Tag Archives: theatre

My New Play

I’m writing a new play. It’s about Eleanor and Henry II, but it’s NOT The Lion in Winter (since that one’s already been written, and produced, and filmed). I sort of have this Chris Pine type character in my mind when I’m writing Henry. Hmm.

It’s beautiful today, and I have the house to myself, so I’m sitting outside while I write and enjoying my hummingbirds. They are very happy because I have refilled their feeder. I think a few of them are getting fat off my indulgence!

Also, another of my coral and pink roses is getting ready to bloom.

Reminder: I’ll be doing a guest post on fellow author Christine Rains’ blog on Monday. Be sure to go check it out!

2012 Thus Far

Thought it might be interesting to take a quick inventory of all that’s happened thus far this year. The good and the bad.

  • Scott interviewed for a new job (mid-January).
  • I made travel arrangements for my trip to London (mid-January).
  • I wrote and finished my novella “St. Peter in Chains” (January).
  • Scott was offered the job in San Francisco and accepted (early February).
  • My play “Warm Bodies” was produced and was a finalist at the Valley Repertory 3rd Annual Lab Works (late February).
  • Movers packed up our house, and after a couple nights at a hotel we flew to San Francisco and moved into temp housing (mid-March).
  • I flew to Boston for a night, then on to London for a 10-day stay, then back to Boston and home to San Fran (March-April).
  • While in London I: converted “St. Peter in Chains” into a short screenplay, saw two plays, and celebrated Easter alone.
  • I submitted the screenplay version of “St. Peter in Chains” to the Nicholl Fellowship (April).
  • An area agent and an agency in the UK asked to look at my Sherlock spec; the UK agency also asked to read “St. Peter in Chains” (April)
  • We sold our house in Massachusetts (April).
  • I found out three pieces of my flash fiction had been accepted to be published in a 2013 anthology (May).
  • The agent declined to represent me and the UK agency did not respond to my follow-up query (May).
  • Scott’s parents visited and Scott and I celebrated our 11th anniversary by staying at El Drisco, eating at a fancy restaurant, and seeing Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers play at the Red Devil Lounge. Scott also gave me a gorgeous ring (May).
  • We moved out of temp housing and into a new house in Livermore (May).
  • I flew to Washington D.C. to see “Warm Bodies” produced as part of the Source Festival, and also got a chance to meet and spend the day with one of Scott’s high school friends who until then I’d only known online (June).
  • Scripts sent to Script Pipeline and the Page Awards did not advance (June-July).
  • After repeated rejections, I self-published the novella version of “St. Peter in Chains” as an e-book; it’s had steadily increasing sales (late June).
  • Encouraged by the success of “St. Peter in Chains,” I also self-published “Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Last Line.” It has outpaced “St. Peter” by a large margin and has been especially popular in the UK (July).
  • I did not advance in the Nicholl Fellowship (early August).
  • I self-pubbed my Star Signs Operating Manual (August).
  • I found out my play “Warm Bodies” was to be published in an upcoming anthology of short plays (August).
  • I was invited to submit a full-length play to a competition that only accepts full-length plays via invitation (August).
  • I did not advance in the Austin Film Festival screenwriting competition (August).

So . . . A mixed bag. I’ve left out the fact that a small army of query letters has gone without response. I’m chipping away, you see, but I wouldn’t mind a bit more success. The year is two-thirds over. Not sure what else I can hope to accomplish. I am working on another Sherlock Holmes story, and I am hoping to submit something to that playwriting competition. I’m also hoping some other plays I’ve submitted to various venues get selected for production. And more than anything I’d like these scripts I’ve written to get some notice. That, for me, would be the big win.

“Warm Bodies” to be Published

My short play “Warm Bodies” has been selected for inclusion in an upcoming anthology, an annual collection put out by Northwest Playwrights Alliance. The theme for the 2012 anthology is “A Better Life.” I’ll make an announcement and put it on the Shop page of the site when it becomes available.

I’m really very pleased that my first attempt at writing for the stage has been (for a beginner) pretty successful. “Warm Bodies” premiered at the 3rd Annual Lab Works put on by the Valley Repertory Company in Enfield, Connecticut. Then it was produced as part of Source Theatre Festival 2012 in Washington D.C. Maybe it’s beginner’s luck, but I’ll take what I can get.

I seem to be better at the short stuff than the long, perhaps because I do tend to be a somewhat economical writer. I once had a reader say to me in a letter that she liked how I could create such vivid imagery and feelings with so few words. She said it gave everything more impact. I like to think so. My goal is not to drag out and bore people. I hope I’m achieving that.

