Announcing the 3rd Annual Chicago One-Minute Play Festival at Victory Gardens Theater

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The One-Minute Play Festival & Victory Gardens Theater Present

The Third Annual Chicago One-Minute Play Festival

Monday June 17th at 8PM and Tuesday June 18th at 8PM

At The Biograph Theater

2433 North Lincoln Ave Chicago, Il 60614

(773) 871-3000

Tickets are $18 and available here

After two previous years of sold out performances, Victory Gardens Theater will again partner with the NY-based company, The One-Minute Play Festival to bring The Third Annual Chicago One-Minute Play Festival (OMPF) back to the Biograph Theatre. One half of the proceeds from which will benefit VG’s community-based programming.

One-minute plays by nearly 60 established and emerging Chicago playwrights were commissioned for this special annual event, and developed with OMPF’s playmaking process.

Featuring Brand New One-Minute Plays By

David Cerda, Phillip Dawkins, Lonnie Carter, Randall Colburn, Dana Lynn Formby, Stephen Grush, Patrick McLean, Joel Drake Johnson, Bilal Dardai, Usman Ally, Laura Jacqmin, Mike Ervin, Seth Bockley, Evan Linder, Jake Minton, Nick Patricca, Caitlin Montanye Parrish, Arlene Malinowski, Nambi E. Kelley, Robert Tenges, Carlos Murillo, Emily Schwartz , Reeny Hofricher, Joe Wescott, Scott T. Barsotti, Joe Zarrow, Rachel Claff , Aaron Weissman, Jon Steinhagen, Edgar Sanchez, Brian Golden, Leean Torsky, Ike Holter , Tanya Saracho, S.L. Daniels, Calamity West, Tim Paul, Joel Kim Booster, Dani Bryant , Emma Stanton, Rachel Caris-Love, Stephen Ptacek, Andrew Bailes, Axel Arth, Jenny Seidelman, Francesca Peppiatt, Reginald Edmund, Caroline Moseley, Tiffani Swalley, Andrew Bayiates, Alex Lubischer, Carolyn Kras, Tony Werner, Dan Caffrey, Brooke Allen, Lily Mooney, Tania Richard, and more!

Directed By

Will Rogers, Jeffry Stanton, Jess McLeod, Jason Gerace, Adam Webster, Sydney Chatman, Sarah Gitenstein, James Palmer, Lavina Jadhwani, and Scott Weinsten.

Curated By OMPF Producing Artistic Director, Dominic D’Andrea

***

The One-Minute Play Festival (OMPF) is an NYC-based theatre company, founded by Dominic D’Andrea, which works in partnership with theatres who share playwright or community-specific missions across the country. OMPF creates local playwright-focused community events, using a specific playmaking process, with the goal of promoting the spirit of radical inclusion by representing the culture of playwrights of different age, gender, race culture, and points of career. OMPF attempts to reflect the theatrical landscape of local artistic communities by creating a dialogue between the collective conscious and the individual voice.

OMPF is the only major American One-Minute Play Festival, and has developed a specific methodology and ideology for one-minute playmaking and community engagement.

Notable Alums include: David Henry Hwang, Tina Howe, Neil LaBute, Rajiv Joseph, Kristoffer Diaz, Donald Margulies, Craig Lucas, Lisa Loomer, Phillip Kan Gotanda, Michael John Garces, Jason Grote, Mike Daisey, and others.

OMPF has partnered with theaters in over a dozen cities including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Brunswick, Trenton, Miami, Chicago, Boston, Baltimore, Washington, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and others.

For more information visit: www.oneminuteplayfestival.com

***

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew, Victory Gardens Theater is dedicated to artistic excellence while creating a vital, contemporary American Theater that is accessible and relevant to all people through quality productions of challenging new plays and musicals.

