#365GRATEFULPLAYWRIGHT: A YEAR OF WHAT MAKES IT ALL WORTHWHILE OCTOBER/PART TWO

October 15th, 2015 donnahoke
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.

 

And so, continuing on with October/Part Two, AS A PLAYWRIGHT, grateful

 

October 16: News that BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART is a finalist in the Theatre Conspiracy New Play Contest—winner to be determined sometime soon! This play keeps racking up the notices but no production yet; could this be the one?

danielshusband

 

October 17: A fabulous, fabulous opening of Michael McKeever’s beautiful, beautiful DANIEL’S HUSBAND last night at Buffalo United Artists. The play, the audience, the cast, the direction: everything came together to do what theater should do.

 

October 18: The Kitchen Theater and Rachel Lampert, hosts to the second New York State Roving Readings event, Bella Poynton’s THE AURORA PROJECT. A thoughtful and intelligent audience made for an interesting talkback after an “out of this world” reading!

rachellampert kitchentheater

 

October 19: Both “Survival Strategy” and “Vincent’s Ear” are shortlisted for Short+Sweet Sydney. No matter what happens, I’m particularly happy for the recognition about “Vincent’s Ear,” which is a weird little play, but I thought it might have worldwide appeal.

 

October 20: Seeing a subsequent version of a piece, and the work the playwright did to make it a stronger and more resonant work.  Filtering feedback, rewriting, giving up bits we love—it’s all hard work, but the rewards are great. That’s what I saw tonight with Joy Scime’s DISSONANCE.

 

October 21: Being all packed and ready to head off to Michigan tomorrow! Can’t wait to see what the team at Saginaw Valley State University is doing with SAFE! (And I need to remember to take pictures!)

 

October 22: Michigan, Part II: David Rzeszutek, director of SAFE, and my most amazing and generous host at Saginaw Valley State University; the enthusiastic, dedicated, and talented, cast and crew; seeing their rehearsal and talking with them about the show, Scott Behrend and David for hatching this opportunity. So many changes suggested by watching would not have happened without it.

hackeyhorse

Hackey Horse in the “parking lot.” When I told Dave we were going to have the shopping carts offstage, he said “We’re risk-takers.” Ha!

 

October 23: Michigan, Part II: All the October 22 people, plus all the design team. Hearing each person talk about their particular and passionate contribution was so exciting and also yielded a wonderful idea for the show that would have never happened had I not been there. I can’t wait to go back in November for the opening! Also, the Bully Board, conceived by Dave, which will be part of the front-of-house, and asks people to write on blue post-its a time they’ve felt bulled, and on yellow, a time they were bullies.  With the board just starting, it’s already revealing itself to be a powerful addition to the show, and showing that SAFE hits a little close to home for everyone.

bully4 bully2 bully3 bully1

 

October 24: The chance to add a 35th state—New Hampshire—to my resume. Seven out of twelve shot. Fingers crossed. It doesn’t take much to make a playwright happy.

 

October 25: Geva Theatre Center and Jenni Werner, who worked with me to arrange the Dramatists Guild NYS Roving Readings Series event—the reading of George Sapio’s FAULT LINES–tonight and made it part of the New Play Festival. For the second year, it was a rousing success!

gevajenniwerner

 

October 26: The Niagara University student who has chosen to do “Quick and Dirty,” a brand-new ten-minute play for his junior directing project!

 

October 27:  The high school friend who sent me a text asking if I had any plays in New York City next weekend. Bless her.

 

October 28: Two thoughtful communications from theaters delayed in selecting their chosen plays, with explanations, encouragement, and even offers of feedback. Class acts both: 5th Wall Productions and The Seeing Place.

 

October 29: The distraction of a good play when I was really under the weather! Lots of air hugs along with the kudos!

 

October 30: A two-hour conversation that will finally unlock my ability to do revisions on ELEVATOR GIRL. After several people read and said, “I’m invested, I’m intrigued, I’m confused,” I didn’t know where to start!

 

October 31: My new WNY Young Ambassador for the Dramatists Guild: Spencer Christiano. I’m really looking forward to working with this enthusiastic young man! Happy Halloween! (And if you’re keeping up with submissions, I’m at 478, still a wee bit behind last year and headed into the slow months…)

 

Please follow me on Twitter @donnahoke or like me on Facebook at Donna Hoke, Playwright.

To read more entries in this series, click here or #365GratefulPlaywright in the category listing at upper right.

Written by donnahoke

donnahoke

Dramatists Guild Council member and ensemble playwright-in-residence at Road Less Traveled Productions, Kilroys List and award-winning playwright Donna Hoke’s work has been seen in 40 states, and on five continents. Her full-length plays include ELEVATOR GIRL (2017 O’Neill finalist), THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR (Princess Grace semi-finalist, currently in its fourth year in rep in Romania), SEEDS (Artie award winner for Outstanding New Play), SAFE (winner of the Todd McNerney, Naatak, and Great Gay Play and Musical Contests), and BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART (2016 Kilroys List, Winner HRC Showcase, Firehouse Festival of New American Plays); she’s also authored more than two dozen short plays that have had hundreds of productions. Donna is also a New York Times-published crossword puzzle constructor; author of Neko and the Twiggets, a children’s book; and founder/co-curator of BUA Takes 10: GLBT Short Stories. For three consecutive years, she was named Buffalo’s Best Writer by Artvoice, the only woman to ever receive the designation.

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