And it feels like SO MUCH has been happening for SO LONG that I am SHORT-CIRCUITING. I don’t know if I know how to do this anymore. But what has changed? Hasn’t the world always been in peril in some capacity? Or, maybe it’s more accurate to ask “Hasn’t mankind always been in peril in some capacity?” Why does this moment in time feel so hopelessly perilous?
The 2016 election hit me hard, but I rebounded with radical empathy! I was going to create opportunities for connection! I founded Protest Plays Project for playwrights writing for social change. At the same time, I began working with colleges to create opportunities for playwrights to draft plays rooted in their communities – we would then exchange the plays and read them on our myriad campuses. Radical empathy would save us!
It did not save us.
So I wrote an outlandish feminist sci-fi play that made me laugh even while I held my breath about absolutely everything else. We moved. I had a second child. I wrote postcards to voters. I experienced the Iowa caucuses. I held my breath. Maybe, if we could just get that gaudy, greedy, mistake out of the white house… I’d be able to breathe a little easier.
Then the pandemic.
The fucking pandemic.
I wrote more postcards. I started Plaguewrites, collaboratively writing “pandemic-proof” (aka, outdoor and long-distance) plays with other playwrights trying to DO SOMETHING. My instinct to keep fucking going, innovate, pivot! LEAN IN!, was in full force.
But now, everything from that time period is a swirly knotted mess. George Floyd, Jan 6th, Giuliani’s drip-drip-drippy dye job, online teaching, closed day care, zoom zoom zoooooooom and double-washing my tomatoes…
I turned a play into a short film with our students. I got diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I got my tits chopped off, did radiation, completely revised my syllabus for online teaching, then hybrid teaching, then once more for back-to-the-DON’T-YOU-DARE-SAY-“NORMAL”-classroom. All of my students fractured, thin… Myself fractured. Thin (Well, thin in spirit at least. In person, I become thick with emotional eating. Sucking what pleasure I can from every goddam donut, brownie, and buttery potato I can find…)
I wrote more postcards to even more voters.
I finished a too-long-in-the-crock-pot play that no one seems to be too excited about.
What year is it? What even is “time” anymore?
And now there’s another fucking election coming down the pike, with the same candidates as last time, and it’s like, do we really have to?
I’ve got a new play finished. I’m sending it out. I really love it. But… like…does it matter? Does any of this matter?
I don’t rebound so well anymore. I’m tired. I’m so, so, so, so, tired. And I’m just a middle-aged, de-breasted, middle-class, white lady with kids. How the fuck are YOU?
What are you writing about?
Is it helping you breathe?
Maybe that’s why I keep hitting these keys… writing is order. Scenes move forward. Characters in impossible situations make choices, which have consequences, and I can see it all safely.
And from a distance.
So. I’m working on some new stuff. Maybe it will help me deal with the unbearable weight of this impossible world.
Why not use my blog week to shout out about a new writing opp?
Plays Project is launching a new #GetOutTheVote initiative and invites playwrights to draft short (1-10 minute) plays/monologues/musicals on the theme HINDSIGHT IS 2020. We would like interested writers to consider the following:
This is a forward-looking project = Speculative fiction!
Imagine the world AFTER the 2020 election and what it might look like
without a change in leadership. We are looking for thoughtful pieces
that demonstrate consideration into the myriad different ways four more
years of current GOP leadership might manifest.
We invite interested playwrights to consider the following:
Voter turnout is vital to a thriving democracy, and yet only 54.7% of eligible voters participated in the 2016 election.
are several pressing issues at stake in the 2020 election—which issues
should we be most concerned with? What do our lives look like post-2020
election, if these issues continue to go unchecked/unaided?
What do reticent voters need to hear in order feel motivated to vote – especially if their ideal candidate isn’t the nominee?
regrets will people have if they abstain from voting in the 2020
election? How might abstaining effect their day-to-day lives/kid’s
Humor is an excellent delivery mechanism – don’t be afraid to make us laugh!
love a good expletive, but for this project are hoping to have broad
audience appeal – if you are an F-bomb expert, please provide
alternative options for public spaces J
Selected plays will be featured on a special Protest Plays Project
podcast Our goal is to also make these plays available to theatremakers
across the nation in the hopes that they will put them to work as
motivational theatre aimed at rallying voters!
