September 1st, 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 September/Part One, AS A PLAYWRIGHT, grateful


September 1: Submission day! I’m exhausted from spending today’s early hours getting all the big ones out. There was a waiver code that didn’t work, and docs that needed to be PDFs and vice versa, and a page that wouldn’t load, and a form that kept saying my file was too big, and a PDF that wouldn’t fill, and an opp that never asked for the fee, and one I sent with a big typo and maybe the wrong version of the play… and several emails to administrators trying to resolve these issues, but I feel accomplished and braced for possibility!


September 2: The Dramatist, which is not only an awesome magazine that’s part of your Dramatists Guild membership, but today, promoted TRADE A PLAY TUESDAY. We’re legit!




September 3: Lawrence Harbison, who chose THE PEE TEST to be part of the Smith & Kraus Best Short Plays of 2016 anthology (and who previously chose BLACK AND WHITE for 2013). This quirky little play is great for college students, so I hope this makes it easy for them to find it. (The original production below featured Sabrina Kahwaty and Jonathan Young.)




September 4: FedEx Online Printing and coupons for same. Don’t know what I’d do without it when it comes to those stupid, antiquated hard copy submissions.


September 5: Theaters that accept unagented submissions—and actually read them.


September 6:  Reminders that ALL artists have disappointments and bouts of insecurity, as well as the perseverance and belief to continue. We all understand and we’ll all in it together.


September 7: Accidentally finding payment for a production in my PayPal account. Yay being paid and #playwrightrespect!

surprise money


September 8: Working on so many plays at once: edits for the Luxembourg production of FLOWERS IN THE DESERT, lyrics for THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR musical, arranging workshops for the upcoming productions of SAFE, and prepping for two out-of-town readings of BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART. Plus it’s the September binge so the new plays are going out!


September 9: Victoria Perez (far left), friend and fabulous performer, whose theater company, Raices, co-opened an amazing production of IN THE HEIGHTS with MusicalFare tonight. She’s a fabulous talent and, not to in any way diminish the contributions of MusicalFare and the stellar cast, but this very much felt like her night in so many ways. So grateful to have her talent in Buffalo.



September 10: Seat belts and air bags.


September 11: The grand opening of the new Road Less Traveled Theater with the world premiere of Bella Poynton’s SPEED OF LIGHT!




September 12: Ward Kay, of Adirondack Plays, who graciously accepted suggestions from playwrights and the Dramatists Guild and amended his publication contracts. #playwrightrespect


September 13: This awesome poster for the Luxembourg production of FLOWERS IN THE DESERT.



September 14:  A lovely happy hour at SoHo Burger Bar’s upstairs patio courtesy of the exceptionally gracious author and playwright Laura Pedersen, whose play FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE! opens at 710 Main Thursday.



September 15: Writing lyrics. Back to my days as a Color War General at summer camp, I’ve always enjoyed matching words to music, but in converting THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR to a musical, I’m discovering and loving the added layer of using the songs to enhance both story and character. And I’m also loving how musicalizing is making this a different story in some ways. This is why playwriting never gets boring!


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


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 46 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), 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 three dozen short plays that have had hundreds of productions, and has been nominated for both the Francesca Primus and Susan Blackburn prizes. She’s also a two-time winner of the Emanuel Fried Award for Best New Play (SEEDS, SONS & LOVERS).

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.

In addition, Donna is a blogger, advocate, and moderator of the 12,000+-member Official Playwrights of Facebook. Recent speaking engagements include Citywrights, Kenyon Playwrights Conference, the Dramatists Guild National Conference, Chicago Dramatists, Austin Film Festival, and a live Dramatists Guild webinar. Her commentary has been read at #2amt, howlround, the Official Playwrights of Facebook, the newly released Workshopping the New Play, and donnahoke.com.

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