School’s Out

The 2015-16 school year is over and for Indie Theater Now it’s been our best ever.  It’s wonderful how many schools, drama teachers, students have found ITN so very useful.  Students at Fordham, Williams College, University of Georgia, Curtis Institute of Music, Rowan University (to name a few) were introduced to ITN and used it as a resource for their classwork.

At Curtis, the instructor chose the plays that were to be read. At Williams the students in an acting class chose their own plays, selected monologues and created a unique piece (all were produced in an evening of theater). The instructor at Rowan chose a “play of the week” to read and discuss as part of a playwriting class.

In addition, several high school students found monologues on ITN to use in the National Speech and Debate competition (we know of two who got to the finals).

We surveyed a sampling of these students and they were just about unanimous in their praise for the quality and diversity of plays on ITN. Also they told us they found it easy to work with and would recommend it to others.  How very nice! The student comments say it even better:

“I like the plays that were included. Especially SMOKER and SO, I KILLED A FEW PEOPLE…”

“Great site. Found it very useful with good quality plays.”

“I really enjoyed using Indie Theater Now and think that it is an awesome place to look for theater productions.”

“I really enjoyed the different types of plays that were available. “

We’d like to do reach out to many more students and schools next year. Please forward this post to anyone who you feel would be interested.  ITN offers academic subscriptions tailored to the size of the class.  ITN offers collections geared to the needs of the class.  For more information, please contact me.

Milken Playwriting Prize

This item from: Milken Community Schools

Milken Community Schools is excited to announce that the Milken Playwriting Prize is now accepting submissions of PRODUCED OR UNPRODUCED plays written to be performed by teenagers.  This second year of the biennial prize includes a cash award of $2,000, a script development process, and a full production of the play. A professional dramaturg will assist the playwright and provide readings as needed during the rewriting process. The winner will be promoted to theatres and high schools internationally.

High schools, unlike theatres, are constantly looking for large-cast plays with a majority of female actors and flexible casting. Although grants exist for plays written for adults to perform for kids as well as plays created by children, the Milken Playwriting Prize is for plays written to be performed by teens.

Submission Policy:

  • Professional playwrights and authors are especially encouraged to submit.
  • The plays may be produced or unproduced, but must be written within the past 2 years.
  • Plays must have casts larger than 10, use a majority of female actors, have flexible cast size, and be between 40 and 100 minutes in length.
  • There is no entry fee.
  • Other parameters can be found on the Milken Playwriting Prize webpage.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS:  September 15, 2016

For more information, go to: milkenschool.org/playprize

Meet the Playwright: James McLindon

James McLindon is one of the newest playwrights to have a collection on Indie Theater Now — three plays all most absorbing.  Check out his q&a on ITN’s Meet the Playwright feature.

Indie Theater Now is more than just a digital library.  Our mission is to introduce our readers to a wide variety of playwrights, all working hard to add their works and words to the literary/dramatic landscape.  Look ITN over and discover the scope and diversity of the work on display.

Masculinity: Not your daddy’s narrative

The Farm Theater’s College Collaboration:
Three universities commission an early-career playwright to write a play that each school will independently produce throughout the academic year. The faculty, students, and playwright collaborate throughout the year in the development of the text. The Farm Report will chronicle that process.  Playwright Micheline Auger is exploring gender and its effect on behavior.

What do you get when a boy meets a horse? Freud. What do you get with you thrust them together with a driving, penetrating narrative?  Freud’s mythology of masculinity.

masculinity

I don’t know about you but it’s hard to believe that back in the day (a little over 100 years ago), it was understood and accepted that, psychologically speaking, boys wanted to kill their fathers and fornicate with their mums. Or that girls and women had penis envy. It seemed more likely to me that boys and men would have vag envy because the vajayay was from whence you came! You would not exist without the original mobile home or palace du puss. It seems as plausible (if not more so) that boys and menfolk would envy (psychologically speaking) the ability or, shall I say, power to grow, birth and nurture a human being. Perhaps if Freud was a Frida that would have been the more yielding theory of the day. But maybe if women did envy the penis it had to do with the fact that you couldn’t hold a job, own property, or vote without one. Some say penis envy, some say equality envy.

penis envy

What are the stories we tell ourselves about gender or in this case, masculinity? In Ken Corbett’s book Boyhoods: Rethinking Masculinity, Corbett investigates the first psychoanalytic boy called Hans who is brought to him by his father because of his fear of horses (big penises, doy!). The story that Freud tells of masculinity by his analysis of this boy/child is, as Corbett puts it, “heteronormative, homorepudiating, propped by power, taking not needing and left to dominate through the repeated failure of recognizing the other.” This is a story told and passed on by Freud and the boy’s father. Corbett says Hans’ case study is not so much a proof of Freud’s theories as it is a case study on how “masculinity is inherited and cultural norms are enacted.”

“A theory of masculinity that is forged solely through competition with paternal authority, with little regard for the interplay if identifications, desire, and mutual recognition that seek to establish relations with others outside a dynamic of domination is largely a theory of phallic narcissism-qua-masculinity, and not a theory that can reckon with the range of phallic states beyond penetrative desire, or relational configurations beyond besotted adoration or domination.” – Ken Corbett

It’s an imprisoning narrative that overrides the boys “relational horseneeds.” (Relational needs?! What is he? A sissy boy?!)