Scripts will be accepted through March 10th – Please use the Google upload form on this page (which will become available Feb 1st)
If you read my first post this week, you know I’ve been asking some questions about playwriting. One of the things I promised I’d talk about was a project called 45’s 24—a collection of monologues written by thirty female playwrights inspired by the twenty four (at the time) sexual misconduct allegations against the president.
The project itself is interesting and the collection of monologues super powerful and moving—and I encourage anyone who wants to read the script to register for a copy on the Protest Plays Project site. I’m also working on a collaborative writing project with seven other AMAZING female playwrights right now, and although it’s less centered on a specific topic, it’s been a really cool process of sharing the “mic” so to speak.
So, for my last post of the week, I’m going to talk a little about those processes of collaborative writing, and how it’s been a really exciting and rewarding experience. And—full disclosure—I’m writing this on cold medicine and very little sleep… so buckle up, it could get bumpy.
45’s 24 was inspired by a FB friend posting an article about all twenty four of Trump’s accusers and tagging me in it with a note that “You should turn this into a play or something in order to amplify these women’s stories” He was right, and I was immediately like “I’m ON IT!” Because of my work through Little Black Dress INK, I know some pretty cool female playwrights I thought might be interested. I’ve also initiated a number of theatre actions with some awesome writers through Protest Plays Project. So I sent out an email invite to people I thought might be interested… and then I posted the invite to Twitter too, because maybe there would be more people wanting to get involved. There were!
The nice thing about this project is that I had a very clear roadmap for the process. Essentially, I created a Google sign up sheet where writers could select a woman to write about, then linked to the article about the accusers. Each writer then had a few weeks to research and write a 1-3 minute monologue inspired by each woman’s story. Because we had thirty writers working on the project, each piece took on it’s own voice – this is exactly why I wanted this to be a collaborative project. Who am I to try to write 24 monologues about/inspired by these real women? But together, the collection sounds like a group of individuals—and that’s awesome.
Another great thing about writing this piece collaboratively? We got it all written and assembled in just a little over six weeks! And, honestly, the hardest part was me finding the time to write the stitching—that’s what I call the interstitial bits that create the frame around the monologues—and formatting the dang thing! I write in Final Draft, but for this, everything had to come in Word… and nobody formats the exact same way, soooo = AAAGH! I’m NOT an editor at heart. If I was, the whole thing would have been done a lot sooner.
Anyway, the process of working on this piece with such a large cadre of passionate playwrights was inspiring, motivating, and empowering. I am so incredibly proud of the final collection – and it’s set for at least three readings in the coming months, which feels incredible because nobody ever writes a play just to have it sit in a drawer somewhere. Especially when the play is, at its heart, a protest piece.
Untitled Collaborative Writing Project
The other collaborative writing project I’m working on involves seven other female playwrights. It’s essentially the thing I’m devoting time to this year instead of doing another ONSTAGE fest. That decision, while difficult, was a really good move personally as I was starting to feel like ONSTAGE was sucking me dry. I worked work on that festival all year long for nine years, and although I love producing, it took a lot of energy and focus from my own creative projects.
However, as I said before, I haven’t been writing much lately. I’ve become very action-focused and playwriting feels kind of passive. This project, on the other hand, is itself a sort of theatre action because I am working with others to create a collaborative script that isn’t just all about me, my vision, or my perspective. instead, it is intentionally designed to allow for a multitude of voices.
We’re still in the “Seeding” phase of the work, and I have no idea of this experiment will result in a final script, or if it will instead result in some sort of collaborative folio of scripts. But I can tell you how we’ve been working in case anyone else wants to do something similar.
