playwrights - what are you working on?

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Kithica

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After swearing that I was going to put down play-writing for a while and go back to prose (my first love), I find myself instead deep in rewrites of the recently-critiqued first act of my play and prepping to write act two, as well as bashing a 15-minute short into shape for submission. Clearly going cold-turkey is not going to work.

So I'm looking for company. Playwrights, speak up! What are you working on? Are you subbing anywhere? How goes the rejection slog? (I'm expecting a fresh one any day now.)
 

Doug B

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I'm working on an adaptation. About a year ago I saw the movie "Trouble With The Truth" written by Jim Hemphill. When I saw the movie, I was sure it was from a play and I thought it might be fun to direct (I'm more of a director than playwright) so I tracked Jim down and found that it wasn't based on a play. I got his permission to write a play based on the movie. I worked on it for several months until life got in the way last spring. Things have settled down and I hope to get back to it. I recently sent to script (version 7) to one of my readers and got some real nice comments back that I want to incorporate in my next version.

In the past I have written dozens of short plays - they are like my journal. I usually don't know why I am writing a specific short play. It usually takes a couple of years before I can see how it described part of my life at that time. I have written a half dozen full length plays - mostly Sci-Fi - that haven't been good enough to produce.

I'm hoping all that changes with "Trouble With The Truth".

Doug B
 

KTC

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I recently had two one-acts produced. I'm currently working on a piece that is set in a men's therapy group for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. I'm walking a very thin line, as I want a lot of comedy and a straight line of seriousness throughout. This came about from a concept I built with my own men's group...we kind of envisioned the bones together after they attended a couple of my previous plays and imagined the laughter and the sadness of our own community up on the boards. It's DAUNTING! But enjoyable.
 

Kithica

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Doug - Well done for tracking down the screenwriting and getting the rights! That sounds like a very cool project. And it's a great feeling to get notes back from readers - good luck with version #8!!. I just got a pile of feedback myself and it's so helpful to have those outside eyes on the script. The comments are really powering me through my current round of rewrites. And I know what you mean about plays reflecting life. I had a short piece produced in the fall and it was almost part monologue, part creative nonfiction, which is possibly more literal autobiography than what you meant. :) Congratulations on your output, though. That's amazing. I've worked professionally in the theatre (backstage) for over a decade, but I'm pretty new to play writing. The piece I'm in rewrites for is my first full-length play, and act two is entirely theoretical at the moment.

KTC - Congratulations on your one-acts! That's amazing!! Where were they produced, out of curiosity? I'm based in Toronto part of the year, and I'm sorry I missed them! Your new project sounds awesome, in all senses of the words, and I can't even imagine how daunting. I'm glad it's enjoyable, too, though. And great that the whole group can be part of that experience.

I spent some time today on submissions because there are a few deadlines coming up at the end of the month. I have a 15-minute one-woman piece that I submitted today to a festival in the UK. There's also a 10-minute two-hander that I did a clean-up pass on and prepped for submission. I'm expecting this one to be rejected by another place any day now, and I'll feel better about that if I'm ready to send it off somewhere new immediately. :)
 

KTC

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They were done in Port Perry, just north east of the city. I did a festival in Whitby several times. Have you ever heard of Trafalgar24 put on by Driftwood Theatre? It's a 10-Minute Play festival open to international submissions now, I believe. It's yearly and takes place in March. I did it 7 times, I think. The 6 playwrights get locked into an 18th century castle overnight for 8 hours. They write their plays in the rooms in which they are set. My last attempt, I got the cathedral...there's literally a church inside the castle. (also...the international entries get satellited in...there's a laptop set in the room their play has to be set in...so they can see it while they write). After 8 hours, the doors get unlocked, the playwrights go home and the actors and directors get locked in for 8 hours. THEN...there are 6 gala performances of each of the 6 plays and the wandering audiences walks through the castle seeing each play. It's the best event of the year! So much fun. It's too late to throw your hat into the ring this year...but you should try it out next year. The window to apply is around Christmas time. Whitby is only about 10-15 minutes outside Toronto's downtown core, in the eastern suburbs. The castle is awesome. The frenetic playwriting is the BEST! Sorry, I digress. I just love this event. (-:

A little write up about it on my blog, with pictures: https://ktcraig.com/2016/01/29/trafalgar24-by-driftwood-theatre-a-return-to-trafalgar-castle/
 
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Kithica

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I do know Driftwood - I think I interviewed to work on their tour, once upon a time - but I hadn't heard of Trafalgar24, that sounds amazing! And from the photos on your blog, the place looks stunning. I always love finding out that we have the occasional castle here in Canada, too. I'd actually love to go and be in the audience for it this year, although March is going to be a little nutty for me work-wise, and sadly I'll be on the west side of Toronto, not the east. But maybe the dates will line up.

The short of mine that was produced was also one where the audience walked a path and saw six separate ten-minute pieces along the way, but mine was outside on city streets instead of being in a building. It's a form of theatre that's really new to me, and I find it fascinating the way boundaries can be pushed and removed like that.
 

KTC

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That sounds amazing. I know Hamilton had one where they took part in city streets. I missed seeing it, though. I had two plays in the InspiraTO Festival at Allumnae Theatre. One of them was on the main stage, but one was in a hair salon around the corner from the theatre. They did plays throughout the neighbourhood that year. I loved doing that one too!

Trafalgar Castle is something to see! There used to be an underground tunnel from the castle in downtown Whitby (north of the 401) all the way to Lake Ontario. It's now an all-girl school...girls from all over the world stay there.
 

Kithica

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I submitted to InspiraTO this year, but didn't get selected. Apparently they had something bonkers like 1025 submissions, so I'm using that thought to salve my pride and I'm sending the short out to a few other places. I should just sit down and write something new, but I'm working on the full-length play and a novel outline at the moment so taking on yet another project feels like a little much.

At some point over the summer I should plan a visit to Whitby, at least take a look at Trafalgar Castle from the outside. There's also a plaque on the site where Camp X once stood - I'm not sure if you've heard of that, it was a site where we trained spies for the SOE during World War 2. (It's tangentially related to the full-length play I'm writing at the moment.) The camp itself is long gone, but there's a plaque in a park somewhere near the lake.
 

KTC

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Yes...I've been to the Camp X site. I used to be on the board of directors for the Ontario Writers' Conference and we had a pretty good relationship with Ted Barris, who writes books--an is an expert--on WWI/WWII.

1025! WOW! That's quite a few. I was selected to write ONE play, but there was an issue with a playwright and they sent out a blast asking for a play for the hair salon...I swear, I submitted my play back to them before anyone else even had a chance to read the email from them. I think I wrote it in 2 hours. Always Say Yes! (-: The second play ended up being my favourite of the two.
 

Kithica

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I'm so impressed! Usually, no one has ever heard of Camp X. Did you watch X Company on CBC by any chance? It was a (heavily fictionalized) account of some Camp X trainees in the field.

It's very cool you got to write two shows for InspiraTO. I work out of town all summer, so I always miss the various summer festivals, but I'm really hoping I can get back into the city in June to see this year's performances, but I'm not sure of my schedule just yet.
 

DarkWriter223

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I am working on musical called Boys and Girls (crappy title I know) its my first play I am working on though I am not sure about submitting them though, perhaps after I am finished with it I could send it somewhere but not sure where. Where do you send them?
 

Maryn

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I've only written two plays, no musicals, and finding places to submit them is really hard, unless and until you think it's fit for Broadway or the West End.

I ended up subbing to local and regional theatres, where one did okay but they decided it was too expensive to produce, which told me they had almost no funding. (Zero special effects except a single puff of smoke under an old-time camera's cloth cover, and some period costumes, none elaborate.)

One possibility I've read about but never done is giving it away to local theatre groups, college/university theatre arts departments, or high school theatre arts classes. At least you'd get to see it staged.
 

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