Thursday, December 30, 2010

AAPEX's Best New Play for 2011: RAP by Alan Aymie


I read a lot of scripts. It usually takes me a day or two, sometimes a week, but every now and then one comes along that grabs me by the brain and pulls me through in a single sitting.

Such a script is RAP - AAPEX's "Best New Play 2011" by Los Angeles based play playwright Alan Aymie. Maybe it's because I live in "Music City USA" where all is fair in love and stardom, but this scathing satire of the music industry has a very visceral effect on me. And on top of that, it is a very producible script, the kind you can't wait to hand over to the actors and get on it's feet. So I asked Alan to tell us about himself and the play and herewith:
Jaz Dorsey

What role did theatre and the arts play in your childhood and upbringing?

Growing up, I was on my own a lot as a child. This was probably a self-imposed exile – at least most times but whatever the reason I often found myself at the center of my own self-created adventures where I, inevitably, served my role as the noble hero fighting off dragons, monsters and demons in whatever new story I had created in my mind to act out. On those times when I wasn’t alone, I was often with my Dad at his record store. My father owned a record store in Boston when I was a kid. He had always loved music and was in a Doo Wop group when he was younger. His first job in the music industry was working for James Brown – promoting his music to radio stations along the East Coast. He had become friendly with James and several other R& B groups during the 60’s & 70’s. It was his love of music – more specifically soul music – that fed my own artistic urgings to express myself as well. Although, I remember being in school plays as a kid, it is those memories of my father’s record store, the performers who would visit it and my dad’s utter joy at singing along to the radio that led to my life in the Performing Arts.


Tell us about your own evolution as an artist.

I evolved as an artist in probably the most backwards way anyone can – growing up I wanted to wear a suit. My father, with a box of 45’s under each arm, was the only dad in my town that didn’t carry a briefcase or wear a suit and I would hate it because growing up as an Arab-American in Boston, I felt we stood out enough already. Certain names I was called – words that were written on our sidewalk left me as a young boy feeling I was “less than” and all I wanted was to find a way to fit in with the status quo. In these pursuits, I ended up going to college to get a business degree and subsequently, a job where I could wear that proverbial “suit”. What is funny and quite ironic now is that the only moments of those college years where I actually felt like I fit in were the few opportunities I had to perform on stage. However, several years later, in my “suit” job – bored and miserable, I found myself being promoted to Baltimore, MD where my future as a well-paid, bored and miserable sales manager seemed certain until a sales trip where I ended up seeing August Wilson’s FENCES at a regional theater in Norfolk, Virginia. That night, I knew I had found what I want to do with my life. On the ride back to Baltimore, I quit my job and called the University of MD to ask for an application to their Theater Arts program. I went on to get my BFA and worked professionally in DC before moving to LA by way of NY. Eventually I started writing and the first “play” I ever wrote and performed was a 45-minute solo piece about a young man that has to kill a rat in his girlfriend’s kitchen. I performed that piece at a very chic jazz club here in LA and ended up clearing nearly the entire restaurant before I finished. As I sadly collected my belongings and prepared to leave in utter failure, a man walked up to me and said, “Congratulations, you are now officially a playwright.” I guess that was the first step.

What inspired you to write RAP and what has been the evolution of this project?

I wrote this piece as a thank you gift for a very dear friend, James Brown-Orleans, who had directed me in a solo piece that I had written. The solo play went on to be produced in LA, NY & the HBO Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, CO and James was there every step of the way. I never paid him a cent for his service and he never asked. I ended up writing my play RAP as a showcase piece for him as a way of saying, “Thank you”. The first reading we did, James sang and played his guitar for the audience for over an hour before the reading. It was a true example of Art imitating Life. That night, there happened to be a casting agent from Disney’s The Lion King in the audience and James was cast in the travelling company for it. He has since been promoted to the Broadway cast and has been performing the show there ever since so I guess I’m all paid up. The play itself, however, came to a halting stop after losing James as the task of finding an actor who could sing, rap as well as create the two very diverse personalities of the African KWAME and the urban African-American rap singer, MC BLING-BLING proved to be daunting – if not impossible. The play was shelved and probably would have never seen the light of day if it weren’t for an impromptu conversation with a casting director here in LA where another actor’s name came up. This actor, James Black, went on to not only perform the role brilliantly but inspire many rewrites of the main character as well and I – and the play - are eternally grateful.

What are your thoughts on LA as a center for African American theatre?

