Well, after something like ten years of submitting ten-minute plays to Actors Theatre of Louisville, I am finally a finalist! (I’m glad I didn’t give up.) It’s exciting being a finalist, but it doesn’t really mean anything. Just keep writing. And submitting. And put it out of my mind.
The letter says they will announce the winner in January 2012 and that they will consider all finalist scripts for inclusion in their annual winter production of ten-minute plays as well as the Humana Festival of New American Plays in March of 2012. (That would so amazing! But trying to put it out of my mind so as not to obsess.)
The play that is named a finalist is Edward Cullen Ruined My Mother’s Love Life. I really love this play so I’m especially happy that this is the one that cracked the Heideman nut.
Submissions are open for the 2012 Award so it’s time to submit again. I just need to decide which play to send. And I need to send it fast because they have changed their submissions and are only accepting the first 500.
I am so happy to be a part of this exciting project.
A description of the event from ABT’s site:
RIPPED is based on the 1930’s WPA era program that brought Orson Welles, Arthur Miller and Clifford Odets into public attention. We incorporate scripts from the original 1930s LIVING NEWSPAPER juxtaposed with new material ripped from today’s headlines. Like the original productions, the artists incorporate vaudeville, traditional scenes, music, dance, visual arts, and with the addition of electronic media as well. This reading series cultivates new material and allows audiences to discuss topical issues together. We are developing material for a production series in September 2011.
My plays selected for the sixth edition of RIPPED are An Average Mandirected by Heather Meyers and MELT directed by Kate Buddeke.
And full details for anyone who wants to attend:
AMERICAN BLUES THEATER COMPANY PRESENTS
RIPPED: The Living Newspaper Project
on Monday, July 18
at the Joffrey Ballet Tower–10 E. Randolph St., Studio B, 7pm
Suggested $10 donation.
In addition, we’re collecting school supplies, office supplies, and computer equipment for Chicago Public Schools (CPS).
Bring some new notebooks and pencils. Thank you for making a difference!
THE HUFFINGTON POST CALLS HOLLYWOOD HILLS A “FAVORITE”!
Jun 16, 2011
I’ve been trying to live vicariously through everyone involved in The Car Plays this year since I can’t be there in person. Since I can’t be Skyped in to the performances (too bad) I have been settling for looking at everyone’s pictures from the event.
However, I haven’t been able to get my hands on a picture of my play Hollywood Hills – directed by Zeke Rettman and starring Jenn Swirtz and T. Lynn Mikeska.
Perhaps it had something to do with last night’s full moon, but somehow Wyatt Closs of The Huffington Post heard my plea. Not only did he call Hollywood Hills a “favorite” (!!) he also included this A-MAZING photo from last night in his story about The Car Plays.
Hipsters by Jason Duplissea was Wyatt’s other favorite.
This is the kind of press I love!
My only complaint? The playwrights were not credited in the piece. Ugh. Is it just me or does that happen a lot? I guess we’ll just have to credit the playwrights here and now. (again… for good measure.)
As you know, Hollywood Hills was written by me (Stephanie Alison Walker) and Hipsters was written by Jason Duplissea who is a Moving Arts company member. Hipsters is directed by Miles Feld and stars Terrence Colby Clemons & Melanie Minichino.
Hello, HuffPo writer Wyatt Closs. I’m so glad you liked my play! And thanks for fulfilling my wish to see a production pic… and an awesome one at that!
Producers: Paul Stein, Steve Lozier, Kim Glann, Cece Tio Assistant Producer: Lem Thornton Stage Managers: Cirby Hatano, Bradley McCoy, Dylan Gardner Carhops: Terence Anthony, Kiff Scholl Walking Tour Guide: Rebecca Davis Runner: Tara Thomas Dressing Room: Donna Peacher-Hall
Disneyland by Paul Stein Director: Dana Schwartz Starring: Madelynn Fattibene
Flooding by Jami Brandli Director: Kiff Scholl Starring: Peter James Smith & John Copeland
Cruising Con La Virgen by Joe Luis Cedillio Director: Dino Dinco Starring: Edward E Cohen & Abel Soto
Am I Losin’ by Ron Klier Director: Ross Kramer Starring: Derrick LeMont* & Andrew Miller
The Love of Make-Believe by JJ Strong Director: Kiff Scholl Starring: Laura Buckles^ & Donald Rizzo
Drop-Off Day by EM Lewis^ Director: Michael Shutt^ Starring: VyVy Nguyen & Porter Kelly
Sunday in the Hood by Terence Anthony^ Director: Jason Duplissea^ Starring: Larry Powell*, Jenny Gillett^ & Jason Duplissea^
Prom: Time Out by Meghan Gambling Director: Jenifer Yeuroukis* Starring: Sarah Greyson & Katie Malia
The Audience by Kiff Scholl Director: Matt Bretz Starring: Kim Ward & Casey Nelson
Abraham & Isaac by Allain Rochel Director: Nataki Garrett Starring: Alex Morris & Edward Rowley
We Wait by Steve Lozier^ Director: Armina LaManna* Starring: Corey Klemow* & Herb Hall*
Hipsters by Jason Duplissea^ Director: Miles Feld Starring: Terrence Colby Clemons & Melanie Minichino
Dragon Compact by Cindy Marie Jenkins Director: Kelly Lohman Starring: Amanda Troop* & Richard Miraan
Tommy Got His Gun by Sara Israel Director: Reena Dutt Starring: Wilson Bethel & Grace Eboigbe
Hollywood Hills by Stephanie Alison Walker Director: Zeke Rettman Starring: Jenn Swirtz & T. Lynn Mikeska
Producers: Paul Stein, Steve Lozier, Kim Glann, Cece Tio Assistant Producer: Lem Thornton Stage Managers: Cirby Hatano, Bradley McCoy, Vesna Hocevar Carhops: Michael David, Kiff Scholl, JJ Strong, Sandra Vahtel Volunteers: Jackie Moses Walking Tour Guide: Rebecca Davis Check-In: Julie Briggs
Before We Go Home by Richard Martin Hirsch Director: Darin Anthony Starring: Michael Shutt^ & D.J. Harner*
Todd’s Hollywood Tours by Trey Nichols^ Director: Julie Briggs Starring: Brent Popolizio & Mary Beth Pape*
Choke Chain by Jennifer Maisel Director: Sara Wagner^ Assistant Director: Terence Anthony^ Starring: Lauri Hendler & Tammy Klein
Chasm by Lee Wochner^ Director: Patrick Varon Starring: Nick Cernoch* & Jennie Kwan*
Two Fellas, One Fella by Paul Stein Director: Michael David Starring: Jon Amirkhan^ & Dan Wingard*
Custody by Morgan Krantz^ Director: Steve Lozier^ Starring: Tony DeCarlo & Sean Eaton
Shampooed by Fielding Edlow Director: Ron Klier Starring: Jennifer Christopher* & Kieren van den Blink
Bunker Hill by Michael David Director: Paul Stein Assistant Dir: Jonathan Josephson Starring: Jack Sundmacher*, Rick Kent, Tania Getty
The Audience by Kiff Scholl Director: Matt Bretz Starring: David Youse* & Ron Morehouse
Warriors by Will Hackner Director: Vesna Hocevar^ Starring: Morgan Krantz^ & Darren Capozzi
Disneyland by Paul Stein Director: Dana Schwartz Starring: Trey Nichols^
The P.T.A. by Dana Schwartz Director: Julie Briggs Starring: Evie Hammer^ & Krista Conti
What Happened to Us by Bryan Davidson Director: Aaron Henne Starring: Paul Vroom & Maya Parish
Waiting for the Tow by Herman Poppe* Director: Kimberley Browning Starring: Lauren Letherer & David Lee Garver*
The Love of Make-Believe by JJ Strong Director: Kiff Scholl Starring: McCready Baker* & David Bertolami
THE CAR PLAYS TRAILER
Jun 9, 2011
Because it’s so hard to explain how the car plays works, here’s a video that will show you exactly give you an idea of how it all happens…
To experience it fully, you’ve got to be there in person. If you’ve been before, please share your experience in the comments below. Thanks!
THE CAR PLAYS AND RADAR L.A.
Jun 8, 2011
I’m sitting in a theater on Santa Monica Blvd. with a bunch of people I’ve never met before. I’m nervous. And a bit intimidated. Why? Because I will be hearing my new short car play read aloud in front of this room full of artists. Actors. Directors. Playwrights. Will it read well? Will they like it? Will they like me?
I was invited to be here by Lee Wochner– playwright and facilitator of my Saturday playwriting workshop. His theater company, he tells us one Saturday, is doing this thing called The Car Plays. Plays in actual cars. He suggest we try our hand at writing one.
WRITING A CAR PLAY
The play had to be set IN a car. The car had to be central to the play. Without a car, the play could not exist. The play couldn’t conceivably take place anywhere else. These were the rules. The car couldn’t start. The audience had to be IN the car with the actors, but the actors couldn’t touch the audience. Again, no touching the audience.
We were encouraged by Paul Stein- then Artistic Director of Moving Arts- to think about the range of experiences that happen in cars. Especially in Los Angeles.
So here we are in this theater… the intimidation quickly melts away leaving the truest form of collaboration imaginable. We playwrights hand our plays over to actors and they read them cold. After each read Paul asks, “Is this a car play?” And we say why it is or why it isn’t. We get feedback. We give feedback. We laugh. A lot. We play. We go back and rewrite. It’s bliss.
PLAYS IN CARS ON HOLLYWOOD BLVD.
A parking lot on Hollywood Blvd. Four rows of five cars. At least I think there were four rows that first time around. The audience buys a ticket to a ROW. They are guided to their row by car hops.
I am one of those car hops. I tell the audience that each person will have a partner. There will be two audience members per car. In one car you might be in the front and another in the back. Depends on the car. And, audience members are not allowed to open or close the doors. That’s my job. Got it? Car hops will close and open the doors for you. The door opening and/or closing, you see, is a cue to the actors.
Confused yet? Imagine having to explain this to Actors Equity.
Each car is a different play. Each one is ten minutes. Once the audience is loaded into each car and all of the doors are closed, the plays begin. Noises emerge from the cars. Screams. Laughter. Dialogue. Actors get in and out. Props are thrown onto roofs of cars. We carhops watch the parking lot filled with cars with 15 different plays happening simultaneously.
We watch Paul Stein to give us our cue that the ten-minutes is up. Once the ten minutes pass, we begin opening doors whether or not the play is finished. The logistical nightmare of The Car Plays requires this ten-minute rule to work.
The play is done when the ten-minutes is up. Period.
My favorite part of car hopping was opening the doors to let the audience out. The look on their faces. Would it be exhilaration? Relief? Horror? Happiness? Each car was different. And each audience member had their own reaction.
Part of Paul’s job was to choose the perfect balance of plays ranging from drama to comedy to the utter bizarre and confrontational. Each row had a mix of everything. Some were interactive, most were voyeuristic.
Would the audiences like it? Would they come?
Well, come they did. In droves. With only two seats available per play, they sold out so fast.
Did I mention that the actors had to perform their play a total of fifteen times per night?
MY THREE CAR PLAYS
I ended up having three car plays produced throughout Moving Arts’ various productions of The Car Plays.
Back Roads is about an elderly woman and her daughter stranded on a deserted stretch of road without a cell phone. It was directed by Herman Poppe and starred Helen Slayton Hughes and Mary Beth Pape. Back Roads went up in the first and second installments of The Car Plays.
It’s Not About the Car is about a man who gives his wife a car for her birthday, but all she really wants is a divorce. That one was directed by Lee Wochner and starred Joe Ochman and Liz Harris. It went up in the second and third installments and is worth noting that in the 2009 production Liz broke her arm right before and still performed brilliantly. With a broken arm in a sling!
Hollywood Hills is my dark comedy about two Hollywood starlets in the making drunk, high and lost in the Hollywood Hills on the way to an after-party. It was first directed by Paul Stein and starred Kathi Chandler and Jennifer Kingsley and went on to be published by Smith & Kraus.
PRODUCING THE CAR PLAYS
Imagine being a producer of this event. For just a second. As I said, just imagine having to explain to Equity what it is you want to do. You want to put the audience in a car with the actors and have the actors perform the play fifteen times, FIFTEEN TIMES in a row. And having them agree.
This is where I bow down to Paul Stein, Michael Shutt, Ronnie Clark, Christel Johnson and Lisa Marschall… the original producers of The Car Plays. They were the ones who had to figure all of this out. How to explain to audiences what they’d be seeing. How to arrange for all of the cars. How to time fifteen plays to start and stop at the exact same moment. And a million small details I’m overlooking, forgetting or just never knew about.
I became a producer of The Car Plays when I was the interim Managing Director of Moving Arts. So I have an idea of how difficult this show is to produce. But I was lucky because I was producing with the original producers and didn’t have to figure any of this out. They’d already done the hard work.
People would ask why Moving Arts didn’t produce it more often seeing how popular it was. Well, because it’s just not that easy to do.
Terence Anthony can attest to that. He was the artistic producer of The Car Plays in 2009 when they were done in Burbank with Steve Lozier as Managing Director of Moving Arts and Cece Tio as a producer. Am I missing anyone on that one? I might be. That one happened right as my husband and I were moving out of L.A. so I wasn’t as involved in that one. I did get to see it, though.
PLAYS IN CARS IN DOWNTOWN L.A.
The Car Plays are back! And Paul Stein returns as Artistic Producer of The Car Plays with Kim Glann, Steve Lozier and Cece Tio. Moving Arts was asked to bring The Car Plays to the upcoming RADAR L.A. Festival downtown Los Angeles. And yes, they are already sold out.
The theme of this production of The Car Plays is L.A. Stories. So it’s appropriate that my play Hollywood Hills is a part of it.
This time Hollywood Hills is being directed by Zeke Rettman and is starring Jenn Swirtz & Lynn Mikeska.
I’m immensely proud to be a part of The Car Plays once more. I only wish I could be there to car hop again.
If you want to check it out but didn’t snag a ticket, you could always offer to volunteer as a car hop.
You get to see a unique perspective that way.
Brave audience members get into cars. Doors slam shut. A beat of silence. Then… theater.
THE CAR PLAYS: L.A. STORIES
“This unique melding of site-specific theater and freeway crawl should be hailed as a local treasure… the production’s voyeuristic appeal is undeniable.” —LA Weekly
Responding to the vast landscape of Los Angeles, Moving Arts presents a series of intimate ten-minute plays in which audiences of two move from vehicle to vehicle, experiencing works by different playwrights in a dramatic setting familiar to all Angelenos—the car. After being ushered to a rear seat, the car doors close and the drama unfolds as people in the car break up, make up, make out or even deal with a dead body or two, just inches away. Ten minutes later, the doors open, a seat in a new car awaits, and a fresh story begins. In the course of about one hour, five evocative L.A. stories are revealed.
Conceived by Paul Stein
Produced by Paul Stein, Steve Lozier, Kim Glann and Cece Tio
The Car Plays were conceived by former Moving Arts artistic director, Paul Stein. Moving Arts had recently lost their theater space downtown L.A. Paul grabbed the moment to try something he’d been thinking about for a long time. Paul talks about the inception of The Car Plays in his first person article “RADAR L.A.: The Car Plays: L.A. Stories for Moving Arts” in L.A. Stage Times.
WAFFLES: A NEW SHORT FILM
Apr 20, 2011
I’m proud to be a part of a talented group of playwrights called LIZARD CLAW PLAYWRIGHTS. Here’s a bit about the Claw:
LIZARD CLAW is a band of scaly playwrights who issue absurdly difficult playwriting challenges to each other on a regular basis, then submit and evaluate their entries anonymously. The plays that emerge are theatrical, inventive, and provocative. These tough-skinned playwrights, many of whom met at the Kennedy Center in 2007, are hatching plays in cities all across the country, including Minneapolis, Boston, NY, Baltimore, Portland, Los Angeles, New Haven, and Washington, DC.
Our most recent challenge was put forth by the lovely and talented Kate Tarker (who happens to be on her way to study with Paula Vogel next fall at Yale). The challenge was to write a screenplay in three pages with two characters. That’s it.
Kate then worked her magic and produced and directed each script submitted.
AMERICAN HOME / AMERICAN BLUES
Mar 11, 2011
My full-length play about the foreclosure crisis, AMERICAN HOME, was named the winner of American Blues Theater’s first annual Blue InkCompetition.
I’m thrilled! This is a wonderful company and it’s such a warm welcome back to Chicago.
Part of the prize is a staged reading by American Blues Theater. Details to come.
I’m so excited that my new ten-minute play Edward Cullen Ruined My Mother’s Love Lifewill be a part of the 10-Minute Workshop at Chicago Dramatists in October. We just moved back to Chicago and I’m grateful to Chicago Dramatists for making me feel like a playwright again. Don’t get me wrong, I love feeling like a mom. Best feeling in the world. But being a mom doesn’t mean I stop being a playwright. I’ve just been trying to figure out that balance lately.
I’m a member of a really cool group of playwrights called Lizard Claw Playwrights. On a somewhat not so regular basis we issue insanely difficult playwriting challenges to each other. This play – Edward Cullen Ruined My Mother’s Love Life – was a response to one of the Lizard Claw challenges. This will be the first time the play will be read aloud.