Newsletter: April 2016

PLAYWRIGHTS FORUM
NEWSLETTER
26.1    April 2016
SUMMER  2016 REGISTRATION: FORUM 1 & FORUM 2
    FORUM 2. Forum 2 members must register with the application form on this page to continue or re-activate for the next 4-month session.  The fee is now $130.  Do try to include full or half payment as indicated.  Bi-weekly meetings are at 6:30 p.m., Wednesdays, at St. Mary’s Armenian Church, D.C.
     FORUM 1. To insure your place in the upcoming Forum 1 session, please fill out and mail the application form on this page.  Current members please notify us by May 9th  .   Do try to include full or half payment as indicated.  If you have any problem with that pre-payment, don’t hesitate to contact Alison at Woodleigh2@aol.com .  The fee is $130.  Forum 1 will include two groups of 8-10 members, in 6 bi-weekly meetings, and the one-to-one e-mail option.  Our faculty includes, for the Summer, Ernie Joselovitz and Allison Pruitt.

    Wednesdays.  St. Mary’s Armenian Church.  7:00-9:30 p.m.   May 18th to July 27th . Pruitt.
    Thursdays.  Lawton Community Recreation Center.  6:30-9 p.m. May 26th to August 4th . Joselovitz.
    One-on-One E-Mail Option.  Joselovitz. 

How to Register: we will confirm your place in one of our groups.  For any enquiries, please call Ernie at 301-816-0569 or Allison at 703-448-0209, or e-mail pforum7@yahoo.com . 1. Current members who wish to continue are given priority. Please register by May 9th  .   2. Members who discontinued at the last session will be offered the first chance to fill vacancies. 3. Associate members and then all others will be welcomed into the Forum’s remaining openings. 
If possible, email “intend to register” by May 9th: pforum7@yahoo.com____________________________________________________
THE FORUM – SUMMER 2016 REGISTRATION
Please register _______________________________________for the upcoming session of ___ Forum 1 ___ Forum 2
___ I was last a member of Spring 2016 Session.____  I am an Associate Member
My preference is for the group at ___________________ on _______-day.
I prefer the one-on-one email option _____.
I’ve enclosed a pre-payment of _____$130 _____ $65
Tel Number ______________________e-mail_______________________________
Street Address (if new member) _______________________________________
Send check and hard-copy of form to: PF, P O Box 5322, Rockville, MD 20848
*
PLAYWRIGHTS FORUM HANDBOOK!
Sixth Edition
The Learning Environment.  Your guide to getting the most from the full range of Playwrights Forum activities.
    The Craft. The PF methodology, along with expert advice and handy tips from “How do I start?” to third-draft woes.
        The Market.  The “how-to” from letters of inquiry to surfing the up-to-the-minute guides to today’s playmarketing.

_______YES!  I want my copy of PLAYWRIGHTS FORUM HANDBOOK 6.
I’ve enclosed _____ $7.50 for the e-mailed copy
Send it to:
Name _________________________________________________
E-mail Address ______________________________________________________________________
*Make check to Playwrights Forum.  Mail to: Playwrights Forum, PO Box 5322, Rockville, MD 20848
*
FROM THE PLAYWRIGHTS FORUM HANDBOOK
THE PLAY MARKET – SOURCES OF INFORMATION
 newly expanded and revised*
with the help of Barry Weinberg and Adrian Verkouteren
*If you have a worthwhile addition, please send it on to Ernie at pforum7@yahoo.com !
 
Organizations

Dramatists’ Guild, 1501 Broadway, #701, New York, NY 10036.  Www.dramatistsguild.com

Monthly Newsletter (with e-mail option)
Dramatists Guild Resource Directory
The Dramatist magazine (bi-monthly)
                  
Associate membership is $90/year, including publications.  Membership is by application with script.  Its Newsletter is exclusively for playwrights, with up-to-the-month and accurate information, duplicated on its website.  The Resource Directory provides a precise and up-to-date annual directory.  Besides all that, the Guild services as the closest thing to a labor union playwrights are allowed to have, regarding legal advice on contracts, theatres, agents, et al.

