptation of O’Henry’s Ransom of Red Chief.   She took some time away from the stage and her pen to give full attention to her private practice doing Brain Integration Technique. Now she has finally come to her senses and realized that she’s not fully human unless she’s creating.

Jaisey BatesJaisey Bates (MY HEART & I) seeks to create stories that transcend cultural lines and speak at their heart to what it means to be human. She started writing for the stage while attending Circle in the Square and performing in NYC theaters. She hopes to engage audiences in nontraditional story experiences which help remind us of how much we share in common, underneath our’social skins’. Jaisey writes and performs her work with her multicultural, nomadic (a.k.a.’homeless’) theater company, The Peoplehood (the-peoplehood.com). LA and NYC performance venues for her words have included the Agüeybaná Book Store, Art/Works, Eclectic, Lounge, Naked Angels, Native Voices at the Autry, Open Fist, Performance Loft, Playwrights’ Center Stage, Studio/Stage, Unknown and Victory theaters. PS. Jaisey and her words think you rock. Thank you. For rocking. Carry on.

Beth KanderBETH KANDER (EPHEMERA)is a creative artist with one foot in the South and the other in the Midwest. Selected playwriting honors and awards: Downstage Left Playwright Residency, Stage Left—Chicago, 2014-2015; Charles M. Getchell New Play Award, SETC (2012); Eudora Welty New Play Awards (2013, 2010, 2008); Theatre Oxford Audience Award (2012); Mississippi Theatre Association New Play Award (2009). Kander has scripts represented by Steele Spring Stage Rights and Chicago Dramaworks. In addition to playwriting, Kander authors fiction, including the novel “Was” and the children’s book “Glubbery Gray: The Knight-Eating Beast” (Pelican Publishing). She holds degrees from Brandeis University and the University of Michigan, and has studied at Second City Training Center and New Stage Theatre. She lives with her husband and a small collection of rescue pets, some of them famous. www.bethkander.com

Kira RockwellKira Rockwell (WITH MY EYES SHUT) is a playwright from Dallas, Texas. She is a recent graduate of Baylor University where she received her BFA in Theatre Performance and a minor in Film & Digital Media. This March, her play Nomad Americana premiered at WaterTower theatre’s Out of the Loop Fringe Festival. In 2014, Kira established a writing group called the Waco Writer’s Collective for fellow emerging writers in her community. As a teaching artist, Kira directs and leads a theatre program for at risk urban youth at the Methodist Children’s Home. Currently, she is developing a full length play set in the near future of a dystopian America called, BirthRight, and resides with her husband in Waco, Texas. This will be her first time working with Little Black Dress Ink’s festival and she is over the moon with excitement to be working with this outstanding company and other fabulous ladies from around the nation! #femaleplaywrightrock

HannahKBaker_ProfileHannah K. Baker (FOR ANYONE WHO CARES) is an alumnus of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts where she earned a BFA in Film Production with an emphasis in directing. She continues producing creative content such as working on John Legend’s music video “You and I” and the indie feature THE SUBMARINE KID, co-written and starring Finn Wittrock. She is a member of the Coronet Writers Lab, which has fostered such talent as Mickey Fisher, the creator of the network TV show EXTANT.

Bridgette Dutta PortmanBridgette Dutta Portman (PYTHAGOREAN TRIPLETS) is an emerging playwright from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her plays have been read and produced in the Bay Area, across the country, and overseas. She particularly enjoys writing silly, absurdist comedies, dramas that deal with psychological and existential issues, and scripts that play with language or involve classical structure and themes. She is incoming president of the Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco and an associate artist at Wily West Productions, as well as a member of the Pear Avenue Theatre writers’ guild. Her website is www.bridgetteduttaportman.com.

JennieWebb-LA FPIJennie Webb (CHICKEN SHOOT) 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 through Green Light Productions), 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 Great Plains Theatre Conference; is an artist with the Virginia Avenue Project and published by Heinemann Press, Indie Theatre Now and ICWP. Jennie is a member of The Playwrights Union, EST/LA’s Playwrights Unit, Fell Swoop Playwrights, PlayGround-LA Writer’s Pool and co-founder of the LA Female Playwrights Initiative (LA FPI).  jenniewebbsite.com + @jenniewebbsite

Nancy Cooper FrankNancy Cooper Frank’s (AN ANNOUNCEMENT) plays include “Daniil Kharms: A Life in One Act and Several Dozen Eggs,” which, fresh from the 2014 Great Plains Theatre Conference, was given a staged reading by Virago Theatre Company for the opening of The Flight Deck in Oakland. Her kitchen-sink comedy “The Plumber” premiered in the 2014 Arundel Theatre Trail in the UK, won first prize in FirstStage LA’s One-Act festival, and, as part of “Assorted Domestic Emergencies,” won “Best of Fringe” in the 2014 San Francisco Fringe Festival. Nancy is currently working on a play about the tumultuous friendship between Catherine the Great and the outspoken Princess Dashkova, first female director of a national science academy. Dramatist’s Guild; the Monday Night Group (San Francisco); board member, Custom Made Theatre; literary advisor, 3Girls Theatre Company. With a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literature from Brown University, she still dips into Gogol when nobody is looking.