We started off by sharing questions we were interested in exploring, articles we found inspiring, and themes we were curious about. Then (almost) every week I send out an email with a new writing prompt, found artwork, and musical inspiration. We also spend some time doing a sort of chain-email kind of writing project where we each write a page, then send just that page to the next person to add a page, and so on. The results have been a lot of really cool, weird, interesting monologues and scenes that we will then look at building on. We may decide to write a play around one of these scenes, or to stitch several of these pieces together, or we may do something else entirely. And as someone who is usually very much in charge of projects, this new place of discovery and shared responsibility is a very cool place to be!
That’s it. I made it to the end of my blogging week with three articles written, plus the children and cats are all still alive and fed. Three of us have colds however, and everyone in my house is exhausted because when the kiddos have colds, none of us sleeps, but I’m happy I was able to check in and share some thoughts with all of you. And if you’re interested in writing socially aware short plays, we’ll be launching two new #TheatreActions from Protest Plays Project soon. Follow us on Twitter and FB to be notified when they launch. All it takes to collaborate with us is a collaborative spirit and desire to effect change!
Last year I started working at Iowa State University, and kind of can’t believe how amazing my colleagues are. The theatre department has begun focusing on citizen artistry, which has anchored our season selection planning process in a much more socially aware methodology. I was thrilled when I came on board and found out that the department was committed to gender parity moving forward, and to celebrate that fact, they were going to do a whole season of works by female playwrights.
What was interesting, as we set about reading and researching plays, was just how few other organizations seemed to be making the same choice. We are fast approaching 2020, after all, and according to the Dramatists Guild’s most recent Count, we’re a far cry from that 50/50 gender parity goal set so long ago. (*Do you even remember where you were when the 50/50 in 2020 initiative was launched way back in 2010?)
Since we’re a university, we knew we had to serve our students first and foremost, but it also felt imperative that we begin to “Walk the Walk” of the citizen artist. Addressing gender parity for playwrights turned into just the start of our ambitious sea-change. We also decided to hire female guest artists as designers and directors, and to create a year-long symposium on gender parity.
The outreach to other departments on campus yielded a number of exciting partnerships – we aren’t the only field with a parity gap! – and this collaboration led to a very busy and thrilling season of work across many mediums and fields of study.
The result is our (very busy and very awesome) HERoic season! All it took to make it happen was a desire and willingness to DO THE WORK.
Now, we’re still in the middle of our first semester – two shows into our season, and four more productions to go—but the thrill of the work is contagious!
Something I’ve found very interesting during our process is that although gender parity onstage is a very important issue for us as artists and theatremakers, audiences aren’t nearly as concerned or aware of this gap. And why would they be? How many audiences are really that tuned in to the world of theatre to begin with? Aren’t most just kind of renting space with us for an evening or matinee and then going back to their normal routines?
So what we considered a very proactive and exciting selling point to our season—all works by female playwrights—has seemingly been less important to our audiences than we thought it would be.
Again and again, in discussions around gender parity and our season, we’ve heard audiences claim they don’t give a hoot who wrote the play. All they’re looking for is a “Good” story. Now, these are discussions have been held with theatre majors, minors, and non-theatre students alike – but I’d wager that the same holds true for most non-student audience members too. What people are looking for is TITLE recognition. Is the show a big enough deal to have pierced the non-theatre-maker’s bubble? Have they heard good things about the title from friends who “saw it on Broadway”? And have our theatremakers heard good things from reviews/fellow theatremakers who were involved a production of the show somewhere else?
In general, playwright names and gender identity haven’t been anywhere on their radar. Now, I don’t know about you, but as a playwright, I felt a little more than bummed that we’re so unimportant to audiences, lol. But again and again, this discussion point has led us to mine a number of follow-up questions with our students about who the Gatekeepers are who get to decide which plays make it “Big” and how do we decide what a “Good” story is.
And that’s a great discussion to have with students and non-students alike.
We’re going to keep the conversation going with audiences and students, and I’m sure we have a ton more to learn from this ambitious year, but I know one thing for sure: Nothing changes without first taking a leap. ISU Theatre is taking some big leaps, and it’s a very exciting place to work and create. I hope other universities and theatre companies take up the 50/50 challenge because it is totally doable, it does make a difference, and it’s important if we want to get more stories heard.