My thoughts on LA as a center for theater – any theater - is that it is quite difficult for a flower to grow in the shadow of a large tree. Here in LA, unlike any other city in the country, there exists a tree - a behemoth known as the Film & TV Industry that casts a fairly large shadow over the theatrical landscape. The theater that is produced here in LA often seems gnarled and twisted, as any living thing would if it were trying to reach the light. There seems to be two very distinct approaches to creating theater here in LA which consists of either a very purposeful attempt to ignore this giant shadow or a more desperate and obvious attempt to cater to it – either of which fails to serve theater’s true purpose, which, I believe, is to shed light onto the horizon of the human condition. In regards to African-American theater – more specifically African-American Theater produced here in LA – the challenge of going beyond the shallow entertainment-generated stereotypes without simply becoming “political theater” is a fine balance. And although the loss of great artists such as August Wilson, have devastated the nation’s theatrical landscape – more specifically, African-American Theater, great voices such as Suzan-Lori Parks continue to shine a bright light onto the horizon.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mark Clayton Southers named Artistic Director for August Wilson Center for African American Culture


Mark Clayton Southers and André Kimo Stone Guess,
President and CEO of August Wilson Center of
African American Culture

Last month, after nearly two decades at U.S. Steel's Irvin Plant, Mr. Southers, 48, quit his job as a heavy equipment operator. He was a finalist for a job as the artistic director of a Fort Worth, Texas-based theater company.

When that job fell through, Mr. Southers assumed he would simply have more time than originally planned to figure out his next move. He was committed to pursuing his calling as a playwright and director with the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre, the regional company he founded.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10336/1107552-192.stm?cmpid=IPHONEAPP#ixzz16xiHgCGS

Sunday, November 28, 2010

AAPEX Interview: Charles Rule

Charles Rule

Interview by Jaz Dorsey, Director of Education, The African American Playwrights Exchange

Charlie Rule of Portland, Oregon, exemplifies the spirit in which AAPEX was founded. A playwright himself, Charlie has taken on the mission of moving the work of another AAPEX writer forward.

BILLIE' BLUES TONIGHT AT MAMA'S JAM, by AAPEX artist Hershell Norwood, is a new play about legendary blues singer Billie Holiday. BILLIE'S BLUES was the first play to receive an AAPEX staged reading at NYC's Players Club in March, 2008. Following that reading, the script was picked up by producer T. Bankole and presented at The Cherry Lane Theatre as part of the 2008 Downtown Urban Theatre Festival.

Now Charlie is preparing BILLIE'S BLUES for three staged readings, January 22, 28 & 29, as part of Portland's Fertile Ground Festival.

I asked Charlie to tell us something about himself. Here is what he had to say:

It began at R.L. Sabin grade school in Portland Oregon. Fourth grade. It was election time for school offices. I picked Fire Marshal. Figured it would be the easiest job. Living in a foster home often diminishes self worth as one discovers no one really wants you.
The moment little Charlie placed his foot on the stage, magic ran through him. I still feel that moment. Looking warily at the students I announced, "I don't really want to be a Fire Marshall. I just like standing up in front of people and talking." Never got the job.

If you had two legs and walked, I could imitate you. Got into a lot of trouble doing that. English teacher, Mr. Louis Maxfield, Waldport Oregon, steps into the picture. Catches me imitating him in the class. Gives me two choices. Copy out of the dictionary for two weeks every night after school, or be in the high school play. I realize there are girls in plays. A scholarship as a student understudy to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, finalizes my lust for standing up in front of people and blabbering away.

Through several misadventures I end up in San Francisco. Mentored by Larry Menkin (Screen writer), find myself not only acting, but directing as well. Meet Tennessee Williams, am allowed to sit in on rehearsals as Mr. Williams re-works "Two-Character Play". This takes me to Amsterdam, the Netherlands. From there to Vienna and the International Theatre. Worked as an actor, directed and taught workshops. Following that, found myself returning to Portland.

Begin working on a script about a slave who bought his freedom by playing the fiddle. Through AAPEX and a fellow I have come to know as Jazmn, received a script by Hershell Norwood. Being a Jazz fanatic, fell in love with the story.

Thanks to AAPEX and Jazmn, am producing/directing Mr. Norwood's "Billie's Blues-Tonight at Mama's Jam". Should you be out this way or are already here, start the New Year off by seeing this play. If you haven't been bitten by the lust for standing up in front of people and blabbering away, you might well be after seeing this show.

Charles Rule

To see a video trailer Mr. Rule made for the production, please click here.

Please click here to visit Fertile Ground website.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

AAPEX Interview: Prav Menon-Johansson


Much to my delight (and surprise), AAPEX is looking forward to a London reading of Michael Bradford's stunning new play OLIVES AND BLOOD, about the assassination of Spanish poet/playwright Federico Garcia Lorca. The reading came about serendipitously but would not be taking place if it were not for the interest and commitment of a very industrious director/producer named Prav Menon-Johansson. I asked Prav to tell us something about herself and here is what she had to say.
Jaz

What role did theatre and the arts play in your childhood and upbringing?
I grew up in suburban London where the major influence for culture was the world of Bollywood movies. I was always struck with the emotional content of the films – the young woman running across the top of the mountain singing about her lost love, dancers always appearing like a Greek chorus from nowhere. The world of these movies was very colorful and without realizing it I was immersed in a very passionate ‘theatrical’ art form.

