Tuesday, July 31, 2007

"Are Women Human?" staged reading 8/1 and 8/2 (Brooklyn)

You are cordially invited to a staged reading of
"Are Women Human?"
This play was written by AAPEX member Nick Mwaluko, produced by Andre Lancaster.
Aug 1st & 2nd
South Oxford Space
138 South Oxford Street
(Between Harriet Tubman and Atlantic Avenues)
Trains: A,C to Lafayette 2,3,4,5,B,D,Q,N,R,W to Atlantic/Pacific.
Hope to see you.
Nick Mwaluko

Sunday, July 29, 2007

AAPEX Podcast 8/1, OWAFEST 8/4 (NYC), first AAPEX Nashville reading 9/4 (Fisk University)

Check out the August 1st issue of eLIFE Magazine (www.elifemagazine.net) for an article/podcast of the AAPEX Atlanta reading of YESTERDAY CAME TOO SOON: THE DOROTHY DANDRIDGE STORY by Jamal Williams, starring Jocelyn Key, directed by Andre Regan, hosted by Dr. Shirlene Holmes - with special thanks to casting director Timothy Aaron-Styles who arranged the podcast with eLIFE. We appreciate eLIFE publisher Andrea Berry's support for recognizing the work we are doing.

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

Looking for short screenplay that takes place in a diner

Found on Craig's List:

Reply to: gigs-382440756@craigslist.org 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.

Location: Glendale
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

Forbidden Fruit Theatre Company is accepting submissions

Forbidden Fruit Theatre Company is accepting submissions for its 2nd Annual Festival of One-Act Plays. The theme of this year's festival is "FAKING IT".

Submission Guidelines:
  • 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.

For more information, contact us at info@forbiddenfruittheatre.org or visit us on the web at www.forbiddenfruittheatre.org/.

Monday, July 23, 2007

OwaFest Preview August 4th (NYC)

The African American Playwrights Exchange
Jaz Dorsey, Exec. Director - 270 Tampa Drive - G9 Nashville TN 37211 - 615-837-8777

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
Henry Miller
April Matthis & Charles Miller

Date & Time:
Sat. Aug. 4, 2007 @ 7pm.
Trisha Brown Dance Company – 625 W. 55th Street NYC – 2nd Floor, Studio One

Seating is Limited so Please RSVP Jaz Dorsey (jasmn47@aol.com)

Nashville is a hotbed for African American Theatre.

Nashville, Tennessee Sunday, July 22, 2007

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.

Jaz Dorsey
The African American Playwrights Exchange
Nashville, Tennessee

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Would You Pay $7.00 to see...

"The Blacks"
Opening this Thursday at Tennessee State University

Shades of Black Call for Scripts

Shades of Black: Call for scripts
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

First Atlanta AAPEX Event Sunday, July 22nd

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


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
jazmn47@aol.com or at 615-837-8777

Wanted: Short screenplay with African American female lead

Found this on Craig's List today:
Looking for Short Screenplays to Purchase
Reply to: gigs-375115365@craigslist.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
Compensation: negotiable

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Taste of OwaFest: 8/4 (NYC)

OWAFEST is a celebration of African American Absurdism (& Satire)
For details please RSVP.

Attention must be paid - but first money must be raised

Friday, July 13, 2007

July 26-29th Houston Urban Theater Series

HOUSTON URBAN THEATER SERIES emerges on the Houston theatre scene with hard-hitting works from four of the nations emerging artists in urban contemporary theater.The theater festival is presented at the Silver House Theatre, located near downtown Houston.

"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.

Theatre and The Next Generation Panel Discussion hosted by Reginald Edmund
6:30pm Thursday, July 26th, 2007

7:30 P.M.
Written by James Gilliard
Stage Reading $7
After a 2-year hiatus, MC MANIFEST is back. Gone are the days of the gangster lyrics and opulent lifestyle. In its place are scriptures and verse. But not everyone believes he's sincere. His chief adversary Darlene Jenkins, of "Black World Newspaper," prepares to expose the truth. During an "anything goes" interview—stories will come to life, morality will be questioned and the truth will set them free.

Friday, July 27th, 2007
7:30 P.M.
Written by Dana Lynn Formby
Stage Reading $7
Locked in her apartment with a fistful of bullets and a gallon of gin Janet Huff puts herself on trial-- a murder trial. Inviting the audience to serve as her jury, casting her mother, a scrap-booking judgmental demon, as prosecutor and throwing her dad, a blue-collar prophetic alcoholic, on defense; Janet uncovers the pain and comedy life holds as she travels from girl to woman. Janet fulfills the dictionary definition of a woman when she becomes pregnant from a sax player, drops out of school and moves to Denver to become the mother of a child she will never have. From boobs to bleeding into adulthood Janet is left wondering: if she were a man would she be staring down the barrel of the .44 magnum her father gave her when she was 12.

Saturday, July 28th, 2007
7:30 P.M.
Written by Reginald Edmund
Stage Reading $7
Reverend John McHenry inherits leadership of a church in a dying neighborhood. But how do you create your own legacy, while protecting the heritage of those who have gone on before?

Sunday, July 29th, 2007
7:30 P.M.
Feature presentation: INSIDE / OUT
Written by Tom Coash
Directed by Aziza Anderson
Feature Presentation $20
Love, intimacy, and the ability to communicate are all at risk in Tom Coash's intensely emotional play INSIDE/OUT. Set in a prison trailer used for conjugal visits, a married couple's first night together in several years turns frightening as husband and wife discover how truly disconnected their lives have become during this enforced separation.

Hollywood agency looking for African-American screenwriters

The industry at-large has a shortage of qualified black writers and writer-directors (particularly those that can write beyond urban). We invite you to contact Cinematic-Instinct for management consideration. Please introduce yourself and a logline to info@cinematic-instinct.com high concept is always best. Attn: Seth

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 Presents "The Blacks" July 19th to 29th (Nashville)

The Tennessee State University Department of Communications Summer Stock Theatre Program will present Jean Genet's daring and provocative work THE BLACKS: A Clown Show (translated from French by Bernard Frechtman). Directed by Barry Scott, this production stars TSU theatre students along with noteworthy performers from the Nashville acting community. The artistic team includes set and lighting designs by TSU Technical Director Mark Collino, choreography by Patrick Moore and makeup and costume design by JK Hunter. THE BLACKS: A Clown Show will be performed at the Tennessee State University Performing Arts Center Cox / Lewis Theater, from July 19 through July 29, 2007.
For more information, please call Barry Scott at 615-963-5742 or email him at wbscott@Tnstate.edu.


Let's Party Together!
Storm the Bastille with Barry Scott and the cast of THE BLACKS

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 reading Sunday in NYC

The Paradise Company
In Association with RHYTHMCOLOR Associates
cordially invites you to a reading of the play

Written by Owa

Directed by
Gregory Lamont Allen

Anthony Chisholm and Kim Weston-Moran
Daralyn Adams Anthony Nelson Ivan Goris Victor Ramsay
Sunday July 15, 2007
3 p.m.@ The Drama Book Shop
250 West 40th Street

Free Admission(wine &cheese buffet at 2:30 p.m.)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

For those who can't wait, "Lipstick, Chilli, Grits & Grace" opens in NYC July 14th

The Richard Allen Center for Culture and Art
Shirley Radcliffe, Executive Director
Proudly Presents Lorey Hayes' play
In a World that is always changing, Sex is the Only Freedom
Saturday, July 14, 2007 ~ 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 15, 2007 ~ 5:00 p.m.
(South Street Seaport next to PARIS CAFÉ)
40 PECK SLIP New York, New York 10028
Suggested Donation $10.00
RSVP to the Salon 917-239-6690 / Power Play Company 323-363-0596
Directions by Subway: A or C Trains to Broadway/Nassau or 2, 3, 4, 5 Trains to Fulton StreetWalk East on Fulton towards The South Street Seaport Turn left. Go 2 blocks to Peck Slip. Turn Right. Shooting Star Theater is on the right, next to Paris Café. Directions by Bus: #M15 at Second Avenue to Peck Slip.
Directions by Car: FDR Drive or West Side Highway to South Street Seaport. Under the Brooklyn Bridge.