Mercedes Segesvary Headshot(2)Mercedes Segesvary is a first generation Hungarian American playwright, filmmaker and fine art illustrator whose work often reflects the diversity of culture, gender and generations. Her play; Man Legs Runs Free was part of the 2014 East Side Stories Festival at the Metropolitan Playhouse, NYC. In May 2013, her one-act play; Alive and Well received a three-week production at the Metropolitan Playhouse, NYC. By Spring 2014 Alive and Well was adapted into a short film, now in festival circuit. Her short play; Room For Rent won her a 2012 PlayGround San Francisco Emerging Playwright Award. In 2008 Mercedes brought to life a comedic retelling of a San Francisco Tour Guide’s life and received a Best of Fringe Award for her critically acclaimed performance. Mercedes is always in the process of creating and sharing. To view some of her work please visit: www.hugithegreat.com

Outside the Lines poster_WACO_Web** Don’t forget your sunscreen!  And pack a lunch!  And bring your sense of adventure, because these plays are wild, wacky, and pretty damn wonderful! **

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Announcing the 2015 ONSTAGE Finalists!

Female Playwrights ONSTAGE cropWe at Little Black Dress INK and all our Partner Producers have been hugely impressed  by this year’s incredible ONSTAGE playwrights.  What a truly fantastic selection of work! And we’ve so enjoyed sharing that work with our audiences in Minneapolis, Ithaca, Sedona, Ames, Auburn and Santa Barbara.  Trying to narrow this fabulous list of playwrights down to just 14 Finalists has been a real challenge, but an exciting one as we feel this year’s Finalist line-up is truly one of our best yet!

So what’s next for our ONSTAGE Finalists?  Another reading, this time here in Waco where I can get a better sense of the plays as we present them to a happy audience at one of Waco’s beautiful parks.  There will be ice-cream sandwiches and we’re encouraging our guests to bring picnic lunches for our 2-hour program of 14 short plays.  Then I’ll have one more excruciating challenge:  selecting the winning pieces to advance to our LA reading at the Samuel French Bookshop on July 11th and then our final production in AZ this August!

That said, in no particular order, here are the 2015 ONSTAGE Finalists:

AN ANNOUNCEMENT, by Nancy Cooper Frank
BOTTOM LINE, by Melanie Ewbank
CHICKEN SHOOT, by Jennie Webb
DOWN THERE, by Sharon Goldner
EPHEMERA, by Beth Kander
FOR ANYONE WHO CARES, by Hannah Baker
GREEN DOG, by Delia Whitehead
IF I WERE A MAN, by Mercedes Segesvary
PYTHAGOREAN TRIPLETS, by Bridgette Dutta Portman
MY HEART & I, by Jaisey Bates
SEÑOR ADRIA, by Anne Dimock
THE FEAST, by Celine Song
THE SHOEBOX, by Anne Hamilton
THIS, by Jen Husczca
WITH MY EYES SHUT, by Kira Rockwell

Congratulations to all of our talented playwrights, and thanks to all of our Partner Producers, guest directors and supportive audiences who help make the Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Project possible!

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MUSE ME – A Play About Artistic Inspiration

Katherine Jamesby playwright, Katherine James

My sister, Laura Ellen James, lived and died on February 5, 1955.

She would have been 60 years old this year.

For a year I thought to myself, “I would love to honor her birthday in some way in 2015 – give her some kind of birthday bash. After all, I would have given her a big party if she and I had spent those 60 years together.

Of course I told no one.

There was really no one to tell. My mother, who is 89 years young, was in a coma that sad day in 1955. She and Laura Ellen were both victims of pre-eclampsia. She survived. My father, who was the only person other than me (I was turning 3 in April) conscious of the events of that terrible time had died in 2013. The day she was born and died he had named her “Laura Ellen” after the character “Laura Ellen James” in Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe . The “James” he had already given her by virtue of being her father.

Not only was I conscious, I remember so many of the events of that life-changing time for all of us. My mother claims I have the best and longest memory of any human being she has every known. So does my husband. My children. One of my granddaughters has managed to inherit it. It is a gift and a curse, the inability to forget.

For six decades I thought of her, spoke to her, dreamt of her and visited her grave in the baby section of Fairview Cemetary.

Then there came a period of time when I thought that she was my artistic inspiration.

Artistic inspiration. That instinct that tells you what words to write on the page as a playwright when you are stuck. Or what the character you are playing might do in that moment when you are acting. Or how to help the actors help you discover what the play you are directing is really all about.

It got really dicey for that period of time.

I thought I couldn’t do anything without her input.