Tell us about your own evolution as an artist.
I began my artistic career as a set and costume designer. My first set design was at the ADC Theatre at the University of Cambridge, England - The House of Bernarda Alba by Lorca. I trained in design at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and when I was living in Boston (2006-2008), I designed After Ashley for Company One (resident company at the Boston Center for the Arts(BCA)), Sacred Hearts for Zeitgeist Stage and a number of other productions. All design work can be seen on www.pravmj.com. Living in the vibrant theatre community in Boston inspired me to train as a director at the American Repertory Theatre (ART). I directed for Way Theatre Artists The Kiss by Mark Harvey Levine in FeverFest 2007 and also participated in SLAMBoston 2007. Also I was assistant to Paul Daigneault for the Mystery of Edwin Drood for SpeakEasy Stage.

What took you to London and what have you done/are you doing there?
Since coming back to London in 2008 I have directed premieres of plays - The Choir by Errol Bray (Australian) Busted Jesus Comix by David Johnston (USA). In 2010 I founded Liminal Space Productions to focus on new contemporary writing – American Bytes and American Bytes Back, an evening of new, ten minute American plays that introduced this genre to British audiences and Lashings of Whipped Cream by Fiona Samuel (New Zealand) which was part of the Nursery Festival. All directing work can be seen on www.pravmjdirect.com.

Share with us about this reading of Olives & Blood.
I am very excited about staging Olives and Blood in London. My love for the South of Spain and Lorca deepened when I went to Spanish school for a month in Seville where the passion and pain is felt in the terrain, unlike anything in the north of Spain. I flew to Granada at the end of October 2010 to discuss the nuances of the play with Michael Bradford and after the meeting I felt it would be beneficial to have a reading of the play in London before he went back to the USA. At very short notice, Caravanserai Acting Studios have allowed us to use their space to mount this reading on December 15th 2010 at 7:30 pm and Michael Bradford will be hosting a Q & A at the reading.

Prav Menon-Johansson
Mobile: 07799 412328
Website: www.pravmjdirect.com

Monday, June 28, 2010

1000th Post: Call for Plays

I have been asked to help initiate a dinner theatre project at a new venue here in Nashville called BRICKHOUSE. I would love to hear about any scripts which might be right for us. Right now we're looking for comedies with smaller casts (6 maximum) and minimal production requirements. Also & especially one person shows that are on the lighter side. You can email me here.
Jaz

Re our 1000th post. It all began over 3 years ago on April 30, 2007 with this post: Art is in the DNA of Species Memory. In that time, AAPEX has chronicled for better or worse the state of African-American theatre on a national level. Our roster of African-American playwrights and playwrights of the African-American experience is arguably the best if not the only one of its kind on the Net. Today we list 228 playwrights, 183 with direct Internet links of some sort. We also list 88 African-American theatre companies with Internet links and a list of African-American cultural and theatrical resources. One click will take you there and to them.

We regularly post any news on any kind of African-American theatre productions, readings, and call for plays. We especially champion those playwrights/producers who are pro-active in their careers who aren't waiting on the sidelines for somebody to stage their work by posting our AAPEX Interviews. Without any funding or financial support, AAPEX has also mounted numerous readings across the U.S. with many occurring in the heart of this country's biggest theatre city: New York.

And we do this for our playwrights without asking for any financial compensation. Why? So your voices can be heard. And because you and your genre will always suffer the slings and arrows of a bad economy long before it reaches white theatre companies and the white patrons that support them. Because most American theatre companies are white, your plays full of African American characters must look elsewhere. With your options decidedly smaller, you're left with a limited number of African-American theatres with shoe string budgets and profit margins so narrow that new works are rarely given a chance to succeed or fail since failure in AA theatre is, in most instances, a fine way to go bankrupt.

Unfortunately, even for us, lack of financial support is putting the kabosh on what we've been trying to do. This may well be the last post. The people behind AAPEX need to start focusing on getting jobs for ourselves. To that end, posting may very well come to an end with this one.

Still, you can follow this exciting period in African-American theatre by beginning with our Blog Archive at the bottom and following it backwards. Although this may be the last post until we can find a sponsor or funding, the AAPEX blog will continue to exist in cyberspace as a record of three years of African-American theatre and as a tool for producers to find playwrights. With the number of playwrights and AA theatre companies we found over the last three years this is, in our mind despite the economy and because of the abundance of great writing-- even if it never gets produced-- the Golden Age of African-American theatre.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

DeeWorks Live! 4pm to 7pm Today

Please click image to enlarge.

