Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Writerly Advice from Lia Romeo

As we get ready to kick off the 32nd Annual New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest & Festival, we reached out to our adult, professional playwrights to give us tidbits of information, insight, stories and ideas that we could share with our young playwrights who are currently working on a play or writing a play for the first time.

We're kicking off our series with a blog post from playwright, novelist and comic writer, Lia Romeo. To learn more about Lia, visit her website 


Writerly advice from Lia...

A couple of years ago, I was commissioned by HotCity Theatre (in St. Louis, MO) to write a play that had to do with social media in some way.  I ended up writing a play called Connected, which consists of several interrelated vignettes that focus on various types of social media: Facebook, YouTube, online dating sites, and role-playing games.  The play was developed at Playwrights Theatre in the Forum Reading Series in 2012, and ended up in HotCity’s 2013 season. 

Because of the social media theme, they came up with a marketing campaign which uses social media to expand the world of the play and (hopefully) get the audience interested before opening.  The director, Chuck Harper, and I worked together to choose five characters from the play, and then the actors who play those characters created Facebook profiles for them and began posting and interacting with one another as their characters.  The theatre sent out some marketing blasts explaining the project and telling audience members to friend the characters, and I acted as a sort of “show runner” for the project, sending out emails each week telling the characters the major events that would be “happening” in their lives that week.

The Facebook project existed independently of the world of the play, and wasn’t necessary in order to understand anything in it … some of the characters that were created on Facebook were fairly minor in the world of the play (one was actually an off-stage character who got mentioned but never appeared), while others were more significant.  One reporter who wrote a story about the project pointed out that it was a great acting exercise for the actors … they had to come up with a backstory, likes and dislikes, sometimes even last names for their characters, and it seemed like they had a lot of fun with it. 

For me, it was totally surreal the first morning I signed on to Facebook and, in between the usual baby pictures and reports of what my friends had eaten for breakfast, I saw a status update from a character I’d invented.  It really literalized the whole idea of having your characters “talk to you” – and it was  fun seeing the ways that the actors “fleshed out” (in a virtual sense) the characters I created. It reminded me of what I love most about theater, which is the collaborative aspect – the fact that we’re all working together to bring something to life. 

It also made me wonder whether this is a style of marketing that’s going to become more popular.  It’s already standard for theaters to have a social media presence, and for authors and playwrights to have blogs, websites, and so on.  It seems like it could be a natural extension for fictional characters to begin appearing on social media – and maybe it’s already happening more than I realize (just did a search for Katniss Everdeen on Facebook and she’s totally on there, three times).  As a writer, I’m naturally intrigued by the blurring of the lines between fantasy and reality, and I think those lines already get blurred by the ways that all of us present ourselves on the internet.  So it’s interesting to think about how far that blurring of lines might ultimately go.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Seriously Awesome Writing In Our Summer Playwriting Workshop

We popped into the Playwriting Summer Workshop yesterday and there was some seriously awesome writing happening. Plot twists. Character development. Costume ideas. Some writing with pen and paper and some typing away at their laptops. There was an amazing energy and we can't wait to read what everyone wrote! Keep up the good work and don't forget to enter your scripts into our New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival!






Need some ideas to help prompt your script? Check out our Pinterest page dedicated to all things inspirational for budding playwrights.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Cast of GODSPELL

The cast of GODSPELL gets silly for the photo shoot




The Madison Department of Recreation, in partnership with Playwrights Theatre, present

GODSPELL
Conceived and Originally Directed by JOHN-MICHAEL TEBELAK
MUSIC AND NEW LYRICS BY STEPHEN SCHWARTZ

Originally Produced on the New York Stage by
EDGAR LANSBURY / STUART DUNCAN / JOSEPH BERUH


GODSPELL

Is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI).
All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.
421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-541-4684  Fax: 212-397-4684
www.MTIShows.com


GODSPELL
July 24, 2014 at 7:30pm
July 25, 2014 at 7:30pm
July 26, 2014 at 2:00pm

Performances will take place at Madison High School, 170 Ridgedale Avenue, Madison, NJ.

Tickets: $10 for Adults, $5 Children & Students
Call 973-514-1787 X31 or online at http://www.ptnj.org/specialevents.php?url=godspell

Senior Citizens - No Charge
Call Madison Senior Center 973-593-3095

CAST:
Anastasia Arvanites
Melissa Barry
Rob Bazaral
Larry Bissett
Katharine Brundage
Kavi Daniels
Loren Donnelly
Max Dreitlein
Mike Dreitlein
Pauline Figarelli
Najah Johnson
Sahirah Johnson
Jane Keitel
Brian Lang
Kathryn McManus
Kristin McManus
Alex Post
Walter F. Rodriguez
Jayati Samar

PRODUCTION:
Danielle Constance - Director/Set Design
Karen Romero - Music Director
Jane Keitel - Assistant Music Director