Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Coming up: August 4th - A TASTE OF OWAFEST - 7 pm, Trisha Brown Dance Company, 625 W. 55th Street, New York City.
And our first Nashville reading which will take place on September 4 at Fisk University thanks to Professor Persephone Felder-Fentress and Nashville actress Helen Shute Pettaway.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Found on Craig's List:
Reply to: email@example.com Date: 2007-07-26, 10:00AM PDT
I am looking to produce and direct a well written dramatic short film that takes place in a diner. This short must be a fully developed character study with strong story, engaging characters and interesting dialogue. THINK SIMPLE BUT POWERFUL. It should run about 20 minutes in length. I am only interested in DRAMA (it can be a DRAMEDY as long as it is more drama than comedy). I am not interested in comedy, horror/slasher or action. This is to be a show piece for festivals. It will also be used to secure funding for other projects. The story, characters and dialogue MUST be well developed, INTERESTING and engaging. I cannot emphasize this enough. I am only looking for serious and talented screenwriters with high quality material. Please do not send me anything that has not been properly developed. I am not looking for rough drafts or even second drafts. I do not have the time or money to waste on material that is not as described. Please only submit if you have something I am really looking for. Thank you and good luck to all on your writing careers.
It's ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Compensation: Depends on quality of script. I will pay for a WELL WRITTEN and FULLY DEVELOPED script
- Only unproduced works will be accepted.
- Plays must have a female or other under represented minority as the protagonist.
- Plays that have had staged readings are eligible.
- No adaptations, musicals, or children's plays.
- Cast size maximum: 5.
- Length: 25 minutes maximum, no minimum.
- Settings should be simple or suggested.
- Playwrights may make multiple submissions.
- Please do not submit works that have been previously submitted.
- Scripts must be postmarked by August 24, 2007.
Please submit a cover letter, a synopsis, and a resume along with two copies of the play. Cover sheet of play should have title, author, author's address, author's telephone number, and author's e-mail address (if available).
Selected plays will be presented for 8 performances in November 2007. Playwrights will receive a small stipend.
Plays should be submitted to:
The 2nd Annual Festival of One-Act Plays, Attn: Angela Wiggins, Producing Artistic Director, FORBIDDEN FRUIT THEATRE COMPANY, 5042 Wilshire Blvd. #565, Los Angeles, CA90036.
Monday, July 23, 2007
The African American Playwrights Exchange
Jaz Dorsey, Exec. Director - 270 Tampa Drive - G9 Nashville TN 37211 - 615-837-8777
THE NEW YORK OWAFEST PREVIEW
An Exploration Of
African-American Absurdist Drama
Hosted and Moderated by
Dramaturg Roweena Mackay
With Readings Of
Written and Directed By
Cecily Lyn Benjamin
Written and Directed By
April Matthis & Charles Miller
Date & Time:
Sat. Aug. 4, 2007 @ 7pm.
Trisha Brown Dance Company – 625 W. 55th Street NYC – 2nd Floor, Studio One
COME! SEE THE PLAYS, MEET THE AUTHORS, AND ENJOY AN INFORMATIVE AND UNUSUAL EVENING OF AFRICAN AMERICAN DRAMA
Seating is Limited so Please RSVP Jaz Dorsey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Since the day it was founded, the city of Nashville has been recognized for something.
First it was one of the most significant outposts of a rapidly expanding nation.
Next it was a major player in America's railroads.
Then, in part because of the railroads and the money that ensued, it became known as the "Athens of the South" because it was home to more universities than any other Southern city.
In the 1950's Nashville's academic status was eclipsed by the seriously non-academic forces of country music and, for better or worse, the city soon became known as "Hillbilly Hollywood." As country music is pretty much dominated by "majority" rather than "minority" artists, the city became positioned as pretty much a mecca for white entertainers - almost nervously so.
There are always undercurrents, however, and suddenly, today, Nashville is home to an astounding 10 African American theater companies and two significant black university theater departments at Fisk and Tennessee State University - not to mention serving as the home base for the newly founded African American Playwrights Exchange.