Be sure to tune in today and check out our live in-studio spotlight artist of the week: Tenin.

Also, today's show topic is cliches: why do we use them and what do we really mean? Email us your favorite cliches and what you think they really mean to deeworkslive@gmail.com or call in at 1-877-849-1975 or 1-866-490-2234.

Please click post's title to listen in and to participate in today's show.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Casting Call: ResurGENTs: The Reappearance of Hope (NYC)

Black Obsidian Group is accepting submissions from African American and Hispanic actors (20's - 30's) for future replacements in ResurGENTs: The Reappearance of Hope, a new millennium choreopoem by Lawrence Floyd and Damion Sanders. Directed by Patricia R. Floyd. Please e-mail pictures and resumes to levans912@aol.com. Auditions will be held by appointment only in NYC. ResurGENTs will be presented at the 2010 Midtown International Theatre Festival (midtownfestival.org) July 12, 17, 22, 23, 31 and August 1 at the June Havoc Theatre in Manhattan. The play is scheduled to perform in London August 2-8, 2010.

ResurGENTs explores the rise of the Black Man in the geo-political era of President Barack Obama. Through poetry, monologues, singing and dancing, five Black men speak about life, love and freedom. They take us on a spiritual journey from the present to slavery, in his relationships as well as his politics. ResurGENTs is a resurrected love song.

Seeking strong actors who are a quick study with the ability to handle poetry, prose, and move well. Singing and/or rapping a plus.

Source: Terrance Spivey

Red Harlem Readers-- Final Sunday until Fall

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Final Week begins this Friday: Woody King, Jr's New Federal Theatre Reaching Out (NYC)

Please click image to enlarge.
Please click post's title to visit the New Federal Theatre website
for more information and to buy tickets.

This is the final weekend of the Great Black Plays & Playwrights Reading Series. Some of this final weekend features: Terria Joseph, Jay Unger, T. Renee Mathis, Amari Cheatom, and another appearance by Ms. Ruby Dee!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mount your short at the New Orleans Fringe Fest

New Orleans Fringe welcomes innovative, risky, wild, challenging,
original theater of all types for the 2010 Festival November 17-21.
Applications are now available and are due July 1. Please click the
post's title to visit website for an application.

Virtually any type of theater performance is welcome to apply. We
particularly encourage original works or innovative adaptations.
Categories include: cabaret, circus arts, comedy, dance, drama,
improvisational, interdisciplinary, multimedia, musical theater, one
man/woman, performance art, poetry, puppetry, storytelling, burlesque,
sideshow, spoken word, variety and other creative madness.

All shows must be between 30 and 60 minutes. Three performance slots.
$25 application fee with no performance fee. Box office returns are
split with performers.

The New Orleans Fringe is an exciting emerging theater festival in a
city that has always welcomed wild, weird, fresh and original artists.
Come be a part of the Fringe!

Deadline to apply: JULY 1st

Monday, June 21, 2010

Javon Johnson's SANCTIFIED opens 7/22 (Nashville)

Please click image to enlarge.

Greetings!

This production has 7 original songs, (6) I have personally written myself. It is complimented with the musical expertise of Mr. Malcolm Dean and the vocals of a highly talented Cast! If you love comedy be prepared to laugh until you cry!

Here's the scoop, Pastor Harold P. Jones has gotten a vision from GOD but he is faced with a congregation that has their own ideas about how the church should be ran! When the two meet...get ready for the fireworks cause something is bound to happen. Don't miss this Hilarious stage play!

Please click image to enlarge.
Cast Picture: Back Row (L-R) Quincie Farabee, Darren Benedict, Angela Boyd, Darius Willis,Ashley Bishop, Maurice Bullard,Kenny Dozier, Geri Vaughn, Robin Wilson.
Front Row (L-R) Elliot Robinson and Gene Smalley.
Picture taken by Lexion Studios

The Director, Kenny Dozier has surrounded himself with some of Nashville’s best production support such as Alexis Lherrison- Stage Manager; Malcolm Dean - Music Director;
and Nomalanga (Nomi) Eniafe - Choreographer.

SANCTIFIED
by Javon Johnson
Friday - Sunday July 23 - August 8

Preview July 22 @ 7:30 pm tickets half price this show only! @ door
Performances Dates July 23 - Aug 8:
July 23 @ 8:30, July 24 @ 8, July 25 @ 6, July 30 @ 8:30, July 31 @ 8,
Aug 1 @ 6, Aug 6 @ 8:30, Aug 7 @ 8, Aug 8 @ 6.

The VILLAGE CHURCH
211 NORTH 11TH STREET
NASHVILLE, TN 37206

$10 (online) or $15 @ door
Group rates and details call (615) 730-0581

Please click the post's title to visit the Kennie Playhouse Theatre website.

