Newsletter: December 2014

December 2014     24.6

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 16th  .   Do try to include full or half payment as indicated.  If you have any problem with that pre-payment, don’t hesitate to call Ernie at 301-816-0569.  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.  Lawton Community Recreation Center.  6:30-9 p.m . January 27th to April 7th .  Joselovitz.
Wednesdays.  St. Mary’s Armenian Church.  7:00-9:30 p.m. January 21st to April 1st .  Pruitt.
Thursdays.   Cleveland Park Library/D.C.  6:30-9 p.m.  January 29th to April 9th 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 16th   .  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.____________________________________________________


Please register _______________________________________for the upcoming session of ___ Forum 1 ___ Forum 2
___ I was last a member of Fall  2014 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

December 17    Holiday break
December 31    Holiday break
January 7    Round Table Discussion
January 21    Round Table Discussion
February 4    Round Table Discussion
February 18    Round Table Discussion
March 4    Round Table Discussion
March 18    Round Table Discussion

All meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Armenian Church.

December 8    Ford vs. Ford 1846 by Jason Ford.  Directed by Brian Mac Ian.  7 p.m.  Monday.  Iona Senior Services Center

January 26    Short plays by Kaz Kazanjian.  Directed by Catherine Aselford.  7 p.m.  Monday.  St. Mary’s Armenian Church.

March 30    White Lies by Tricia Rudder.  Directed by Sheilah Crossley-Cox.  7 p.m.  Monday.  St. John’s Episcopal Church/Norwood Parish.

January 12    One-act plays by Romina Nicaretta, Maria Trunk, Bucky Mitchell.  Directed by Brian Mac Ian .  7 p.m.  Monday.  St. Mary’s Armenian Church.

February 23    Workshop Reading Series #1.  Cold readings of selections from plays by Ron Wood,   and others.  Directed by Mary Suib.  7 p.m.  Monday.  Lawton Recreation Community Center.

March 23    Burt and Abbie by Libby Heily.  Director: TBA.  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

Professional Development Forum
Our first Professional Development Forum, funded by the Barbara Gross Memorial Fund, will be How I Read Your Script, a panel and discussion that will take place on Monday evening, 7:30 p.m., February 9th, at St. John’s Episcopal Church/Norwood Parish (Chevy Chase).  The panel will include an outstanding local director, actor, designer and producer/literary manager.  They will discuss how each reads a script, what each is looking for in that script.  It would be invaluable for playwrights to understand what differences there are between a director committed to the production of that play, a producer deciding whether or not to include that play as part of its theatre’s season, an actor hired to play a role in that play, and a designer with the task of designing a set, costumes, or sound for that same play: to see their plays from “the other side”, the theatre colleagues on whom they may later depend.

This panel will be made up of outstanding members of our local theatre community: Theatre J’s      Associate Artistic Director Shirley Serotsky, actor Rick Foucheux, costume designer Rosemary Pardee, and director Dorothy Neumann.

The panel discussion will be about one hour long, and moderated by playwright Paula Stone, followed by a formal, short Question-and-Answer session, and an informal opportunity to nosh and talk one-on-one.

The Barbara Gross Memorial Fund
The Playwrights Forum is pleased to announce the Barbara Gross Memorial Fund established in honor of Barbara Gross, a longtime associate member who passed away after a twenty-year battle with cancer.  Barbara was all over the local theater scene.  She did some acting and wrote a few ten-minute plays before settling into arts journalism.  She contributed reviews and feature articles to the Post—a favorite was a biography of Gus, the theater cat who used to be in residence at Church Street Theater. She reviewed for Backstage, the Washington Times, and the website Total Theater and reported on DC theater for Playbill Online.  She attended the O’Neill Theater Center’s National Critics Institute and continued her association with the O’Neill by reading scripts for the National Music Theater Conference.  A longtime member of American Theatre Critics Association, for a number of years she served on the New Play Awards Committee.  She was always pleased to see a playwright she championed go on to further success. It’s fitting that this bequest will be used to support Professional Development Forums. Barbara Gross always enjoyed Forum conferences and she would be thrilled to know that her fund will make more events possible.

On February 23rd, Monday, at St. Mary’s Armenian Church, will be a Workshop Reading Series, an evening of three ½ hour cold readings of members’ plays.  One of those will be Ron Wood.  Two more slots are open.  Those interested in having a portion of his/her play read please contact Ernie: .
Applications to the 10th Fringe Festival 2015
Fringe-run venue. Deadline, December 21.  Find-your-own venue. Deadline, March 6.
P.O. Box 50659, Washington, DC 20091.  OR .

Creating 101 Dalmatians
By Marty De Silva

Joan Cushing and I first collaborated on “Heidi,” a musical produced by Imagination Stage in 2009.   We had such a good time writing it that we have been talking to Imagination Stage ever since about another project.

Over lunch one day in 2013 with Janet Stanford and Kate Bryer (the Artistic and Associate Artistic Directors of Imagination Stage), Janet dangled “101 Dalmatians” in front of us.  This is one of Janet’s favorite childhood books and the stage rights were available.  Joan and I leapt at the chance to re-create this story for Imagination Stage.  For this show, Janet was the primary artistic driver behind this work, and we were lucky to have Kate’s feedback as well.

There were some parameters for us to work within – Janet was keen to distinguish the human characters from the dogs – and wanted to use larger than life size puppets to portray the people.  We also had the constraints of a reasonably-sized case (9, double-casting was key) and TYA (Theatre for Young Audiences) friendly length (75 – 80 minutes).  Janet wanted to put this in the 2014-2015 season, and feature it as the holiday show.  That meant aggressive and regular deadlines for us (our commission payments were contingent on meeting those deadlines) – with a first draft due by August 2013 so that we would have something ready for a development week (so critical to the creation of a new work) the following month.

Joan and I worked both collaboratively and separately.  We started by providing a narrative to Janet and Kate that we wrote together.  The narrative included both a blow-by-blow telling of events we wanted to include as well as the moments in the story that would best be told by music.

Once our narrative was in a satisfactory place, I started writing the script (inserting dummy and somewhat terrible songs for Joan to make magic from later when the script was “complete”).  In my experience, the composer/lyricist cannot really do anything meaningful with music without seeing the script and getting a sense of the action and mood of each scene.

We were fortunate to premiere this play at the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte (directed by Janet) back in September and we came to the Imagination Stage rehearsals with some valuable lessons learned and re-writes in hand.  There are just some things that you cannot fully anticipate until you see actors working with your words and music or until you experience how long it takes to make a costume or scene change.  Audience reactions are also very important – a child’s response tells us if we are on the mark, or if we need to do some revising.

In both Charlotte and DC, we were blessed to have generous and talented actors and their input was/is enormously helpful.  I love it when an actor says to me, “It feels like my character should say something like…X….Can I try it?”  Many of those suggestions have found their way into the script.   Lastly, it is a blessing to have a director you trust.  I have sat beside Janet for countless hours in rehearsal rooms and I appreciate her instincts and candor, not to mention her wicked sense of humor.

As of this writing, we are two days away from previews; the music is thankfully done – but I’m still tweaking the script and probably will be until opening night.