We’re Not Playing: A poem, an update, and a few more plays…

were-not-playing-headerWelcome to 2017, everybody!  We hope that your holiday season provided you a merry respite from the political distress many of us have been feeling.  It’s January, and that means Inauguration Day, which means artists participating in our We’re Not Playing Initiative are gearing up to ruffle their creative feathers.

Readings are scheduled for Los Angeles, CA; Prescott, AZ; Sedona, AZ; Bainbridge Island, WA; and Galesburg, IL, with a few more still negotiating space/locations (proving it’s not too late to join the Initiative for those of you just now hearing about us!)

In addition to our event there are other artists and arts organizations rallying to show solidarity in the face of an incoming administration deep into divisive and destructive policy: WriteOurDemocracy (Multiple locations, January 15th), The Ghostlight Project (Multiple locations, January 19th) Both of these notable events are nationwide and may be taking place in your area, so check their websites for more info if you’re interested!

Meanwhile, we’re going to wrap up our play-shares with two final piece by Allie Costa (the girl has a voice!) and a poem by Arizona artist, Martha Entin.

If you have a We’re Not Playing reading slated for your community and haven’t yet reached out to tell us, please do!  We’ll help promote your event and cheer you on from afar.  Thanks again to all of our fabulous playwrights who shared such powerful plays with us these past few months, and to our readers/fans/co-creators who continue to support this Initiative!

Here are 2 more powerful plays by Allie Costa

And a beautiful creative close from poet, Martha Entin:

MARTHA ENTIN, poet, teacher, artist, playwright, loves collaborative creation. She has read poetry at Poets‘ Corner, Sedona Art Center and Pump House Prose and Poetry events, and teaches a creative writing class, “Writing Our Way to Happiness” at OLLI. She has co-written plays for 24-Hour Theatre, and had her play “Soul Tattoo” performed in August 2016 with the fabulous cast Nichole Garrison, Linda Damita and Mike Cosentino.

“Writing is a vehicle for freeing our voice to soar on wings of creativity. I write to discover what lies beneath the surface; to bring beauty and transcendence to the ordinary.”

You can read more plays from the Initiative HERE.

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We’re Not Playing: three more (awesome) plays by Allie Costa

Not PlayingRemember how I told you all about how Allie Costa sent us too many awesome plays to choose from?  And that I was just going to share them all because they were each so powerful and fantastic?  Well, here’s the final installment.  We seriously can’t believe how wonderful each play of hers is!  And if you missed the first three, don’t despair – you can find them HERE.

(And don’t forget to check out all the other fabulous plays in our We’re Not Playing Initiative!)

A few words from Allie:

allie_costa_pink8I am passionate about gender equality, justice, diversity, identity, and autonomy, and I aim to shine the light on these topics in a creative, compassionate, and constructive way. I hope my work encourages people to embrace their potential, and to find strength and hope. I also hope it helps them see to the heart of the matter, and to start a conversation that makes for a more positive and inclusive world, both on stage/on screen and off.

 

You can read more from Allie HERE.

Find out more about the We’re Not Playing Initiative (and how YOU can get involved) HERE.

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We’re Not Playing: a new play by Micki Shelton

Not PlayingWhen I first moved home to Prescott (after an 11 year Los Angeles sojourn) I was unsure how I was going to find a new creative circle.  Sure, there were many talented artists in Prescott, but were any of them playwrights?  And, if so, how would I find them?  After living so long in LA where I had constant contact with other crazy theatre & film addicts like myself, I had no idea how I would adapt to a more laid-back artist community.  Well, it didn’t take long for me to learn that not only was Prescott full of passionate and dedicated theatre artists, but that there were a few wild and wily playwrights living here as well.  Micki Shelton is one such Prescott playwright, and let me tell you, she’s got her creative ducks in a row!

When Micki first found out about the We’re Not Playing Initiative, she sent me a very appreciative email and expressed interest in writing something.  When she sent me this play, I could see how very deeply our current election had effected her – so it was no surprise that on top of contributing a play, she has committed to producing a reading of plays from the Initiative in Prescott on Inauguration Day.

Awesome!

So if you’re in the Quad-City area, get ready for a really fantastic and powerful afternoon/evening of new play readings from the We’re Not Playing Initiative (they’re having two readings – details to come).  And in the mean time, check out Micki’s play, FIX IT.

More about FIX IT by Micki Shelton:

15byallan-copy1In one way or another, I’ve been an activist for peace and justice certainly since the birth of my son 35 years ago, possibly since I staged my own protest for what I considered an injustice when I was in eighth grade.

