Playwrights’ Perspective

Voices of BTM XXIII: Sophie McIntosh

By Editor
April 30th, 2021 in Blog, Boston Theater Marathon XXIII, new plays, short plays.

Tell us a little about your play.

Ipswich follows a pair of sisters as they examine the effect that one sister’s anxiety disorder—a severe case of aquaphobia—has had on their upbringing and relationship.

What made you want to tell this story?

Irrational anxieties have always fascinated me. Knowing that something cannot hurt you, while simultaneously being unable to fully accept this as the truth, is incredibly difficult to articulate and thus intensely isolating. I’m also interested in analyzing the way that an individual’s mental illness extends beyond them to impact the lives of family members and other people in their circle. Mental illness is never just one person’s problem—it affects us all, and we all need to be willing to help destroying the stigmas surrounding it. More

Maan named 2021 International Forum fellow

By Editor
April 23rd, 2021 in Blog, Fatima A. Maan, fellowships.

First-year MFA playwright Fatima A. Maan has been selected as a Theatertreffen 2021 International Forum fellow. Fatima is one of just 35 emerging artists chosen for the event in Berlin; fellows will attend Theatertreffen’s productions and events, and take part in exclusive workshops, discussions, excursions, and artists’ talks. Congratulations!

Voices of BTM XXIII: Mark Evan Chimsky and Zev Burrows

By Editor
April 22nd, 2021 in Blog, Boston Theater Marathon XXIII, new plays, short plays.

L-R: Zev Burrows and Mark Evan Chimsky

Tell us a little about your play.

We’re excited that we have the only ten-minute musical in this year’s Boston Theater Marathon! As a musical theatre writing team, we seek to create meaningful musicals celebrating a shared humanity with an eye towards social change. Our musical Albert, based on the life of transgender pioneer Albert Cashier, will have its premiere at BTM XXIII on Tuesday, April 27, at noon.

Albert is being presented by Boston Conservatory at Berklee and we’re grateful to be working with a dream team of collaborators: our actors Mack Elliot Schaefer as Albert and Alex Leondedis as the Translator, our director Helen Deborah Lewis, our music director Isaac Leaverton, and our producer Sarah Ford. Each of them has contributed their creativity, insights, and passion to this project and we’re thrilled to see them bring it to life for the first time. More

Voices of BTM XXIII: Nina Mansfield

By Editor
April 15th, 2021 in Blog, Boston Theater Marathon XXIII, new plays, short plays.

Tell us a little about your play.

Out Damn Spot is a short relationship comedy inspired by Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It’s similar to many of my other 10-minute plays which usually involve a husband and wife dealing with relationship issues in a comic way. Without giving away too much, this relationship issue deals with laundry.

What made you want to tell this story?

I love Shakespeare, and I love 10-minute plays. I originally wrote the play for an opportunity that was looking for short plays inspired by Macbeth. I knew that I wanted to set the story in a modern context. I thought about who Lady M. and Macbeth might be in 2021, and I had a great deal of fun reimagining the details of the play in a modern context.

What interests you in the ten-minute format?

I love the way that so much can be said in 10-minutes. It’s a way to explore character and conflict in a really compact way. Often there’s a twist or some kind of reversal at the end, which I also really enjoy. There’s not a lot of room for exposition. Things have to escalate quickly, since you only have 10-minutes to play with! More

Voices of BTM XXIII: David Valdes

By Editor
April 5th, 2021 in Blog, Boston Theater Marathon XXIII, new plays, short plays.

Tell us a little about your play.

This is Not America was inspired by the experiences of Capitol rioters in their own words. Reading their blogs and interviews, and watching their home videos, I was startled at how mundane many of their posts were. I read one woman complaining about how long the line was at the liquor store when she needed drinks for the gals back at the hotel; the absurdity of this being the issue was the launch point for the play, which is heavy on found text.

What made you want to tell this story?

Let’s be real: election season, all ninety-eleven months was brutal. The stress and fear of what might happen never seemed to let up—including after the election was over. January 6 was a culmination of all those anxieties made manifest, and it was shocking to me that anyone could try to dismiss what took place. I mean, it was not a rally; it was a siege with a body count. I started reading coverage from the rioter’s points of view to try and get a sense of what kind of logic made that defensible. And what I found was an almost surreal disconnect from the seriousness of the events. More

Voices of BTM XXIII: Laurie Lee

By Editor
March 30th, 2021 in Blog, Boston Theater Marathon XXIII, new plays, short plays.

Tell us a little about your play.

Okay is all about both the ability and inability to connect. It is difficult for the four characters of the play to have a genuine interaction amidst a global pandemic because their form of communication is restricted to a laptop screen. It is also difficult because it is further complicated—two characters enter a past conflict while the other two characters try to find support and love from one another. In other words, Okay calls attention to how love languages are influenced by the way we are raised in different cultural settings, and how these differences can impede effective communication between individuals.

What made you want to tell this story?

Like others, I spent a lot of time alone during the pandemic. I changed as a person, and fully came to the realization that time is so valuable—we don’t ever see it fly past us unless it’s 10 years later and we’re like, “wow! Am I that old?” I think of 2020 as a year of timelessness, but I also see that so much change happened—lots of life-transforming thoughts born from little action. I also think of grief, loss, and, most importantly, hope. Surprisingly, these thoughts that occurred within a year have changed me more than action has in all my years of life. More

BTMXXIII: Special Zoom Edition schedule of plays

By Editor
March 17th, 2021 in Blog, Boston Theater Marathon XXIII, new plays, short plays.


Boston Theater Marathon XXIII: Special Zoom Edition features readings of ten-minute plays by New England playwrights in collaboration with New England theatres, via the video conferencing tool Zoom. BTM XXIII is a free event; audiences are encouraged to lend their support to area theatre companies and to the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund, which provides financial support to theatres and theatre artists in times of need.

This annual event will take place as a Zoom-based “lunch break” beginning Thursday, April 1 and continuing each day (with the exception of Sundays) through May 28. Readings will start at 12 noon ET, and each play will be followed by a question and answer session with the audience. To join, click on the link below from your computer, phone, or other device. You’ll need the Zoom app to participate (it's free!), and it is recommended you call in a few minutes before “curtain” time.

Please visit www.BostonPlaywrights.org for additional information and to join the Zoom.

--

We wish to express our gratitude to the Performers’ Unions:

ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION

AMERICAN GUILD OF MUSICAL ARTISTS

AMERICAN GUILD OF VARIETY ARTISTS

SAG-AFTRA

through Theatre Authority, Inc. for their cooperation in permitting the Artists to appear on this program.

--

April 1
Okay by Laurie Lee
Sponsored by Boston University School of Theatre
Directed by Shamus McCarty

Featuring Grace Goble, Emma Laird, Naomi Li, and Sarah Shin

Ora, Kala, Aurora, and Yonder join a walk-in Zoom meeting to find comfort in new strangers during a pandemic, but are drastically hindered from openly communicating with one another when past estrangements come into contact with a blooming friendship.

April 2
A Nasty Piece of Work by Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro
Sponsored by Asian American Playwright Collective
Directed by Daniel Gidron

Featuring Emily Kuroda

A bitter actress rants about her terrible co-star, revealing more about herself than anything else.

April 3
The Ark is a Metaphor by Andrea Fleck Clardy
Sponsored by Cohasset Dramatic Club
Directed by Lisa Pratt

Featuring Madison Pratt and Aisling Sheahan

Two women argue about the meaning of bad weather, as a violent storm comes closer and closer.

More

BPT Talks About Design: a tiny q&a with GONE NOWHERE director Noah Putterman

By Editor
March 11th, 2021 in 2020/2021 Season, Blog, BPT Talks, Daniel Blanda.

