I’m supposed to be at ATHE – OR – Inside the mind of a female theatre artist who is also a new mom…

IMG_4263When Charissa Menefee (Our ONSTAGE Partner Producer in Ames) invited me to speak on a panel at this year’s ATHE conference, I was like “Hell yeah!” Not only do I fervently believe in our mission at LBDI and love talking about what we do here, but I could not wait to hang with all the other awesome female theatre artists that would be speaking on the same panel, as well as the other awesome theatre artists and educators that would be assembled at ATHE.  So what if I was pregnant?  I’d be able to pack up that baby like a super mom and make all kinds of magic happen, right?

Then I had the baby, and everything I “thought” I would be able to do kind of changed.

At first it was just, “Oh, haha, how am I supposed to organize this festival and teach my class, much less travel anywhere, now that I have a miniature human needing me every second?”

But it quickly became “HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO ORGANIZE THIS FESTIVAL AND TEACH A CLASS, MUCH LESS FIND TIME TO TRAVEL BREATHE, WITH A MINIATURE HUMAN NEEDING ME EVERY SECOND?!?”

Turns out, being a woman and becoming a parent – at least if you’re breastfeeding (which, heaven help us, everyone under the sun seems to think is the ONLY way to nourish a baby) – means giving up a lot more than a man who becomes a parent.  And this, I think, is relevant because I was supposed to be on a panel of female theatre artists, and becoming a mom is a huge transformation for some of us female artists.

ATHE turned out to be one of those things this new mom has had to “give up” this year.

But it didn’t go down without a fight.

I had initially thought “I can still do it!  I just need my husband to come with me.  We’ll pack up the baby, drive to Chicago, maybe swing by Nashville on the way… It will be a fun family trip with a great theatre stop at the finish line!  Nooooo problem!”

I had managed to bring our ONSTAGE Fest to fruition despite feeling like a crazy person, after all!  And I taught my class with only two weeks off (no thanks to the lack of paid maternity leave) without going off the rails.  And I co-taught a movie workshop with my crazy husband, baby in tow (with the help of an absolutely incredible mother in law).

And I was still breathing… so why not ATHE too?

But we drove home to AZ (from TX) for the summer and for three days I tried not to lose my mind as we endeavored to drive more than 100 miles without having to stop three times to change the baby’s diaper, feed the baby, or just let the baby out of his apparently hellaciously miserable (but totally cush) car seat so he could collect himself…

Still, I kept my eyes trained on ATHE, because surely – at 6 months old – Little Man would be able to travel with us!  We’d just change the plan to “We’ll fly up to Chicago, because (as we learned) car trips with an infant are THE worst!”

But flying upped the cost by a considerable amount…  Did I mention my husband just finished grad school and that I didn’t get to teach a full adjunct load in the Spring, and that being adjunct means no paid maternity leave?

So then I thought, “Train!  We can take the Amtrak!  It will be fun!”  And Amtrak was a considerably less expensive option, but it would have taken 13 hours to get there.

Thirteen.  Hours.

With an infant.

Which is maybe fine if you’re in a sleeper car and it’s at night… but the trip is only a night ride on the way up there.  It’s a day time haul on the way back.

Ugh.

So I though, “I’ll just go by myself.  I can fly up in the am, maybe fly back at night… That’s not crazy right?  Two and half hour drive to the airport, two and half hour flight, then transport to the hotel, then the conference itself (well, part of it), then the reverse travel/flight/drive back… Ummm, that sounds freaking miserable!  What if I fly up in the afternoon, spend the night and then fly back in the am the next day?”

And every way I looked at it, I’d be away from the baby for just long enough to make him and my very patient husband go crazy, because this baby cannot be away from my boobs for longer than a few hours without having a total meltdown, much less an entire 24 -36 hours.  Not to mention the fact that I’d be charging a hefty expense on what would amount to only a few short hours mingling and speaking and barely-soaking up the awesomenes of ATHE.