At this point I happened to be doing some bodywork with someone who was also a very sensitive psychic. She told me, “Someone keeps trying to interfere with how you are expressing yourself as an artist. Tell her you are sorry she isn’t alive, but that you are and you have a right to express what you are meant to express.” “But it’s my sister,” I said. “So what?” she replied. “The world needs to know what you have to say. It’s sad and frustrating to be dead with so much left unsaid…but… that’s what happened to her. Not you.”

Gently I removed myself from Laura Ellen as anything but my dear sister who I would miss forever. I stopped confusing her as a source of artistic inspiration. And, of course, my work soared.

But I kept that relationship – the dead sister as muse relationship – in the back of my mind. I felt that somehow, some day, that relationship would be called on as the subject of a play.

When Tiffany announced the subject of the 2015 Little Black Ink National Female Playwrights Festival was “Outside The Lines” I knew that time had come. I tweaked the truth just enough – making The Artist a painter, and The Muse a twin sister rather than a younger sister. The first draft of MUSE ME flowed from my heart and my fingers. At the same time, a director from my home town asked if he could direct my play, THE OLD SALT (a finalist in 2014’s Little Black Dress Ink National Female Playwrights Festival), for a 10 minute play festival in the theater where I grew up. When was it? The festival would coincide with Laura Ellen’s 60th birthday.

I booked airline tickets for my mother and me immediately. I knew I was being given the gift for which I had asked.

February 5, 6, 7 and 8 of 2015 were amazing days for me. The glorious production of THE OLD SALT attended by so many from my past. Visiting friends and relatives. Going to see my sister and my father in the cemetery. Best of all was a special luncheon with a small number of women who were close to my mother and me, three of whom were associated with my home theater. I asked those theater friends to read MUSE ME at the luncheon. One read the stage directions, one read The Artist, and the third The Muse. The actress who read “The Muse” I chose especially not only because of her ability, but because she is the one who my mother trusts to take care of my sister’s and father’s graves. “But I feel like I know her!” she said before the reading. “I talk to her all the time!” “I know,” I said. “And that is why you get to play her.”

The reading was glorious and sacred. We all understood that we were there for Laura Ellen’s final birthday gift of the weekend. It is a moment I will keep in my heart until the day I die.

I look forward with joy and anticipation to sharing MUSE ME with the other semi-finalists this year on May 16th. This is a special one for me, and it is only right that it was inspired by one of the most extraordinary of theatre artists in my life – Tiffany Antone. Thank you, Tiffany, for choosing a festival theme that allowed me to find expression in this play which is so important to me as an artist and as a sister.

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Meet our Santa Barbara Playwrights!

We just posted bios for the fabulous playwrights whose work will be going up in Auburn, AL on Saturday, May 16th – so now let’s talk about the West Coast reading taking place that same Saturday!  Rehearsal for our Santa Barbara, CA reading is underway under the fabulous direction of Kate Bergstrom!  Kate runs a new play reading program called Stripped Scripts and just recently helped launch On The Verge, a new non-profit Summer Rep Fest in Santa Barbara focusing on World Premiere work and the re-imagined female, so, we kind of love her!

Let’s meet the amazing women whose work goes up in Santa Barbara this Saturday!

Nancy Cooper FrankNancy Cooper Frank’s plays include “Daniil Kharms: A Life in One Act and Several Dozen Eggs,” which, fresh from the 2014 Great Plains Theatre Conference, was given a staged reading by Virago Theatre Company for the opening of The Flight Deck in Oakland. Her kitchen-sink comedy “The Plumber” premiered in the 2014 Arundel Theatre Trail in the UK, won first prize in FirstStage LA’s One-Act festival, and, as part of “Assorted Domestic Emergencies,” won “Best of Fringe” in the 2014 San Francisco Fringe Festival. Nancy is currently working on a play about the tumultuous friendship between Catherine the Great and the outspoken Princess Dashkova, first female director of a national science academy. Dramatist’s Guild; the Monday Night Group (San Francisco); board member, Custom Made Theatre; literary advisor, 3Girls Theatre Company. With a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literature from Brown University, she still dips into Gogol when nobody is looking.

Mercedes Segesvary Headshot(2)Mercedes Segesvary is a first generation Hungarian American playwright, filmmaker and fine art illustrator whose work often reflects the diversity of culture, gender and generations. Her play; Man Legs Runs Free was part of the 2014 East Side Stories Festival at the Metropolitan Playhouse, NYC. In May 2013, her one-act play; Alive and Well received a three-week production at the Metropolitan Playhouse, NYC. By Spring 2014 Alive and Well was adapted into a short film, now in festival circuit. Her short play; Room For Rent won her a 2012 PlayGround San Francisco Emerging Playwright Award. In 2008 Mercedes brought to life a comedic retelling of a San Francisco Tour Guide’s life and received a Best of Fringe Award for her critically acclaimed performance. Mercedes is always in the process of creating and sharing. To view some of her work please visit: www.hugithegreat.com

Diane SampsonDiane Sampson has an M.A. in Creative Writing. She belongs to PlayGround, a group of Bay Area playwrights working in the 10-minute play form, and her short plays have been produced as far afield as Miami and Seattle. She has three full-length musicals under her belt, the most recent being Sleeping Cutie, a Fractured Fairytale Musical, produced in San Francisco a year ago. Her full-length non-musical plays include Naked, Charlotte Takes the Plunge, and the just completed What We Owe and To Whom We Owe It. In another life she san cabaret, worked in theater administration, and raised two sons. She hopes the demise of the cabaret scene in San Francisco had nothing to do with her.