Victory Gardens Theater is a leader in developing and producing new theatre work and cultivating an inclusive theater community. Victory Gardens’ core strengths are nurturing and producing dynamic and inspiring new plays, reflecting the diversity of our city’s and nation’s culture through engaging diverse communities, and in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, bringing art and culture to our city’s active student population.

http://www.victorygardens.org/

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Categories: One-Min Play Info

Announcing The 2nd Annual Atlanta OMPF In Partnership With Actor’s Express

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The One-Minute Play Festival & Actor’s Express Present

The Second Annual Atlanta One-Minute Play Festival

Monday June 10th at 8PM and Tuesday June 11th at 8PM

At Actor’s Express

887 West Marietta St NW # J107 Atlanta, GA 30318

(404) 875-1606

Tickets are $20 and availablehere starting next week.

One-minute plays by nearly 40 established and emerging Atlanta playwrights were commissioned for this special annual event, and developed with OMPF’s playmaking process.

Featuring Brand New One-Minute Plays By:

Topher Nixon Payne, Margaret Baldwin, Addae Moon, Gabrielle Fulton, Pamela Turner, Theroun Patterson, Karla Jennings, Neeley Gossett, Patricia Henritze, Steve Yockey, Lee Nowell, Phillip DePoy, Peter Hardy, Daryl Fazio, Hank Kimmel, Robin Seidman, Greg Carraway, Nick Boretz, Amina McIntyre, Doug Graham, Lisa Brathwaite, Paris Crayton III, Michael Haverty, Jon Ludwig, Vynnie Meli, Grant McGowen, Suehyla el-Attar, Marki Shalloe, Nathaniel Lachenmeyer, Ralph Del Rosario, Megan Hayes, Mike Schatz, Travis Sharp, Matt Myers, Katie Grant Shalin, Jordan Pulliam, Sherri Denise Sutton, Michael Henry Harris, Gabriel Jason Dean, & more!

Directed By

Justin Anderson, Jaclyn Hofmann, Grant McGowen, Ellen McQueen, Sherri Denise Sutton, Veronika Duerr, Christina Hoff, & Nichole Palmietto.

Curated By OMPF Producing Artistic Director, Dominic D’Andrea

***

The One-Minute Play Festival (OMPF) is an NYC-based theatre company, founded by Dominic D’Andrea, which works in partnership with theatres who share playwright or community-specific missions across the country. OMPF creates local playwright-focused community events, using a specific playmaking process, with the goal of promoting the spirit of radical inclusion by representing the culture of playwrights of different age, gender, race culture, and points of career. OMPF attempts to reflect the theatrical landscape of local artistic communities by creating a dialogue between the collective conscious and the individual voice.

OMPF is the only major American One-Minute Play Festival, and has developed a specific methodology and ideology for one-minute playmaking and community engagement.

Notable Alums include: David Henry Hwang, Tina Howe, Neil LaBute, Rajiv Joseph, Kristoffer Diaz, Donald Margulies, Craig Lucas, Lisa Loomer, Phillip Kan Gotanda, Michael John Garces, Jason Grote, Mike Daisey, and others.

OMPF has partnered with theaters in over a dozen cities including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Brunswick, Trenton, Miami, Chicago, Boston, Baltimore, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and others.

For more information visit: www.oneminuteplayfestival.com

Actor’s Express is a theatre that challenges and reflects contemporary human experiences in an inclusive environment. We seek to jumpstart individual transformations through the shared adventure of our live performances, which range from daringly provocative to audaciously hilarious.

Actor’s Express constantly develops new talent, pushes boundaries and encourages people to question their place in the world. Our work creates emotional connections between audience and artist, catalyzing discussion on the complex issues of the contemporary human experience. We stay one step ahead of the conversation – our audiences expect to be challenged when they attend our programming.

We firmly believe the relevance and vitality of the American theatre depends upon a continual infusion of new work and the nurturing of new playwrights. Playwrights are the chroniclers, critics and prophets of our times. They offer stories about the way we live, love, and sacrifice, and provide new insights into our shared humanity. Actor’s Express is committed to championing the emerging voices of the American stage.