I am a female theatre artist.  I am also a new mom.  These two things are not mutually exclusive.  And sometimes, they will work against one another.  This is one of those times.

So, that’s the long story about why I won’t be able to bring Little Black Dress INK to ATHE this year, but I am excited for the panel that Charissa put together, and I’m excited to share LBDI with ATHE in the future!

If you’re here because you saw my name on the panel and wanted to know more about LBDI and our ONSTAGE Project, please look around the site and check out our other programs – the ONSTAGE: ON-AIR podcast as well as our newly announced We’re Not Playing initiative are almost as exciting as our ONSTAGE Festival!

And if you’re here because you’re already a LBDI friend, welcome to just another little peak into the mind of the wacky woman who started it all ;-P

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Announcing: We’re Not Playing!

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ONSTAGE Playwrights 2016: Meet Rhea MacCallum

Rhea is a fabulous Los Angeles playwright who sent us such a kick-ass piece that I kind of can’t handle it.  The thing is, the play is so freakin’ timely that it hurts.  Asking For It focuses on a woman who, after being the victim of a hit and run, tries like hell to report the crime only to be faced with a litany of victim blaming/shaming nonsense from the less-than-impressed (and seriously nu-empathetic) officer who shows up.  It’s a comedy, but it chews at your sense of indignation in all the right ways.

We hope you enjoy getting to know a little more about Rhea and her work!

 What is the title of your play?
Asking For It

Why did you decide to submit your work to the ONSTAGE Project?
The ONSTAGE Project is unique in that there is a peer review process, meaning every playwright submitting to the project agrees to read blind copies of a selection of plays. I thoroughly enjoy discovering new voices and finding out how other playwrights choose to address the selected theme. One of the plays I reviewed this year and loved was Model Behavior, which has also advanced to production. Seeing it among the winners was exciting because having read it, I was already a fan.

Describe your writing space…
If the weather is agreeable, I like to write by hand in my sunroom. It’s quiet, green, void of distractions and I love the natural light. I also have a habit of writing in bed.

If you could have lunch with any playwright alive or dead, who would it be and what would you have for lunch?
What a great question! Makes me think of so many wonderful playwrights, but if I have to single one out, I’d love the chance to chat with Mae West. She was such a pioneering badass, writing her own rules and one-liners, and she was a smart, savvy business woman. We’d dine on crab legs and fresh fruit.

Why do you write for theatre? (as opposed to other written mediums…)
I do write in other formats, but what keeps me coming back to theater is that it offers a communal experience and requires the engagement of the imagination.

Who is your favorite fictional character of all time and why?
Gordie Lachance and Chris Chambers (they are just too intertwined in my mind to only name one) from Stephen King’s novella The Body, better known cinematically as Stand By Me. I read Different Seasons (which includes The Body and the stories for which The Shawshank Redemption and Apt Pupil were based) right before seeing the movie, which starred actors about my age. I identified with the relationship between Gordie and Chris.

Do you have any upcoming productions elsewhere that our readers should know about?
We Work Out premieres in TCT’s Playwright’s Festival at the Beekay Theatre in Tehachapi, CA. Show dates are July 8th – July 17th. Tickets can be purchased at:
Mowing Down the Junipers premieres in City Theatre of Independence Playwrights Festival. The festival runs July 28th-31st in Independence, MO.
Ashes to Ashes premieres with Onion Man Productions’ August – Summer Harvest 2016, The Lakeside Plays, August 11th to 28th in Norcross, GA. For more information:

Please share the synopsis for a full-length of yours that our readers should know about!
Direct Rescue is about a mentally unstable woman who joins an activist group seeking solace and understanding, but devolves into domestic terrorism.

More about Rhea:

Rhea 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 published by Smith & Kraus, Heuer Publishing, Original Works Publishing, JAC Publishing and themonologueshop.com.  She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, ICWP and ALAP.  Rhea earned her BA from USC and her MFA from the Actors Studio Drama School, New School University.