Theatre Communications Group, 355 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10017.  Www.tcg.org

Dramatists Sourcebook (semi-annual) $24.95
Information for Playwrights
Theatre Directory
Theatre Profiles $35.00
American Theatre magazine

Best source of information on the more established developmental theatres.  Its semi-annual Sourcebook is a broad-based catalogue of a wide variety of playwright-related opportunities, dependable and moderately priced.  Its magazine includes the “Plays and Playwrights’ column with updated information, and a complete contemporary script.  Its Theatre Directory is the best short list with essential and accurate information.  Profiles has detailed information on its many member theatres.

P.E.N. , American Center, 588 Broadway, New York, NY 10012.  Www.pen.org

Grants and Awards Available to American Writers (on-line). $12/year

A director of prizes, grants, fellowships and awards for American writers.  Not many grants available specifically for playwrights, but what there is, is here.  (These and other grants available can be found in the library system at the Foundation Center.)

Foundation Center, 1627 “K” Street NW, 3rd floor, Washington, D.C. 20006.  Www.foundationcenter_org/washington
Foundation Grants to Individuals (on-line option)
Newsletter (e-mail option).  Free.

On-site collection of vital source material including The Foundation Directory and The Foundation Grants Index, as well as files full of related national information.  On-line services also available at a price.

International Women’s Writing Guild. 274 Madison Avenue, Suite 1202, New York, NY 10016.  Www.iwwg.com .

    Network: $55/year.

Magazines/Newsletters

The Writer.  Madavor Media, LLC.  25 Braintree Hill Office Park,Suite 404, Braintree, MA02184.   

The best of the mass market magazines.  Information for playwrights is partial, rather random, not always updated and accurate.  Also, free selected “web-only” articles by registering at website.

Back Stage.  770 Broadway, 6th floor, New York, NY 10003.  

A “Variety” type newspaper, weekly, with remarkably good and complete information on New York City developmental (off-off-Broadway) scene, agents, producers, etc.  Its primary focus is seldom on playwrights. $144/year.  Free e-mailed newsletter.

Hollywood Scriptwriter.  Box3761, Cerritos, CA 90703.

L.A.-based national monthly on film, TV and theatre writing markets. $39/year.

Stage Directions.  6000 S. Eastern Avenue, Suite 14-J, Las Vegas, NV 89119.  

Monthly periodical with wide range of articles and theatre information, “written by and for regional, academic and community theatres.”  Free e-mailed newsletter.

Websites

The Playwrights Forum

National and International Theatre

American Association of Community Theatre.

Chrono-Atlas: The Interactive Historical Atlas of the World. 

Best of History Websites.  

Center of Jewish History

CIA World Factbook.  

D.C. Public Library Links

Digital American History, University of Houston. 

Historical Newspapers, from 1786. 

History of Medicine, NIH.  

History World.  

Internet Library for Librarians.  

Musicals 101: The Cyber Encyclopedia of Musical Theatre, TV and Films.   

National Women’s History Project

Legislative Histories

Other Newspapers.  

Oral History Archives (WWII, Korean War,Vietnam, Cold War), Rutgers University. 

Supreme Court Cases.

World Wide Arts Resources.

U. S. Army Center of Military History.  

The Victorian Web

Historical Baseball Resources: Library of Congress.  

The National Archives (United Kingdom): Videos and Audios. 

Encyclopedia Britannica.  

New York Public Library.  Digital Collections. 

NIH’s U.S. National Library of Medicine: History of Medicine. 

Cornell Center for Materials Research: Ask a Scientist. 

Annenberg Learner: Resources: Physics for the 21st Century. (Among many subject areas).  

Scientia Salon – Philosophy, Science and All Interesting Things In Between.  Essays. 

Audubon Guide to Birds of North America

The Supreme Court Database

OneLook Dictionary.  

Reference Desk: fact-checker for the internet.  

Encyclopedia Mythica.  

Development programs and residencies

Chicago Dramatists

Robey Theatre Co

Sundance

READINGS SCHEDULE
Public.
April 25    The Best Is Yet by Molly Schuchat.  Directed by Mary Suib.  7                                                         p.m.  Monday.  St. John’s Episcopal Church.

May 23    Great Gnus & Trouble Between the Tates by Kaz Kazanjian.  Directed by Catherine Aselford.  7 p.m.  Monday.  St. Mary’s Armenian Church.

June 13    Into The World Of What-Ifs by Ernie Joselovitz.  Directed by Lynn Spears.  7 p.m.  Monday.  Iona Senior Services Center.

July 11    Lights Up by John Carter.  Directed by Laura Gianarelli.  7 p.m.  Monday.  Iona Senior Services Center.