Thank you,
Kenneth Dozier

(615) 730-0581
Email- dozierk@gmail.com

Sunday, June 20, 2010

DeeWorks Live! 4pm to 7pm Today


Happy Father's Day from DeeWorks Live!

To everyone who is celebrating Father's Day, we send you best wishes and fond memories. For me, it is again one of those bittersweet rememberance days that break my heart and yet brings a smile to my face. The message that I would like to share is that Fathers, it is never too late to make amends with your children if your relationship is non-existent or compromised. Make the move to make amends while you yet have breath. To the men who have stepped forward to father children that you did not birth, we extend to you the 6.2 second hands clapping from DJ DMix (smile). Tune in today to hear the poem I wrote in tribute to My Father.

"Because of You" by Dee Spencer

Because of you, I know what a father's love feels like, looks like, smells like, cares like, be's like.

Because of you I know that a father's love feels like the one and only time I remember you whipping my butt because my grades weren't exactly right.

My heart sank with hurt because I thought you didn't love me, Man that feeling kept me up all night

Because of you I know that a father's love looks like 6'3........tune into DeeWorks Live! today to hear me recite the full poem live on the air.
To tune in, please click the post's title.

You are invited to call in and give your Father's Day wishes, greetings, tributes

1-877-849-1975 or 1-866-490-2234

Too shy to talk over the air? Go to the shout box and type your greeting we will read it over the air or put the message on our facebook wall.

Today's special guest will be:
Anthony L. Elder,
author of
The Common Man's Book
Your Intangible Assets
"Five Simple Ways to Success"
www.yiassets.com

Tune in to find out how I met Denzel Washington ummmm hmmmm, you want to know don't you

Thanks for all your love and support - WE NEED YOU TO HELP US GROW.

How you can help:

* Tune in to our show every Sunday from 4pm - 7pm EST - you can listen to the show no matter where you live. Log in at: www.myeliteradio.com or link to us from www.deeworkslive.com
* Go to our websites often for updates.
* Watch us live on ustream at www.ustream.tv/deeworkslive
* Come to our live events - NJ Performance Lab - every other Thursday starting April 8, 2010 - www.njperformancelab.com
* Book Sis Peeola for your next event - www.sispeeola.com
*
* Advertise or become a sponsor of our show email deeworkslive@gmail.com for affordable advertising rates and information - sponsorship opportunities as low as $25.00
* Book us to DJ/Host your next party or event with DJ DMix and Dee Spencer
* Be sure to let us know if we can be of service to you - we cater to the independent artists, new businesses, entrepeneurs, new theatre productions, shows
* ADD US TO YOUR PRAYER LIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

American Black Film Fest 6/23-26 (Miami Beach)

``We're in a difficult time right now for independent movies,
and these gatherings are like family reunions.
They help to pass on strength to other filmmakers to get up and do your thing --
grab your camera, find your actors and shoot your stuff.''
--Lee Daniels

This is the kind of advice AAPEX has been advocating since day one. Whether you are a playwright, screenwriter, novelist or something in between, it is imperative that you do not wait on the "kindness of strangers" to get your stuff seen, read, or staged. Be proactive when it comes to your career.

Lee Daniels, the Oscar-nominated director of Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, will be honored with a special career tribute at the Lincoln Theatre on Saturday.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Red Harlem Readers-- Last Sunday until Fall

Please note, this will be the last reading until Fall.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Week 3: Woody King, Jr's New Federal Theatre Reaching Out (NYC)

Please click image to enlarge.
Only 2 more weekends left. Get your $10 tickets today!
For more information and to purchase tickets, please click the post's title.

Monday, June 14, 2010

August Wilson's FENCES wins THREE 2010 Tony Awards

Best Actor
Denzel Washington

Best Actress
Viola Davis

Best Play Revival
FENCES

Please click the post's title to learn more and to buy tickets.
Show ends July 11th.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

DeeWorks Live! 4pm to 7pm Today


We were out of the studio on last week and missed everyone, hope that you missed us. Find out all that happened while we were away. We have lots to report starting with the great adventure on the way to Great Adventure. Find out how we were in the middle of a full on police manhunt that included troopers with guns and of course you know I have video.


Don't miss today's show we will be interviewing Ms. Kim Tumey, Celebrity Broker to the Stars.

Kim Tumey, known as "The Celebrity Broker" negotiates on behalf of celebrities for movie roles, commercials, plays and endorsement deals as well as casting. KTE also handles Celebrity PR, Management, Booking and Event Planning. KTE's current and past clients include: actress Vivica A. Fox, actor Omar Benson Miller ("CSI: Miami", "Miracle at St. Anna" & "The Express" 2008), actor Brian White ("12 Rounds", "Fighting", "The Game Plan), Tumey is on the Advisory Board of P31.inc.org and is a member of NABFEME-ATL.