Website: rheamaccallum.com
Twitter: @rheaplaywright

Don’t miss Rhea’s play, July 14-16, at Acadiana Repertory Theatre’s production of this year’s ONSTAGE Festival: Curves Ahead.

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ONSTAGE Playwrights 2016: Meet Tiffany Antone

It’s weird to write about oneself in a promotional sense – but as a playwright, it’s a good skill to develop.  Unfotunately, I can’t say I’ve gotten very good at it – I have a hard time talking about my work with the same enthusiasm I can apply to others’.  But I am very excited to have a play in this year’s fest, and I can’t wait to see it in performance.

So with that, let me answer some questions:

Antone headshotWhat is the title of your play?
The Egg

Why did you decide to submit your work to the ONSTAGE Project?
Strangely, this is really an important question because – as the producer – it would be really easy for me to slide my work in, but I don’t do that.  The peer review process vets my work the same as everyone else’s, and if I submit something that gets stinky reviews, I don’t advance it.  It’s a really healthy ego check, and a great way to prevent the fest from becoming a vanity project for me.  I was really happy when The Egg received high scores at the peer review level, and nominated by our partner producers at Acadiana.

Describe your writing space…
Ugh, it’s pretty much anywhere and everywhere these days.  Our apartment is overrun with baby stuff, and I never know when I’m going to get a spare moment to write.  More often than not, I’ve been using my spare moments to sleep, eat, or wash my face… but as the tot gets closer to toddling, I’m finding I have a little more time to catch up on sleep, face-washing, and even writing.  So basically my writing space is anywhere I can balance my laptop and a sandwhich on my lap at the same time.

If you could have lunch with any playwright alive or dead, who would it be and what would you have for lunch?
I’d really like to have lunch with Sarah Ruhl, and without knowing if she’s a fan of sweets or not, I’d suggest we go to one of those chocolate cafes for a really decadent lunch.  There is just something so delicious about her writing that I feel to be in her company for an afternoon would require a similarly delicious ambiance.

Why do you write for theatre?
I actually really enjoy screenwriting, and have a few film projects in the creative crock-pot, but I’m not a fan of the Hollywood hustle. SO, I continue to labor in theatre because it is my first love and because it feels so much more actionable and achievable than screenwriting does.  On the other hand, that doesn’t stop me from writing for screen, and – as a struggling playwright – I’d be totally down if one day Hollywood takes notice.

Who is your favorite fictional character of all time and why?
Ugh, I hate “pick your favorite” questions (and I wrote this one).  I’ll say Dwight Schrute from The Office.  Everyone on that show was AMAZING, but Dwight always got me laughing.  My husband and I play this game where we try to decide which television show would be the best to live in, and The Office is always on our list.  Not because we crave a career in paper sales, but because the characters are so damn enjoyable.

Do you have any upcoming productions elsewhere that our readers should know about?
I don’t, but hopefully that will change soon!

Please share the 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 a delightfully unique romp examining the contradictions that crop up when nothing at all changes the way you think it should.  *Brand New Work*

More about Tiffany:

Tiffany Antone is a playwright, producer, and director, whose plays have been read and/or performed in Los Angeles, New York, D.C., Lafayette, and Minneapolis: Cricket Woman Mother Earth (or) A Nasty Comeuppance was a 2011 O’Neil finalist. Ana and the Closet and Twigs and Bone were both Jerome Finalists and O’Neil semi-finalists for 2009 & 2010. In the Company of Jane Doe was produced in NY this spring with CAKE Productions. Her play, The Good Book, is available through Samuel French.  Tiffany holds her MFA in Playwriting from UCLA, lives/teaches in Texas, and blogs for the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative.  She is the co-founder of The@trics Theatre, and runs Little Black Dress INK.  You can read more about Tiffany at www.TiffanyAntone.com.

Don’t miss Tiffany’s play, July 14-16, at Acadiana Repertory Theatre’s production of this year’s ONSTAGE Festival: Curves Ahead.

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ONSTAGE Playwrights 2016: Meet Nancy Cooper Frank

I had the great pleasure of meeting Nancy at the Great Plains Theatre Conference 2 years ago, and let me tell you, if you’re a playwright and you’ve never submitted your work to GPTC, you need to pull a 180 and send them a play! Not only is the conference a total blast, but the playwright mingling makes you feel all warm and fuzzy and connected.  Right away I knew I needed to get to know more about Nancy, because her absurdist play, Daniil Kharms: A Life in One Act and Several Dozen Eggs, was just soooooo fantastic.  Imagine then what a thrill it has been then to see her work make our final cut two years in a row!

I highly recommend you take a moment to get to know a little more about this adventurous playwright and her highly imaginative worlds!

Nancy Cooper FrankTitle of Play: 
In the Loop

Why did you decide to submit your work to the ONSTAGE Project? 
I did it last year and it was fun and inspiring.
Describe your writing space:
Sporadically spotless and organized, generally a holy mess.
If you could have lunch with any playwright alive or dead, who would it be and what would you have for lunch?
I travel back in time to meet Olympe de Gouges. (She is most known for her Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen, but, before the French revolution started, she also wrote an anti-slavery play.) I bring baguettes, paté, chocolate, a little Champagne. I schedule the lunch in a secret hideaway so that she escapes arrest and the guillotine.

Why do you write for theatre?
Because of collaborators: actors, directors, designers, tech folks, stage managers… But above all, actors.

Who is your favorite fictional character of all time and why?
Meg in a Wrinkle in Time. One tough kid.

Do you have any upcoming productions elsewhere that our readers should know about?
At the 2016 San Francisco Fringe Festival in Sept., the show “Abracadabra” will feature my 10-minute “The Suitcase.”

Please share the synopsis for a full-length of yours that our readers should know about!
The Trouble with Catherine
Loosely based on the memoirs and letters of Catherine the Great and the younger friend who helped her gain power, “The Trouble with Catherine” traces the life and death of a friendship between formidable women. The Princess Catherine Dashkova joins the conspiracy to dethrone the future Empress’s universally hated husband. Side by side, on horseback and in military uniform, the two women lead troops in a palace coup. Triumph is followed by disappointment when the friends clash over court politics and Dashkova’s role. Eventually, Dashkova wins a post worthy of her talents and intellect, as the director of the Imperial Academy of Sciences (a first for a woman in any country). But Dashkova’s loyalty to her powerful friend will be severely tested when it clashes with her broader sense of duty.
Fun fact: both Catherine the Great and Catherine Dashkova found the time to write plays!

More about Nancy:

Nancy Cooper Frank.  Nancy’s The Trouble with Catherine is a full-length play on the bumpy friendship between Catherine the Great and her friend Catherine Dashkova, who helped her seize the throne (written as part of the 365 Women a Year project). Other credits include: Anna and the Blackbird (The Blank Theatre’s Living Room Series, 2015); Dramaphobia (SF Fringe 2015); The Plumber (in 2014 San Francisco Best-of-Fringe winning show); Daniiel KharmsA Life in One Act and Several Dozen Eggs (Great Plains Theatre Conference PlayLab). Nancy’s The Announcement made the final line-up in the 2015  Onstage Female Playwrights Project. More at www.nancycooperfrank.com

You can follow Nancy on Twitter @NCooperF

Don’t miss Nancy’s play, July 14-16, at Acadiana Repertory Theatre’s production of this year’s ONSTAGE Festival: Curves Ahead.

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ONSTAGE Playwrights 2016: Meet C.J. Ehrlich

C.J. has been a semi-finalist in two previous ONSTAGE fests, and as a result, we’ve really enjoyed getting to know her.  Our opinion?  She kind of rocks!  This engaging and creative writer has been a huge supporter of the peer review process, and is a fab female playwright, so we’re so excited to have one of her plays in this year’s final line-up.  The Lilac Ticket is at once touching and humorous, and provides a genuine warm-hearted catharsis that has thus far made our audiences go “Awww!” We can’t wait to see it in performance!

CJ ETitle of Play:
The Lilac Ticket

Why did you decide to submit your work to the ONSTAGE Project?
First off, It’s a treat to read women’s work from around the country. This is the third year I’ve had plays in the festival and it’s exciting to see where they appear. Tiffany Antone is a rare dynamo of energy. She makes it fun (and inspirational) from start to finish.

Describe your writing space…
It’s a guest room/office with a view of a forest, much more cluttered with scripts and notebooks and books than I’d like. I’m constantly distracted by the squirrels who chase round the trees in front of me. Apparently it’s always nooky season in squirrel-land. Are they ever cousins? On the walls are framed posters from my productions, any postcard art that appeals to me, and a stern man demanding I Live My Life with Moxie. Also a poster of a frowning castle, from the Edinburgh Fest where I met my husband.

If you could have lunch with any playwright alive or dead, who would it be and what would you have for lunch?
George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber. We’d order the table d’hôte at the Algonquin Club in the 1930s, because why should they do all the time travel when they’re paying for dinner? I’d ask about the fights they had while collaborating on Dinner at Eight. Then I’d get George to hold forth on working with the Marx Brothers, and every other playwright of his ttime. For dessert we’d invite Sarah Ruhl and the woman who called herself “William Shakespeare”, but having given us all the slip for this long she’s probably a no-show. For dessert, strawberry mousse and Charlotte Russe.

Why do you write for theatre?
It’s a challenge like no other and it feels so good when you stop, and actually have something to share with the creative dreamers who breathe life into your script. But mostly I write plays because, of all the forms of pleasure I know, there is hands-down nothing like hearing an audience laugh at your lines.

Who is your favorite fictional character of all time and why?
See when you say “of all time” I never have an adult answer; I immediately jump to the characters I’ve know for longest. We’ll pass over Jane Eyre and her irrepressible gloomy optimism and grit, to Jane in the Half Magic series. Jane was the eldest of four, a bit bossy even when she was wrong, and loved adventure, so had a childhood like mine, but with magic talismans. What’s cool about Jane is, when she gets a call-back in the later books, she’s grown up and traveling around the world, on safaris and climbing glaciers and such.

Do you have any upcoming productions elsewhere that our readers should know about?
The Jewish Women’s Theatre of LA is reprising their production of The Lilac Ticket in “Our Men Have Their Say” fest. And see It Skips a Generation, about three generations of Judaism and vaudeville, HERE.

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

The Cupcake Conspiracy is an audience-tested, sophisticated new comedy-farce, with strong roles for two women and two men, ideal for community theatres.

Terrorism is Easy. Marriage is Complicated.
When nebishy, newly-separated Max decides to put his toes in the dating waters behind his soon-to-be ex’s back, he finds himself up to his neck in a terrorist plot involving cupcakes. Really evil cupcakes. Meanwhile, his missed date, Suzie, hooks up with Alvin, a secret agent with so many identities even he can’t remember who he is. Max’s date with the sultry Natasha could be the best or worst night of his life, if he can stay ahead of her evil plot, avoid the G-Man hot on his trail, and most important, keep his wife from finding out!

More about C.J.:

C.J. Ehrlich is a NY-based writer/director whose award-winning works have enjoyed productions on five continents. Some favorites: Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway Fest (Shrew Man vs. Shrewman), Grin Theatre, Liverpool (Room Circus, an LGBT bedroom farce), Ingenius NYC (The Red & Green Room). C.J.’s full-length comedy (with Philip J. Kaplan), THE CUPCAKE CONSPIRACY: “Terrorism is Easy. Marriage is Complicated” opened Rover Dramawerks (TX) 2015 Season. Published: Smith & Kraus’ annual Best Ten-Minute Plays anthologies: Noir in Second Class, The Ninth Circus of Hell, Intervention, 2+1=Murder; Applause’s Best American Short Plays of 2014-15 (The Lilac Ticket); Heuer (Home Sweet Homeland Security). C.J. is currently working on two new full-length comedies, The Maltese Babka and Us vs. Us. A proud member of the Dramatists Guild, C.J. lists among her greatest achievements teaching her sons the fine art of the spit take. www.CJ-Ehrlich.com.