Our primary goals are four-fold: to nurture the next generation of playwrights through workshops, readings, and full productions of new plays; to develop and nurture Atlanta’s artistic community through rigorous theatre training; to catalyze the dialogue essential to the vitality of our neighborhood and our city; and to enhance Atlanta’s reputation nationally as a thriving center for live performance.

http://www.actors-express.com

Categories: One-Min Play Info

OMPF At The Brick Theater’s 10 Year Anniversary Gala

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The One-Minute Play Festival (OMPF) Will Present:

15+ Brand New “Stealth” One-Minute Plays for the Brick Theater’s 10th Anniversary Gala:

Decennial: A Brick Odyssey

ONE PERFORMANCES ONLY: Monday March 25th at 7PM

At The Brooklyn Brewery

79 N 11th St

Brooklyn, NY

Tickets are $40 and available at

https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/921661/prm/presale

Facebook Invite:

https://www.facebook.com/events/457404474281861/?fref=ts

Featuring Brand New One-Minute Plays by:

Neil LaBute, Greg Kotis, Mike Daisey, Bathsheba Doran, Rachel Axler, Kristoffer Diaz, Qui Nguyen, Robert Askins, Kirsten Greenidge, Mac Rogers, John DeVore, Eliza Bent, & Adam Szymkowicz

Cast:

Susan Louise O’Connor*, William Jackson Harper*, Kathryn Kates*, Neimah Djourabchi*, Amy Staats*, Amy Jo Jackson*, Sean Carvajal, Robert Askins, Christy Escobar, Jennifer Harder, & more. 

Directed by:

Dominic D’Andrea (Producing Artistic Director of OMPF)

&

  Morgan Gould (Assoc. Director of Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company

* Actors appear courtesy of AEA.

***

The Brick Theater, Inc is a not-for-profit theater company dedicated to nurturing the work of emerging artists at its performance space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn—The Brick.

The Brick presents world premieres, monthly performance series, and seasonal festivals, expanding Williamsburg’s profile as a destination for cutting-edge art and entertainment.

The Brick continues to seek new artists and projects, to provide them with a creative home, and to serve as Williamsburg’s primary incubator of innovative theater arts.

Winner of the The Caffe Cino Fellowship Award, The Brick is Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s destination for cutting-edge theatrical experience. The Brick and its company, The Brick Theater, Inc, were founded in 2002 by Robert Honeywell and Michael Gardner. Formerly an auto-body shop, a yoga center, and various storage spaces, this brick-walled garage in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, was completely refurbished as a state-of-the-art performance space.

The Brick has been home to many critically acclaimed premieres, including Bouffon Glass Menajoree (NY IT Award Winner—Outstanding Play), In a Strange Room (Time Out New York’s Top Ten Plays), Samuel & Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War (NY IT Award Winner—Outstanding Play), Suspicious Package (ITBA Award Winner—Best Unique Theatrical Experience), Craven Monkey and the Mountain of Fury (NY IT Award Nominee—Outstanding Performance Art Production), and Greed: a Musical Love $tory (NY IT Award Nominee—Outstanding Musical), The Brick has hosted some of downtown theater’s most innovative artists, including Annie Baker, Young Jean Lee, The Debate Society, Thomas Bradshaw and Nick Jones.

The Summer Theme Festival Series presented The Hell Festival in 2004, The Moral Values Festival in 2005, The $ellout Festival in 2006, The Pretentious Festival in 2007, The Film Festival: A Theater Festival in 2008, The Antidepressant Festival in 2009, The Too Soon Festival in 2010, The Comic Book Theater Festival in 2011 and Democracy this coming June of 2012. In addition, The Brick has also produced a short-works program called Brick-a-Brac, a collection of holiday-themed one-act plays known as The Baby Jesus One-Act Jubilee, the hugely successful New York Clown Theatre Festival (the first of its kind in New York in over twenty years), and the annual Game Play festival (which celebrates video games performance arts).

 

 

Categories: One-Min Play Info

Mixed Blood’s Amanda White Thietje on Radical Hospitality

February 28, 2013 Leave a comment

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Mixed Blood Theatre was founded by Jack Reuler 37 seasons ago, in 1976, with a mission to “promotes cultural pluralism and individual equality through artistic excellence, using theater to address artificial barriers that keep people from succeeding in American society”. That commitment to outreach is still central to our work at the theatre today, and continues to shape access and audience engagement efforts in every form. The notion of removing barriers is at the heart of Mixed Blood’s work.

