We recently kicked off the newest iteration of C1 PlayLab, and in the coming months, we’ll be using some of our time during our PlayLab Master Classes to discuss big ideas and current issues that are relevant to working playwrights. This month we are exploring the themes of Character and Identity — here are a few pieces of writing that will serve as a springboard for our conversation during this month’s PlayLab session.
My Parents Were Tiger People: christopher oscar peña chats about writing race with A. Rey Pamatmat via HowlRound
A. Rey Pamatmat is our PlayLab guest this month, and this conversation is a great one to get us thinking about how one’s personal identity and experience can impact a play, as well as what it means to craft characters from a variety of backgrounds:
People need to be okay with labels evolving and redefining themselves. I also wish plays were experienced on their own. The context of the writer’s identity is totally exciting…afterward. Let that add to the conversation, not be it.
Artistic Authority Series – Part One and Part Two via Jacqueline Lawton’s blog.
In these two posts, playwrights Kia Corthron, Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, Kristoffer Diaz, Marcus Gardley, and several others all offer their thoughts on the ethics of writing characters from a different racial or ethnic identity than one’s self.
Are we ethically entitled to write outside of our own ethnicity (however we define any of those loaded terms)? If we do, are there any ground rules? Are we obligated to educate ourselves (even minimally) about a culture before assuming the authority to give voice to characters of that culture? Or is any such suggestion a hindrance to the creative process, at worst tantamount to censorship?
The 2015 BCA PlayLab is coming to a close in a few short weeks. Here are a few pieces of writing that we think is worth checking out as we wrap up the program. Let us know what you think on Facebook or Twitter!
We’ve been talking a lot about work/life balance as a writer, as well as best practices for maximizing opportunities to connect with potential collaborators during the past couple PlayLab sessions — here are a few more articles that touch on similar topics. (As a reminder, the links we share aren’t necessarily endorsements, but are a great jumping off point for discussion.)
End of year advice from our writers – The Playwrights’ Center
“1. Always write the play you’d actually go see.
2. It’s okay to write in the style of your hero. After all, your hero ripped off his/her style from somebody else too. But don’t tell the same stories as your hero. Yours are way better.
3. The week-long retreat in the woods culminating in the staged reading is great, but don’t wait or rely on it to hear your play read. Call some actors, find a room, print some scripts, and get it going. Do this until you run out of favors or until the week-long retreat people finally invite you.”
—Core Writer Idris Goodwin
Having Kids: Worst Idea, or Worst Idea Ever? – Bitter Gertrude
I’ve been asked many times about how I made parenting and a life in the theatre work. The sad truth is, there’s no magic formula that will make those early parenting years less difficult, but the happy truth is, it goes by in a blink. Your life as an artist will last decades, and your kids will only need direct supervision for 15ish years. It’s over before you know it. I know that’s not much consolation to people with a screaming baby who somehow have to teach three classes and rehearse for four hours on 37 minutes of sleep, but believe me, it’s true. Your screaming baby will be 15 and able to come home, do his homework, make his dinner, take a shower, and get himself to bed at a reasonable hour sooner than you think. It will be bittersweet, but it will happen.
Playwright Melissa Hillman and her son Jonah, May 2001
How I Got Eight Full-Length Productions This Year – donnahoke.com Continue reading
The dramaturgy team will be periodically posting updates and highlights from the 2015 BCA PlayLab in the coming months. Follow along and let us know what you think on Facebook or Twitter!
In the weeks following our first BCA PlayLab meeting, we’ve been collecting articles and essays pertinent to playwriting and life as a writer that we wanted to share with the group. The articles we share aren’t necessarily endorsements, but are a great jumping off point for discussion — here are a few to kick things off:
The Most Successful Creative People Constantly Say ‘No’ – Business Insider
No matter what you read, no matter what they claim, nearly all creators spend nearly all their time on the work of creation. There are few overnight successes and many up-all-night successes. Saying “no” has more creative power than ideas, insights and talent combined. No guards time, the thread from which we weave our creations. The math of time is simple: you have less than you think and need more than you know.
An artist compiled all her rejections in an ‘anti-resume.’ Here’s what can be learned from failure – The Washington Post
So the anti-resumé remains my deceptively simple answer to the question, ‘How do you do it?’: that I persisted during all those years of rejection for no other reason than that I loved writing so much I wanted to spend all my time doing it. Writing must be its own reward, even for the most talented and hardworking writers, or they’re going to have a tough time.