Play Writing: It’s Not Just for Kids Anymore
Monday, June 24, 2013
A varied but distinct discipline, play writing is a good exercise for any writer. The restrictions and opportunities are a good exercise, and if you want to develop natural dialog, this is a good way to perfect it. Aside from the exercises inherent in the form, it is particularly rewarding to see your works performed in readings or staged productions.
The revelations from viewing your work are manifold.
But how do you get this work conceptualized, written, polished, produced, and published?
- How do you find ideas that work as a play?
- How do you decide on character, plot and time frame?
- How do you get your production seen by traditional venues?
- How can you sell your work? How does this apply to plays for young people?
- How do you market your work for production or publication?
- How, why, and when to self-produce?
- Where does the musical fit into this, since it is a collaborative form?
Our Panel of Play Experts:
DAN BERKOWITZ is Co-Chair of The Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights and former Regional Rep of The Dramatists Guild. His work has been produced off-Broadway, at major regionals, etc., and includes the popular “A… My Name Is Still Alice,” and Ovation Best Musical nominee “There’s No Place Like Hollywood!” In a previous life, Dan was Associate Producer of The David Susskind Show, winner of 20 Emmys. Dan also produces, directs, and is a script/ production consultant. If the stars remain in alignment, “ModRock: The New Musical,” for which Dan contributed “Additional Material,” will just have opened at the El Portal Theatre in NoHo.
PETER COLLEY‘s plays and musicals have been produced in 29 countries, and 48 of the 50 states in the US. His plays have been translated into many languages including French, German, Italian, and Mandarin Chinese. Two of his plays have been made into feature films and he has also written for CBC, Fox, British ITV and CBS. He has been nominated for the Humanitas Prize for screenwriting, was twice a semi-finalist for The Eugene O’Neill playwriting awards, a winner of the 2008 New American Play Award from Theatre Communications Group, and winner of the 2010 Florida Carbonell Award for “Best New Work.”
JONATHAN DORF is the author of more than 30 published plays with nearly 1000 productions worldwide, including “4 A.M.,” “After Math,” “Harry’s Hotter at Twilight,” “Just Add Zombies,” and “Thank You for Flushing My Head in the Toilet.” Dorf co-founded publisher YouthPLAYS, co-chairs the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, and is resident playwriting expert for Final Draft. He has served as Visiting Associate Professor in the MFA Playwriting and Children’s Lit programs at Hollins University and as US Cultural Envoy to Barbados. He holds a BA in Dramatic Writing and Literature from Harvard University and an MFA in Playwriting from UCLA.
OLIVER MAYER attended Cornell, Oxford, and Columbia Universities. He worked for eight years as literary manager at The Mark Taper Forum, developing many important American plays, including Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America,” Terrence McNally’s “Master Class,” and his own, acclaimed “Blade to the Heat.” He is an Associate Professor of Dramatic Writing, with tenure, at the USC School of Theatre, teaching MFAs and undergraduates. He is also Resident Faculty Master at the Parkside International Residential College at USC. His plays have been produced nationwide at such venues as the Joseph Papp Public Theater, The Mark Taper Forum, and INTAR, and internationally at the Royal Court Theatre, London and the Teatro Lirico, Mexico City. Playwright and Oscar nominee Jose Rivera honored Oliver with these remarks about his work: “These courageous plays vibrate with deep emotional authenticity and subterranean political consciousness…. Oliver Mayer is one of the few American playwrights showing us today what the theatre of tomorrow can be like.”
ROBERT PATRICK In 1975, Patrick’s “Kennedy’s Children” opened in New York with Tennessee Williams in the audience and is considered an American classic. The Broadway production of his “Kennedy’s Children” (1975) earned Shirley Knight a 1976 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play. He is the author of over 60 published plays. Patrick was a pioneer in Off-Off-Broadway theatre and the gay-theatre movement. In 1969, he won the “Show Business” Award for “Joyce Dynel, Salvation Army” and “Fog.” That same year his play, “Camera Obscura,” was produced on PBS starring Marge Champion. “My Cup Ranneth Over “(1976) was commissioned by Marlo Thomas as a vehicle for her and Lily Tomlin. Some of his awards include: Glasgow Citizens Theatre Best World Playwriting Award, 1973; West Hollywood Gay and Lesbian Advisory Board’s Rainbow Key Award; New York Innovative Theatre Foundation, Artistic Achievement Award, 2011.
ISABEL STOREY is a producer and writer whose company, Storey Productions, produces meaningful new works for the stage. She has produced world premiere plays at venues throughout the Los Angeles area and New York. Ms. Storey is Producing Director of The Little Theater in West Los Angeles and Co-Producer of SHINE, a popular storytelling event in Santa Monica. She is also past Producing Director and Managing Director of Ensemble Studio Theatre-LA and Vice Chair of the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights. She founded and ran New Works Lab, ALAP’s play development workshop. In television, Ms. Storey has written and produced for CBS, ABC, Lifetime and KCET.
GARY YOUNG’s plays have been produced at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, the White House, the Smithsonian, and throughout the US and Europe. His novel, “Glimmer the White Moonshine,” a ghost story with no ghosts, is nearing completion. His book “LOSS AND FOUND: Surviving the loss of a partner,” co-written by his wife, Kathy, is used in colleges. Gary is IWOSC’s Director of Professional Development, creating our programs for many years. His is the President of the Publishers Association of Los Angeles, the Executive Director of the Lifetime Achievement Foundation, and a Vice-Chair of the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights.