Archive for the ‘playwriting’ Category

Post 1: Femme Visibility and Subjectivity in Technical Theatre – A Backstory

December 23, 2013

Recently, while I was sitting in on a rehearsal, a director asked me, “Why sound?”

My immediate response: “Because it is like acting, but without being looked at.”

“Good answer.” he said thoughtfully, and the matter was dropped.

At least, it had appeared to be dropped. Yet my own mind continued to mull over my response again and again wondering how I had come to this conclusion.

In the beginning, I was an actor. Acting is what drew me to the theater. I loved the attention as a child, performance being what ultimately saved me from a shy and lonely childhood. When I became an adult, however, the attention repulsed me. As a female I am taught from earliest consciousness that my value is inherently measured in the realm of the physical. Without outward beauty, or even the correct kind of beauty, I may as well give up on…

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Sex on Stage

October 4, 2013

I’ve made a post on my other blog, The Lark’s Nest, about sex on stage. Explicit content/NSFW.

A Bear for all Seasons….

June 24, 2013

How can I ignore a reference to *ahem* moi? Seriously, this is a cool project and a $36 Kickstarter pledge results in two young people being introduced to theatre, a good thing to do in this electronic age. Oh, and the Panda Kindergarten gets cuppycakes. What’s not to like?

The Panda Chronicles

Am I not a panda?  What is in a name? A panda by any other name would smell as…well, they would probably be just the tiniest bit whiffy, if you know what I mean….

Every once in a while, the pandas come to aid someone who has a project, be it on Kickstarter, or elsewhere,  because we think it is worth supporting, and so we mention it to you, (some would say obsessively, but hey! we like what we like!) in hopes that you will check it out and consider supporting it too.

With just slightly over two weeks to go, Island Shakespeare’s Kickstarterproject has reached just over 60% of the needed funding to fulfill their goal and get any of the money.

Why should I care?

Well, they are my friends and neighbors and what they are doing is very, very cool.  In a nutshell, they do…

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Monday, Monday, and time for another episode of This Olde Den!

May 20, 2013

OMG I read this two minutes ago and I’m still laughing. Hoping reblogging this will let me stop.

Hey, it worked!!!

Um, no it didn’t.

The Panda Chronicles

Greetings panda fans!  I hope you have recovered from the exciting conclusion of Mr. Wu’s most recent adventure, Bears in the Air! If you missed this exciting series, check in on Friday’s post for links to the entire series.

Today, we have a exciting, new episode of This Olde Den, the show that helps your inner panda embrace your outer homemaker. This cartoon also answers the question, “How do you do it ALL? How do you combine an exciting career as a painter, act as the director of The Institute of Contemporary Panda Satire, and still have time to do the dishes?”

I think this should clear up that question.

The sun is shining!  Go have fun.

Be the Bear!

Bob T. panda

 

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Having fucked up shit vs. saying fucked up shit

April 21, 2013

(Some of my plays include strong language. I don’t normally put it in my blog. I’m making an exception here.)

This is something I wrestle with in my plays. It would be very safe for me as a white male, albeit queer, playwright, to write only white male characters. On the other hand, if I write female characters and characters of color – which I want to do to ensure there are roles for such actors and because I want to comment on our world and not a tiny subset of it – I have to try to get it right.

The Ars Marginal post by RVCBard is an outstanding analysis of what it means to actually try. The distinction of whether the fucked-upped-ness is that of the writer or the world of the characters is critical.

Ars Marginal

One of the things that always seems to trip people up when it comes to analyzing marginalized identities in stories is the difference between a story that has fucked up shit in it versus a story that says fucked up shit.

This is a very important distinction that everybody analyzing narrative media needs to understand.

So I’m going to help a muthafucka out right quick.

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Drawings and plays

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

OMG it’s Fabulous Furry Friday

April 12, 2013

With this kind of intro to my Shakesbear Festival, I can’t help but reblog it! Shameless!

The Panda Chronicles

Well, here it is, Friday at last and I completely forgot to have something ready to speed you to your weekend, with dreams of pandas dancing in your brain.  What was I thinking?  To be honest, the cold that wouldn’t die is still making my head a little fuzzier than usual, but fortunately, there are many pandas in reserve!

But I do like the Friday pandas to be relevant, so today I give you the prologue to the Shakesbear pandas, as I am getting ready (finally!) to start working on some of the Shakespeare for Pandas plays that my brother wrote last year as part of a 31 plays in 31 days project.

Shakespeare is currently on my mind, because Whidbey Island’s very own Island Shakespeare Company is getting ready to launch a very exciting project.  Stay tuned for news of this exciting development!

The panda kindergarten will, of course…

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Will the real ovation please stand up?

April 8, 2013

It’s not quite that bad in San Francisco yet, although there seem to be audiences where its a mix. What’s driving me crazy here is the audiences that applaud after every scene. But not every theatre here is this way. No wonder my last few plays have no scene breaks.

wax and wane

I’d like to take this time to ponder something that might offend some of you, while others will applaud from their seats. I’m stuck on what has developed into the inevitability of the standing ovation.

A standing “o” used to be special; reserved for the outstanding performance. This once emotional and passionate show of appreciation has somehow turned into a reflex ­‑ a quixotic gesture that now means about as much as a polite handshake. What happened?