Don’t miss C.J.’s play, July 14-16, at Acadiana Repertory Theatre’s production of this year’s ONSTAGE Festival: Curves Ahead.

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ONSTAGE Playwrights 2016: Meet Rachel Hall

Talk about small worlds!  Rachel hails from Houston and is friends with one of last year’s playwrights, Kira Rockwell (author of With My Eyes Shut).  Because of this connection, Rachel attended last year’s reading at Samuel French Bookshop in LA, and thought to herself “I want to play!” and lo and behold, her piece The Moon is one of this year’s winning plays!  It’s also the second piece this year to be comprised of a few scenes we get to sprinkle throughout the line up, providing a lovely contrast to Anne Flanagan‘s Thrown for a Curve scenelets.  I’m so excited to have this fabulous playwright in the line-up!

Stephanie Girard PhotographyTitle of Play: 
The Moon

Why did you decide to submit your work to the ONSTAGE Project? 
I wanted to take the leap and put my work out there in the world.

Describe your writing space: A coffee shop. One that’s not so quiet I notice every person who blinks, and not so noisy I can’t hear myself think.

If you could have lunch with any playwright alive or dead, who would it be and what would you have for lunch?
John Cariani- We’d have brunch for lunch- mimosas included.

Why do you write for theatre?
I enjoy writing for theatre because I feel you can explore characters more thoroughly. I also really enjoy writing dialogue, which lends itself well to playwriting. Not to mention there’s nothing like getting to be a part of something live 🙂

Who is your favorite fictional character of all time and why?
Eliza Thornberry. She was brave and adventurous and had a pet monkey who could talk.

Do you have any upcoming productions elsewhere that our readers should know about?
Not at the moment!

Please share the synopsis for a full-length of yours that our readers should know about!
It’s called Spooning, Piranhas, and Life with a Mother. The title is almost self-explanatory.

More about Rachel:

Rachel Hall is a writer from Houston, Texas. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband Grant where she pursues playwriting, children’s literature, and spoken word poetry. Rachel holds a BFA in Theatre Performance from Baylor University, and spent time at both the National Theatre Institute and the St. Petersburg Theatre Arts Academy.

Don’t miss Rachel’s play, July 14-16, at Acadiana Repertory Theatre’s production of this year’s ONSTAGE Festival: Curves Ahead.

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ONSTAGE Playwrights 2016: Meet Sharon Goldner

Little Black Dress INK is having a torrid love affair with Sharon Goldner’s work!  She’s been an ONSTAGE Playwright 3 years in a row, and each of her pieces has elicited squeals of laughter from our audiences.  Maybe its because she so hilariously gives voice to some of our most embarrassing inner critiques – and then assigns them to body parts like a boss!  Of course, Sharon writes about a lot of different subjects, but we’ve spent the last three years guffawing at overconfident sperm, a chatty vagina, and now a snarky pair of boobs…

What will this hilarious writer come up with next?  We’re hoping it’s a whole evening of talking body part plays…

Sharon GoldnerTitle of Play: 
Bazookas

Why did you decide to submit your work to the ONSTAGE Project? 
This is my third acceptance (in a row!) with LittleBlackDress INK. Tiffany Antone is my theatre goddess, and I must constantly submit to her. She really does answer playwright prayers.

Describe your writing space:
My writing space is everyplace and anywhere … I do the creation thing on paper & pen, and then, transcribe into the computer.

