March 5, 2010

Making like a pair of Nike's (aka pimping the Black Ice project)

The project I'm working on is making steady progress, for which I'm grateful. While the scope is smaller than I initially anticipated (3 writers putting up 2 one-acts and a full-length), I think that's just right to get things off the ground. Not to mention, we've remained committed to the initial idea, and that's always most important for getting shit done.

The vision of the group is nearly identical to 13P, but with the emphasis on producing works by new playwrights of color. The idea is to use our shared passion for theater and our status as Othered to empower us when it comes to gathering resources and reaching out to potential audiences and creative partners. We're committed to giving people theatre by and about us that challenges what people assume we stand for and/or are interested in.

This is not just another reading group. We want performances of our work. Rather than sitting around submitting our plays to all these places and waiting for other people to decide our work is worth doing, we're doing it ourselves. We definitely read each other's work. However, our feedback process is geared less towards reviewing our pieces and more towards uncovering the performance possibilities of the scripts and giving the each other a better understanding of how our works . . . work. In other words, instead of trying to rewrite the plays, the group is there to help writers figure out what their plays are capable of and finding the way to make sure that happens - as inspired by the Liz Lerman method of critical response.
Since we're geared toward development and production, we don't do the typical writers' group thing of reading a snippet of a play out loud during a meeting then giving 15 to 30 minutes of instant feedback.

So far we've built a great rapport around digging into and understanding each other's works. Our next meeting is on March 17, and by then we should have completed drafts of our scripts. From there, we can shift to a more pragmatic angle of understanding our works (ie, staging, casting, etc.) Yes, we churned it out very quickly. It's not about quality right now. It's about just doing the damn thing - which is apparently the hardest thing to do.

At the moment, we're going for an early summer show, although that could be pushed to mid- or late summer depending on what we have to work with. Fall might be pushing it too late, considering school and work commitments. We're shooting for a bare bones production (which I'm calling a naked production because that sounds cooler and might get people to come hoping to see nudity). No design or technical elements whatsoever, just actors off-book. I should probably write more about it in a bit since I think that offers something really valuable to performers in particular.

Right now we are looking for venues, organizations, and individuals interested in being a part of our project. If you know of directors, actors, designers, producers, or even marketing and PR people who would be interested in our "naked" production, please feel free to send them our way. We'd love to work with them!


  1. There's a really wonderful young black playwright named Kelley Gilrod whom you might think about reaching out to. Her stuff is really poetic and beautiful. She's working a lot with the Horse Trade peeps lately.

    Which brings me to Horse Trade. You should apply to their residency for free space. This is the only reason The Management has been able to stay alive, really.

  2. Thanks, Josh!

    I just went to a wonderful event tonight called the Blackboard Reading Series, and they're really cool. I might ask them if they know about Kelley Gilrod.

    I remember running across Horse Trade before. I don't know if I contacted them, but it's worth another shot.

    Thanks for the info.