National Black Theatre Festival presents "Lipstick, Chilli, Grits and Grace" (Winston-Salem)

The 18th Anniversary National Black Theatre Festival™ in association with PowerPlay Company is elated to bring Stage, Film, Television Star, Award-Winning Playwright, and North Carolina Native, LOREY HAYES back to North Carolina to star in LIPSTICK, CHILLI, GRITS AND GRACE. Also starring in this original play is Marie Barrientos. Directed by Imani with a total of four performances, August 2, 2007 at both 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and again on August 3, 2007 at 3:00 p.m. and closing at 8:00 p.m. at the Reynolda House Museum of American Art in their newly renovated Theater, 2250 Reynolda Road (Reynolda Village), Winston Salem, No. Carolina 21706. For Times, Tickets and Reservations, please contact NBTF office at 336-723-2266; FAX: 336-723-2223; Website: http://www.nbtf.org/. Tickets are $37.00.

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.

Playwright/Actress, Lorey Hayes is an original member of the cast of “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enough” by Ntozake Shange and can be seen in the movie DREAM GIRLS, with Eddie Murphy and Beyonce,. She can currently be seen in THE MTV SERIES “SHORT CIRCUITZ” starring Nick Cannon. Ms. Hayes is a 2007 Bill Cosby Screenwriting Fellow for the Guy Hanks /Marvin Miller Program at USC. 5 Fellows are chosen from hundreds of applicants around the country for a special mentoring program with Hollywood ’s recognized Industry Professionals. Fellows conclude the program with a completed screenplay that is marketed to the Film Industry. Her newest play “THE DRAGONFLY TALE” co-written with Mr. Bobby Crear is a 2007 winner of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s Southern Writer’s Project and presented in the ASF May Festival.She has starred on and off Broadway, in England and numerous regional theaters throughout the country. She is a familiar face on television and has guest starred on several award-winning shows. She has starred in plays with such noted performers as Kevin Bacon, Samuel L. Jackson, Morgan Freeman, Jimmy Smits and Melba Moore. She played in London , England starring as Eunice Evers in Miss Ever’s Boys at the Royal Shakespeare Festival. Some television credits include: “Family Law”, “Judging Amy”, “ Chicago Hope”, “Sister, Sister”, “All My Children”, “Another World”, “Ryan’s Hope” and “The Doctors”.Ms. Hayes honed her writing skills in New York at The Negro Ensemble Company, Frank Silvera’s Writer’s Workshop, Roger Furman Theater, The Frederick Douglas Creative Arts Center and Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum. Her plays have received numerous productions and readings. Her play “Power Play” just closed a three month run at The Billie Holiday Theater in New York with outstanding reviews. The Lincoln Center Library has just given “Power Play” the honor of inclusion in their prestigious Bound Edition of “Highlights from the 2004-2005 New York Theater Season”. In its previous New York production (1996), “Power Play” won the coveted Audelco Award for Best play.For three consecutive years, Ms. Hayes’ plays have been chosen for the Los Angeles , California ’s Skirball Celebrity Reading Gala “Discovering New Voices”, to benefit Danny Glover’s Robey Theater. Excerpts from several plays are currently being featured in the CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox Diversity Showcases.She recently wrote and performed her one-woman show “Little Lorey’s Song” under the careful direction of London’s Irene Pinn, dramaturge credited with participating in the development of Lily Tomlin’s award-winning “In Search of Intelligent Life in the Universe”. Ms. Hayes is also an accomplished teaching artist adept at utilizing drama and writing to foster literacy and develop creative potential in various age ranges. She is skilled at inspiring students to write, direct and produce plays, events and assembly activities. Her program: THE MIND GYM, Writing from a Place of Passion, has helped first time and seasoned writers successfully produce award-winning, plays, books and short stories. For More About Lorey Hayes, visit her website: www.loreyhayes.com. Also Available at: www.myfirstchapter.com.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