In-House.
May 9        Untitled by Bill Triplett.  Directed by Nick Olcott.  7 p.m.  Monday.  Lawton Community Recreation Center.

Frequent addresses for meetings and readings…
St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church, 4125 Fessenden St NW, Washington, DC 20016.
St. John’s Episcopal Church, 6701 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD 20815.
Iona Senior Services Center, 4125 Albemarle Street NW, Washington, DC 20016.
Round House Theatre’s Education Center. 925 Wayne Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
Twinbrook Recreation Center. 12920 Twinbrook Parkway, Rockville, MD 20851.
MetroStage. 1201 North Royal Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.
Centro Nia.  1420 Columbia Rd., NW, Washington DC 20009
Lawton Community Recreation Center.  4301 Willow Lane, Chevy Chase, MD 20815.
DC Arts Center.  2438 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009

FORUM 2 SCHEDULE
April 6
April 20.  Reading, new play by Paula Stone.
May 4
May 18
June 1
June 15
June 29
All meetings are at 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Wednesdays, at St. Mary’s Armenian Church, DC


WORTH  NOTING
Dramatists Guild area representatives, meeting Saturday, April 9th, 3-5 p.m. Harbor Court Tower Condominiums, 10 East Lee Street, Baltimore.  Including new DC representative, playwright Allyson Currin & Baltimore Rep. Brent Englar.  Further info: benglar@dramatistsguild.com .

SPOTLIGHT ON … SCOTT SEDAR
actor, singer, director, dramaturge, “script doctor” and teacher
by Paula Stone

SCOTT brings professionalism and wit to his acting and directing in Washington DC’s professional theatre community.  (It’s true, just ask his mother!)  Highlights in his acting career include Oberman in David Mamet’s The Water Engine at Spooky Action (2012); Joseph Cornell in Charles Mee’s Hotel Cassiopeia for Round House (2010); Dr. Sanderson in Mary Chase’s Harvey at Woolly Mammoth; Oberon and Theseus in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights’ Dream at Baltimore’s Center Stage and Cervantes and Don Quixote in Dale Wasserman’s Man of La Mancha at the Atlas Theatre.  Interested in the development of new work and adaptations, Scott originated roles for the In Series’ “pocket operas” and went on two national tours for the Kennedy Center Theatre for Young Audience’s The Red Badge of Courage and The Emperor’s New Clothes.  He’s participated  in the Kennedy Center’s New Visions, New Voices and Page-to-Stage programs and readings for Arena Stage’s playwright-in residence program. He directs for the Playwright’s Forum.

The breadth of your creative involvement and achievements is remarkable.  What qualities do you think have enabled you to be so versatile?

Being personable is not an especially admirable quality, but one of the busiest actors in our city, Michael Lambert, once said of auditions, “show them you’d be fun or at least pleasant to work with and you’re halfway there to being cast.” Also, since this is a collaborative business, one must be fairly articulate in expressing creative ideas and self-motivated in order to survive the inevitable dry spells in employment.

Has any one person been especially influential or inspiring for you?

I draw inspiration from my theatre mentor, R. Paul Willett, an actor/director at the 90-seat Gaslight Theatre in Denver, where I was born, raised, and went to college.  He produced and staged quality contemporary works including John Herbert’s Fortune in Men’s Eyes,  Lanford Wilson’s Rimers of Eldritch and That Championship Season and Edward  J. Moore’s The Sea Horse.  It was a fine theatre and the practical knowledge and experiences I gained in my apprenticeship still serve me today. 

Can you tell us more about your apprenticeship at the Gaslight Theatre?  How did this happen and when?  Any words of advice here? 

At first,  I did all sorts of rudimentary odd jobs: mowing the lawn, hauling set materials, painting and clean up. With time, I got to act, build sets, create and distribute publicity materials, sell tickets, serve refreshments, and sit in on rehearsals and some of Paul’s decisions on plays. I had the opporutnity to see how things were done and what worked best with audiences.

I was just finishing up at college and I took a risk with my time. I worked without much money or recognition. I put my own ambitions aside, for a time, but I gained in the end.

I admire and am intrigued by your assorted creative fires—where and how they were lit, who fueled them, were  you encouraged to be creative as a child? 

I was encouraged to be creative as a working strategy for those times when I needed to recuperate from corrective surgeries on my legs (due to childhood polio).  During junior high and high school, I spent three summers confined to bed with a leg cast.  That’s when I began a journal, painting with oils, as well as studying piano and guitar.