Katherine JamesKatherine James‘ Story: Playwright writes for her own theater company, then writes plays for others, then writes for herself. 1977: “Miranda” FATheatre (production & tour through 1979) 1978: “Beatrix Potter” FATheatre (production & tour through 1983) 1979 “Book of Good Love” (production & tour through 1985) 1980: “To Be Young, Gifted and Pregnant” FATheatre (production & tour through 1982) 1980 – 1990 The Museum Plays (series of 10, all produced in museums across the country), 1985 – 2000 The Sholem Plays (series of 9 Yiddish Theatre plays – Los Angeles), 1984 – 1994 The Theme Park Plays (series of 6, produced in Theme Parks all across the country), 2007 “Olympus” Theatricum Botanicum (staged reading), 2010 “Olympus” FATheatre (production), 2011: “Dirty Laundry” Dirty Laundry Play Festival (production) ; “Play For Jimmy” The Road Theatre, Word@TheRoad (staged reading); “The Old Salt” Certified Organic Festival, Theatricum Botanicum (staged reading); 2012: “She Says, She Says” Out Of The Mouths of Babes Festival (production); 2013: “The Puppeteer Lets Go” Moving Arts Theater (production); 2014: “The Old Salt” Winner Little Black Ink National Festival, (production). Currently: Artistic Director Fre Association Theatre, Seedlings Committee Theatricum Botanicum. BFA: Illinois Wesleyan University, MFA : The American Conservatory Theater.

JennieWebb-LA FPIJennie 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 through Green Light Productions), 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 Great Plains Theatre Conference; is an artist with the Virginia Avenue Project and published by Heinemann Press, Indie Theatre Now and ICWP. Jennie is a member of The Playwrights Union, EST/LA’s Playwrights Unit, Fell Swoop Playwrights, PlayGround-LA Writer’s Pool and co-founder of the LA Female Playwrights Initiative (LA FPI).  jenniewebbsite.com + @jenniewebbsite

_MG_6072 (2)Patricia Mew has written fiction, memoir and plays, having studied creative writing at Smith College and the University of Southern Maine. She has had staged readings of her plays at Smith College, Holyoke Community College, and Keene State College (KSC), placing third in KSC’s one-act play festival. Her work received an Innovation Grant and a Massachusetts Arts Lottery Grant, both in Massachusetts. Several of her short plays have been produced in the Maine Play Festival ‘12, ’13, ’14 (Portland, ME), PortFringe ’13 (Portland, ME) and King of Crows II – Return of the King (Portland, ME) ‘14. In Oct. ’13, she won for Best Play at the Crowbait Death Match in Portland for her play Cock Fight. She lives in South Portland, ME where she is a member of Playwrights’ Circle. Also an actress, Patricia has performed with a variety of theater companies in both Massachusetts and Maine.

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Meet our Auburn Playwrights!

May 16th is right around the corner, and that means it’s time for our last two semi-finalist ONSTAGE readings, which means we’re a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from announcing our finalists!  So exciting!

But, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s talk about the first of those two readings happening in Auburn, AL, led by our fabulous Auburn producer, Amber Ryhne Hanel with Sculpted Entertainment!  I had the happy opportunity to meet Amber last year, just a my husband and I moved to Waco.  (We’re here while he finishes up grad school).  Amber was so welcoming, and helped me get the lay of the theatre land here in Waco, so she was instrumental to me getting a foothold on the art scene here.  I quickly realized that Amber’s energy and talents would be an excellent fit with Little Black Dress INK, and so I was thrilled when she said she’d like to bring our ONSTAGE Project to Auburn with her when she moved!

She’s already hard at work with her actors, getting ready to present plays by our fabulous playwrights…

Talking about playwrights, let’s meet these awesome writing women!