One morning before the 2017 election, I awoke with the bones of this piece in mind. Coffee in hand, still in pajamas, taking my laptop to bed while making it clear to my sweetheart that I needed uninterrupted writing before the piece left my heart, I wrote the first draft of Fix It in 90 minutes. After the election, much of it had to change. The inciting incident, however, did not change. What had happened in my own extended family and my inability to fix it led me to question, “If I can’t even fix this, what hope is there to fix bigger problems?”—much bigger problems, that mushroomed after the election. Here is what came out. How relevant this play will be after January 20, 2017, I don’t know. But the bones are still there. The specifics will change. My question remains.

You can read more plays in the We’re Not Playing Initiative HERE.

You can read more about Micki HERE.

 

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We’re Not Playing: Three new plays by Allie Costa

Not PlayingWell, what can I say?  Sometimes a playwright whom you admire sends you a handful of plays because she writes about current social/political/economic issues all the time and your brain kind of stops in stunned silence at the power of all of her pieces.  What’s left to do but share them ALL?  Because Allie Costa is talented enough to make each of these plays feel necessary and awesome at the same time.  Thank you, Allie, for sharing your words with us – I can’t wait to hear these babies aloud (and I’d love to SEE them as well!)

Because Allie wrote on so many subjects (I’m going to post a few more next week!) I asked her to tell us a little about why she focuses on important and complex social issues – obviously they’re important to her, but I have to admit to writing about issues sometimes, and then writing about existentialist chickens the next, so I can’t take credit for the same kind of work.  Do yourself a favor and read Allie’s beautiful works – you won’t regret it! – then check out the other plays in our We’re Not Playing Initiative.

A few words from Allie:

allie_costa_pink8I am passionate about gender equality, justice, diversity, identity, and autonomy, and I aim to shine the light on these topics in a creative, compassionate, and constructive way. I hope my work encourages people to embrace their potential, and to find strength and hope. I also hope it helps them see to the heart of the matter, and to start a conversation that makes for a more positive and inclusive world, both on stage/on screen and off.

 

You can read more from Allie HERE.

Find out more about the We’re Not Playing Initiative HERE.

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We’re Not Playing: a new play by Kate Hawkes

Not PlayingKate Hawkes has participated in all 5 of our ONSTAGE festivals either as a playwright, director, actress, or producer, so she’s kind of one of our favorite people ever!  She’s just an absolute force of creative energy with a kick ass growing theatre company of her own in Sedona, AZ – Red Earth Theatre.  Two weeks ago, she sent me her play, PEBBLES TO BUTTERFLIES, and it took my breath away.  The play focuses on the futility of language – particularly when engulfed in so many feeelings as to feel exhausted just from naming them.  It’s truly a lovely play about an important issue many of us are facing – how do we process all that is weighing us down during such a trying time?

A few words on PEBBLES TO BUTTERFLIES from Kate:

bigkate(1)‘Pebbles to Butterflies’ is really (I think) a scene in a full length play that has been rattling about in my head. I had spent some time researching butterflies in myth and legend and found themes of new life, transformation and souls. I have also been thinking about the danger? temptation? to return the energy coming at us, use language about the ‘other’ than in fact makes us the ‘other’.  Plus I have a friend who is mired in his feelings of fear, grief and anger and hopes to find a way out soon. So, I gave him a butterfly.

You can read more about Kate at www.WellnessWithKate.com

Read more plays in the We’re Not Playing Initiative HERE.

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We’re Not Playing: a new play by C.J. Ehrlich

Not PlayingC.J. Ehrlich wowed last year’s ONSTAGE playwrights and audiences with her hilariously sweet play, THE LILAC TICKET.  It sailed through the peer review process with incredible scores, and then touched our audiences’ hearts in a way that was really wonderful.  So when she said “Hey, I wrote this piece in reaction to the election…” I got really excited – and then I read it and was like “Whoa, C.J. is totally my kind of ornery!” 

The play is out there in the best possible way – because in absurd but tragic situations (like the one our country is now in), absurd theatre can drive points home in a way that is at once entertaining and galvanizing.  Check out C.J.’s play below and I think you’ll agree that this is a piece worth seeing on its feet (so why not join us in taking theatrical action?  Check out how you can participate HERE)

C.J. on her play, COUNTING VOTES WITH PHILLIP GLASS

CJ ELike many, I was stunned when a bully, of such low character, so transparently self-serving, was somehow able to lie his way into winning a national election. I still can’t accept that this shell of a man may have the power to essentially strip our country naked and tie it to a wild horse. (But let me tell you how I really feel.) Prior to the election I’d attended an EMT training on Radiation Emergencies. Then I heard some Philip Glass. The rest wrote itself.