My parents paid for my music lessons and art supplies.  My father shared his love of music, and he brought rigor and intellect into my life—he was a physician who played jazz piano and acted early in his life.  But neither parent encouraged art or theatre as a career choice.  They hoped for a more practical field, like law or medicine.

I made up my mind to pursue my creative interests after my first year of college, when I had yet another period of confinement. I had mono nucleosis and ended up in bed for six weeks.  I gave up on pre-med and began to audition. I played the part of the title role in a concert version of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and won a singing contest and a grant to study voice. I landed a compromario role at the Central City Opera and a job as a singing waiter.  Then, I met my theatre mentor. Three years later, I moved to Washington DC, following an opportunity to study and perform.

Have you had any pivotal, especially memorable and/or notably satisfying theatrical experiences?

Perhaps my most memorable experience was a six-month bus and truck tour to 32 cities as the emperor in The Emperor’s New Clothes, an opera commissioned for the Kennedy Center’s Theatre for Young Audiences. I performed for 50,000 children across the country. 

Theatre played a part in several pivotal moments in my life. By landing a supporting role in Man of La Mancha at the Round House Theatre, I found many life-long friends and eventually chose to leave my job with the federal government.  I met my wife, Bari Biern, during Tim Grundmann’s The Lives of the Great Composers at New Playwright’s Theatre.

Can you say more about leaving your Federal Government job (a left-brain job?) for the  theatre (right-brain jobs?)? 

I worked for three years in the Office of Public Education of the U.S. Fire Administration. This was a small agency in the Commerce Department, where I was a clerk for the Smoke Detector Initiative.  Given some guidance by another generous mentor, I demonstrated that I could write and produce slide shows.  Remember those? This led to a grade increase and the title of Audio Visual Specialist. I kept to a budget and wrote about fire safety programs.  The most successful one was for children.  This program, called “Bless the Beasts and the Children,” allowed me to go on the road as a consultant, teaching firefighters how to create educational presentations. I might have parlayed that into a career – but I kept hearing the siren song of the theatre. 

Your wife, Bari, is a singer, actor, playwright, lyricist, critic and member of the Capitol Steps.  Are there any special challenges the two of you face as a couple, things you’ve had to work through because you are both pursuing artistic professions?

We have frequent pie fights to see who is funnier!

We’ve both been on the road for extended periods of time: I was out twice for six-month tours and Bari is very busy during election years. It is a challenge to strike a balance between our theatre work and maintaining a relationship, but that’s a problem for bankers, lawyers and everyone these days. It helps that we each know the ropes.  Happily, Bari continues to be an extraordinary support for my wide range of interests, as I am for hers.

Why, and how have you now been moved to try playwriting?  How do you find that your theatre background is affecting your playwriting? Do you find synergies and/or disadvantages?

Most of my previous playwriting attempts have been short industrial scripts with occasional scenes and sketches for various theatrical projects, like Happenstance Theatre’s Low Tide Hotel and Far, Far Oasis.

Writing took on a new importance several years ago following a diagnosis of post-polio syndrome. After that, I approached Ernie with a full-length ghost story that I’ve been working on. 

I sense that there is an inspiring story here—adapting to your diagnosis, finding new ways to create, maintaining your humor, getting on with living life fully.  It is so easy to feel discouraged as a creative type, even under the best of circumstances.  Do you feel comfortable sharing any lessons here? 

There is no treatment for post-polio other than to conserve energy.  I’ve had to become accustomed to a different lifestyle, one that includes avoiding stairs, wearing braces on both legs, learning to ask for assistance.  It’s either cope, adjust and adapt or end up out of the game.

Certainly, I’ve felt discouraged and had some trepidation about getting on stage. Fortunately, directors can be open minded and accommodating.  One of my first auditions following my diagnosis was for an AARP director who told me, “Oh, we love your crutches!” Recently, an opera stage director told me, “I know you have a disability, but I love the way you walk.  I couldn’t teach someone to walk like that!” For my three-line part of the jailer in his production of Tosca, he gave me some of Puccini’s most beautiful music and a curtain call.

Theatre is all about change. With this most recent challenge, I’ve found renewed interest in writing and directing.  I still sing and act.  I still paint.  I’m fortunate to have a number of skill sets and I hope to use them all, to continue to grow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *