April 12, 2013
I want to share a guilty secret. All of my plays – my full-length plays, anyway – are about me. That’s probably not unusual; if my plays didn’t include part of me, they’d probably be pretty lifeless.
Continue reading Drawings and plays
March 12, 2013
When playwrights go to theatre, we presumably go to enjoy ourselves. We may be thrilled, bored, surprised, offended, delighted, so many possible reactions. When playwrights are called on to give feedback on other playwrights’ work, we suddenly become scientists, detectives, housekeepers. Scientist, detective, and housekeeper are honorable professions. Nevertheless, I believe the practice of bringing these outlooks into feedback sessions has become dysfunctional, even harmful in the age of contemporary theatre.
Spoiler alert: This post may briefly give away important plot points, surprises, and endings to 4000 Miles; The Ashes; Circle Mirror Transformation; Clybourne Park; Honey Brown Eyes; In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play; The Internationalist; The Lily’s Revenge; and Se Llama Cristina.
Continue reading Playwright, sheath thy checklist
January 8, 2013
In the January/February 2013 issue of Theatre Bay Area, Melissa Hillman, artistic director of the kick-ass Impact Theatre in Berkeley, writes about color-blind and/or non-traditional casting. This blog post is not so much a response to that article, “In the Land of the ‘Color Blind’”, as my continuation of the discussion. And continue it must.
Continue reading Color-aware, -blind or none of the above?
November 22, 2012
I love iTunes, and I love the variety of songs I can purchase from the iTunes store. But sometimes I wonder what their computers must “think” of my varied tastes. I even wonder whether I might be messing up their recommendation software. And a similar question applies to theatres who want to market to me.
Continue reading How do you recommend to an omnivore?
November 21, 2012
Several years ago, I had an experience at an Apple store that made me feel out of step with today’s technology. Upon reflection, I realized it wasn’t my being out of step; it was my knowing too much about modern technology. Now that feeling is back with the iPad and Square.
Continue reading Not square with Square
September 23, 2012
One thing we webmasters have to worry about is the bad guys looking to install malware on our website. Fortunately, there are sometimes simple things we can do to find out whether we’ve been hacked.
We (the royal we) sometimes say “Google is your friend.” This is true here as well. Suppose your website domain is chasbelov.wordpress.com. Enter the following search:
If you’re lucky, Google will come back with no or one or two hits (unless you’re a pharmacy). But if you’ve been hacked by spammers, you might well come back with 2,000 or more such hits, as a major theatre I Googled yesterday did. No, I wasn’t (initially) looking to see if they were hacked; a drug-related result from their website came up as a result for a search I was doing for some special interest theatre. But once I got that result, I came up with the above search to test how bad their infestation was.
You can set up a notification at http://www.google.com/alerts
This is definitely not the only way hackers can mess with your site, and they can hide it from Google by telling Google not to index the page. But it’s an easy enough check so you might as well do it.
Hope this helps. (And yes, I’ve notified that theatre.)
September 9, 2012
We all want our work to have the perfect title. And we want to be able to market it. If I were to title a play Sibboleth, it might be the perfect title for the theme of the play, but if someone searches for it, Google will ask “Did you mean shibboleth?” although at least for now it does give the “sibboleth” results.
So when we give a blog post or Kickstarter page or some other page a title, it’s not surprising that, sometime after publication, we may find ourselves wanting to update it to make it snappier or catchier or more imaginative. And we may follow up that desire by re-titling the post or page.
Following that urge can have annoying consequences. Gory details follow.
Read more The Perfect Title – A Cautionary Marketing Tale (long post)
August 28, 2012
Not sure whether I can really call it richer, although it was fun. I was actually shooting for “So bad it’s good.” Some of them are probably “So bad it’s bad,” but such is the life of first drafts.
Yes, I wrote 31 short plays! 28 riffs on Shakespeare as performed by pandas and other animals, all set in Edinburgh Zoo (home of pandas Sunshine and Sweetie) and the Wolong Nature Preserve (home of the panda kindergarten), plus three framing plays.
Continue reading The world is now 31 plays, erm, richer?
July 25, 2012
More importantly, am I? The 31 days of August may reveal this as I take part in the 31 Plays 31 Days challenge to write…aw, you guessed it, 31 plays in 31 days.
Continue reading Are you playwright enough?
May 15, 2012
Thirty-two years ago, a group of playwrights was formed. They got together, presumably on a regular basis, to read scenes from plays they had written and occassionally to hear or see an entire play read. According to the earliest PCSF history page, the first play to be read was The Jury by Harry Hattyar. Thirty-two years later, with many a change in membership, we – for I am now part of PCSF – have over 1,300 readings and full productions under our collective belts, with the current full production of eight short plays in the Sheherezade XII short play festival, co-produced with Wily West Productions.
Continue reading Playwrights Center of San Francisco (PCSF)