Friday, October 31, 2008

NAPLWRIMO: 30 Days to a New Play

Write a play this month!

Eat turkey and pie and drink coffee and stay up late and pull your hair out and have fun and meet new people and talk about writing and wright.

Write a play - you know, a theater show.

Sign up here. Or tell your playwrighting buds and encourage them to join us.

I Didn't Vote

Flash forward if you will to Wednesday, November 5.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dave Eggers: Once Upon A School

Check out Dave Eggers inspiring new site.

Here's Eggers' 2008 Ted Talk. I know it's been around already, but it's so inspirational it bears another listen.

What You Can Do for Theater Today

Send Ms. M's second grade class in Chicago to their first live theater performance. Donations are through Donors Choose. Check it out here. A contribution for any amount can make a huge difference. And be sure to tell your friends and/or publish a link to it on your blog.

This link takes you to information about Harry the Dirty Dog (I think this production is the one referred to in the proposal).

Thank you!

Monday, October 20, 2008

When Research Goes Badly

My skin crawled for hours.

I don't know why, but it still amazes me that when I think I've come up with something that doesn't exist in this world, it invariably turns out I'm wrong. I suppose it's the case of - if you're thinking it, you're already behind the curve - at least as far as the natural world goes. There are times when play research or wrighting has been ahead of the curve too - like by a couple of days or several months and those instances are perhaps more disturbing.

At any rate: this time I thought - it's just not medically possible. Wrong. Last night My Shocking Story on TLC (home to all those home renovation/house flipping shows) featured a story about this man (WARNING: do not click this link if you get "The Feeling." You will not be pleased.) The program was upsetting on so many levels - but primary among them is the invasiveness of the surgeries this young man endured and the media circus that surrounded the entire event. At one point, the Indonesian government shows up at Dede's house and takes him away in an ambulance. He is forced to undergo care that is in direct opposition to an American physician's who initially designed treatment for him. Then, of course, the TV special itself is exploitive in its psuedo-documentary way.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Big List of Theater: Things Are Out of Hand Edition

Lest you think this little theater blog has completely jumped the shark, think again. Has writing about theater taken a backseat to the theater of politics? Sort of. But that shouldn't keep us out of the theater itself, eh? Here's my list of want-to-sees for what remains of October.

Rock-n-Roll at American Conservatory Theatre. Through October 18.
The woman who sold me the ticket was so excited by this new playwright Tom Stoppard. I'm all like new? Like ma'am, he is so old, like Madeline Albright old, like Jack Nicholson old, like Colin Powell old, or like Olusegun Obasanjo old. Like Stoppard is only a year from being John McCain old. New? Like Rosencrantz and Gildenstern was written in 1966? Like on that scale Sam Shepard hasn't written Curse of the Starving Class yet (which ACT produced last year). Like on that scale freaking Suzan-Lori Parks doesn't even exist. Give me a freaking break. Like who writes your sales scripts because I'd like that job. New? Yeah. I bought a ticket. I was a sucker for her throaty English dialect. Honestly it was hot. And I'd been holed up all day with three kids. I must make it a point not to answer the phone when I've been so deprived of adult conversation.

HyperREAL 1.1: a multimedia performance (in progress), created and performed by Sara Kraft.
October 10- 12 @ Counterpulse. I saw part of this piece back in April when we performed together for Counterpulse's Second Sundays salon and it was visually powerful and her acting/presence is stunning. Here's an article featuring Sara on today's SF Gate.

All You Can Eat (the comeback tour). FoolsFury at the Traveling Jewish Theater. Through October 12.

Seizo Presents: St{art}er Home. A month-long artists' installation in a house scheduled for demolition at the end of the month.

The Other Bagpipes: Exotic And Lesser-Known Piping Traditions Of The World
Wednesday, October 22 7:30pm, Stanford Continuing Studies, Stanford, CA.

The History Boys at New Conservatory Theatre. Through October 26. Because the movie was so bad, bad, bad.

The K of D, (an Urban Legend). Magic Theatre. Through October 19.

I'm Yours! or Deranged Love. Precarious Theater @ the Exit Theatre. Through October 25.

Spinning into Butter
. Dragon Theatre. Through October 19.

Victims of Duty. Cutting Ball Theater @ the Exit. October 24 - November 23.

700 Billion What?

Michael Gene Sullivan's speech at the Theatre Bay Are Annual Conference in San Francisco, October 6, 08.

Sometimes we get so caught up in grant applications and new seats and berber aisle rugs and bringing actors up from Hollywood that we forget that all the audience wants is a moving story told well. They support us not based on how many Baywatch veterans we stuff into the Malibu Macbeth - they support us based on how well we touch their hearts and minds, how well we examine, understand, and show their experience and circumstances, or circumstances they want to know more about. They want to be challenged. If they didn't want to learn something true about themselves and the world they'd stay home and watch the news.

I think we have to turn to our actual supporters - our audiences - the ones who actually like us without getting a write-off - this is the community we have to look to. We have to show them that we are also part of their community. We have to remind them of that, and not just with a thank you card stapled to the next donation request.

If we want them to increase their support of us, and for them to demand that their tax dollars continue to help us tell their stories, then we have to be an important part of their lives, and of their home towns.

If we want to reclaim our position as the dramatic town square then we have to claim our home towns as more than dramatic backwaters. San Francisco used to be a theatrical Mecca. People came from all over the world to work here, to create here. This wasn't simply a place for a show to go before or after it went to New York - San Francisco was the destination. Now too many of our best artists only get recognized and validated as talented when they leave, when they've worked somewhere else. Too many inside and outside the theater community have come to see this city as a bumpkin suburb of the real city of - Broadwayville! Flash, sparkle, sparkle! So - local writers can't get a hearing of a script until it's done in New York, wonderful actors are overlooked in favor of whoever is unemployed in the Big Apple, and oooh! We got a designer from out of town, who is by definition so much better than any of the local yokels!

In the end some Boards and Artistic Directors look like they have a bad case of "Localitis," with a touch of "I can't wait to get a job in New York, where the real talented people are!" Now I'm not saying that any of you think this, but when you give your audience the impression that all the real cool stuff is not from their home town, how are they ever going to see you as a part of their larger community?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Have You Done It?

Check your deadlines here.

You can do it here, here, or here -

I'll bake you a pie (you must send me proof of registration).

(h/t - Lessig Blog.)