I first noticed the phenomenon when I moved from Chicago to the Northwest. An avid theater and concert goer, I began to notice the tendency of folks to spring to their feet at a curtain call, even if the performance wasn’t worthy. By the time I moved to Whidbey Island and jumped back onstage into the theater game, and found myself attending double-digit numbers of performances each month for my work, I realized the ovation…

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Playwright, sheath thy checklist

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

Color-aware, -blind or none of the above?

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?

September 30, 2012

And I find myself writing fewer and fewer characters with the hope that I will hit the sweet spot and get produced and then get my backlist having more characters produced. But one must write what one loves.

Endless Rewrites

Pretty much everyone in the theatrical community, barring perhaps those lucky tech people whose expertise lends itself to more consistent work, works under the shadow of improbability. If fifty actors show up to auditions for a play, and the play has one male character, each actor has a 1/50 chance of getting the role. This may be even more difficult if one of the other actors is Samuel L. Jackson. Playwrights face a similar challenge re: play contests,  made worse by the fact that you don’t know your odds at all, nor is it likely that you will recieve notice of your failure within the month. Obviously, the economic reality is grim, but if you wanted to make money you would not have gone into the theatre.

When I write a play, I am often beset by the fear that what I am writing will not be submittable or…

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September 21, 2012

Self-referential reblog, with a big congratulations to my sis, Bob T Panda (long story)

The Panda Chronicles

Well, as you all probably know (and more probably are sick of hearing) here at the Institute for Contemporary Panda Satire,  we recently (like yesterday) raced to the finish line of our Kickstarter project which we initiated to fund our first book, The Panda Chronicles Book 1: Your Brain on Pandas.  If you were a supporter through Kickstarter, we shower thanks and blessings upon your sainted brows.  If you weren’t…well we’ve given the panda kindergarten your address.  ‘Nuff said!  Soon, we will be welcoming all our supporters to The Roll of Honor, with your very own special page, as well as thanking you all in the book.  In writing.  Is that cool or what?

Even if you forgot or couldn’t (or, heaven forbid, wouldn’t) support our project on Kickstarter, never fear!  We will certainly let you know when our book is available through Amazon and other…

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Next Post

August 30, 2012

And if I reblog a reblog, does this create the necessary infinite number of pandas?

Of course, as Murphy would have it, it got cut off just before her Your Brain on Pandas Kickstarter link, and the software is mysteriously not letting me add the link to this reblog, so you’re just going to have to, if you’re so inclined, follow the 10-more-words link yourself.

Isn’t technology wonderful?

The Panda Chronicles

For some reason, the share buttons did not show up on the last post (AND I forgot my daily Kickstarter link!)  so here is a repeat of the cartoon I included with the reblog from Exit, Pursued by a Lark)  sorry if you are getting this twice.

 

Be the bear and visit

http:/www.kickstarter.com/projects/arttraveler/your-brain-on-pandas-book-1-of-the-panda-chronicle

 Bob T. Panda!

 

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The world is now 31 plays, erm, richer?

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?

August 21, 2012

My sis has just launched her new Kickstarter campaign to promote her, er, Bob T. Panda’s new book, “Your Brain on Pandas.” Recommended for panda lovers, cat lovers and comic lovers with a cartoon honoring me! Thanks, sis! (Sorry, I can’t bring myself to put an apostrophe on “sis.”)
Oh, yeah, and this is the site that inspired my 31 Plays 31 Days playwriting theme, 31 Scottish Panda Plays.

The Panda Chronicles

Well, here I am, getting ready in about 8 minutes (give or take) to launch my Kickstarter project (as explained by Bob and Mehitabel) at exactly 12:01PM Pacific Daylight Savings time.  Why so precise on the time, you may very well ask?  It all goes to my theory of when people are on their computers more.

If you are someone’s employer, please stop reading this now.

I mean it.  psst…most people are on their computers checking kickstarter and twitter and facebook while they are at work.

Also, the way Kickstarter works, is that once you have set your start and finish time for your project, your project ends at the exact time of day that your project started: 24 hrs X however many days.  So, if you get all excited because you have been spending all evening till the wee hours (or in the case of the panda kindergarten…

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July 27, 2012

Here’s the cartoon that inspired my idea for 31 Plays 31 Days

The Panda Chronicles

We have been waiting for this day for so long, (never mind that in the real world it happened a week ago, but still…) the pandas arrive in Scotland.  The ZooNooz reporting team would have been there to meet them, but for a slight communications mix up.

Scottish pandas, heathrow airport

A big thanks to all of you who have been visiting The Panda Chronicles.  Your brain is officially now on pandas.

Be the Bear

Bob T. Panda

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Are you playwright enough?

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?

Playwrights Center of San Francisco (PCSF)

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)

Depending on the politeness of strangers

March 8, 2012

Occasionally during feedback sessions for a new play reading, somebody will say that something in the script “took me out of out of the play,” that is that something in the play reminded them they were in an audience watching a play. This evening, something happened in real life that threw me into the world of my play. And it all started when I walked into my favorite taqueria to order a burrito.

Continue reading Depending on the politeness of strangers

On eavesdropping for dialog

February 6, 2012

I eavesdrop like crazy. I don’t care what people are saying, but I care very much how they say it. I don’t consciously put it into my dialog, but the process seems to work. Actors often compliment me on my dialog. (If only plot and character were that easy.)