If you could have lunch with any playwright alive or dead, who would it be and what would you have for lunch?
Lunch with a playwright would have to be with every little kid who has ever written a play and gotten the neighborhood kids to put on the show. Somebody has to tell these theatre tykes how good they rock. As far as the meal, what do kids eat? Grilled cheese sandwiches and candy I guess, though if we are talking bubble gum, I can definitely stuff the most pieces in my mouth and blow the grandest bubble. Sorry kids. My name is Sharon & I am a gum addict.

Why do you write for theatre?
I write for theatre because of the collaborative effort that goes into a reading and/or a production. Directors, producers, stage managers, actors, crews, costume/scene designers all get to add their something special to the thing I started. It’s truly the coolest place to kick something off & watch grow bigger and better than your wildest expectations.

Who is your favorite fictional character of all time and why?
Charlie Bucket from Roald Dahl’s Charlie & the Chocolate Factory is my favorite fictional character of all time. This was the first time (age 8) I realized how magical the alphabet was.

Do you have any upcoming productions elsewhere that our readers should know about?
My play, Frank Talk, has been chosen by the Baltimore Playwright’s Festival for a July 2016 run at The Strand Theater Company. I am honored & thrilled.

Please share the synopsis for a full-length of yours that our readers should know about!
I’ll tell you about Frank Talk … Rumors of Anne Frank’s death have been highly exaggerated.

More about Sharon:

Sharon Goldner started out her life’s lunacy as a thumb sucker & pal to two of the greatest imaginary friends ever, KaKa & LeeLee.  When thumb sucking & imaginary friends were no longer cool, she switched  over to gum chewing and  short story writing, for which she is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, with over thirty stories published worldwide.  Segueing to playwriting, she’s had plays produced Off Broadway to Los Angeles and everywhere in-between.  Her plays have been published in collections and she’s won a bunch of awards, plus, a playwriting fellowship all the way in Canada, which proves that being an English major is not a totally useless thing.  This is Sharon’s third stint with the glorious Tiffany Antone and Little Black Dress INK, for which she is truly grateful.  Please note, no letters of the alphabet are ever harmed in any of Sharon’s writing.

You can follow Sharon on Twitter @SharGoldner

Don’t miss Sharon’s play, July 14-16, at Acadiana Repertory Theatre’s production of this year’s ONSTAGE Festival: Curves Ahead.

Curves Ahead -ART

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ONSTAGE Playwrights 2016: Meet Anne Flanagan

Every year I hope playwrights will submit short plays comprised of mini-scenes to our fest, so that I can sprinkle them throughout the final line-up.  I love the way they create anchor points for the audience to follow!  And this year, we received several – which made the job of winnowing down which we would produce and which we’d have to say goodbye to all the more difficult.  Anne Flanagan’s play, Thrown for a Curve, is one of two ONSTAGE plays that feature mini-scenes, and it’s absolutely hilarious!  I am so happy to get to know this playwright’s work this year, and I hope she continues to participate in our ONSTAGE fests because her voice is undeniably awesome!

Flanagan.Jan 2016Title of Play:
Thrown For A Curve

Why did you decide to submit your work to the ONSTAGE Project? 
I liked the idea of a ‘blind,’ peer reviewed selection process and I’m always in favor of efforts to support female writers.

Describe your writing space:
A bright, tranquil, art deco laden office/guest bedroom… that is unfortunately right next to a construction site.

If you could have lunch with any playwright alive or dead, who would it be and what would you have for lunch?
Tennessee Williams. BBQ & beignets.

If you could have lunch with any playwright alive or dead, who would it be and what would you have for lunch?
I started out an as actor, so it’s a natural fit.

Why do you write for theatre?
Alice in Wonderland. I love the word play, the surreal adventures, and her cranky, acerbic attitude.

Who is your favorite fictional character of all time and why?
My short Three Ghosts of Elizabeth Bathory is in AlphaNYC’s Thalia Festival this July and my full length Lineage will be in development with the Strange Sun Theatre (NYC) this Fall. I also have two pieces, Ava Maria and Declaration of Independence respectively, to be published in separate Smith & Kraus anthologies this August.