Kira RockwellKira Rockwell is a playwright from Dallas, Texas. She is a recent graduate of Baylor University where she received her BFA in Theatre Performance and a minor in Film & Digital Media. This March, her play Nomad Americana premiered at WaterTower theatre’s Out of the Loop Fringe Festival. In 2014, Kira established a writing group called the Waco Writer’s Collective for fellow emerging writers in her community. As a teaching artist, Kira directs and leads a theatre program for at risk urban youth at the Methodist Children’s Home. Currently, she is developing a full length play set in the near future of a dystopian America called, BirthRight, and resides with her husband in Waco, Texas. This will be her first time working with Little Black Dress Ink’s festival and she is over the moon with excitement to be working with this outstanding company and other fabulous ladies from around the nation! #femaleplaywrightrock

HannahKBaker_ProfileHannah K. Baker is an alumnus of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts where she earned a BFA in Film Production with an emphasis in directing. She continues producing creative content such as working on John Legend’s music video “You and I” and the indie feature THE SUBMARINE KID, co-written and starring Finn Wittrock. She is a member of the Coronet Writers Lab, which has fostered such talent as Mickey Fisher, the creator of the network TV show EXTANT.

She is constantly work-shopping various projects including her debut feature and has recently been tapped to write a spec pilot. She has directed a handful of shorts and a music video, soon to be released. In her work, she explores the human condition across many genres in the pursuit of inspiring positive change within the audience.

Bridgette Dutta PortmanBridgette Dutta Portman is an emerging playwright from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her plays have been read and produced in the Bay Area, across the country, and overseas. She particularly enjoys writing silly, absurdist comedies, dramas that deal with psychological and existential issues, and scripts that play with language or involve classical structure and themes. She is incoming president of the Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco and an associate artist at Wily West Productions, as well as a member of the Pear Avenue Theatre writers’ guild. Her website is www.bridgetteduttaportman.com.

Susan GoodellA long persevering dramatist, Susan Goodell’s work received recent readings at the Virginia Stage Company and NYC’s Abingdon and The Barrow Group. Her HEELS OVER HEAD was on the main stage at Tri-State Actors Theater in Newton, NJ, and HOPE THROWS HER HEART AWAY will be presented by Genesis Theatrical Productions in Chicago this fall. Shorter works were staged by the Chicago’s Landmark Festival, the Boston Theatre Marathon, NYC’s Fresh Produce’d  and The Source Festival in Washington DC.  Other recognition: Steppenwolf Theatre Company commission, Djerassi Residence Artists Program, Denver Drama Critic’s Circle Award nomination and the Denver Post’s 10-best list.

K-Koller_0038-WebKatherine Koller’s short plays, including Cowboy Boots and a Corsage, have been staged across Canada. The Seed Savers premiered at Workshop West Theatre in Edmonton (2009), and Coal Valley: the Making of a Miner was produced at the Royal Tyrrell Museum Theatre in Drumheller (2005). Voices of the Land: The Seed Savers and Other Plays was published by Athabasca University Press in 2012. Last Chance Leduc won the 2013 Alberta Playwriting Competition. Katherine also writes fiction, and for dance, ballet, opera, radio and film. She is currently working on new plays, Dirt Baby and Riverkeeper; a novel-in-stories, Art Lessons; and a feature screenplay adaptation of Cowboy Boots and a Corsage. www.katherinekoller.ca

Molly PeaseMolly Pease earned her B.A. in Theatre and Public Relations from the University of Georgia. She plans to attend Northwestern in the fall to earn her M.F.A. in Writing for the Screen and Stage. Molly also enjoys performing and writing stand up and sketch comedy. She helped found an all female improv troupe at UGA called Lady Parts. Thanks for watching the show!

Don’t miss these fabulous playwrights,
Saturday, May 16th at 4 pm at Overall Company in Opelika!

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Guest Post by Playwright Eli Effinger-Weintraub

EliEffinger-WeintraubFunny story about my ONSTAGE play (spoiler alert: not actually funny):

“At the Gates of the House of the Mother of Waters” is a play about soldiers. Ochoa is a U.S. Army scientist, a water expert assigned to assess the environmental health of each new area the unit moves into. Loughlin commands the unit. Stenson is another soldier in the unit, one who doesn’t much like Ochoa.

Originally, all three characters were female.

Before I sent the script along its merry way to Little Black Dress INK, I asked for feedback from a few people whose opinions I trust. They all had different comments, but they all said one thing: “I’m not sure how believable it is, them all being women.”

I’m not sure how believable it is. These trusted readers are science fiction/fantasy writers who have written, variously, about vampires, teenage girls discovering they have magical powers, and terraforming Mars. Yet they couldn’t wrap their heads around an all-woman play about the military.

Never mind the play is inspired by a story about an all-woman unit. Never mind that my army brat buddy explained to me that U.S. combat units are sex-segregated, so it’s actually less plausible for a female captain to be commanding a male soldier or vice versa.

They just weren’t sure how believable it was.

I initially resisted making the change. This year’s theme is “outside the lines,” after all—what’s more outside the lines than a scenario that even the most imaginative audience can’t believe? But with everyone mentioning it as a sticking point, I started to worry that this one frankly ridiculous detail would distract people from the piece’s more important messages about religious tolerance and water health. I made Stenson male. I didn’t change anything about the character, just switched an “F” to an “M” in the character descriptions and flipped the pronouns the other characters use to refer to him.

I sent the script to a few more people. No one said anything about the characters’ sexes.

I don’t regret making the change. Listening to the talented actors who read the script at the Minneapolis semifinalists reading, I got my best sense yet of who these characters are, and I like who Stenson is as a cranky jerk of a guy. It maybe even adds another layer of conflict—sexism piled on top of religious discrimination piled on top of military command structure conflict. It’s still more than a little sad to me that we still struggle so much with hearing women’s stories when there are no male voices in the telling.

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Meet our Ames Playwrights!

It’s only been a couple days since our Ithaca and Sedona semi-finalist readings (which went beautifully!) and we’re already kicking it into high gear in Ames, Iowa where our amazing partner producer, Charissa Menefee (an awesome playwright, director, and dramaturg in her own right) is producing our fourth semi-finalist reading at Iowa State University!  Wahoo!

Charissa participated in our first Onstage Project festival as a playwright, and I couldn’t be happier that she’s joined our team as a producer!

Let’s meet these fabulous playwrights whose work is being featured this week :-)

Jaisey BatesJaisey Bates seeks to create stories that transcend cultural lines and speak at their heart to what it means to be human. She started writing for the stage while attending Circle in the Square and performing in NYC theaters. She hopes to engage audiences in nontraditional story experiences which help remind us of how much we share in common, underneath our’social skins’. Jaisey writes and performs her work with her multicultural, nomadic (a.k.a.’homeless’) theater company, The Peoplehood (the-peoplehood.com). LA and NYC performance venues for her words have included the Agüeybaná Book Store, Art/Works, Eclectic, Lounge, Naked Angels, Native Voices at the Autry, Open Fist, Performance Loft, Playwrights’ Center Stage, Studio/Stage, Unknown and Victory theaters. PS. Jaisey and her words think you rock. Thank you. For rocking. Carry on.

Mary ParisoeMary S. Parisoe has been a Network Playwright at Chicago Dramatists since 2009. Her short one-act, Evil Amy’s Second Chance was done by Twenty Percent Chicago as part of their one-act festival in 2009, was a finalist in Potluck Productions (Kansas City, MO) in 2010, was done as a radio play by Frequency Theatre in England in 2013. Another short one-act won the Washington Arts Club (D.C) One-Act Competition in 2011. That play, The Last Vagabond, is in the process of being developed into a full-length play. When she’s not writing plays, she teaches high school French in Lake Forest, IL. She has an M.A in English from De Paul University in Chicago and an M.A in French Literature from University of Illinois.

Amy Schleunes HeadshotAmy Schleunes is a writer, performer, and teacher based in Nicaragua. Her plays have been developed at the Great Plains Theater Conference and the Iowa New Play Festival, and her fiction and essays appear in Fourth Genre, The Missouri Review, Seneca Review, and other literary journals. She recently received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and the Kenyon Playwrights Conference, and is hard at work on her first novel and a few new plays.

 

Beth KanderBETH KANDER is a creative artist with one foot in the South and the other in the Midwest. Selected playwriting honors and awards: Downstage Left Playwright Residency, Stage Left—Chicago, 2014-2015; Charles M. Getchell New Play Award, SETC (2012); Eudora Welty New Play Awards (2013, 2010, 2008); Theatre Oxford Audience Award (2012); Mississippi Theatre Association New Play Award (2009). Kander has scripts represented by Steele Spring Stage Rights and Chicago Dramaworks. In addition to playwriting, Kander authors fiction, including the novel “Was” and the children’s book “Glubbery Gray: The Knight-Eating Beast” (Pelican Publishing). She holds degrees from Brandeis University and the University of Michigan, and has studied at Second City Training Center and New Stage Theatre. She lives with her husband and a small collection of rescue pets, some of them famous. www.bethkander.com

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARhea MacCallum is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and script consultant, whose plays have been produced across the United States and six continents. She was honored to participate in the Lincoln Center Directors Lab and was named a finalist by the Actors Theatre of Louisville for the Heideman Award for her play, YESTERDAY ONCE MORE. Her work has been included in collections published by Junket Publishing, JAC Publishing and themonologueshop.com. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, ICWP and a Lifetime Member of the ALAP. Rhea earned her BA from USC and her MFA from the Actors Studio Drama School.

playwright jenJen Huszcza is a playwright currently based in Los Angeles.  Three of Jen’s plays (Rinse, POP, and Flowers) were performed in Little Black Dress INK’s first three festivals. Her short play, It Has to End in Tears, was produced by Greenlight Productions in Santa Monica in March 2015. Four of her plays have been presented as staged readings in the Monday Night Living Room Series at The Blank Theatre in Hollywood.  She wrote and acted in Gunfighter Nation’s collectively written piece, LA History Project: Pio Pico, Sam Yorty, and the Secret Procession of Los Angeles, presented at the Lost Studio in 2010.  She has guest-blogged for the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative. BFA in Dramatic Writing and MFA in Musical Theatre Writing both from NYU. *Jen’s play Flowers was a 2014 ONSTAGE Project finalist for Planting the Seed and has two semi-finalist pieces in this year’s fest!”