“If you’re only telling one story, it’s not a story, it’s propaganda.” – Michael Goeble, Assistant Teaching Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies, ISU
Let me fill you in on a little secret: I haven’t been writing lately.
I’m just not into it.
I could blame the new baby (who is a precious bundle of awesomeness) because, come on, he takes up a LOT of time and he wakes up at least once a night to demand I feed him with my body (being a human is weird). But blaming him would be kind of disingenuous because I have found plenty of time to create a number of dumb and ugly doodles that I share on Instagram, so obviously that’s time I could have been putting into my craft…
I could blame my teaching load, but that wouldn’t be fair either because—although time-consuming—being a college professor gives me way more time to be creative than my old freelancing and adjuncting life did, and I managed to get a LOT of writing done then.
I could blame the world…
Actually, that’s it.
Because, well, the world is kind of a hot flaming mess right now, isn’t it? And, well, if I’m honest, I’m just not sure words are capable of putting the fire out.
I love writing plays. I love telling stories. And I think I do it pretty well (let’s not talk about how much I suck at the whole “Getting my work in front of people” part though). Almost all of my works center on messy humans dealing with the complexities of being alive today, but—even if they were getting produced on stages around the world (Dear Universe, I wouldn’t mind it!)— would they DO anything to help the world?
I don’t know.
Maybe I’m having a bit of a mid-life crises about the purpose of theatre, and about the value of toiling away at scripts intended to land a production so that I can talk to people through characters and metaphor about things I think are important.
What would happen if I just talked to people instead?
A few weeks ago I did just that.
I went to a local library board meeting at the behest of a FB post notifying us that a republican group was planning on storming the meeting to demand the library stop hosting an All Ages Drag Show. I got so fired up about it that I wrote, essentially, a spoken word piece that I then read when my name was called to speak. The issue wasn’t even up for a vote that night – it’s a popular event that already happens! – but there were a number of us there that night whose aim was to prevent the speakers of intolerance from winning the mic.
It felt great.
Not only was I able to take speaking time away from indignant and ill-informed haters that night, but I felt a sense of community amongst the rest of the drag show supporters that was incredibly uplifting.
(I should clarify here, I have been to the All Ages Drag Show and found it to be very fun, but I am not a part of that community—just a fan. The community I felt in the board room was of the kind created by a group of people standing together against intolerance.)
And this feeling of community got me thinking: Does theatre create community? I mean, outside its walls… We say it does. Hell, there are theatres all over the country who call themselves community theatres. And I believe fervently that the theatrical community to be found within those walls is a wondrous, loving, crazy, and invaluable sort—but it’s a rare thing to see a theatre create community beyond the theatremakers/volunteers who make the “product” that those theatres “sell”.
Rather, it seems like most theatres have a primarily transactional relationship with their communities: More of a “We think you’ll like this show, so please buy a ticket! And while you’re here, maybe you want to buy a season pass/some theatre merch/a season program as well?” type of relationship. Theatres offer talk-backs and talk-forwards, and try to select seasons of work that will get more people to buy more tickets… but what are they doing to build community beyond the theatremaker kind?
And aren’t most audience members tjust here to see the show, have a glass of wine, and leave anyway? Maybe they’ll talk about the show with their friends, recommend it to their co-workers, but they sure do like to bristle at the neighbor who unwraps a cough-drop mid-show. They growl at the young couple who dares to bring their children along. They glare at the student who arrives late. They chastise the women who laugh too loud…
That’s not community.
And I really think, now more than ever, that we need to cultivate a greater sense of connection and community within AND without our theatrical structures.
But that’s a hard thing to do when you’re just a playwright.
Fortunately, I’m not “Just” a playwright…
I’ve been really fortunate to get hired at Iowa State University where we have dedicated our 2019-2020 season to work by female playwrights. Not only that, but we’ve hired female guest designers and directors, and we’ve created an entire symposium to look at/discuss gender equity. We’re also dedicated to gender parity in our season selection moving forward, and are participating in Jubilee next year. We’re doing the work, and we’re asking some big questions about theatre and citizen artistry along the way. I’ll talk about more about our work in my next post. But it’s an exciting place to be teaching, working, and building community.
I’ve also organized a series of initiatives through Protest Plays Project and Little Black Dress INK (I’m the crazy person behind both orgs) that address social issues. I’ll talk more about our latest project later this week. But both of these parts of my life allow me to do more than just scribble words… they help me connect and build community with other playwrights and theatremakers, and the kinds of work we are doing invites audiences to take action with us. It’s exciting.
There are more ways I’m working on taking action as an artist and a human, but I honestly don’t have enough time to write about all of it—what with the new baby and all 😉
But I encourage you to hang in there with me this week and
to think about how you can do more with your words, your voice, and your
actions, dear playwrights. I
promise I’ll ask some good questions for you to ponder.
And if you’re wondering, here’s the statement I wrote in support of the All Ages Drag Show at our very awesome library:
Fear is a powerful, and primitive, human emotion.
So is love.
Fear alerts us to the presence of danger. A safety mechanism, designed to keep us safe from peril. Fear helps us survive…
Love, a safety mechanism in itself, Gives us reasons to survive. And unlike fear, Love… Well, Love helps us to thrive.
Biochemical or Emotional, both fear and love ride our senses hard, confusing and elating us. Biochemical responses are universal. We all know
the feeling of a heart pounding, of sweat dripping, of stomachs dropping…
Is it fear?
Is it love…
How can the two look, feel, taste, so similar? Emotional responses are individual. So what you, and you, and you, and I fear, What you, and you, and you, and I love…
The pieces of this world that create our biochemical and emotional responses – Are rarely exactly the same. It is a universal truth that we are none of us guaranteed to agree. But we have built a society which allows for this difference, A democracy built on the notion that there is no ONE right way to BE. Because it is vital if any of us wishes to thrive, That we continue to allow individuals to be
A community that celebrates the individual is a community centered on love. A community that celebrates only one type of individual? The “Right” kind of individual? Well that’s not love. That’s not community. That is fear in action. That is fear in control. That is a community in crisis.
Hearts beating Sweat dripping We are all
of us here tonight sharing biochemical reactions, though the reasons are
pounds because I do not want to be party to a community where you are not free
to be you, and I am not free to be I.
deciders of WHO can BE, use religion or politics to outline what is “CORRECT”
adrenaline surges because to hear how ferociously some are willing to condemn
others creates in me a palpable fear…
A fight or flight kind of fear…
That those who want to condemn are unwilling to open their hearts to the love in this room In this community In the hearts and souls of those who have been finding and building community through an All ages drag show. Really?
I will not fly from this issue. We will not fly from the community that has been built here.
Those of you who are in the room tonight Afraid of An all ages drag show: Have you become fear junkies?
So acclimated So indoctrinated By a party that uses fear to separate and alienate and attain power through division- Do you really think that diversity in your community means you can’t continue to be you? That by allowing others to celebrate their individuality You are somehow losing out?
Let me share
with you a secret…
You are not
But by trying to take this away? An event born of incredible love and joyfulness and inclusivity? You are the takers. Aiming to create absence in the hearts and lives of others.
I’ll share another secret with you: The adrenaline you feel in pursuit of punitive action- The adrenaline you feel while attacking that which is different from yourself Is NOTHING like the adrenaline of love.
The adrenaline of putting aside warring labels, —Democrat vs. Republican, this kind of Christian vs. that kind of whatever— In order to reclaim the I, the ME, and the US in this room? The adrenaline of deciding to be a community of love And to let go of fear… Of the hate that fear sows Of the intolerance that fear grows-
That is the biochemical emotional Response Of a healthy Thriving Community. And that is what we should all be working towards
My nearly-three-year-old got sick. He yacked all over the place, and then I felt like I was going to yack all over the place, and he definitely yacked all over my husband, and I definitely almost yacked back, so that took several days to recover from.
We’ve been traveling. My husband presented at a conference. The tot finally got better, then we got on a plane, and then we got to spend a day at the beach. Who wants to hunker down with their laptop when the San Diego beach is in your face?
I have grades to enter. Students to email. Lesson plans to make. It’s Thanksgiving break, and I’m thankful for the time it gives me to get caught up.
