Tag Archives: 9/11

On Meeting Playwright Sarah Tuft in Chicago…

by Robin Byrd

“…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:

Dear LA Playwrights,

As promised, I’m here in town for the benefit reading of my play “110 Stories” next Wed at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center at 4718 West Washingtob Blvd. 90016.Some advance press: examiner.com/article/12th-anniversary-of-9-11-brings-broadwayglobal-must-see-play-110-stories FB invite: facebook.com/events/346706322129808/?ref=br_tf Segment on A&E: vimeo.com/channels/sarahtuft110stories

Love to see you there.  If you can make it, sign up at itsmyseat.com/events/733971.html  or call 626.869.7328.

And if you’re on FB, please friend me so I can include you for any other shenanigans!! Best wishes, Sarah

110 Stories by Sarah Tuft
110 Stories by Sarah Tuft


110 stories sarah tuft

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.


Tickets: http://www.itsmyseat.com/events/733971.html

Judging a 9/11 Playwriting Contest

As someone who tends to write about issues and topics based in real, momentous events, I couldn’t say no when asked to judge a 9/11 Playwriting Contest. They’d originally asked Simon Levy of the Fountain Theatre, so I had pretty big shoes to fill! I was really curious as to how writers would take up the challenge of 9/11 in ten minutes.

The second judge and I were instructed to listen to the play, and not judge based on either performance or level of readiness. In that manner, the evening was exactly as I expected: uneven in terms of who was off-book, staged, etc., but amazing as to the power of the scripts, diversity of topics, and some really meaningful and excellent performances.

A few things that occurred to me while judging this contest:

  • Sometimes just two people connecting on a bench is more meaningful than a gun.
  • Monologues are not very interesting when the title tells me everything you’re going to say.
  • Watching a play knowing you have to rate it 1-10 is not as pleasurable, but does call for more attention to detail.
  • Distinguishing between your preference of play and the better-written of plays = two very different things.
  • Long-term affects of disasters like 9/11 cause writers and artists to explore empathy.
  • The above is especially true regarding soldiers. I was incredibly impressed with the variety of soldier characters.
  • Repetition is not very interesting in a ten-minute time-frame. Better to be short than repeat yourself.
  • An element of surprise is especially vital in ten minutes.
  • Coupled with the last point, don’t tell me what your play is about in the first ten minutes.

Honestly, I could go on and on. The important part is that I think writers should try to judge playwriting contests, or be part of the readers’ teams, as much as possible. Putting yourself into the shoes of someone who has some element of power over your career illuminates some very key and important ways to improve your writing.

Share your experiences being involved in ten-minute or any playwriting contests below.