Newsletter: December 2015

25.6    December 2015
     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 January 18th .   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 .  The fee is $130.  Forum 1 will include three groups of 8-10 members, in 6 bi-weekly meetings.  Our faculty includes, for the Spring, Ernie Joselovitz and Allison Pruitt.

Tuesdays, Cleveland Park Library, DC.  6:30-9 p.m. February 2nd to April 12th .  Joselovitz.
Wednesdays.  St. Mary’s Armenian Church.  7:00-9:30 p.m. January 27th to .  Pruitt.
Thursdays.  Lawton Community Recreation Center.  6:30-9 p.m. February 4th to April 14th .. 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 . 1. Current members who wish to continue are given priority. Please register by January 18th .   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 December 23: pforum7@yahoo.com____________________________________________________
Please register _______________________________________for the upcoming session of ___ Forum 1 ___ Forum 2
___ I was last a member of Fall 2015 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
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

The Playwrights Forum Newsletter, starting in 2016, will be published 3 times a year instead of the current 6.  Our next newsletter will be published in April 2016.

The Dramatists Guild will soon be offering internet classes: the Dramatists Guild Institute. “A curriculum of classes that (will) address the very real needs of our members in terms of writing workshops, best practices, craft classes and seminars that …give practical experience in everything from developing a full-length play with actors, to dissecting basic dramatic structure, to synopsis writing and the foundations of musical composition.”  Deadline, application process and fees, to be announced soon.

December 16    Round table meeting
January 27    Round table meeting
February 10    Round table meeting
February 24    Round table meeting
March 9    Round table meeting
*Each meeting will take place on Wednesday evening starting at 6:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Armenian Church (4125 Fessenden Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20016).

December 7    Stone-Cutter by Jane Ross.  Directed by Brian Mac Ian.  7 p.m.  Monday.  St. John’s Episcopal Church/Chevy Chase.

December 14    Princess Georgie, a musical by Adrian Verkouteren.  Directed by Scott Sedar.  7 p.m.  Monday.  Iona Senior Services Center/Tenleytown.

March 7    Where The River by Tom Stephens.  Directed by Andy Wassenich.  7 p.m.  Monday.  Iona Senior Services Center.

March 28    Judas and George by Maria Trunk  Directed by Scott Sedar.  7 p.m.  Monday.  Iona Senior Services Center.

January 11    Lucas, Are You Dead? by Trish Rudder.  Directed by Catherine Aselford.  7 p.m.  Monday.  Lawton Community Recreation Center.

February 1    Ruined by Paul Handy.  Directed by Brian Mac Ian.  7 p.m.  Monday.  St. Mary’s Armenian Church.

February 22    Uncle Julie by Sidra Rausch.  Directed by Catherine O’Connor.  7 p.m.  Monday.  Lawton Community Recreation Center.

March 21    Belva  Lockwood  by Mary Lee McIntyre.  Directed by Catherine Aselford.  7 p.m.  Monday.   St. Mary’s Armenian Church.

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   


Pronounced exactly as it’s spelled.  Yiddish: to gush, to swell.  Here is where you will find tidbits about Forum members and Associate members.  Good things that have happened to our colleagues inside and outside the Playwrights Forum neighborhood.  Send all kvelling direct to the Playwrights Forum at .

Duke Ryan (ex-Forum member) has seen a full-length play of his, Through Blood to Green Pastures, have a staged reading at the University of Cambridge (England) this summer.  An e-book of his has just been published by Miniver Press in Washington , DC, Amanda’s Autobiography and is available on Amazon/Kindle and is intended for all ages, but especially for grandparents: .

Brown Cardwell (ex-Forum member) 2015 Writers Digest 84th national competition won 4th place for her short story Edith and 7th place for stage play, Ben’s Place.  Her play from several years ago, Time Files, developed at Playwrights Forum, is now represented and published by Heartland Plays, Inc.

Forum 1’s Thomas Mason, Jr.’s Saturday The Child Was Lost received a  Public Reading by Live Garra Theatre at the Silver Spring Black Box Theatre.

Forum Advisor Prof. Vera J. Katz appears in the Nov. issue of Essence Magazine (on pg 86) in an article about Taraji P. Henson of Empire. She was one of Prof. Katz’s acting students.
Vera will be teaching a Master Acting class at Howard University on November 17th.
Also, on Oct 24th at the Potter’s House , Vera & Liz Lerman appeared together in conversation questioned by Ethelburt Miller. This event was sponsored by Mosaic Theater & Michon Boston.

Tom Stephens and Ernie Joselovitz were guests of The George Washington University’s Center for Excellence in Public Leadership, speaking to a visiting group of theatre and film professionals from Shanghai, China, on “The Playwrights Forum: Developing Playwrights in the DC Metro Region.”

Lisa Alapick’s (Forum 1) play, Tulip of Testudon, was staged at Hope Operas. This is a 4-evening, 4-play event with ticket sales going to the charities related to the play. This year’s theme was science fiction. The play raised $196 for the Mid-Atlantic Turtle and Tortoise Society.