Radical Hospitality, the no-cost admission effort that is changing the way we operate at Mixed Blood, started as a program that allowed the theatre to give away half of the seats for every performance—at no cost.  The initiative came out of almost a decade of research and strategic planning around creating greater access to live theatre for Twin Cities audiences.  An informal and staff-driven “strategic plan” was established in 1999-2000, and it guided operating ideals for the organization until a formal plan was introduced by the Board some years later. In pursuit of these strategic commitments, Mixed Blood built a foundation of access efforts that would support the coming decade.   With the belief that who attends the theatre is at least as important as how many attend, Mixed Blood staff and Board spent these years exploring ways in which to eliminate barriers to access.

In 2009, with funding from the newly established Minnesota Legacy amendment (which allowed for an increase in state sales tax with a dedicated percentage of that increase to go to the arts) to support this research, Mixed Blood staff and Board conducted a formal strategic planning process and revisited mission, vision, and core values.  Connecting mission, a vision that includes revolutionizing access, a core value of being egalitarian, and a strategic goal of developing new methods to attract and retain targeted audiences, they went in pursuit of a direct answer to the question, “What are the barriers to access for live theatre in the Twin Cities?”

That year, Mixed Blood hired a disability liaison and a Latino liaison, and a Latino Advisory Council was established.  Focus groups with leaders of disability organizations were conducted. Both groups identified cost and cultural content as barriers to participation.

In 2010, at the recommendation of Artistic Director Jack Reuler, Mixed Blood’s Board got right to the heart of the matter and explored the idea of “free theatre,” bringing in MBA students, IT specialists, and other consultants, and ultimately unanimously endorsed the launch of what would be known as Radical Hospitality.

2011 brought a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, supported by Legacy Funds, that allowed Mixed Blood to explore, launch and analyze Radical Hospitality. Eight months of development (including research into TCG’s Free Night of Theatre, Signature’s ticket initiative, and the Public’s Shakespeare in the Park) led to Radical Hospitality’s launch.

We opened the doors on September 6th, 2011, not sure what to expect, and there was a line outside waiting for Radical Hospitality tickets.  It works like this: two hours prior to show time, the Box Office releases available RH admission to anyone who walks up and requests a seat in person.  Mixed Blood has committed to reserving a significant percentage of the House for no-cost admission, and as a rule we try to keep it at around 50% of the theatre’s seats.  If someone wants to guarantee their admission, and not risk trying for a walk-up seat, they can reserve their seats ahead of time for a $20 fee. Starting 2 hours prior to show time, when RH admissions are opened, it is no longer possible to purchase a seat.  Anyone approaching the Box Office for a ticket is given one at no cost, and asked to make a donation if they are uncomfortable accepting complementary admission.  In addition to offering no-cost seats to our guests, Mixed Blood’s Disability Advisory Council advised that another major barrier to access for our guests with disabilities is transportation—as a result, Mixed Blood established a partnership with Red & White Cab in the Twin Cities to offer free round-trip cab rides to any audience members self-identifying with a disability.

While we may have been under the impression initially that Radical Hospitality was a “free ticket program”, we have since come to our senses.  It has changed the way we function both internally and externally, requiring a different staff structure (instead of Marketing and Development managers, we now have a Community Outreach team), a new grassroots way of thinking about advertising and marketing, and a different way of considering guest loyalty when cost is no longer a strong incentive.  It also presents an ever-evolving opportunity to learn from our non-traditional theatregoers.   Over the first season of Radical Hospitality, our audience taught us that that their preferred method of contact with the theatre and its programming is not always in our space: enter Producer in Residence Jamil Jude and the Free Speech program, born out of Radical Hospitality and designed to give our audience access to Mixed Blood way beyond their time in the Firehouse.  Free Speech allows audience members to share their opinions, questions, insights, accusations and suggestions publicly via Twitter, Facebook, our blog, and even on our Lobby walls.