In recently declassified interviews with the adult Hans (Herbert) and his father and mother, all was not well in the home of this psychoanalytic boy-toy. Herbert’s mother, Olga, had been treated by Freud during her adolescence and was described as being depressive. Apparently Olga had what Freud briefly describes as, “a neurosis as a result of a conflict during her childhood.” What kinda conflict? No biggie kinda stuff like Olga’s father and sister both dying when she was young; another sister attempting suicide; and then her two brothers actually succeeding. As if that wasn’t enough joy for one lifetime, Olga had a miscarriage before Herbert was born.  She might have been kinda bummed, fo’ sho’. Even though Freud wrote that both parents were “among his closest adherents,” it’s revealed that they resented his involvement in their lives. And what about Hans/Herbert? He blames Freud for the break-up of his family (and no doubt there would be some that would blame him Freudfor breaking up the human family but save me from hitting the hyperbolic nail on the head).

What can be gleaned from this little tale of woe? As Public Enemy would say, “don’t believe the hype” when it comes to stories of gender. Sometimes a cigar is just a man with an agenda.

 

Micheline Auger is a writer, playwright and producer. She received the 2015 New York Innovative Theater Award for Outstanding Original Full-Length Script for her play DonkeyFPP Edit-27-3 Punch which was produced off-Broadway; was voted one of Indie Theater’s 2014 People of the Year and was awarded with the National Theatre Conference’s Paul Green Award by veteran Broadway producer Liz McCann. She is also the creator of Theaterspeak and the event, WRITE OUT FRONT which has put over 200 award-winning and up-and-coming playwrights in the window of the Drama Book Shop writing new plays on view of the public in the Times Square Theater District. WRITE OUT FRONT and has been featured on the front page of the New York Times Saturday Arts Section, WNYC, Time Out NY, and on NY1. She has worked with and produced for the Lilly Awards Foundation and is a proud member of the Actors Studio Playwright/Directors Unit, New York Madness Theater Company and the Dramatist Guild.  @Michelineauger @WriteOutFront

Meet the Playwright: Nick Rafello

Born in Ohio, grew up in California, then found his way to NYC where he danced for the legendary Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon in Fosse’s last production of SWEET CHARITY. On to tour in a number of Broadway musicals and now he’s an award winning playwright.  Read all about Nick in our latest Meet the Playwright interview.

United Solo 2016 Announces Lineup

Indie Theater Now has partnered with United Solo Theatre Festival since its very beginning.  Get a feel for what this festival is like by checking out ITN’s United Solo collections. The festival just announced the lineup for 2016.  Here’s all the information you’ll need from the festival organizers:

UNITED SOLO, THE WORLD’S LARGEST SOLO THEATRE FESTIVAL now in its 7th season at Theatre Row has announced its lineup for 2016.  There will be productions from 22 states, 21 countries, and 6 continents between September 15 – November 20, 2016.  Tickets are available via Telecharge www.telecharge.com or 212-239-6200 and at the Theatre Row Box Office, 410 West 42nd Street, New York City.

The full lineup can be found at www.unitedsolo.org

Creative Aspirations & How To Not Achieve Them

The Farm Theater’s College Collaboration:
Three universities commission an early-career playwright to write a play that each school will independently produce throughout the academic year. The faculty, students, and playwright collaborate throughout the year in the development of the text. The Farm Report will chronicle that process. In this blog, commissioned playwright Micheline Auger explores willpower.

successI was listening to a Google talk given by Stanford Lecturer and Health Psychologist Kelly McGonigal on willpower. She asked a room full of uber-bright Google employees which scenario was optimal in achieving a desired result: imagining your success or imaging your failure. The majority of Google hands went up on “imagining your success” to which she said, “you are such Americans.”

And yes, we unwittingly are. But let us embrace our more pessimistic sides. Studies show that when people are optimistic about achieving their desired outcomes, they are far more likely to quit when the going gets tough. They are also more likely to quit when the going gets just fine. Conversely, people who imagine their failure, or are primed for it, are more likely to persevere in the face of adversity, as well as in the face of success and just okokayness.

The study she sites is one in which two groups of women have stated exercise goals. One group has to imagine and write about the possible scenarios in which they would not show up for their goal. They include all the details in their description.  “I woke up and feel too tired to exercise.” Or “I don’t have enough time to exercise (or write) because I overslept because I went to bed later than I wanted, because I binge-watched Netflix, or Facebook or (insert here). Then I tell myself I can do it later, after work. After work comes, and I end up going out with a friend for a drink, or I have to stay late to work, or I’m too tired after work and I tell myself I’ll start fresh tomorrow.” Or, “I met my goal consistently for three weeks, I can take one day off.” By clearly imagining all the possible scenarios that you would not show up for your goal, you essentially immunize yourself to it. McGonigal calls it an intervention.

writing pencil

Another interesting finding is that if you do fail at your goal, the ability to practice self-compassion versus beating yourself up better insures that you will actually get back on that horse and ride it (or back in the chair and write it.) Most people feel that if they let themselves off the hook, they will just slack off over and over again, so they bring out the psychological whips and chains. This self-scolding actually increases the odds that you will fail again. So listen to the experts and imagine your failure in all its glorious and mundane detail, and then if and when you do fail, give yourself some compassion and “write on.”

FPP Edit-27-3Micheline Auger is a writer, playwright and occassional producer. She received the 2015 New York Innovative Theater Award for Outstanding Original Full-Length Script for her play Donkey Punch which was produced off-Broadway; she was voted one of Indie Theater’s 2014 People of the Year and was awarded with the National Theatre Conference’s Paul Green Award by veteran Broadway producer Liz McCann. She is also the creator of Theaterspeak and the event, WRITE OUT FRONT which has put over 200 award-winning and up-and-coming playwrights in the window of the Drama Book Shop writing new plays on view of the public in the Times Square Theater District. WRITE OUT FRONT and has been featured on the front page of the New York Times Saturday Arts Section, WNYC, Time Out NY, and on NY1. She has worked with and produced for the Lilly Awards Foundation and is a proud member of the Actors Studio Playwright/Directors Unit, New York Madness Theater Company and the Dramatist Guild.  @Michelineauger @WriteOutFront

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