John Morogiello (Associate member) has several upcoming performances:  His play Four Decades/One Community was performed at New Century Theatre in Minneapolis and at Woolly Mammoth, as part of a pair of galas for the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.  Men And Parts was produced at the Out of the Box Festival in Addison, Texas.  It will be read at Casa De Beverley’s One Acts and Snacks in Brooklyn this month.  The Consul, The Tramp, And America’s Sweetheart was read at Luna Stage in West Orange, NJ.  It is a current finalist for the Christopher Brian Wolk Award.  Die, Mr. Darcy, Die! was read at the Wright Theatre on the campus of University of Baltimore as part of the Dramatists Guild Footlights Reading Series.

Forum 1’s Ron Wood will have his recent play Mr. Carver and Me be part of Spooky Action Theatre’s New Works in Action Program, with a developmental reading in December.

A Christmas Cactus by ex-Forum 2’s Ellen Byerrum had a reading at the Bloomingdale Library in New York City on Nov. 21.


Reactions from those who were there….

From Nicky Burton.
Great panel on Rewrites at Playwrights Forum featuring Caleen Jennings, Karen Zacarias, Nick Olcott, Lloyd Rose, with Paula Stone moderating. Among my favorite comments:

Don’t go back and re-read until the draft is done; shoot through the story (though other panelists said they read and loop forward as they work).
Call it “zero draft” instead of “first draft.”
To avoid distractions, keep a side tally of things you’re discovering and keep writing.
Rewrite based on listening to the actors read your play and watching the audience but not based on the comments of those watching.
Type at the top of each page: “Write and do not tame.”
Rewriting makes the play richer; you don’t get layering and texture from a first draft.
There are always several ways to deal with a troubling issue in a play: Can you flip it? Have it be the opposite if it’s not working? Be bold. Be theatrical. Don’t get stuck in narrative; play with form.
Rewriting can be done while walking, dancing, swimming; showers are awesome! A good dramaturg is not competitive with the playwright.
Do writing exercises to give yourself the seed of a rewrite.
Be authentic: let us meet you in your play.

From Barry Weinberger.
“Re-writes,” a panel and discussion presented by Playwrights Forum October 5, 2015, was an evening for Forum members to enjoy anecdotes and views from four talented playwrights who have broad experience in local theater.  Karen Zacarias, Caleen Sinette Jennings, Lloyd Rose and Nick Olcott, moderated by Paula Stone, ranged widely while enlightening and delighting the attentive audience as they talked about how they surmounted experiences that all playwrights face.  While they differ in approaching their first drafts—go straight through versus circle back as you write—they were unanimous in knowing that in writing plays, writing is re-writing; you can’t write a play without numerous, sometimes painstaking re-writes.  All four also agreed that playwrights must trust to their inner/gut reactions to their writing, even while listening to the views of actors, friends, directors and others about possible infirmities as scripts develop.  And when you come to a point where you are stymied about where you play is going next, or you are convinced that what you write is no good (characters chatting without action), take a walk, take a long shower, go see other plays, read a good book (even a book on playwriting), or anything else that will let your subconscious develop the next step of your play; you’ll know the result when you have an “aha” moment.  Trust yourself.  It’s more likely than not that writing blocks will be overcome.  If it doesn’t happen, file the script away now; it might just come back fuller later, or as a part of another play.

From Duke Ryan
I thought the most interesting thing about the panel was hearing about how different playwrights write first drafts and then how they revise them.  Obviously, they all do the same things differently.  The take-home idea seemed to be that there is no right or wrong way to handle revisions, but that any playwright should be resigned to the fact that he or she will need to make them, and more than once.

From Maria Trunk
I took home a good number of insights from the REWRITES panel discussion on October 5th, probably the most re-assuring of which was that experienced playwrights grapple with many of the same problems I do as a beginner. Some specific advice I jotted down:
— Rewrites are much more than mechanical fixes to problems with your first draft. They’re opportunities to add depth and layers of meaning to your play.
— Do trust your ‘inner editor’, that is, your own feeling for what works and what is true. Don’t trust the voice that second guesses what someone else (an audience member, a producer, your mom) does or doesn’t want to hear.
— ‘There’s more than one way to skin a cat.’ As often as I’ve heard Ernie say this in our reading sessions, it was one of the panelists who helped me realize this really is a prescription for liberating your creativity, exploring avenues you may not travel if you stick to linear thinking. If you find yourself blocked in a scene, try talking it out in general terms with a friend — a disinterested party may see possibilities hidden from your own eyes. Stepping away from the keyboard — taking a walk, for example, or washing the dishes — allows your mind to work on the problem in its own non-directed way.

The evening gave me a lot to ponder, practical and philosophic aspects. Many thanks to the panelists for sharing their thoughts and to Playwrights Forum for bringing us all together.

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