Jamil and the staff conduct post-show Forums after every performance, and a Mixed Blood staffer live tweets these conversations to loop in anyone participating from outside the theatre. We host at least one Tweet seat night during each run—we started our first Tweet Seat night last season with Jamil and me and a friend of Jack’s who I suspect just felt sorry for us…this season, we’re filling the back row of the theatre some nights.  Each Sunday matinee in the run is followed by a Salon panel discussion on specific topics curated by Jamil and various community liaisons and is open to the public.

In its first season, 47% of Radical Hospitality users were 30 or younger, 33% of them reported annual household incomes of $25,000 or less, and 30% were people of color.  Following Next to Normal, the first show of our second season, 60% of Radical Hospitality users were 30 or younger, 37% of them reported an annual household income of $25,000 or less, and 30% of them were people of color.

Radical Hospitality requires just over $200,000 annually to thrive—this amount is extracted from the organizational budget for ticket income replacement, operations, fundraising and audience development efforts. We continue to seek out individual, corporate, foundation and government support.  Mixed Blood also asks its supporters who are able to consider “paying it forward” by providing a seat in the theatre for someone who might not otherwise have been able to afford the experience.  If our guests are not able to pay something for admission, we ask them to keep coming back to the theatre, again and again, and bring friends with them. It is Mixed Blood’s hope that in doing so, guesets will voluntarily become supporters of a vision that offers access to live theatre for everyone.

On a personal note, I believe that access to the arts is a quality of life issue: just like food, shelter and purpose, the opportunity for creative exploration is important to health.  I am a proud proponent of Radical Hospitality’s spirit; I believe that in the coming seasons, we’ll have the data we need to determine whether or not in addition to allowing for greater diversity in our audiences, access to the arts creates more arts “users” in our community at large.

 

-Amanda White Thietje

 

http://www.mixedblood.com/radical-hospitality 

Categories: One-Min Play Info

” A minute comes and goes with all its possibility. “

February 10, 2013 1 comment

 

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When I was asked to write for The One-Minute Play Festival, I started thinking about what a minute is. And what I want from theater.

 

We all love a good story, but what does that mean? I’ve never really been a “Plot” kind of person. I don’t care about the twists and turns of cause and effect that get us to some climactic moment where we see what it all means and then there’s that little twist at the end so I feel the satisfaction of getting what I expected but in a different color.

 

What I really want (from theatre, from art, from life) is Mystery, Poetry, Absurdity, Joy, Connection, Surprise. My heart cracking open into space.

 

Three of the most satisfying theater pieces I’ve seen recently weren’t exactly theater: one was the Anne Hamilton installation at the Park Avenue Armory, The Event of a Thread, where I was able to feel at one with all of humanity, nature and reality plus I got to swing on a very tall swing; one was a video/puppetry/performance by Fleur Elise Noble, 2 Dimensional Life of Her, an oddly hopeful expression of existential dread; and the third was the Laurie Anderson/Kronos Quartet collaboration, Landfall: Scenes from My New Novel, where music became words and the combination broke my heart.

 

All three of these pieces offered me everything I want (see list above). They each also offered me a certain kind of narrative experience – a sort of story – albeit not the usual. I was not being asked to focus on what outcome I might desire or fear or expect; I was being invited to engage fully in my experience and let it rattle around inside me.

When I look at the world (or my life) as if it were a Hollywood movie, it’s not hard to feel like the narrative arc could use some work. But when I can focus on present experience without worrying or fantasizing how the story might play out, I can engage more directly and be more responsive to the moment. I know, pretty basic Be-Here-Now pop Buddhism 101.

 

But might our addiction to the Hollywood version of narrative be affecting more than how many rotten tomatoes we click in a movie review? How is it affecting our experience of theatre, of our culture, of our own lives and relationships with others? And how can we create something that might offer an alternative view of theatre, culture, life?

 

During one of his workshops in our Theatre MFA at Towson, I remember watching playwright Mac Wellman put a key ring, a blackboard eraser and a cup of coffee on the table in front of us and saying, “There you go. That’s a story.”

