Blog Seattle Repertory Theatre

Archive for May, 2012

Seattle Repertory Theatre

Playwright Profile: Meet Al Frank

May 31st, 2012 by Seattle Repertory Theatre

Seattle Rep Writers Group playwright Al Frank.

Stop by Seattle Rep this Friday, June 1 at 3 p.m. to catch the FREE staged reading of Al Frank’s Ain’t No Place Like Home in our PONCHO Forum. This reading marks the fourth new work presented during our Inaugural Seattle Rep Writers Group showcase, which will present again on June 15. 

About the play: It’s late June and Seattle is heating up. People camping in the I-5 greenbelt known as ‘the jungle’ worry about change. With no place else to go, they’re hoping a peaceful summer will keep them out of sight– at least until after the fireworks.

We asked Al to tell us more about himself and his new play.

SRT: What inspired you to write Ain’t No Place Like Home?

I was waiting at the foot of the Dearborn exit from I-5 South for the 2 a.m. traffic light to change when a vision of a homeless camp in the nearby brush sprung to life. More characters than I could accommodate auditioned to participate in the drama. Eight of them, loosely based on homeless people I had encountered in my neighborhoods, got the parts.

SRT: How long have you been a playwright, and how did you get into playwriting?

For a number of years I listened to a close friend discuss his work as a dramatist in great detail, telling me about plays he was writing and those he had written. At the time I had nary a notion of writing one of my own. After my late friend’s passing, I thought about what I had learned in our conversations. I had a sense that I owed him a play. As a lone play wouldn’t constitute a fair effort at unlocking and exploring the potential, I promised myself I’d write no fewer than three. I began to write Ain’t No Place Like Home, the first, in 2006.

SRT: What do you like to write about?

So far, I’ve enjoyed writing about characters on social and economic margins. I try to get them spinning top-like, listen and take notes as they bump into one other, revealing their thoughts, problems, stories, and dreams.

SRT: What’s the best and/or worst advice you’ve received about writing?

Best advice: Go get a pencil and a piece of paper.
Worst advice: Don’t do it.

SRT: Tell us something quirky about yourself.

I have a collection of more than twenty Borsalino fedoras, yet only one head.

SRT: What’s next for you?

Currently, I’m working on a full-length play, the third in a cycle, exploring homelessness and related themes. It will be set in a Goodwill-like job training facility. Hopefully, a strong draft will be rounding out by the time next year’s Writers Group Festival of Staged Readings arrives. Furthermore to that, I’ll probably need to write a comedy.

Danielle.Girard

Staff Picks: 15 Plays to Read Before You Die

May 25th, 2012 by Danielle.Girard

Artistic intern Kaytlin McIntyre gets cozy with Anton Chekhov and Tennessee Williams.

The Western canon of dramatic literature is huge. Which got me thinking…if you can’t read it all, where should you start?

Most  of us theatre makers and theatre enthusiasts hope to read or see a great many of these works during our lifetime, but the reality of life and time constraints usually makes keeping up with this “reading list” difficult. 

Since summer is on the horizon and is generally a time for pleasure reading and catching up on those projects we haven’t attended to yet, I decided to poll SRT staff members about some of their favorite plays to make a “suggested summer reading list.”

Here’s a list of the must-read plays folks mentioned this morning as I walked around the office.

- Lysistrata by Aristophanes

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (and if you don’t have time for all of them, SRT staff suggests the following: HamletA Midsummer Night’s Dream, and/or Macbeth

Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

- Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov 

Private Lives by Noël Coward

- No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

Equus by Peter Shaffer 

Betrayal by Harold Pinter

- Fences by August Wilson

Our Country’s Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker

The Kentucky Cycle by Robert Schenkkan

Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes by Tony Kushner

Proof  by David Auburn

That’s our unofficial “plays to read before you die” list for today. But we know so many exciting and challenging plays aren’t on this recommended reading list. What plays would you add to the must-read/must-see list?


 

 

 

 

Seattle Repertory Theatre

Playwright Profile: Elizabeth Heffron and The Weatherman Project

May 17th, 2012 by Seattle Repertory Theatre

Seattle Rep Writers Group playwright Elizabeth Heffron.

Stop by Seattle Rep this Friday, May 18 at 3 p.m. to catch the FREE staged reading of Elizabeth Heffron and Kit Bakke’s The Weatherman Project in our PONCHO Forum. This reading marks the third new work presented during our Inaugural Seattle Rep Writers Group showcase, which will present again on June 1 and June 15. 

About the play: How far would you be willing to go to fix the problems you see in your country? In 1968, five young people are about to find out.

We asked Elizabeth to tell us a little about herself, as well as her new play. 