And Also we will be talking to Mr. Carrington Lopez about the launch of his upcoming comedy tour which has been rescheduled to July 10, 2010. Hosted by: yours truly, "The Working Lady" and featuring Sis Peeola Patterson. Tickets are now on sale $15.00

Congratulations to Writer, Producer, Director An Sean Fields for a successful premiere weekend of "The Virgin Mary Monologues". if you missed the show stay tuned for updates of future showsDee Spencer has just been named Director of the show.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Week 2: Woody King, Jr's New Federal Theatre Reaching Out (NYC)

Some of this second weekend features of Great Black Plays and Playwrights:
Glynn Turman, Micki Grant, Marcus Naylor, Joyce Sylvester, Lawrence Evans, and Marie Guinier.
Only three more weekends left. Tickets are $10.00.
Please click the post's title to see Week 2's schedule.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

AAPEX Interview: Joy Jones

Joy Jones

Why do you write plays?
Unlike a book or an article, where a writer is not a part of the reader’s direct experience, with a play, you get to see the audience’s reaction in real time, and without censorship. To watch them laugh at the parts you hoped were funny, and gasp at the twist in the plot you labored so hard to invent - what a pleasure! How exhilarating to see thoughts, feelings and situations so common to the human experience and yet so compelling, played out before your very eyes, in the company of others who have had the same thoughts and feelings, and have lived through similar situations! The immediacy and the intimacy I feel in the room and from the stage is such a thrilling energy. There’s no experience like it. I don’t understand how anybody could not like live theatre. It must be because they didn’t like a particular play, not the theatre experience itself.
What’s going on with Joy right now?
My play, ”Searching for a Signal” will be part of the inaugural DC Black Theatre Festival in August, 2010. If you’ve ever thought you had things under control, then - wham, now what? - life knocked you in a wholly different direction - then you’ve had a “Searching for a Signal” experience. The play is a set of monologues about how people respond to the unexpected and unwanted twists life dishes out.

I’m also co-producing a new web series called “Meat the Vegans” with the Eden Good show. “Meat The Vegans” is a reality show introducing meat-eaters to vegetarian food. Look for our launch in October, 2010.
An ongoing project is my work for The Spoken Word, my non-profit organization that uses the arts and culture to address issues in the community. Go to www.thespokenwordonline.org to learn about the Adult Double Dutch program, our creative writing workshops for mentally ill patients or to book the performance poetry group for a show.

Finally, I eventually plan to launch a blog expanding on the op-ed piece I wrote for The Washington Post, “Marriage is For White People.” I want to provide a forum for thoughtful, candid, out-of-the-box discussions on male-female relationships in the black community. If you want my newsletter, email me at
joyjones100@cs.com.
What are your thoughts of theatre in DC?
My only wish regarding theater in DC is for more diverse writers to be given voice. Translation: I’m still hoping for one of my plays to get a production on a main stage in town. Everyone’s worry is that if you take a chance you won’t make money, and that’s a reasonable concern. But with a little innovation in the marketing, along with the traditional ways of getting buzz, I think I can deliver an audience and fill the house with paying customers. Keep in touch to see if I can do it.

Please click the post's title to visit Joy Jones Online.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Petronia Paley Presents THE ACTOR'S LANGUAGE GYM (NYC)

Petronia Paley

Presents

THE ACTOR’S LANGUAGE GYM

VOCAL TRANSFORMATION: Voice, Body and Text Work

Are you too small for the stage or too big for the screen?

Develop techniques and tools to strengthen and shape your vocal and language skills with contemporary and classical texts.

· Free the Voice

· Text Analysis

· Heightened Language and Contemporary Text

· Kundalina Yoga

· Individual Attention

· Breath Awareness

· Be Confident--Be More

WHEN: July 24th Saturday

TIME From: 12:00 PM-3PM

PLACE: 889 Broadway (@19 Street NW corner) NYC

TUITION: $275


Instructors:

Petronia Paley, Chudney Sykes, Cathy Finlay

Chudney Sykes earned her BA at Brown University and an MFA in Theatre Arts at the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at ART/Harvard University through which she studied at the Moscow Art Theatre School in Russia. A working actress, she teaches and coaches actors on Vocal Technique, Text Analysis and Scene Study.


Cathy Finlay certified to teach yoga through the International Kundalini Yoga Teachers Association since 1998, is a Registered Yoga Teacher and founder of the New York Yoga Teachers Association. She continues to be inspired by students and teachers alike and endeavors to serve the yoga community through the richness of this ancient practice.