 

Our lives are an accumulation of our experiences, and our internal meaning-generators create stories around those experiences so that we can make sense of it all: you consider hitting “send” on that 2am email; you give a buck to the woman at the intersection or you don’t; you sleep in late and decide how that affects your morning. Each moment is filled with potentiality and has tendrils reaching out in all directions, but it’s also whole in itself. “Meaning” is the story created by the juxtaposition of one moment with another, one image with another, one experience with another. Each moment stands next to another moment, but we’re the ones creating the narrative (if you’ll excuse the short slide from Ram Dass to Sartre).

 

This is my first One-Minute Play Festival, and I’m thinking of how the event might relate to our experience of this thing called “Story.” Dozens of playwrights write their disparate moments, but there is already a gestalt: we are all in Baltimore, we have all written them in the past month, they are each less than a minute. We also received the same guidelines from Producing Artistic Director Dominic D’Andrea, who then curates the evening. So the story of this evening lives in all these separate moments, but it is only fully created by their order and juxtaposition, their direction and performance, the experience of all of us in the room.

 

A minute comes and goes with all its possibility. One follows another and we experience layers of meaning and resonance in how they come together in our minds. Put them all together and it’s an evening, a story, a life.

 

-Juanita Rockwell

Writer/Director

http://www.juanitarockwell.com

 

Baltimore’s First One-Minute Play Festival in partnership with E.M.P. Collective is Feb 9th and 10th at 8PM at E.M.P. Tickets are $15 and available here. The Sunday performance will livestream on New Play TV. 

 

 

 

Categories: Playwright Posts

You in?

February 8, 2013 Leave a comment

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The other week, dead of winter, I found myself in a darkened warehouse, packed tight with other strangers. Makeshift walls had been erected to define the space and cut the winter air. Still, we all sat in our coats and were better for it. Packed in with us was a live band scoring the scene as colorful overhead projections floated across, creating a most malleable set design.

No, that’s not right. I was in a basement as an immersive performance unfolded in a cacophony of noise and lights, actors and audience inhabiting the same world. The energy was palpable and electrifying.

Or was I in a tiny black box theatre watching a clever production of a Charles Mee play? Slinking into an old, neglected movie theatre only to be overwhelmed with a grandiose rock musical, laden with heroes, monsters, and plenty of shredding? Stepping up to a state-of-the-art facility for the regional premiere of a hit play?

Well, it was something like that.

The reality of the Baltimore theatre scene is that it is something akin to a choose-your-own-adventure novel (with an emphasis on adventure). Baltimore is a city of artistic dabblers, dreamers, and experimenters from all walks of life, culturally and professionally.  Artists are unafraid to work hard, have fun, be overwhelmingly successful, and sometimes fail miserably. The range of work produced here speaks to that curiosity and the adventurous spirit of both artist and audience. You’re just as likely to see some “notable” from a multimillion dollar organization rubbing elbows (and beer cans) in a DIY production as you are at an established theatre.

This “try and see” attitude coupled with an enthusiasm for the unexpected makes Baltimore a wonderful place to develop and experiment with new theatre works for EMP. Our focus is in new works, from idea to workshop to production. When we have a weird idea or an offbeat play by an emerging playwright we want to develop, there’s no shortage of folks who give their talent, time, and energy to make it a reality.

I think this is an exciting time for the Baltimore theatre scene and its burgeoning class of young, industrious theatre makers which is why the opportunity to co-produce the One Minute Play Festival really seemed fitting. With the festival, we’re bringing together all these folks as well as established voices in the community. Under one roof, many voices, all Baltimore homegrown.

I hope that this is an opportunity of wider exposure for both artists and audience which fosters future collaborations and projects down the line. However, with over fifty plays, a slew of playwrights, actors, directors, musicians, and visual artists, the one sure bet is that it’s gonna be a wild, fun ride for everyone involved this weekend.

You in?

 

-Carly J Bales

 

Baltimore’s First One-Minute Play Festival in partnership with E.M.P. Collective is Feb 9th and 10th at 8PM at E.M.P. Tickets are $15 and available here. The Sunday performance will livestream on New Play TV. 

 
Categories: Playwright Posts

There’s something in the water!

February 1, 2013 Leave a comment

 

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We moved to Baltimore in 2002. I was furious. Furious! I wanted to stay in Miami. At least I had friends in Miami. At least there are Latinos like me in Miami. At least my artistic pursuits could blossom in Miami. And of course, there was the beach and that soft, soft sand.