SRT: What inspired you and Kit Bakke to write The Weatherman Project?

Mainly, the events of the current day. It’s amazing to see young people rising up again, and facing, if not the same, then very similar entrenched interests and conflicts. Also, Kit was a part of the Movement, and was underground for several years, so she’s an amazing primary source!

SRT: How long have you been a playwright, and how did you get into playwriting?

Looooong time! Since the mid-90s at least. I got into theater by moving to Seattle. I was going to be a scientist and was armed with my BS in Psychobiology, but then Seattle theater people just suck you in…

SRT: What do you like to write about?

I like to write about the boundaries of science, ethics, and human behavior. I also find myself writing about the consequences of the systematic dismantling of our social safety net, especially those consequences for women. But this play isn’t about any of that, it’s about trying to effect change in the face of what seem like intractable forces.

SRT: What’s the best and/or worst advice you’ve received about writing?

Best advice I’ve gotten is to approach everything as a beginner. Be always beginning. I love that.

SRT: Tell us something quirky about yourself.

Quirky? I’m from St. Louis. St. Louis has quirk down.

SRT: What’s next for you?

My play for one woman, BO-NITA, will be part of the JAW Festival at Portland Center Stage this summer, and Braden Abraham’s directing it! Very excited for this…

Seattle Repertory Theatre

Meet Playwright Emily Conbere

May 10th, 2012 by Seattle Repertory Theatre

Seattle Rep Writers Group playwright Emily Conbere hard at work.

Last Friday we kicked off the Inaugural Seattle Rep Writers Group showcase with a reading of playwright Vincent Delaney‘s Foreclosure. The new work continues this week with the second staged reading in the series: The Harold Scholarship by Emily Conbere, directed by Erin Kraft. 

About the play: 

After the loss of their son six months prior, Mr. and Mrs. Harold invite the son’s best friend to spend the weekend with them. During this time, they offer him a scholarship with stakes that are exceedingly high.

We asked Emily to tell us a little about herself, as well as her new play. 

SRT: What inspired you to write The Harold Scholarship?
A lot of this play came out of a personal experience that happened ten years ago. Since then, I’ve been reworking and developing it, and it is interesting to see how it changes as I change. I’m aware that after a suicide, family dynamics change dramatically. The characters in this play feel absurd as they act in ways that used to feel traditional to them and now no longer work.

SRT: How long have you been a playwright, and how did you get into playwriting?
I started playwriting when I was twelve and involved in the Playwrights’ Center’s youth summer conference in Minnesota. My first play (ten minutes long) was called “Troubles with Kitty” and it starred Kevin Kling [who performed at Seattle Rep last month with Simone Perrin in A Fool's Paradise]. The whole experience set the stage for the rest of my life.

SRT: What do you like to write about?
I mostly write about loss, and how loss is like a blank world that needs to be recreated. I like being with my characters as they struggle to create and grow new worlds around them out of the emptiness they’ve experienced. And the loss could be anything- a death or the ending of a relationship, loss of time, or something as commonplace as losing a pair of glasses.

Emily Conbere and Vincent Delaney read a working script at a Writers Group meeeting.

SRT: What’s the best and/or worst advice you’ve received about writing?
Best advice: Sometimes you need to be kind of mean and just say “I can’t hang out or talk to you or engage with you” and close yourself off to others’ expectations so that you can get your writing done. It might feel selfish, but just drink a shot of tequila and start writing.

Worst advice: …just drink a shot of tequila and start writing.

SRT: Tell us something quirky about yourself.

I have a career outside of playwriting that I love; it’s been super helpful because now I’m not dependent on getting theater grants (even though I still apply for them) or taking jobs I don’t like to support myself while I write; starting the new career allowed me to fall in love with writing and theater all over again.

SRT: What’s next for you?
I have a reading of my play “The MAP Annual Fellowship Written by Gerald That” as part of the New Century Theater’s Pipelines Series on June 18th.  I’m also spending the summer developing a series of interviews I’m doing of theater companies in the NW for the Seattle Rep Writers Group blog.  The focus is on how they work with new writers. 

Stop by Seattle Rep this Friday, May 11 at 3 p.m. to catch the FREE staged reading of Emily Conbere’s The Harold Scholarship in our PONCHO Forum. Bring your friends and support local theatre!

Seattle Repertory Theatre

Speak Up! Urban Development in Belltown

May 9th, 2012 by Seattle Repertory Theatre

Check out http://www.belltown.org/bcc.php.

Our current production of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning, Tony-nominated Clybourne Park explores issues of race, gentrification, and real estate. And while the play itself may be set in a fictional Chicago neighborhood, we recognize these issues’ relevance to Seattle’s own growth and development.

In an effort to start a conversation about these topics at home, we put together the Speak Up! series, which offers community members the chance to discuss the themes of the play as they relate to Seattle. Each discussion is held after Saturday matinee performances of Clybourne Park at Seattle Rep and features a panel of civic leaders, local academics, and community residents.

One of our Speak Up! panelists, Elizabeth Campbell, President of the Belltown Community Council, volunteered to participate in all three Speak Up! discussions, and was gracious enough to share more of her thoughts on the impact of urban development in Belltown on our blog.

Read on to learn more.

read full post »

Seattle Repertory Theatre

The Perfect Match

May 8th, 2012 by Seattle Repertory Theatre

We’re all looking for the perfect match.

And right now, thanks to a challenge grant from the Seattle Repertory Theatre Foundation, any new or increased gift made before June 30 will be matched, dollar for dollar. Your $50 becomes $100, $100 becomes $200.

In the spirit of a good match, here are some matches that never fail to delight:

Ben & Jerry

Seattle Rep’s Managing Director Benjamin Moore and Artistic Director Jerry Manning are a well-made match. Moore joined the Rep in 1985 as Managing Director, and Jerry (who joined SRT in 2001 as Casting Director and later served as Producing Artistic Director) became the Rep’s Artistic Director in 2010. 

Ben & Jerry’s 


Go ahead. Eat the whole pint. 

Bert & Ernie

What would Sesame Street be without these two? (And Ernie’s rubber ducky of course). 

Peanut Butter & Jelly

A match made in heaven. Or at least in our elementary school lunch boxes.

Sonny & Cher

The unforgettable celebrity duo that sold 80 million records worldwide. 

Peas & Carrots

To quote Forrest Gump, “Me and Jenny goes together like peas and carrots.”

You & Seattle Rep

Ticket sales only cover about half of the cost of producing our work. Support the Rep with a gift of any amount: donate during our match and double your impact. For more information on how to donate, visit our website http://www.seattlerep.org/Support/Donate/.

Thank you for your support!

Seattle Repertory Theatre

Attend the Inaugural Seattle Rep Writers Group Showcase

May 4th, 2012 by Seattle Repertory Theatre

Last November, we launched the Writers Group, a forum for playwrights, as part of our New Play Program.

The five Northwest participants – Emily Conbere, Vincent Delaney, Al Frank, Elizabeth Heffron, and Stephanie Timm – have been hard at work attending biweekly meetings, utilizing Seattle Rep resources and perfecting their plays….and now they’re ready to share them with the community!

Seattle Rep's Writers Group (pictured from left to right): Emily Conbere, Vincent Delaney, Stephanie Timm, Elizabeth Heffron, and Al Frank.

Come on down to Seattle Rep on the following Fridays at 3 p.m. to catch their new works:

May 4 – Foreclosure
by Vincent Delaney, directed by Anita Montgomery 
What happens when your best friends lose their home but refuse to leave it? Foreclosure examines what we really owe our neighbors and takes a sharply comical look at a modern collapse that shows no sign of ending.

May 11 – The Harold Scholarship 
by Emily Conbere, directed by Erin Kraft
After the loss of their son six months prior, Mr. and Mrs. Harold invite the son’s best friend to spend the weekend with them. During this time, they offer him a scholarship with stakes that are exceedingly high.

May 18 – The Weatherman Project 
by Elizabeth Heffron and Kit Bakke, directed by Sheila Daniels
How far would you be willing to go to fix the problems you see in your country? In 1968, five young people are about to find out.

June 1 – Ain’t No Place Like Home 
by Al Frank, directed by Kaytlin McIntyre
Long days, late June. Seattle is heating up. People camping in the I-5 greenbelt known as ‘the jungle’ worry about change. With no place else to go, they’re hoping a peaceful summer will keep them out of the spotlight – at least until after the Fireworks.

June 15 – Rats in the Garden of Eden 
by Stephanie Timm, directed by Kathleen Collins
When Pearl shows up at her younger sister Opal’s doorstep with a suitcase and a box of “sensual products” to sell after a long, mysterious absence, she finds Opal living in an insular world of romance novels and poetry. Rats in the Garden of Eden explores what happens when someone has to choose between fantasy or reality—one leads to madness, the other to inevitable disappointment.

The Writers Group at one of their very first meetings.

More information is available online at www.seattlerep.org/Plays/NewPlays. All play readings will take place at 3 p.m. in Seattle Rep’s PONCHO Forum. They are free and open to the public.

Following this year’s showcase, the writers will begin work on their new plays that they will be presenting next year. Applications for the 2012 – 2014 cycle will be accepted starting this June.  

Express Your Support

Tweet Your Thoughts