Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A full evening

Even with all the holiday festivities this month, we managed to pull together nine people for a full evening of play reading last night.

We started with "King Solomon Gets Horny", Tim Phillips' bawdy comedy about the unique challenges of dealing with 300 wives and some 600 concubines. We followed that with Joye Cook-Levy's thought-provoking dramedy "The Happy Middle", which explores the struggle to find balance in the middle of a busy life. And we finished up with "You're Driving Me Crazy", my short comedy which shows what happens when you get stuck with a driving instructor who doesn't really want to be there.

There were a lot of great comments all around. In fact, this was the first time we ran over our allotted two hours, not that this posed a problem.

And it was really nice to see a core group starting to form. The Drama Lab is always open to new writers, actors and spectators, of course. But I believe that no group can be successful without a handful of regulars to provide continuity.

Hope to see you all back in the New Year!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Who let all the writers in?

We had an unusually spirited meeting yesterday, largely due to the fact that our newest writer, Tim Phillips, brought a bunch of his writing group friends. And they definitely had no problems sharing their opinions!

Tim brought "Rose Red", a short drama that told the intriguing tale of Snow White's forgotten sister. I brought "Fear of Clowns", a black comedy about a clown with a fear of people.

And with that, I'd like to restate our open invitations to participants of all stripes. Writers and actors are important, of course, but audience members are just as key to our success, for they're the ones who let the rest of us know what works and what doesn't.

I hope to see everyone come back for our next meeting on Monday, December 12.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November meeting moved to the 21st

The Millibo Art Theatre is gearing up for their 2nd annual FourPlay show and it promises to be another exciting production of all-new, locally-written works. But it does mean that the building will be packed to the rafters with rehearsal groups all next week. Which also means that we have to move our November meeting to Monday the 21st at 7pm.

I apologize for the late notice. I hope this doesn't cause any hardship for anyone.

And if you do show up on Monday, don't waste the trip. Get some tickets to the show!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Small but enthusiastic second meeting

Six people took part in our second meeting last night. We read three pieces:

1) a very short, creepy play titled "9-1-1 Threshold" as well as one other piece by Janice Black

2) "Boys Counting Down", a hilarious 20-minute play about three pregnant men by Joye Cook-Levy

3) and a 10-minute play about an 80-year-old shoplifter titled "The Wanderer" by myself.

Although we had fewer people this time, the intimate setting allowed for a much more free-wheeling and insigthful discussion of the works. And our two new actors Karann Goettsch and Nancy Holaday did a great job bringing the many different characters to life.

Our third meeting is from 7pm to 9pm on Monday, November 14 at the Millibo Art Theatre, 1367 Pecan St. Invite your friends, family or anyone else you can think of who would enjoy seeing a new play being born.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Great first meeting

We had twelve people show up for our first meeting last night and everything went great. We read three pieces:

1) a 20-minute version of Chuck Cabell's full-length medieval fable "Jurgen"

2) "Prisoner of Love", a short scene about love and adultery from a longer piece titled "CohoEmails" by Janice Black

3) "Table for Three", a 10-minute comedy about a couple struggling to share a quiet anniversary by moi.

The actors were all excellent and really put their heart into the readings. It can be difficult bringing a character to life with little time for preparation, but I know that the reading for my play gave me several ideas for improving my piece, highlighting lines that needed to be cut or punched up to make them funnier.

One other key to the success of the evening was a surprise to me, but it shouldn't have been. We had several people who just wanted to watch, and their enthusiastic interaction with the performances reminded me how important the audience is to live theater.

Therefore, if I haven't mentioned this yet, let me make it clear now. You don't have to be a writer or actor to be a part of the Drama Lab. We need audience members just as much.

So come on down to our second reading from 7pm to 9pm on Monday, October 10 at the MAT!, 1367 Pecan St.

Anyone want to bring cookies?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A playwriting workshop is born

The Colorado Springs theatre community has had some exciting times over the last couple years. We've seen the rebirth of one theater company and the birth of a couple more.

We've also seen increasingly edgier and more challenging works from several theater companies. What we haven't had is a theater where playwrights and actors can partner together to create new plays.

Until now.

I recently met with Jim Jackson, who with his lovely and talented wife Birgitta De Pree runs the Manitou Art Theatre, to establish a play development group.

Called The Drama Lab at the MAT!, the group meets the second Monday of every month from 7pm to 9pm at the Manitou Art Theatre, 1367 Pecan St. Our first meeting will be September 12.

The group is open to theatre artists of all stripes--playwrights, actors, directors. There's no need to join anything or make a long-term commitment. Just show up whenever you can.

If you're a playwright, bring a short play or up to 20 pages of a longer work. We'll do a reading.

If you're an actor, just bring your passion and your talent. Every actor who shows up will have an opportunity to develop their skills by reading one or more parts.

If you're a director, we'll give you a place to practice your skills as well.

Eventually, some of the plays may deserve further development, and that's one of the great things about being associated with the MAT! Certain works may be selected for a staged reading or full production, with the playwright paying a very reasonable rental fee for the venue while splitting the box office with the MAT!

But that's not all. The Drama Lab will also be a place where writers and performers alike can share "insider" information like upcoming auditions and playwriting contests.

Perhaps most importantly, it'll also be a place where we as theatre artists can celebrate those little victories that inspire us to keep slogging away in this exhilarating but often frustrating field.

Want to reserve a reading slot for our first meeting? Email me.

See you on September 12!