Petronia Paley ( Director, Actor, Playwright) Founder and Executive Director of I the Actor. has been teaching acting and coaching for over ten years. She’s teaches at the Puerto Rican’s Raul Julia Training Unit and has taught Solo Performance and Scene Study at FDCA, and New Federal Theatre. An award winning actor, she has been a professional actor for over thirty years and has performed in all areas of the business: stage, film, television, voiceovers, and commercials. She has performed classical roles fromShakespeare, Chekhov’s, the Greeks, and Williams to contemporary on / off-Broadway and regionally. She is a veteran of daytime, creating long running characters on Guiding Light and Another World. Her critical acclaimed one-woman show, On The Way to Timbuktu premièred at Ensemble Studio Theatre and was a part of Passage Theatre’s Soloflights. Directing credits: Truth Be Told at Ensemble Studio, Daughter at EST; Ascension, International Fringe Festival; Medea, Take Wings and Soar Productions; How Many Goodbyes Must We Say? Julia de Burgos Theatre; Spic Chic at Repertorio Espangol; Can We Dance? Henry Street Settlement She created FIRST READINGS, a play reading series for emerging playwrights, at theNuyorican Poets Cafe. She recently received the TWAS’s Earl Hyman Award for Excellence in Classical Acting. She is a member of the Actors Studio, Ensemble Studio Theatre. She has a BFA in Acting fromHoward University.


You Must Register

All Welcomed

Call: 917.518.4432

Email: petronia@itheactor.com


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Sunday, June 6, 2010

DeeWorks Live! 4pm to 7pm Today


The Best of DeeWorks Live!

Thanks to everyone who tuned in to our show on last week for our interview with Mr. Russel Blake and Ms. An Sean Fields.

Congratulations to cachegirl who tuned in and snagged two tickets to:"The Virgin Mary Monologues" see you at the show on June 11, 2010.

DeeWorks Live! will be airing the Best of Show on tomorrow as we will be out of the studio to attend the American Heart Association Recognition and Award Ceremony honoring Heroes and Survivors

for those who missed the announcement - DJ DMix was directly responsible for saving the life of one of his co-workers by performing CPR (chest compressions) and will be honored at this event at Great Adventure. Congrats again DJ DMix, we know that you are a Hero,because you save our show each week by playing great music.

Be sure to tune in and listen from 4pm - 7pm to hear the replay of Andre, Sis Peeola, Envy, and some other great moments from DeeWorks Live!

We will be back live in the studio on Sunday, June 13, 2010 with an interview with Ms. Kim Tumey, Celebrity Broker to the Stars and also live in the studio, Mr. Carrington Lopez talking about his upcoming comedy show which has been rescheduled to July 10, 2010.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Call for Plays

ATTENTION PLAYWRIGHTS!!! Workshop seeks scripts! (Midtown West)


Date: 2010-06-04, 12:42AM EDT
Reply to: see below


Manhattan-based theatre workshop affiliated with an Equity production company seeks scripts for staged readings and possible development. We will sponsor a table read of selected scripts, then work with the best pieces to produce a staged reading. Outstanding works may be optioned and developed for a full production. All submissions must meet the following criteria:

-Completed, full-length original stage play (no screenplays).
-English language.
-Appeals to a wide audience.
-Deals with mainstream issues and themes relevant to current society and culture.

To submit your work, please send the following in MS Word or .PDF format via e-mail:

-One-page summary.
-A paragraph describing your experience with or research on the subject matter (e.g., if your script is set in a restaurant, briefly relate how many years you've worked in the restaurant industry, in what positions, how the restaurant you worked at was similar to the one in your script, et cetera).
-Complete script.
-If a musical, three songs in .MP3 format along with lyric sheets.
-Brief author's biography, including previously produced works and awards.

If submitting a musical, you must be able to provide a rehearsal pianist/music director. Please send all materials to submissions@broadwaytheatrestudio.com -- incomplete submissions or documents in file formats other than those specified above will not be considered. For more information, please visit http://www.broadwaytheatrestudio.com.

Source: Craig's List NYC

Friday, June 4, 2010

AAPEX Interview: Jacquay Waller

Jacquay Waller

What role did theatre and the arts play in your childhood and upbringing?
Theater and the arts have always been a major part of my life; even before I realized it. I've been told that as a child I had a vivid imagination. For instance, when I was in Kindergarten, I talked to my class about my life on a farm and how I had lots of animals. Yeah, right! I was born and raised in the city of Memphis, Tennessee. There are no farms in the city limits (that I'm aware of). I have no idea of where I could have gotten that story. At a young age, I realized that I had a gift for drawing and writing. I was able to hone this by drawing with family members who could also draw. I would also mimic the handwriting of others because I enjoyed switching it up from time to time. Many times teachers would mistake my writing for that of a girl's. My parents supported my love for Art by enrolling me in art courses at Memphis State (now U of M) during the summer. I also did the occasional school play and Easter Speech. It wasn't until I got Jr. High School that I really got involved in the Performing Arts. I started training in Classical music with the Chorus which also gave me an opportunity to join a singing group. I was singing all over the country. It wasn't until high school that I had my first major exposure to theater. I was an understudy to the lead character "Alan" in "Babes in Toyland". Luckily for me, I was able to perform every show because I could sing and the lead could not. So, I got the opportunity to stand in and perform the singing parts. The next year, I was the lead. Keep in mind, that while I'm performing as an artist on stage I was also a Varsity football player. I think it was rather refreshing to switch between both worlds. When I went to Tennessee State University, I was selected (via audition) to join the TSU ShowStoppers under the direction of Diana Poe. This ensemble provided me with the opportunity to sing, dance, and act. It is where I grew to love the stage. It is also where I discovered I had a passion for acting.