Noah Putterman (and Baxter)

BPT's 2020-21 season of new plays—thesis plays by our cohort of third-year playwrights—has been postponed until next year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In the meantime, all five plays are currently being workshopped in collaboration with our friends at BU's College of Fine Arts School of Theatre. A series of conversations about these plays, BPT Talks, was begun last fall via the videoconferencing tool Zoom.

BPT Talks About Design (moderated by BPT Technical Director Jeffrey Petersen) will further expand the discussion with a focus on the contributions of designers and the role of design in new play development.

On March 16, we'll talk about Daniel C. Blanda's new play Gone Nowhere:

At an old cabin in rural Minnesota, something is lurking in the corn. In the wake of his father’s death, straight-laced Riley has left his fiancé and the big city behind to search for peace by visiting his old friend. Luckily Hunter knows the cure for grief — old stories, the great outdoors, and plenty of beers. But soon, it becomes clear that Hunter is running from his own demons, and no one will be spared a battle. They spiral through a reckoning of biblical proportions, and neither of them will emerge as the same man...if they make it out at all. Read a Q&A with playwright Daniel C. Blanda

More

Lopez’s ‘Mr. Parent’ at TheaterWorks Hartford

By Editor
March 9th, 2021 in Alums, Blog, Melinda Lopez, new plays.

Happy opening (last Sunday) to Melinda Lopez, whose Mr. Parent is streaming on demand as part of The WORKshop Series at TheaterWorks Hartford. See it online through March 26!

BPT Talks About Design: a tiny q&a with INCELS… and LORENA director Erica Terpening-Romeo

By Editor
March 4th, 2021 in 2020/2021 Season, Ally Sass, Blog, BPT Talks, Eliana Pipes, new plays.

Director Erica Terpening-Romeo

BPT's 2020-21 season of new plays—thesis plays by our cohort of third-year playwrights—has been postponed until next year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In the meantime, all five plays are currently being workshopped in collaboration with our friends at BU's College of Fine Arts School of Theatre. A series of conversations about these plays, BPT Talks, was begun last fall via the videoconferencing tool Zoom.

BPT Talks About Design (moderated by BPT Technical Director Jeffrey Petersen) will further expand the discussion with a focus on the contributions of designers and the role of design in new play development.

On March 9, we talked about Eliana Pipes's new play LORENA: a Tabloid Epic:

LORENA: a Tabloid Epic spins out of the media hailstorm surrounding Lorena Bobbitt, who became a sensation after she used a kitchen knife to cut off her abusive husband’s penis in 1993. The tacky dystopia of American pop culture tumbles onto the stage in a series of funhouse vignettes that know no bounds, while The Playwright desperately tries to protect Lorena from the play which has clearly gotten out of her control. Then, a twist ending re-contextualizes Lorena’s outsized epic through the lens of a quieter sexual assault story that’s all too common. LORENA merges the personal with the political to reckon with our cultural sins, and bring Lorena’s story into the present day. Read a Q&A with playwright Eliana Pipes

And on March 23, we'll talk about Ally Sass's new play Incels and Other Myths:

Incels and Other Myths takes us on a mother and son’s epic journey into the online realms of gender, power, and mythology.

After allowing her creative and quick-witted son Avery to attend high school online, Elaine Roberts, a teacher of mythology, grows concerned as Avery spends much of his time playing the online adventure game, Oracle. When Avery informs Elaine that his Oracle guild consists of “incels,” men who desire sexual relationships though are unable to find them, Elaine decides she must save Avery from spiraling deep into a notoriously wrathful and misogynistic community. With the help of Mr. Anderson, a well-intentioned but wearied admissions counselor, Elaine follows Avery into the depths of Oracle, the incel world, and spaces in between. In this digital landscape both Elaine and Avery tap into unexpected and intoxicating new realities that shape how they see their own worlds. Read a Q&A with playwright Ally Sass

More