My toddler is screaming. He has a poopy diaper, but he likes it that way (apparently) because he is screaming at anyone who approaches to try and change it. Speaking of poopy diapers…
Donald Trump is president.
I wake up everyday with trepidation… What will happen today? Whose shoe will be the next to drop? How am I supposed to write when there is all this news to obsess over?
I’m pregnant. My back hurts. I’m tired. I’m making another human, even as I panic about the world going to absolute shit, and I wonder how irresponsible it is to be creating life in the face of so much global disaster. It’s exhausting.
The cats are meowing. They want some of my cinnamon roll… well, they want the butter I slathered on top of it. They’re adorable. I definitely need to spend the next thirty minutes trying to convince them to sit in my lap and snuggle.
My imagination is tired from imagining how many ways the apocalypse might come, what shape it might take, and what we’ll do when it gets here.
Well, its Friday, and I’ve just completely slacked on blogging during my guest week! In order to make amends, I offer you a series of unique photos from Unsplash as writing prompts. What worlds do these photos inspire in you? Photo by Aeviel Cabral on UnsplashPhoto by Jimmy Fermin on Unsplash
Buckle in, readers! This post’s soundtrack is LET’S GET RADICAL by Gogol Bordello.
*DISCLAIMER: There is a prominently placed F bomb at the start of this song.*
Did you know the LAFPI is almost 10 years old? Crazy, right? On the one hand, it feels like it’s been much longer than that, and on the other is the old adage “Where has the time gone?”
I’m sure there will be much room for discussing what has changed in the ten years since LAFPI started instigating its parity-focused programming, so I’m not going to try to do that here. BUT, I mention this upcoming anniversary as a precursor to the following question:
And I don’t just mean for the LAFPI, but for female playwrights and theatremakers everywhere. What are we doing/going to continue to do to make an impact not only for ourselves, but for each other?
This is a question I ask myself a lot—and I’m sure, if I were a more selfish writer, my own playwriting career would be a little more… distinguished. But I believe I have a responsibility as an artist to not only to make art that makes me happy/fulfilled, but to put my skills as an artist to work in support of a making this world better.
And yes, I know there are a lot of men out there doing great and important things, but this is the LAFPI, so I’m going to focus on the women. I’ve been hugely impressed by the fact that the overwhelming majority of theatremakers who have been joining our producing efforts through Protest Plays Project are women. I’m hardly alone in making this observation when it comes to some of the contemporary socially engaged theatre initiatives of late.
In Chantal Bilodeau’s article, “Why do Women Climate More Than Men?” she notes that the majority of theatremakers involved in supporting the theatrical work she organizes in climate change, are women. And theatremaker Claudia Alick recently noted in a roundtable discussion I participated in for HowlRound that the majority of organizers applying theatre and art to gun control issues were female.
Its obvious that female theatremakers are engaging in political and socially active theatre in impressive numbers, and no wonder: there are so many problems facing the world, and our nation, right now that it can feel hard to focus on anything else.
I’d love to hear what YOU are scheming up/working on/dreaming about taking action on. I’ll even start you off with my own #TheatreAction wish list!
A nation-wide outreach designed to teach people how to talk to one another again. Seriously, why isn’t this already a thing?! We have lost the ability to engage in political discussion without dissolving into partisan mud-slinging and it is tearing us apart! This project could create collaborative opportunities for theatre makers, psychologists, community organizers, and mediators to develop effective non-partisan programming.
An expanded engagement with plays written by playwrights working from a community perspective. Why aren’t theatres reading more works about their own communities alongside plays about communities in different parts of the nation? I’ve tried to make some progress on this front with my Heal the Divide/Heal the Divide on Campus projects, but I don’t own a theatre and I don’t have the ear of that many Artistic Directors. If we all made a concerted effort however…
I am currently trying to get theatres to put #TheatreActionVOTE! Plays into their theatres. These pieces are written to be performed pre-show (they’re only 1-3 minutes long!) and are non-partisan and available royalty free. It’s harder then you’d think it is to get a theatre to join this effort- even when the message is as non-controversial as “Please Vote!”