 

Check out our 2016 interview with C.J. HERE.

You can read more plays from the We’re Not Playing Initiative (and join the fight!) HERE.

 

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We’re Not Playing: a new play by Beth Kander-Dauphin

Not PlayingI had the joy of directing Beth Kander-Dauphin’s play, EPHEMERA, in our 2015 ONSTAGE Festival.  I loved the play’s characters, the underlying meaning in their conversation, and the way the audience reacted to the play’s final image.  Beth also recently had an ADORABLE baby girl, so she’s been busy with parenting duties, but I was thrilled when she sent me a one-minute play to share with the We’re Not Playing Initiative.  One-minute plays are funny creatures.  On the one hand, they’re so brief that they leave you feeling a bit stunned.  On the other, their brutal economy forces the writer to do away with artifice and just get to the heart of the heart of the story!  I think Beth’s play speaks for itself, and it left me with questions about my own complacency in the ineffectiveness of social media activism.

More about ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER from the playwright, Beth Kander-Dauphin

Beth KanderI originally wrote this play for the 2016 One Minute Play Festival (1MPF) in Chicago. I have written one minute plays a handful of other times, and usually aim for comedy; if I only have my audience for 60 seconds, I want to leave them smiling. But this time I aimed elsewhere. There is a glimmer of humor, but this a serious statement about how our daily distractions enable horrific things to happen in our own backyard. When no one is looking – and no one is talking – bad things happen, especially to women and marginalized populations. So hopefully these 60 seconds, instead of leaving an audience smiling, will leave them startled into paying more attention.

Check out our 2015 interview with Beth Kander-Dauphin  HERE.

Check out more plays from the We’re Not Playing Initiative HERE.

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We’re Not Playing: a new play by Raegan Payne

Not PlayingSo, some very cool things are happening with this initiative:  More playwrights are sending me work to share, and several theatre artists/theatre companies are organizing readings in theatrical protest.  We are SO excited to be facilitating this opportunity for artists to make their objections to Trump’s impending inauguration known!   We may not be able to stop the train from going off the rails, but we can join forces, speak up, and hopefully take positive action towards bolstering the institutions we believe will be very busy fighting reckless policy changes under the incoming president: The ACLU, NRDC, and Planned Parenthood (these are just a few of the terrific organizations that will be working hard to protect our civil liberties, planet, and reproductive health).

With that, I’d like to introduce you all to our first non-ONSTAGE playwright, Raegan Payne – although after reading her play, Appropriate, I seriously hope she participates in this year’s ONSTAGE Fest, because I absolutely love her writing!

Appropriate speaks to the ludicrous policing of young women’s bodies by school administrations who seem to believe it’s okay to perpetuate the myth that it’s a girl’s/woman’s fault if a boy/man thinks naughty thoughts/assaults her.  The school may think it’s shaming young girls for “inappropriate” dress in order to keep her safe, but really they’re just enforcing dangerous messaging to both girls and boys that women are objects and men guileless users of said feminine objects.  It makes my blood boil, and apparently it makes Raegan’s blood boil too.  Check out her play below, and then find out how you can get involved in the We’re Not Playing Initiative!

A few words about Appropriate from playwright Raegan Payne:

lhj-headshotI wrote Appropriate after reading about the Lord Grey School dress code incident in England where 70 girls were sent home for inappropriate attire in one day.  No boys were sent home. Dress codes in schools often promote sexism by reinforcing the idea that women are responsible for a man’s behavior and that a woman’s body is shameful.  The dress codes are unduly harsh and restrictive of girls, which impedes their ability to learn. I had read one too many disturbing and harmful dress code cases, so I put pen to paper.

More about Raegan:

Raegan is an award-winning, published playwright, who is happy to say her work is regularly produced around the US. This year, the Theatre Republic in Lagos, Nigeria will perform a series of her plays entitled “A Season of Payne.” Her scripts are sold in the US and UK.

Read more plays in the We’re Not Playing Initiative HERE.

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We’re Not Playing: a new play by Amber Bosworth

Not PlayingAmber is a relatively new playwright, but only because she didn’t know there was a wordsmith within her actor self just dying to escape!  I am SO happy that she’s decided to let her words out – first with our 2016 ONSTAGE Fest, and now with a short play for We’re Not Playing.  When she contacted me with the play, she included the note:

“When I first heard about (We’re Not Playing), I wanted to write this piece but I got sidetracked.  After the results of the election, I was motivated to finally write the piece I wanted.  I will not be silent anymore.”

I almost stood up and cheered! 

Then I read Amber’s beautifully conceived (and written) play and wept.  Maybe it’s because I am a new mother, but the play – which addresses the inherent power of children to see the good in everything – left me gasping for air.  I know I won’t be the only one.  This election has done a lot of damage to how many of us see the world.  As we head into the Thanksgiving weekend, I find myself thankful that there are still so many people working for good, and for playwrights like Amber who are creating art which aims to help us see humanity clearer in the hopes that we may be better humans ourselves.

Amber Bosworth on her play, UNDER THE INFLUENCE

Amber BosworthNo one is born to hate.  We all come into this world as a blank canvas.  Family, friends, media and experiences shape the way we see the world.  This piece speaks to the complete lack of letting anyone see what they want to see.  Everyone is so quick to offer their own opinion without acknowledging that someone else is allowed to have their own.  The little girl, Emily, is all of us.  We were all innocent at one time and were influenced by the people and media in our lives to see something different than what we want.  I think we have all been influenced in some way no matter how small.  My hope is that we can recognize when this is happening and still keep our own vision.

More about Amber:

Amber Bosworth has been committed to theater since she was a kid. She served five years in the US Navy as an Air Traffic Controller to help pay for college. She now works for Lockheed Martin Flight Service and spends most of her free time writing and acting on any stage that will have her. She has been involved with Seatbelts Required, Harvey, Dead Mans Cell Phone, and Educating Rita.  Her first love has always been writing.  After twenty years of following the sensible path, Amber has finally started to follow her dream as a writer.  She is getting her Masters in Creative Writing from Full Sail University.  Amber is excited and humbled to be apart of Little Black Dress INK.

You can read our 2016 ONSTAGE interview with Amber HERE.

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We’re Not Playing: a play by Cecilia Copeland

Not PlayingCecilia Copeland and I have never met, but I’ve been Facebook admiring her for years.  The woman is a force!  Not only is she a powerful writer, but she’s also an incredible theatre maker – this woman gets shit done!  So when I reached out to her to see if she’d be interested in participating in We’re Not Playing, I was absolutely thrilled that she said “Yes.” 

The play she sent, YES THIS SHIT AGAIN, is (unfortunately) incredibly relevant – I felt like letting out a mighty yawp at the end of the piece (and I imagine in performance, I’d be unable to contain myself and would be cheering on the piece like a maniac).  I hope the real world awesome female politicians currently working in DC to protect our reproductive rights know that we are collectively applauding their every effort to stem the tide of misogyny advancing on capitol hill.

A few words from Cecilia about YES THIS SHIT AGAIN.

cecilia-copeland-headshot-by-jody-christophersonMy frustration with having to deal with issues that have been solved in the past, voted on by the Supreme Court, and are now in jeopardy led me to writing “Yes This Shit Again.” The idea for the piece, in the moment I had it, was immediately followed by a need to apologize for writing about abortion rights. I’m tired of having to apologize for writing about women’s issues, as if women’s issues aren’t universal. We are over fifty percent of the population and any governmental infringement upon being in full autonomous command of our own bodies using all of the medicine and science available to our society is an epic humanitarian travesty. It is a cruel subjugation of our rights. The piece I wrote came from a place of shock and horror that our rights are being threatened yet again when at this point in our social evolution towards equality a woman’s right to choose should be enshrined in stone.

More about Cecilia:

Cecilia Copeland is a member of NYWIFT New York Women in Film and TV, the League of Professional Theatre Women, an inductee into the Indie Theater Hall of Fame, recipient of the Lennis J. Holm Scholarship at the Writers Workshop and a Special Effects Grant from Metro Screen Australia, winner Best New TV Pilot for WOMG at Boom! Productions. She is a Kilroy’s List Nominee and Honorable mention for her plays, Light of Night and “R Culture.” Copeland is the Founding Artistic Director of New York Madness, producing over two hundred short plays in over thirty “madness” festivals all over New York from 2010-2016.

Her plays have been presented in New York at Daryl Roth’s DR2, the Cherry Lane Theatre, Culture Project, Ensemble Studios Theatre, The Lower East Side Festival of the Arts, and HERE Arts Center among others.

Regionally her works have been presented at The William Inge Center, Carnegie Mellon University, UT Dallas, Bishop Arts Theatre Center, Cara Mia Theatre, Philadelphia Theatre Company Susanne Robert’s Theatre, University of Iowa and Ohio University.

Internationally her works have been presented at Theatre Royal Stratford East London, Finborough Theatre London, The Anarchist Theatre Festival Montreal, Gun Control Plays Project in Sydney Australia, and featured in the Verlag Textbook on American Drama in Germany. She has been published by the Playwrights Center for Women Writers, NoPassport Press and Amazon.

 

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