Please share the synopsis for a full-length of yours that our readers should know about!
In my comedy/farce Artifice, available via Dramatic Publishing, 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 NOT the same person, and rumors of Payne’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

More about Anne:

Los Angeles based playwright Anne Flanagan has seen her short and full length plays produced throughout the US and internationally.  She is the recipient of several writing awards and zero sports trophies.  Publications include her comedy Artifice (Dramatic Publishing) and various anthologies by Smith & Kraus and/or Applause Books.  For many years, Anne worked as a private investigator, so she knows where you live. Website: www.anneflanagan.net

Don’t miss Anne’s play, July 14-16, at Acadiana Repertory Theatre’s production of this year’s ONSTAGE Festival: Curves Ahead.

Curves Ahead -ART

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ONSTAGE Playwrights 2016: Meet Reina Hardy

I have a confession – I love a good monologue.  Much like my affinity for scenelet-driven pieces, monologues can fit nicely between pieces and move us to laughter or tears with a single voice.  Plus, I have an actor’s pedigree, so there’s a little extra love in my performance-starved soul for stellar singular stories.  We always have at least one monologue in the line-up, and this year it’s a piece titled Time Loop by Reina Hardy.

Reina’s 87-second monologue is fun, frenzied, and the only “sci-fi” play in the bunch.  I can’t wait to see it play on our stages, and I’m super excited to get such a fun taste of this playwright’s work!

Photo on 1-20-14 at 4.02 PM #3Title of Play: 
Time Loop

Why did you decide to submit your work to the ONSTAGE Project? 
I thought the peer review method sounded really interesting- plus I’m a compulsive submitter.

Describe your writing space:
Oh god, I wish I had one!

If you could have lunch with any playwright alive or dead, who would it be and what would you have for lunch?
I’m sure everyone is going to say this, but I’m going to have pizza with William Shakespeare, and I’m going to get him to tell me where he might have left any spare signed pieces of paper that I could sell for one million dollars. More plausibly, I’d like to have big salads and white wine with Theresa Rebeck, because she seems like she’d be willing to talk a lot of smack.

Why do you write for theatre?
First love. Also, I know that, no matter what, I can make theater happen if I need to. I can always put it together myself.

Who is your favorite fictional character of all time and why?
I don’t do “of all time,” but right now I’m still mourning Margaery Tyrell, my sex positive, smirking angel. Right now, I’m very into the idea of femme valor, deviousness in the service of righteousness, and just in general the mean girl with a heart of gold, and she really brought all of that.

Do you have any upcoming productions elsewhere that our readers should know about?
Right now, I have two pieces in Monologues for Nobody at the Toronto Fringe
(ends on the 10th)

On 7/24, I have a reading of The Puppet Show with Pipeline Theater’s Bonfire Series 2016

And my next full production, this September in Austin TX, is an aerials space opera/ sex comedy with the circus company Sky Candy: Agent Andromeda: The Orion Crusade

More about Reina:

Reina Hardy is a playwright from Chicago. Her plays, which usually contain magic and sometimes contain science, have been seen across the country, including at Rorschach Theatre in DC, the Vortex in Austin, and the 2013 NNPN National New Play Showcase. She’s a Michener Fellow, winner of the 2014 KCACTF TYA Prize, finalist for the Terrence McNally Prize and the recipient of an Interact 20/20 Commission. Up next: Fanatical the Musical in England with the Stable, and Agent Andromeda and the Orion Crusade with Sky Candy in Austin, TX.  You can read more about Reina at reinahardy.com  You can also follow here on Twitter @reinahardy

Don’t miss Sharon’s play, July 14-16, at Acadiana Repertory Theatre’s production of this year’s ONSTAGE Festival: Curves Ahead.

Curves Ahead -ART

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