The energy created by this sudden explosion of black talent is overflowing in to the city, as evidenced by two theatrical events of this past weekend and the upcoming Shades of Black Theater Festival, which kicks off with a serious mixer at The Darkhorse Theater on August 17th.
This past Thursday, Barrry Scott's production of THE BLACKS kicked off at Tennessee State University to an enthusiastic audience which included ladies from the Red Hat society, faculty and students from TSU and a huge turnout of folks from a local Bastille day party who had enjoyed a snippet of the production as part of the Bastille Day entertainment. Intermission turned into a symposium on Genet which focused on the heightened language of the piece, and pretty much a majority of the audience from opening night agreed to meet again at the closing performance to see how the actors have evolved in their roles. Genet's daunting and mystifying work is unlike almost anything folks around here have seen before.
The following night marked the opening of an all black production of WEST SIDE STORY which played under a tent in a local park to an opening night audience of around 350 people. The production is the work of SALAMA URBAN MINISTRIES and featured a cast of "at-risk" youth - all high school students, grades 9 - 12. Dr. Persephone Felder-Fentress (director) and Dr. Peter Fields (choreographer) have done a knock out job with this young cast and the dancing and singing in particular were spectacular. If "Music City USA" has a role in the future of the American Musical theater, these kids and their mentors are the folks to watch.
WEST SIDE STORY has one more performance (tonight) and THE BLACKS will run through next weekend, then Nashville will begin gearing up for the second annual Shades of Black Theater Festival at the renowned Darkhorse Theater. Producers Mary McCallum, Shawn Whitsell, Eugenia Sweeney, Candy Robins, Kenny Dozier and Michael L. Walker will unleash a month of black theater which is not to be missed and begins with a mixer at the Darkhorse on August 17. For more information go to www.shadesofblackfestival.com.
Or even better - come to Nashville and go to the theater.
The African American Playwrights Exchange
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Nashville's Shades of Black theater showase is looking for short (10 - 20 minute ) scripts for this year's festival. Submissions may also include excerpts from longer srcripts.For more information contact Jaz Dorsey at jazmn47@aol.
Monday, July 16, 2007
African American Playwrights Exchange
is pleased to announce our first Atlanta event.
Sunday, July 22 at 3pm
The Atlanta Public Library Auditorium
Margret Mitchell Square
A Reading of
YESTERDAY CAME TOO SOON: THE DOROTHY DANDRIDGE STORY
Script: Jamal Williams
Direction: Andre Regan
Dandridge: Jocelyn Key
Casting: Timothy Aaron Styles
Opening remarks: Dr. Shirlene Holmes,
Georgia State University
Dramaturg: Jaz Dorsey
For more information contact Jaz Dorsey at
email@example.com or at 615-837-8777
Looking for Short Screenplays to Purchase
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.orgDate: 2007-07-16, 10:33AM PDTProduction company looking for short scripts to purchase. Must meet the following guidelines: -Lead is African American woman, age range 25-35 -short must be less than 30 pages.
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
"It's theatre for the people— It's fun, exciting, and it makes theater accessible to everyone," said producer Reginald Edmund. "Once upon a time theater was a people's art form there to connect the community and bring us together to create a universal dialogue and that is exactly what this series is all about. That's what urban contemporary should be about and we're devoted to bringing that into being. We are returning theater to its roots while moving us towards a bright future."
This event is being held at: Silver House Theatre 1107 Chartres Houston, Texas 713-547-0126. Ask about our special weekend pass and our group discount.
Note: The box office loved Friday, Set It Off, Hustle & Flow, Bringing Down the House, Menace to Society, Coming to America, Madea's Family Reunion, etc. However, most urban films fail due to premise and execution. So, you should write for broader audiences for long-term, industry-wide success . Thx
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
ANPT needs volunteers for the evening performances of The Blacks. We need USHERS, DOOR MONITORS, BOX OFFICE and CONCESSIONS. There are approximately 60 hours available for each position during the run of the show. Volunteer for every performance, or plug in when you are available. An introductory meeting will be held Tuesday night at 7:00 pm, July 10, in the Performing Arts Center conference room, next to the theatre lobby. For more information and to volunteer, please call Brianna Pryor, the Assistant Stage Manager at 615-506-1983, or email her at
The 35th annual Bastille' Day Event to be held at the home of hostess extrodinarie Jocelyne Bezzi-Batani, 3303 Belmont Boulevard, Nashville, Tennessee. Storm the Bastille' with Barry Scott and the cast of THE BLACKS at Nashville's legendary Bastille' Day Celebration on Saturday, July 14th at 3 pm. The cast of The Blacks will be performing at 7:00, a short scene from the show. This event associated with Bastille' Day is a celebration of the playwright, French author Jean Genet. All theater folk are welcome to this year's event. Those attending are encouraged to bring something to add to the feast. Brilliant party and brilliant people - all of whom love theater! For more information, contact Jaz Dorsey at 615-837-8777.
The deadline for Karamu's Festival of New Plays is Sept. 30 for a Jan 2008 festival. From the press release: Re: KARAMU PERFORMING ARTS THEATRE SEEKING ORIGINAL SCRIPTS FOR 16TH ANNUAL R. JOYCE WHITLEY ARENAFEST FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS Cleveland - Monday, July 9, 2007 - Karamu Performing Arts Theatre is accepting original full length plays from new and established playwrights for the 16th Annual R. Joyce Whitley ARENAFEST Festival of New Plays. Karamu has a high standard for excellence and discipline and expects that from the playwright with well-written, well-constructed plays that celebrate the African American and multi-cultural experience. Karamu House Inc, seeks to nurture promising playwrights through this festival. Scripts from high school students are encouraged. Scripts must be postmarked before or on September 30, 2007.
Scripts selected for ARENAFEST will be presented as staged readings Monday-Friday January 7th through January 18, 2008, with audience discussions following the nightly readings. The following persons will oversee ARENAFEST, Michael Oatman, Coordinator; James K. Spriggs, Moderator; Terrence Spivey , Artistic Director.
For entry form, go to: http://www.karamu.com/downloads/arenafestentryform15th.pdf
Monday, July 9, 2007
A PARADISE LOST
Written by Owa
Free Admission(wine &cheese buffet at 2:30 p.m.)
Sunday, July 8, 2007
NATIONAL BLACK THEATRE FESTIVAL presents
LIPSTICK, CHILLI, GRITS AND GRACE is a riveting ride through the secret world of people who collide across time, age, and ethnic barriers. Featuring the writings of Gus Edwards, Lorey Hayes & others. A Funny, 90 minute journey, sometimes heart wrenching in which two actresses, one Black and one Hispanic allow you to glimpse of some forbidden lives. From Mavis, the Jamaican woman who discovers love and jazz through an illicit affair; Jahar, the gay man who falls into the Hudson River and is reborn; Clydee and Ms. Scranton, two modern day business women who handle “the business of business” with deadly seriousness to the hilarious antics of “Ten at The end.” The show was conceived by its stars, Lorey Hayes and Marie Barrientos and written by them with the help of their director Imani. Literary contributions to the script were made by such noted writers as Gus Edwards, Richard Carter and S. Pearl.
Lorey Hayes is a playwright and actress of screen, stage and television, having performed on and off Broadway and across the continent, and has starred on television and in many films including DREAMGIRLS (starring Beyonce, Eddie Murphy and Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson). With a desire to create vivid characters with substance and telling her own stories, Lorey began writing with fervor and her plays have been performed from Los Angeles to New York receiving critical acclaim and awards including the coveted Audelco award. Currently, a Screenwriting Fellow for the Bill Cosby/Guy Hanks Screenwriting Program at USC, Lorey continues to hone her writing skills. Excerpts from several of Lorey’s plays are currently being featured in the CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox Diversity Showcases. (See Biography below.) For Interviews, please contact Miss Hayes at (323) 363-0596.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Here are the semifinalists for the 2007 Eileen Heckart Drama for Seniors Competion, out of 506 scripts submitted; AAPEX is represented well!
Ten Minute Plays
Evelyn Jean Pine,
Linda Holland Rathkopf,
One Act Plays
Jay D. Hanagan,
Judy Carlson Hulbut,
Maureen Brady Johnson,
Robert L. Kinast,
Bonnie Rozanksi, Lawrenceville, NJ: Still-Life With Dog
The competition was particularly brisk this year; there were 506 scripts submitted, in the following categories:
151 ten minute plays
160 one act plays
185 full length
The next Heckart Drama for Seniors Competition is scheduled for 2009
Produced by HERE Art Center
Text and video by James Scruggs
Directed by Kristin Marting
Music by Steve Adorno
Video effects by Hal Eagar
Production design by Michael O’Reilly
Please prepare a 2-3 minute classic monologue (preferably not Shakespeare).
You may also be asked to read cold and/or move.
Rus: A 40ish man of color (African American/ Latino). He is a dancer, a mambo dancer. He lives to dance. He works a menial job to survive. Married to a woman he fell very much in love with, and conflicted about his feelings for her and now finds it impossible to even discuss. He is not a worldly man, he is simple and direct and believes any emotional issues should be solved without professional help. Rus is Icarus, his marriage, his island jail, Sonny his wings of wax.
RUS, inspired by the myth of Icarus, is about boundaries, what happens when one becomes distracted and leaves the comforts of the world one knows, to experience an intense heightened pleasure-consumed existence. Incorporating video, text, an experimental video puppet rig and dance, this project is the fourth collaboration among Scruggs as writer/video designer, Kristin Marting as director/choreographer and Hal Eagar as media effects designer.
In the myth, Icarus became overwhelmed by the sensations he experienced from flight, which made him push past the limitations and rules of his world. In RUS, four characters—a husband and wife, the Other Man and a video puppet—inhabit this visceral world where dance and gesture become a type of communication and layered video projections suggest scenic elements, powerfully integrated into the storytelling. RUS’ textual layer follows the lives of the four characters: Rus is a mambo dancer with a day job, a passionate man of color who has lost the passion he once felt for his wife Sirene. She is a dancer as well and a very modern African American woman living in denial. Sonny calls himself a Sacred Intimate, but he really is a sex worker whose big attribute is his amazing lack of limitations. Rus and Sonny meet when Rus accidentally hits Sonny with his car. Their relationship is based on Rus’s enormous guilt, which Sonny uses to draw Rus into his dark world.
Workshops : 4-5 rehearsals Aug 15 –30 with excerpt presentation on early September and 4-5 rehearsals Oct - Nov with excerpt presentation on mid November.
Full production: Rehearsals: January 2- February 14. Rehearsals will mostly be full cast. We will rehearse approximately 30 hours a week. Our schedule will be a mixture of daytime and evening, dependent upon cast’s schedules.
Performances: four weeks, February 15 - March 15, Thurs - Mon 8:30pm
Pay: $150 for each workshop and $150 per week for regular rehearsals and performances
AEA - pending casting
Playwright: Jamal Williams
Casting Director: Timothy Aaron-Styles
Casting: Timothy Aaron-Styles/ TAS Casting
(770) 787. 1137
Dorothy Dandridge: 42 years old (LEAD)
The staged reading of this One-Woman Show will take place only on
Sunday, July 22, 2007 in the Auditorium of the Atlanta-Fulton Public
Library's Central Branch located at 1 Margaret Mitchell Square,
Atlanta, Georgia 30303.
Actor must be able to make rehearsal in Atlanta prior to the scheduled reading.
Although this reading will take place during the National Black Arts
Festival, it is not officially affiliated with the National Black Arts
Audition tapes/DVD's can be sent to:
10260 Blackwell Street
Covington, Georgia 30014
Monday, July 2, 2007
Material: Short Plays that would be of dramatic and cultural value to Chinese students.
Jianqui Sun, the editor of “An Anthology of Contemporary American Short Plays” published by the Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press in Beijing, is looking for American playwrights who might be interested in submitting short plays that would be of dramatic and cultural value to Chinese students. The plays are printed both in English and Chinese and the collection is being used in University classes in China. If you are interested in helping to spread the word (or submitting your own work), contact Sun by email: email@example.com. (You may have to change your “text encoding” from Western European to Chinese.)
Material: Short Plays (set at particular sites)
This is how it works. For the first event…to give you an idea, the box office was set up on the fifth floor of a down-town parking garage in a mid-sized city. The first two plays were performed there, then the audience was lead to the back of a seedy hotel for two more plays. Then, we went to an empty store, the city hall, back to the empty store and finally, the last three pieces were performed in a bar.
This is what I am looking for. Short plays...anything from one or two minutes, to ten or twelve. The plays “must” be written to be performed in a particular site. Use your imagination...but if you give me a play that happens on a train, and I don’t have a train, we won’t do the play.
Here is a link to information about the Kitchener-Waterloo area (just west of Toronto), if you’d like to get a feel for it: www.kwtourism.ca.
Here are a some ideas for sites...
- Fire escape
- Shoe store
- City Hall (There is a huge fountain outside)
- There are some tiny parks - green spaces
- On the street
- Art Gallery
- Empty store (could be anything)
Notes - The hospital, police station, library...all too far to walk to. There is no industry downtown. Please don’t send plays that take place in an apartment, on a front porch, in a condo…etc…think urban. Please don’t send plays that have a distinctly American feel as we are celebrating our own community with this event.
Direct all questions and submissions via email, attention Paddy, to: firstname.lastname@example.org. I prefer docs to pdf, because I can remove the playwright’s name and have the directors reading blind. I love when I get a play with the first page separate.
The process goes like this. I have six directors...I will have already done the first go-throughs...a pile of no plays...usually because the sites don’t work, and a pile of maybes. The directors read them, pick their top three, we meet, we discuss, we decide.
As a playwright, I produced this event with the playwrights much in mind. I connected each director with their playwright, so they could discuss, the playwrights were paid a dollar a minute a night, I sent programs, posters, flyers, etc. along with the cheques. The royalties are a dollar a minute a night.
Sunday, July 1, 2007
“No one will make this.”
“Your work is incredibly creative and imaginative. In addition, you are one of the most prolific writers I've come across. I just feel I'm not connecting (on some level) with your work...and I don't really know why.”
“They’re not looking for Black talent at this time.”
“No one will come and see this.”
“If I was on the phone with a producer or artistic director and was posed with the question: 'Tell me about Aurin Squire and his work' ....well...I'm not sure I can really do you justice.”
These are excerpts from a few of the many notices I’ve gotten from producers, agents, and other talent. They have been delivered to me in letters, e-mails, and phone conversations. Now to be clear these are the nice ones. Normally a rejection note isn’t longer than the few standardized sentences: ‘thank you, but no thanks,’ ‘it was a tough decision,’ ‘keep on writing ’I appreciate each and every one of these notices. They let me know that I’m not crazy.
I started writing because I thought maybe there was something wrong with me. I went to predominantly White, upper-class schools growing up and was often the only Black person in the honors classes. I would sit, listen, and observe. I would take the tests, raise my hand to use the restroom, always had A’s in conduct. Occasionally, a classmate would ask for my opinion about something Black or would want to touch my hair. I would mumble a reply and flee as quickly as possible from the scene.
As a defense, I perfected the mask. This was the expression I would wear on my face throughout school. The mask said ‘leave me alone, I’m thinking.’ Among my classmates I gained the reputation of being aloof. A few teachers even asked me if I was autistic or had some sort of speech impediment? I would shrug my shoulders and mumble a reply. But in my head I was screaming all the time.
I started writing because I thought I was the only one who saw things differently from what the teachers taught, from what I read in the newspaper, or saw on TV. It was quite maddening to have school and media tell me the world is one way but to see, hear and feel in my soul that this was a lie. It made me doubt my own instinct and my own sense of the world. It made me think that I was insane.
Everything changed in college. To be different, to think differently became a badge of honor. I lived in an international dorm with students from around the world. We were all different, mixed up, a little confused and upset about it. At Northwestern, I wrote for the school newspaper, reported for the Chicago Tribune, produced documentaries, wrote plays and screenplays. It felt like I opened up my head and that internal voice ran out stark naked, screaming and crying and laughing.
I saw myself as expanding, growing fuller, more defined, more colorful with each work. There were no limits in my mind so why would there be restrictions in my words? It all gushed out of me in poems, short stories, newspaper reports, magazine articles, theatre, film of all genres. One day a professor asked about my writing: ‘so what are you?’
I am young. I am Black. I am gay. I am gifted...
The declarative sentences rolled through my head. But I wasn’t asked for the sum of my parts. I understood the question. I was being asked for one thing that was to be my voice, the stamped slogan attached to my writing.
At first I was encouraged to be more Black, to read more August Wilson and Toni Morrison, to emulate Amiri Baraka and Lorraine Hansberry. It all seemed phony. These writers were great, but they were not me, they had their own voice, from their own neighborhood and their own time.
I saw race as important, but not as the end-all, be-all. I didn’t grow up in the civil rights era or in stifling oppression. The racial divisions I saw in my life were more subtle and nuanced. The ones I read about from Richard Wright to James Baldwin had characters that were either cartoonishly evil or the reincarnation of Christ. I had never met any of these people in my life.
I went through what defined me, but couldn’t find anything that stood alone by itself. I could not separate the parts of my identity –my race, my sexuality, my age, my birthplace- any more than I could separate my right side from the left. I noticed the letters and conversations started changing. The quality of my writing was no longer in question. The problem was the voice. I was repeatedly told that my works were ‘too complicated’ and that ‘no one would want to hear about it.’
I was threatened with being another frustrated un-produced writer if I didn’t make compromises. And that’s when the light bulb went off in my head. It wasn’t about the fact that I was young, Black, gay, or anything else. It was about the fact that I choose to incorporate the whole of me into my work, without compromise. That my voice was still running around, unclothed, unleashed and unapologetic.
Many people, who truly do think that have my best interest in mind, have encouraged me to tone myself down. When I look at what’s out there, they have a point. The opportunities for new African American artists have diminished in mainstream theatre and movies. Yet we are desperate for new African American voices that are without compromise. Not because it is the right thing to do, or to be fair to minorities, but because there is a wealth of art and entertainment that has been unexplored, and there is an enormous amount of profit –financial and spiritual- to be gained. There are countless blockbuster movies, mega-musicals, successful dramas that go un-produced every year because they don’t fit into neat categories. And still there is the audience, which grows more and more hungry each year for work that is immediate and relevant, for something that is messy and alive with the new. This is an open secret: audiences are always excited about the very thing which most scares producers and investors: risky art and entertainment. When will the supply meet the demand?
We need both producers and theatres to support African American artists, and artists who speak to the whole of their existence. More than anything else, Black writers have to rise above the simplification of ourselves. We are not just gospel plays, and ‘black mama’ dramas. We are epic, we are tragic, we are Shakespearean, we are absurdist, existentialist, nihilistic, apocalyptic. We are the complete experience of life.
Now I can read the all the notices –good and bad- with a sense of peace. I take the criticism. Whether constructive and reductive, I listen and thank people for a piece of their time. They make not like what they hear, but they will never doubt its authenticity.
I don’t question the truth of my writing. I can improve the technique, master new tricks, learn from great authors of the past and from my generation. I don’t, however, question my voice. The only question I have when I look at America’s entertainment, is when theatres and production companies tap into this open secret, and when will we start to tap into it ourselves?