So, what did I do? I pouted for a very long time. I didn’t do much writing. I didn’t go to plays or shows. I did a lot of nursing, dishwashing, and carpooling and found myself pregnant all over again. Baby number four, here we go again! I think there was something in the water.

Then BAM! I received that ONE -TWO sort of punch to the face that only life could give you. It knocked me completely off balance.

A few months after baby number 4 came into our lives, my husband came home with a cancer diagnosis. WHAT! He seemed too young to have melanoma, the most dangerous kind of skin cancer. Oh boy…and now we have all these little kids. If the surgery didn’t get rid of it, then there wouldn’t be much hope. I cried a lot. I prayed a lot for him, for me. (And yes, he survived.)

Now, this is when listening to one’s intuition, for me, became of supreme importance. I listened to that teeny, tiny voice inside my head: If you were to die tomorrow, did you do what you really wanted today? I knew the answer in my heart. And sometimes, an artist must heed the call regardless of how crazy it appears.

I pulled out my old plays that I had written at Tisch School of the Arts. It had been about twelve years since they had seen the light of day. And, I liked them. They were like old, familiar friends. I rewrote one and “Kosher with Salsa” was produced through the Baltimore Playwright’s Festival. This led to joining the Baltimore Playwrights group, which then led to more opportunities.

I joined the steering committee of the Jewish Theatre Workshop. Yes, there is a Sabbath observing theater in Baltimore! From time to time, I work in their box office. I was recently hired to be a “bilingual set of eyes” on a new play that will premiere at Single Carrot Theatre this spring—“The V.I.P” by Aldo Pantoja. Would I have been able to evolve in another city? I’m not sure.This is something that I discovered and it truly is Baltimore’s little secret: Theatre abounds in this city–not just traditional theatre with a subscriber base, but all kinds of theatricality (magic, music, acrobatics, storytelling, spoken word, performance art; I hope I didn’t miss anything). I could go out every night if I wanted and experience something new. Even if you’re looking for theatre that doesn’t exist, you could probably get it going. Among creative artists, you will find more lovables than dislikables, more open hearts than closed minds, more unobstructed windows than locked gates. Creativity overflows here. There must be something in the water!

Even with all this said, sometimes the waters aren’t so sweet and the drinks don’t bare charming names—Lonely Lolita, Stifled Stella, Frustrated Fridah. When I feel isolated at the Imagination Station and have had too many cocktails, I ask myself: What is a good, next step? So, this is where looking around and extending beyond my watering hole comes in. I used to write mostly plays for and about Latinos. I still do. But, I have expanded the cast to include other races and use Baltimore as my backdrop. Race, culture, religion and the kinds of things that make us hate or love each other is at the core of my current work. This city is pulsating with character!

Baltimoreans are a receptive and thirsty people. They want good theatre experiences. But they also want to see themselves reflected in what they pay for. Should we forget this? Baltimore is not just a black/white city. There are other groups within these extremes and they should be included in the conversation.

Sometimes, I can find myself fantasizing about an actor/playwright/director lab, a place where theater peeps can play and test out scenes—a playlab for people who create, live, and love in Baltimore. And, I am not talking about play labs that require approval or an application. (Please…no more applications!) It’s not easy to know what a play’s strengths or weaknesses are if you haven’t flexed your dramatic muscles. I wish I could tell you I had artistic collaborators. I have the Baltimore Playwrights Group. Thank goodness for this thoughtful, intelligent bunch of people!

This One Minute Play Festival feels like a theatrical blind date. A person named OMPF is coming to Charm City to take me out for a drink. Actually, OMPF is taking a bunch of playwrights out for a drink—so it’ll be like speed dating. And, you know what? I’m grateful for my one sip, my one drink, and my one minute.

 

-Miryam Madrigal

 

Baltimore’s First One-Minute Play Festival in partnership with E.M.P. Collective is Feb 9th and 10th at 8PM at E.M.P. Tickets are $15 and available here. The Sunday performance will livestream on New Play TV. 

 

 

Categories: Playwright Posts