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Meet our Sedona Playwrights!

Oh my Gosh, I’m so excited about our upcoming Sedona reading of ONSTAGE semi-finalists!  (Probably because I’m from neighboring Prescott – so there’s a soft spot in my creative heart for those beautiful red rocks!)  The reading will take place at 5 pm on Sunday, April 26 at the Sedona Arts Center (15 Art Barn Rd. Sedona, AZ) and is being produced by Kate Hawkes, artistic director for Red Earth Theatre!

So, without further ado, let’s meet these fabulous playwrights!

Ewbank HeadshotMelanie Ewbank is an award winning actress and playwright with numerous Los Angeles and regional theater credits as well as film and television credits. A staged reading of her full-length play I Found Baby Jesus in the Cat Box was produced by Pasadena Playhouse, and her one-act play Platitudes of Perfect-ness took first place in Knoxville Writer’s Guild’s 2012 writing contest. She has worked as a voiceover artist in Los Angeles, and is the audiobook co-narrator for Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series.

 

playwright jenJen Huszcza is a playwright currently based in Los Angeles.  Three of Jen’s plays (Rinse, POP, and Flowers) were performed in Little Black Dress INK’s first three festivals. Her short play, It Has to End in Tears, was produced by Greenlight Productions in Santa Monica in March 2015. Four of her plays have been presented as staged readings in the Monday Night Living Room Series at The Blank Theatre in Hollywood.  She wrote and acted in Gunfighter Nation’s collectively written piece, LA History Project: Pio Pico, Sam Yorty, and the Secret Procession of Los Angeles, presented at the Lost Studio in 2010.  She has guest-blogged for the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative. BFA in Dramatic Writing and MFA in Musical Theatre Writing both from NYU. *Jen’s play Flowers was a 2014 ONSTAGE Project finalist for Planting the Seed!”

Brock & Sharon @ graduation 1Sharon Goldner is in love with the alphabet.  She learned early on that she has a knack for manipulating the alphabet into doing whatever she wants, like making phrases, sentences, and dialogue.  This made no sense to a variety of gym teachers  Sharon had through the years;  all they wanted her to do was climb a rope. The funny thing?  Upon graduating college, no prospective employers ever asked if she could climb a rope.  Anyway, Sharon took her love for manipulating the alphabet and turned it into plays.  Nineteen theaters from Off Broadway to California (and all in-between) have proven to Sharon that the whole rope climbing business doesn’t matter because thus far, there have been 28 productions of her work;  publications of her plays; awards; and one fellowship in Canada, where Sharon was one of only three playwrights chosen for the honor, world-wide. So right about now Sharon wants to say, “Take that, gym teachers!”  But she’s too nice to say it, so she’ll just think it.   *Sharon’s play Little Swimmers was a 2014 ONSTAGE Project finalist for Planting the Seed!”

Christine FosterChristine Foster - An award winning playwright, Christine’s work has been produced in Canada, Australia, Denmark, Mexico, Korea, the UK and the US. She has penned book and lyrics for five musicals as well as many scripts for CBS, CTV, CBC, History and Disney’s Family Channel and was the co-founder of  Cliffhanger Productions in Toronto which brought world mythology to family audiences and won a Dora Mavor Moore Award in 2004. She was recently artistic director of The Diez Minutos Festival in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where she also directed several mainstaage productions. She is currently producing a Kipling Festival and writing and directing in the UK where her full-length black comedy about the Black Death, Four Thieves’ Vinegar is under option with a London theatre.

Anne DimockAnne Dimock is an author, librettist and playwright. Her plays and an opera have been produced in California, New York, Minnesota, and Hawaii. Her dramatic writing focuses on comedies, adaptations, and always includes strong roles for women. Her plays include Roxanne(dot)com, Debbie Does Death and Woman Bakes American Flag Cake (The Matriot Act). She is currently working on a cycle of short plays inspired by her favorite novel – Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.   Anne is also a narrative writer working in fiction and nonfiction. Her nonfiction book, Humble Pie – Musings on What Lies Beneath the Crust, was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award. She has received awards, fellowships and residencies for her narrative writing. She is currently working on a YA novel set in 1962-64, and a nonfiction book about the links between consumer product consumption, mental illness and hoarding.

DeliaWhiteheadDelia Whitehead has been an actor, director, and writer for over twenty years. She’s had the great good fortune to play many plum roles in many venues in Prescott, Arizona, and at Canyon Moon Theater in Sedona, Arizona.  Her plays have been produced in Prescott, and include Undercurrents, The Key, and an adaptation of O’Henry’s Ransom of Red Chief.   She took some time away from the stage and her pen to give full attention to her private practice doing Brain Integration Technique. Now she has finally come to her senses and realized that she’s not fully human unless she’s creating.