Tell us about your own evolution as an artist.
I have grown leaps and bounds as an artist. I started my journey unknowingly as a “StoryTeller”. My next phase was drawing and handwriting duplication. Thereafter, I moved to singing, which I love, and I was actually ranked as one of the top singers in Tennessee and was selected for the All-State Chorus. What an Awesome Experience! While singing in High School, I was also acting, but that “bug” didn’t really bite me until college. When I got TSU, the world became my stage. I was a ShowStopper performing all around Nashville; I was on the Step team of my fraternity; I was in a theatrical ensemble under Dr. Lawrence James. I’ve always been active in school, but this was different. I was in leadership roles, performing on multiple staging, and utilizing multiple performance vehicles. It is where I learned that art can be a tool of guidance, motivation, and healing. When I moved to Atlanta, GA to attend Seminary at Emory University, I had no idea that my experience would birth my company, DreamCatcher Productions. Many people believe that Seminary students spend all of their time studying the Bible, but that’s not true. A lot of time is spent studying the Bible, but they also engage other cultures, religions, global issues, etc. I was tapped to direct a dramatic piece for the Black Church studies most prized event. This was my directorial debut. I learned so much from this experience and a fire was ignited in me to utilize theater as medium to evoke positive change in this world. A great example of this is my piece entitled “the Black Man-O-logues”. I felt compelled to write this piece after a class entitled “Sexuality and the Black Church”. This was a class of about 30 people. There were only about 3 men in the class and the rest were women. Boy, did we get jumped on that semester! It was at this moment I noticed the need for truthful dialogue about sex, church, relationships, and just plain life among men and women. The “Black Man-O-logues” examines love from a black males’ perspective. All of these stories are true accounts. Many highlight or shatter double standards that exist between men and women. The idea behind this type of theater is that one I raise certain issues, audience members can no longer pretend that they didn’t know the issue existed. Even though I’m an ordained minister, I never tell viewers what to think or how to react. I leave that up to them. I raise the issue and “lay it on their laps”. After leaving one of my shows, you can no longer pretend that you didn’t know about a particularly raised issue. For instance, I observe spousal abuse where the woman actually abuses the man. Believe it or not, many people don’t realize this issue exists.

What are your objectives as a playwright?

I have multiple objectives as a Playwright:
Theater is a branch of my ministry. It is a platform that allows me to unashamedly address social issues in an attempt to bring about change and healing. I don’t “sugar-coat” anything. I won’t tell people if the issue is right or wrong. That’s up to the individual to determine. It is my hope that they would examine their lives and surroundings and start to see how they can aid in developing a solution to the problems that cripple our society.
to create new thought-provoking material
to create material that forces the audience to look inward
to address stories that should be discussed in church, but are avoided because they’re perceived to be “inappropriate” for church, unpopular, or too risqué.
Force theatergoers to view content at face-value and examine their own lives to determine if they’re a part of the solution or a part of the problem.

What are your thoughts on Atlanta as a base for actors, playwrights and other members of the entertainment community?

As far as Atlanta being a base for actors, playwrights, and other entertainment community members, it is a growing base. There are a lot of major production companies, film companies, actors, and other entertainment professionals who are relocating or establishing a presence in Atlanta. I think Atlanta has a very bright future in the Entertainment industry because it is fairly young in the game as compared to New York and L.A. which are saturated. Many are starting to label Atlanta as the “Hollywood of the Southeast”. Some have even labeled it as “Black Hollywood”. It is a great time to begin establishing a name and a brand in the entertainment industry in Atlanta. The industry will only continue to develop, grow, and expand. As with real estate, one would definitely want to be on the front end of this movement than the back end of it.

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Synopsis of Blackman-o-logues
There are enumerable perspectives on black love. There is the love between a husband and wife; the love between a parent and child; the love between siblings; the love between best friends, the love of a community, etc., etc. "What runs through the head of a black man when he is confronted with the subject Love. Black Man-ologues offers answers to the question of "How Does a Blackman Express Love"? In this piece, nine diverse characters offer a montage of experiences and perspectives on black love."
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