Reflections from the Dramatist’s Guild National Conference in NYC, July 2018

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It was as refreshing as forest bathing. Three hundred people who love to do exactly what we do, enough to pay for a Manhattan hotel, a flight, and a conference fee.  In one place.  To be with people who “get” you!  This doesn’t happen much for playwrights, especially if we’re new-ish to the theatre and under-produced. We are often more solitary than we’d like, more solitary than is good for our art. For each of the three days of the conference, we connected with each other, heard about others’ good ideas, learned about new resources, and had the uniquely satisfying experience of just being in the same room with passionate, creative, generous playwrights who know that by helping other playwrights, they are deepening their own creative wells. 

If you haven’t already joined, check out the Dramatist’s Guild and attend the next conference! Here's a link to the conference schedule.  Reach out to the playwrights on the panels that interest you and ask them for materials, resources, and tips.  Here are just three of the conference highlights for me:  

·       Paula Vogel’s Boot Camp.  What an inspiring, loving teacher this accomplished playwright is!  We focused on the six elements we chose to drive our play:  spectacle, character, conflict (plot), language, rhythm/music, and thought, and then honed in on six plot forms.  Paula’s advice:  play with each of these forms, and keep yourself fresh with each new play by not being stuck in one.  Above all, “drop and give me 20!”  Pages that is. When you’re stuck, whether at the beginning or anywhere else in a play, start writing with a prompt, without your internal editor, and stop when you have twenty pages.  And get a group of other playwrights together, virtually or in person, and have a bake-off! See the bake-off instructions at Paula's website. If you’d like to participate in a play bake-off at the Playwrights Salon this fall, email us and we’ll get you in.

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·       Radio/Audio Plays. A big market for plays 10-45 minutes long.  First, determine what each company wants, and then write your pitch, including a one-sentence premise, a one-paragraph synopsis, and one-sentence character descriptions.  Check Playing on Air, a producer, and Audio-Drama, a clearinghouse for audio drama.  And for those in Washington State, my tip is to connect with Jack Straw Cultural Center, if you are interested in producing your own audio drama. You can pay to rent their studios and engage the services of their audio engineers.

·       Protest Plays. One quick tip for those of us who write political plays and are at the development stage:  find a community partnership with a group that’s interested in themes that interest you, and invite an audience to read your play on the theme. This from Tiffany Antone, the founder of Protest Plays Project, a lively and inspiring playwright and theatre professor with the mission of, among other initiatives,  “identifying and sharing protest-inspired short plays.”  Share what you have!

Becoming a Parent Can Be Scary

Our next production, Thank You For Breastfeeding delves into the fears of expectant parents as they prepare for the birth of their first child. With only a few weeks until her due date, Eliza must decide how far she will go to avoid a dreaded c-section and who she should trust as she navigates the complex business of giving birth--her doctor, her doula or herself?

You have no idea what it’s like out there. It’s not a matter of if you breastfeed, it’s how long… This whole blasted c-section is going to ruin everything.

Join us Friday September 14th, 2018 at 7 p.m. to watch Eliza ponder everything from birthing pools to baby names to breastfeeding in public. Then stay after the show for a talk-back session with Seattle playwright Ashley Arai.

 Playwright, Ashley Arai, seven months pregnant with her own daughter.

Playwright, Ashley Arai, seven months pregnant with her own daughter.

Submit Your Work to the Young Playwrights Festival

Summer is going by fast and the deadline for submissions to the Salon's Young Playwrights Festival is fast approaching!  

Scripts are due to the Salon by 5:00 PM on October 8th.

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We invite young female playwrights from Washington State to compete in the Salon’s inaugural Young Playwrights Festival. The top four one-act plays will be awarded with a professionally produced staged reading on December 14, 2018, the opportunity to participate in rehearsals and kudos on our website.

If you want your work to be considered, please play close attention to our Submission Guidelines.

Submission Guidelines

·       Young Playwrights must be 19 years old or younger, identify as female and must consider Washington State their primary residence. Co-written plays are allowed provided all writers meet the requirements.

·       Playwrights may submit no more than two 15- or 20-minute one-act plays. Monologues and screenplays are not eligible, nor are adaptations of other authors’ works.

·       Plays may be no longer than 15-20 pages, exclusive of your title and cast list pages.

·       There is no fee for submission.

·       Cast list should be limited to four characters and the set, props, and costume requirements should be minimal.

·       Plays must be submitted in PDF format, using standard play formatting style. Script should include a title page with play title, playwright’s name and contact information; name of school and teacher (if applicable); a brief summary of the play; and a cast list. 

To submit your play to the Salon, please email seattleplaywrightssalon@gmail.com with SUBMISSIONS YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL: your name and the title of your play in the subject line.  Please send each play in a separate email.