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Meet our Ithaca Playwrights!

Oh my gosh, how excited are we about next week’s ONSTAGE reading in Ithaca?  I’ll tell you – we’re SUPER excited!  Darcy Martin Rose of Acting Out NY and Cynthia Henderson with Performing Arts for Social Change are doing a fantastic job of making bringing our playwright’s magic to NY!

Which is why we’d like to introduce you to these fabulous writing women now!  Read all about our playwrights below, and then make sure to mark your calendars for 5 pm on April 25th at 5 pm at Acting Out NY (171 E. State St., #119 Center Ithaca
Ithaca, NY).

Denise St. PierreDenise St. Pierre‘s first short play, “Bette Davis Eyes,” premiered at the Bishop’s University New Plays Festival in 2012, and ran at the 2014 Toronto International Fringe Festival in the Site-Specific category. Her second short play, “Sehnsucht,” premiered at the New Plays Festival the following year and is currently licensed by YesPlays.com. Last year, her monologue “The Beginner’s Guide to Gardening” was a finalist in LDBI’s Planting the Seed Festival, and was read and staged in Ithaca, Los Angeles, and Prescott. 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 now lives and writes in Brooklyn, NY, where she works at a literary agency.

Doke Hoke Donna Hoke’s work has been seen in 27 states and on five continents. Her full-length plays include THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR (currently playing in Romania, and opening April 11 at Dangerous Theatre in Denver), SEEDS (Artie award winner), FLOWERS IN THE DESERT (AACT top 20 finalist, opening March 14 in Oxnard, CA), and SAFE (winner of the Todd McNerney National Playwriting and Naatak National Playwriting Contests, current finalist Great Gay Play and Musical Contest, opening March 2016 in Buffalo, NY); she’s also authored more than two dozen short plays that have had hundreds of productions.  Donna is also the Western New York regional representative for the Dramatists Guild; a New York Times-published crossword puzzle constructor; author of Neko and the Twiggets, a children’s book; and founder/co-curator of BUA Takes 10: GLBT Short Stories. In 2012, 2013, and 2014, she was named Buffalo’s Best Writer by Artvoice, the only woman to ever receive the designation.

Celine Song headshotCeline Song is a 2014-2015 Ars Nova Play Group member, a 2012 Edward F. Albee Foundation Writing Fellow, a 2014 Great Plains Theatre Conference Playlab Playwright, a 2014 resident at Yaddo, and a IATI Theater’s 2015 Cimientos Playwright. Her plays include The Feast, Family, and Tom & Eliza. MFA: Columbia

 

C.J. EhrlichC.J. Ehrlich‘s award-winning plays have enjoyed over 100 productions in many states, notably of undress and panic, and around the world, from NYC to Kealakekua, HI to Wogonga Australia. Some favorite partners: Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway Fest (NYC), Boston Theatre Marathon (MA), Little Fish (Los Angeles), Source DC, Heartland (IL), OnStage Atlanta, The Last Frontier (Valdez, Alaska), Grin Theatre (Liverpool UK), Boqete Players (Panama), Pakriti Foundation (Chennai, India). C.J.’s full-length comedy collaboration THE CUPCAKE CONSPIRACY (with Philip J. Kaplan) opened Rover Dramewerks 2015 season.
C.J.’s plays are published in several Smith & Kraus annual Best Ten-Minute Plays anthologies (2011-2015), and she is a dual Heideman Award finalist. A proud member of the Westchester Collaborative Theatre and the Dramatists Guild, C.J. lists among her greatest achievements teaching her sons the fine art of the spit take. Sample pages and more at www.CJ-Ehrlich.com.

Eugenie CarabatsosEugenie Carabatsos is currently pursuing her MFA in Dramatic Writing, studying under Rob Handel. Her plays have won BroadwayWorld’s Award for Best Play in South Carolina 2013, the Trustus Theatre Festival, the Mountain Playhouse Comedy Writing Competition, the Venus Theatre Festival, the Variations Theatre Group UnChained Festival, and the Edward Hopper House Two-on-the-Aisle Competition. Her short screenplay is the winner of the Cinequest Film Festival Short Screenwriting Contest 2015. Eugenie graduated from Wesleyan University in 2010, with a BA in English.

 

me2Kay Poiro is an award-winning screenwriter and internationally produced playwright. Her stage plays have been performed across the United States and around the world, including London, Sydney, Toronto, and India. Most recently, her T.V. pilot “Brewster Commons” won Best Short Screenplay at the 2014 Harlem International Film Festival. Her upcoming events include productions in New Jersey, Sasketchewan and Johannesburg, South Africa. Kay is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and lives in Maryland.  *Kay’s play Seeds of Rebellion was a LBDI ONSTAGE Finalist last year!*

 

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