Why aren’t more theatres collaborating with local non-profits in their communities? There is such an incredible opportunity not only to increase their community outreach/effectivenss (aka, demonstrate their commitment to non-profit community-centered work) but also to just expand their audiences.
Bring theatre to the people! I wish I could do/see more theatre in unconventional spaces, whether that theatre is entertainment for entertainment’s sake or more efficaciously-minded, the people who need theatre most (and it’s power to teach empathy/compassion) are often the people who see it the least. Price and access are very real issues, and I love the many organizations who are taking strides to improve access. I think individual theatremakers have more agency to create theatre in The People’s Spaces than they thing. You can make theatre anywhere! If you believed that, where would you make theatre next?
So there are a few ideas from me. What are YOU working on? What do you wish you were working on? Let’s talk in the comments!
Hey, it’s me, Tiffany! The used-to-live-in-LA-but-now-I-live-in-Iowa playwright who launched Little Black Dress INK, had a baby, and then (because I wasn’t busy enough – duh) started Protest Plays Project too. I’m pretty much busy ALL THE TIME now, and it got me to thinking…
It’s all Jennie Webb’s fault.
She’s the one who invited me to the first LAFPI meeting all those years ago. The meeting where I got a taste of she-playwright POWER and decided I needed MORE! I knew I was moving to AZ, far away from my cherished playwright coven, but what the hell? If Jennie Webb (with Laura Shamas) could unite the female playwrights of Los Angeles, I could certainly found and operate a female playwright producing company in Arizona, right?!
And now we’re in our 7th year. We’ve just announced 2019’s Female Playwrights ONSTAGE Theme. I’ve been privileged to get to know a ton of amazing female playwrights from all around the country (along with some international playwrights as well!) It’s been a hell of a ride, and a TON of work, but it’s also been totally worth it.
But I wanted to do MORE, remember? Especially since I was politically mortified with the results of the 2016 election. So I founded Protest Plays Project (PPP). My initial aim was to collect plays about social issues that theatre-activists could use for protest or fundraising* purposes. (*Specifically, fundraising for non-profits working for positive social change.)
Well, PPP has been busy. Super busy.
And I want to take the start of my blogging week to tell you how you can get involved, in case you’re that kind of theatremaker!
First, we’ve got our #TheatreActionVOTE! Initiative going on and all you have to do to get involved is commit to presenting Vote! plays or monologues in your pre-show.
You can write your own piece for this purpose, or select pieces from our Collection. The plays in our collection are:
1-3 minutes in length
Available royalty free
Written to be presented pre-show in whatever location works for your theatre
You can sign your theatre up to participate HERE. (It’s free, it’s easy, and we won’t spam you!)
We’re also collecting plays on Immigration. The AMAZING LA playwright, Diana Burbano along with the awesome playwright Ricardo Soltero-Brown, are curating the collection – and we’ll be encouraging theatres to present readings for fundraisers. You can find more info and send us your play, HERE.
Protest Plays continues to support #TheatreActionGunControl and if you want to put up a reading, we have links to a number of excellent collections on our website!
But does it ever feel like enough? Does political theatre work? Can we truly effect change with passionately written, socially conscious plays? I plan on examining these questions later this week, right here, on the LAFPI blog.
So stay tuned, stay connected, and if you see Jennie Webb – hug that wild woman for me!
An hour ago, my toddler wouldn’t have let me sit down with my laptop.
A week ago, I wouldn’t have had time to blog ANYTHING.
A month ago, I wouldn’t have been able to talk about Protest Plays’ new #TheatreActionVote initaitive.We can write all the socially engaging work in the world, but if our audiences aren’t registered to vote/aren’t showing up at the polls, our work/our audiences’ work is only going to reach so far. But when we shout out – and take action – together, we can create change on the macro level.
And let’s be honest—we need MACRO changes right now.
I hope you’ll join us in our effort to get audiences to the polls! Plays/monologues must be 1-3 minutes in length and non-partisan. Their goal should be to activate audiences to register/to vote. It’s that simple!