July 16, 2015 at the National Dramatists Guild Conference. We were exhausted and exhilarated and ready for the rest of the week. Our workshop presentation Using the Senses: Character and Story Creation cover sheet and bios went really well. I don’t know about the other ladies but the content of some of the sessions, I attended, had me spinning. Such profound insight and resolve to do the best work and create the best art – just to be in the room with these artists was inspiring.
Some of my favorite sessions were The Global Impact of Diversity on our Stages with panelists: Lydia R. Diamond, Rehana Lew Mirza, Mike Lew and moderated by Christine Toy Johnson and The DG Fund Presents: Beyond Emerging: The Stages of a Writer’s Life with panelists: Lydia Diamond, Christine Toy Johnson, Mike Lew and moderated by Seth Cotterman. Will talk about those later.
Speaking of the Dramatists Guild Fund, they gave away free T-shirts in exchange for a bit of encouragement sharing. I got a T-shirt with “Always try to do more than you know you can.” – a saying by Edward Albee that can be found in his interview in The Legacy Project: Volume 1. After writing our saying down on a sticky, it was placed on the DG Fund Encouragement Wall. (#KeepWriting) Totally awesome! My saying is “Always be writing…”
This is the first day of the Dramatists Guild Conference in La Jolla, CA. Such an empowering day! LA FPIer’s Laurel Wetzork, Debbie Bolsky and I presented a very successful workshop: Using the Senses: Character and Story Creation. John Logan’s One-on-One with Joey Stocks was wonderful. He gave some wonderful insights to his journey as a writer. The regional reps met with their group members and the conversation was about getting to that next place as artists and how to use community to do so — the community of writers who make up the regions.
The drive in was 3 hours, one wonders how there is traffic at 1:30 am but there was.
I’ve produced over 10 productions that feature short plays written and directed by women. So, I was intrigued by 5 Sirens: Beware of Rocks and excited to learn more about the 5 playwrights (all women) who joined forces to produce this show.
Graduates of the USC Master of Professional Writing Program, the 5 Sirens are: Sarah Dzida (Don’t Panic), Autumn McAlpin (Ten Years Left), Kiera Nowacki (Spock at Bat), Caron Tate (Whatever Works) and Laurel Wetzork (Out of Here). They realized that by pooling their resources and sharing in the production responsibilities they had the skills to tackle everything from advertising and publicity to fundraising (check out their super-successful Indiegogo campaign) and contracts on their own.
5 Sirens: Beware of Rocks features 5 10-minute plays centered around theme of miscommunication and longing for connection. What’s wonderful about the production is that the audience is treated to five distinctly different styles and approaches to the theme.
Director Laura Steinroeder had previously worked with Laurel Wetzork and came on board to direct the five plays. Wetzork says, “she was very brave to take on five different, very strong women and make this show work.” Though directed by one person, Steinroeder allows each piece to live in its own world, so that the audience can experience the progression of a debilitating disease through a rhythmic pattern in one play (Ten Years Left) and move seamlessly into the next play about the inter-species communication between intelligent and not-so-intelligent life (Out of Here).
What I find most inspiring about 5 Sirens: Beware of Rocks is that these five women, a group as diverse as can be, banded together as a community to support each other and produce their own work. Now, they are confident that they can produce a Fringe show on their own, individually. I’m certain that whatever productions they do in the future, 5 Sirens: Beware of Rocks will be an experience that proves to be both unforgettable and invaluable. Through June 27th at Theatre Asylum.
“…she was fun and fierce, and we chatted.” Laurel Wetzork
I was running (okay walking swiftly) past Laurel Wetzork – LA FPI Onstage Editor, and Debbie Bolsky – LA FPI Agent Process Co-Captain, after an event at last month’s Dramatists Guild Conference (Having Our Say: Our History, Our Future) when I was introduced to Sarah Tuft by Debbie. Laurel was engrossed in conversation with her. I had interrupted to say, “See y’all back home.” I met a lot of people in Chicago, so many, I had to take notes, but I remember Sarah’s name because I had just used the word “tufts” in a poem:
“…pulling the small tufts from my eyelids trying to leave the lashes in tact…”
I like the word so much, I keep thinking about it. And, I liked Sarah right off when I met her — not just because of her last name. She seemed so open to me and she was really excited about her project coming to Los Angeles. Debbie, Laurel and I asked her to drop us a line about it, so that maybe we (LA FPI Instigators) could show up in clusters. Just received her email today:
And if you’re on FB, please friend me so I can include you for any other shenanigans!! Best wishes, Sarah
ONE NIGHT ONLY!
110 STORIES by Sarah Tuft
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 – 8:00 PM
Nate Holden Performing Arts Center
4718 W Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016
110 Stories Celebrity Benefit Performance will commemorate the 12th anniversary of the events of Sept 11th 2001.
Sarah Tuft’s play expresses the human side of history, without politics and agenda, giving voice to those who experienced 9/11 directly.Proceeds from the event go to Operation Gratitude.
All schedule permitting, the cast includes: Jon Heder, Ernie Hudson, Ethan Kogan, Anthony Ruivivar, Stelio Savante, Jessica Silvetti and Diane Venora. Directed by Rudolf Buitendach. Lead Producer: StelioSavante, Casting Director: Engine Media Group, Producers: Al Han, Ethan Kogan, Freddy Luis, Anne McCarthy, Kellie Gesell Roy, Jessica Silvetti.Consulting Producer: Michael Greenwald and Playwright Sarah Tuft.
Operation Gratitude is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, volunteer-based organization that annually sends 100,000 care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed in hostile regions, to their children left behind and to Wounded Warriors recuperating in Transition Units. This charity is supported by First Lady Obama, The Bidens, Ben Affleck, Gary Sinise and many other respected celebrities, athletes and politicians. For more info, please visit their official website at http://www.operationgratitude.com/
Special Note: Our charity Operation Gratitude will be providing tax deductible letters of receipt for everyone who purchases tickets. If you are unable to attend or do not live in LA, you can still purchase tickets/make a donation and you will receive the tax deductible letter from our charity.
COME AND JOIN US, experience firsthand accounts of the events of Sept 11th 2001 with an illustrious cast and together we can raise money for this worthy charity.
The performance starts at 8:00 p.m. with ticket prices ranging from $25 to $55. All ticket purchases and donations are tax-deductible.