Dramatists Guild Statement re “3C” by David Adjmi

We of the Dramatists Guild of America wholeheartedly support playwright David Adjmi who has been facing pressure to silence his play “3C”. His work is a darkly comic parody of the sitcom “Three’s Company”, intended to critique the show and the social mores underlying it. The copyright owners of that work have written a “cease and desist” letter, which would, in effect, require him to stick the play in a drawer forever. But works of parody are protected under the “fair use” doctrine of copyright law, because such works serve as valuable social criticism. Corporate interests may prefer not to have their properties targeted for mockery, but artists have the right to do so, regardless of the best bullying tactics that corporate profits can buy. And more than having the right to do so, artists have an obligation to critique the vestments of our culture. So we stand with Mr. Adjmi, and are in discussions with him to see what assistance he might require. We hope others will show their support for David as well. Because, by so doing, we demonstrate that culture is too important to be controlled solely by the corporations that claim to own it.

Stephen Schwartz, President
Dramatists Guild of America, Inc.

My Fair . . .

Last night I had a dream in which Neil Gaiman was playing the role of Henry Higgins in a production of My Fair Lady in London’s West End. I’ve written before about how Neil often turns up in my dreams, but this was decidedly different in that we had no direct contact and the dream had nothing to do with writing (usually when Neil is around, the dream is about books and writing and such).

I did wake up with “Just You Wait” stuck in my head, though.

My Fair Lady holds a special place in my heart because it was the first professional theatre show I ever attended, way back when, and Richard Chamberlain was acting the role of Henry in that particular production. And I love Richard Chamberlain. (Yes, sweeties, I know he’s gay, but this is no romantic love—I was too young for that in any case, and I’m sure most of The Thorn Birds went right over my head the first few times I saw it.) Anyway, I saw two shows at Dallas’s Fair Park that season: My Fair Lady and Camelot (with Robert Goulet as Arthur), and these made the most astounding impression on me. Prior to these I’d only seen film versions of musicals, and school versions, nothing on so huge a scale as these two. But I went right out and bought the My Fair Lady soundtrack after that (the film version, which I realize is not at all the thing, but I also have that love of Jeremy Brett, even in so small a role as Freddy Eynsford-Hill, though I know there is yet debate over whether he did any of his own singing, &c.) . . . To this day I’ve been known to say to my kids when they’re mid-tantrum: “Claws in, you cat! How dare you show your temper to me!” Which of course bewilders them no end but also stops them because they’re not sure what just happened. And naturally I am almost honor bound to ask, “Where the devil are my slippers?” whenever I’m looking for them.

In any case, I’m not sure what my subconscious meant by serving up My Fair Lady in dream state. I haven’t watched it in a while. Maybe it was only suggesting I pop in the DVD? Though what Neil has to do with it I can’t guess. He’d be just about the most disheveled Henry Higgins in theatre history.

La Fete de St. Jean-Baptiste

Today is La Fete de St. Jean-Baptiste, an old French holiday observed now in Quebec and also in swaths of Southern Louisiana (where we French-Creoles settled). It is one of the two days a year that I make gris-gris. I’m not a practicing traiteur (it sounds like “traitor” but means “treater”) like my great-grandmother once was (a good Catholic but also the person you went to for a boost to your prayers), but I honor a few old traditions. This is one.

Alas, I will be on a plane for most of the holiday this year. My “working” will be limited.

Other things: seeing my play performed today at Source Festival was amazing; they did such a fantastic job with it, and it’s always a little surreal to see your words brought to life. I also enjoyed a day out in Washington DC, despite the formidable heat.

And now, certainly, I must pack up and get some rest before the long flight home.

Washington DC

I’m in our nation’s capitol for the first time since that 8th grade school trip we all go on. The hotel room is very large and nice:

Sherlock will surely have much to say about the trip when we return to San Francisco in a couple days. And maybe he’ll even say something nice about my play, which we will go see tomorrow afternoon . . . But I won’t hope too hard for kind words from him.

The flight was good, though the man sitting next to me (well, there was a seat between us; I was at the window, and he was on the aisle) kept offering me chocolates. I had my own food, and I’m relatively sure I don’t look starved or anything. It was a bit bizarre.

And then my taxi driver told me that after I checked into my hotel he would take me out drinking with him. “No charge. We’ll just go out, have some fun.” I declined as politely as I could; I do have places to be on the morrow and am meeting a friend for brunch first thing. Then the driver said he’d take me out Saturday night instead, then. And also take me to the airport on Sunday. He gave me his personal number. Do men do that? I can only conclude that I am somehow irresistible when travel-worn and grungy. In an attempt to be less travel-worn and less grungy, I will now try to get some sleep.