2007 Eileen Heckart Competition Semifinalists Announced

Eileen Heckart at the 1973 Academy Awards with presenter Cloris Leachman; Ms. Heckart was named Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Butterflies Are Free.

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

Jani Brandli, Somerville, MA: Moon Man

Sandra Dempsey, Calgary, AL, Canada : Rosa’s Lament

Jim Gordon, Norwalk, CT: A Good Deed

Evelyn Jean Pine, San Francisco, CA: Counting the Minutes

Judith Pratt, Ithaca, NY: Metaphorical Shoes

Linda Holland Rathkopf, Brooklyn, NY: First Tier

Douglas Stewart, Santa Fe, NM: Final Exam

Nicholas Tasi, Worcester, MA: Boxer

Justin Warner, Jackson Heights, NY: Lunch Boat

Harriett Weiss, Palm Springs, CA: Billie and Henry

One Act Plays

Dori Appel, Ashland, OR: Bon Voyage

Martha Boesing, Oakland, CA: Song of the Magpie

June Calender, New York, NY: After Evelyn

Jay D. Hanagan, Geneva, NY: Pitching the Good Game

Judy Carlson Hulbut, Tacoma, WA: Driving Daughter

Maureen Brady Johnson, Oberlin, OH: Limbo

Robert L. Kinast, Prairie Village, KS: Salt in the Pepper Shaker

Kathleen Kramer, Newfield, NY: Hearts of Cloves

John Lordan, Evanston, IL: Friendly Skies

Mary Steelsmith, Los Angeles, CA: List of Honor

Full Length

Jan August, Mountain View, CA: Still in the Game

Donald Drake, Philadelphia, PA: The Passage

Judy Juanita, Oakland, CA: Theodicy

David Kravitz, Oak Park, IL: The Standoff

James McLindon, Northampton, MA: For Unto Us

Julia Perlstein, New York, NY: PLINKO!; or, the Goddess of Static Cling

Bonnie Rozanksi, Lawrenceville, NJ: Still-Life With Dog

Mark Scharf, Gaithersburg, MD: The Whispers of Saints

Lynn Snyder, Berkeley, CA: Older Than Dead

Marcia Wilkie, Los Angeles, CA: Living Room

Nancy Zaman, Lake Isabella, CA: To Heir is Human

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

Casting call for RUS, a play with salsa and tango (New York)

I am a member of Black Theatre group and have a new piece that will be shown in NYC at HERE Arts Center in Feb/March 2008. This is by the same team that worked on my last piece Disposable Men. We have done a workshop production of it which went well and was very well received. If you know of anyone who might be right for the role below please email this to them.


James Scruggs


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

AAPEX Reading Casting Call (Atlanta)

Staged Script Reading:
"Yesterday Came Too Soon: The Dorothy Dandridge Story"
Playwright: Jamal Williams

Production Date: Sun, July 22, 2007

Casting Director: Timothy Aaron-Styles
AAPEX Director: TBD

Non-Pay; Non-Equity

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

The Chinese Want Your Shorts

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: jqsun@vip.sina.com. (You may have to change your “text encoding” from Western European to Chinese.)

Flush Ink Productions presents Asphalt Jungle Shorts III (Canada)

September 2007 deadline is July 15th (Received by)
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)
- Bar
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: flush-ink@skyedragon.com. 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

Words of Encouragement by Aurin Squire

“Sure it’s well-written but, honestly, who wants to hear about this.”

“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?