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Gratitude journals and their more public cousins—gratitude Facebook posts—have become mindful ways to connect with what is good in our lives. I’ve never done one, but it occurred to me a while back that doing a 365 Grateful for playwriting might illuminate a year’s worth of reasons why we’re so loyal to this sometimes discouraging pursuit. In 2014, there were many times I became aware of people, situations, events that only touched me because I wrote that first play and kept on writing–a phone call from a producer who wanted to share the tearful reactions my play evoked that evening, being part of the Buffalo theater community, meeting some super cool people during a production in a small town in the Catskills, the Dramatists Guild regional reps meeting, having actors in Ghana speak my words– as well as all the people, places, and things that just make it easier to keep on. Productions are wonderful, but being a playwright has generated so many rewards beyond just those, so, this year, now that Real Inspiration for Playwrights Project is finished, recording them all is my project for 2015. I’ll tweet once each day under #365gratefulplaywright (follow me @donnahoke) and also post to my Donna Hoke, Playwright page on Facebook, then post the updated blog every two weeks so that nobody is overwhelmed. (I’ll also start a new blog post every two weeks, so that this file doesn’t become impossible!) If you’re a playwright, think about what might go on your own list; it’s humbling to see how lucky we really are.
June 1: The Artie Awards!! Best theater night of the year, so much love and talent all in one room. This was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Arties, and the move to the 710 Main theater was the perfect way to mark the occasion.
June 2: The Artie after-party (which, technically is the next day, since we didn’t get there until after midnight). While there is never enough time to talk to everyone I see from across the room—and there are always several people I know were there who I never got to talk to at all—I am always grateful to be part of this amazing community and to get to know even a few people a little bit better.
June 3: The Road Less Traveled staff meeting/party and the company’s new space at 500 Pearl Street! This event is always informative and fun, but getting to see what a fabulous new space we’re going to call home was SO exciting. I’m so grateful to call this company my artistic home, and look forward to all the incredible possibilities this new space will provide.
June 4: Stephen Kaplan, my pen pal, friend, and fellow DG rep, and Jeffrey Neuman, who I just met in Denver. Together, these two gave me the exact critique I needed to push my latest draft to a more complete and sensible state. Playwrights are so generous and these guys are two of the best!
June 5: This picture on Arties night. Today is eight years with this guy who makes it all possible, and we’ve maybe got five pictures together. So far, this is the one I like best.
June 6: News that BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART was a top ten finalist in the 2015/16 Woodward/Newman Drama Award contest from Bloomington Playwrights Project. There were nearly a thousand scripts, so I’m counting this as a win!
June 7: Linda Silvestri, my director of FLOWERS IN THE DESERT at Western Door Playhouse, who managed to pull it ALL off against all odds!
June 8: Permissioned opinions. Thank you Liz Lerman!
June 10: Dinner with theater friends. Always a perfect way to spend an evening.
June 11: My first adaptation—it’s so fun! There’s a freedom in not having to worry about the story and just concentrate on connective tissue, structure, and staging. It seems to allow for more creativity of process. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
June 12: The generosity, faith, and professionalism of Second Generation Theatre. So happy to see this young company thrive, grow, wow, and succeed.
June 13: Playwrights Center and Play Submissions Helper. I finally broke down and joined both, because, while I do a great job myself of ferretting submission opps, I wanted to see what I’ve been missing. In a year, I’ll report back on how these two stack up against each other, as well as my perceived value vs. cost.
June 14: The marriage of Buffalo’s theater and film communities, as evidenced today by the world premiere screening of SUGAR WONDER BLUES, the film version of my good friend, Darryl Schneider’s (second from left, below) 2005 play, TWO TO THE HEAD. It was wonderful and exciting to see both Darryl and four local stage actors get an opportunity with another medium.
June 15: A second successful showing at the Summer Solstice one-act festival at the Barn Theatre in Montville, NJ. Previously, they produced “You Haven’t Changed A Bit” and “Two Puzzles Walked Into A Bar,” and this year, “Face Time.”
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