If you don’t know what RIPP: Real Inspiration for Playwrights Project, please click here to get some context before reading. I have a feeling not everyone is doing this, as I keep getting emails from playwrights wanting to send me their plays or asking how to get produced which, again, is not the point of RIPP.
FROM CRYSTAL FIELD, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY
“Theater for the New City has produced three plays by Ian Gordon. He came to us as a technical volunteer volunteered for our Halloween Costume Ball (Village Halloween Costume Ball), then for LES (the Lower East Side Festival of the Arts). Then, he worked crew for our Summer Street Theater tour. He volunteered for lighting tech during the year, and was then hired as a lighting designer for one of our emerging playwright’s plays, and he became crew chief for the Street Theater program. All this time, he studied Lighting Design at Brooklyn College and graduated with a degree in Lighting Design.
“He’d also begun to write plays, and we were so happy with his reliability, enthusiasm, and interest in the play he was working on, and he asked me if he could have a reading of a play he was writing. At TNC, if you volunteer a lot, and give your energies to your tasks, we will always say yes to your trying out something you wish to do. To make a long story shorter, we loved his play when it was read. So when he asked if we would produce it, we said yes. The budget was $2,000. He raised the money himself, from friends and benefit nights he held at TNC. His next play was paid for by TNC, and we produced two more plays by him. This is not a unique story at TNC. So my advice is to volunteer—volunteer—volunteer—and get involved in an off-off-Broadway Theater. If your writing is good, they will produce your play.”
My nutshell takeaway: That last sentence is what strikes me, on two levels. One—they WILL produce your play. Two—IF the writing is good. That’s kind of a double-edged sword, isn’t it? You can do the due diligence, volunteer at a theater, and if the work isn’t to their liking, you still might not get the production. But what you will get, and this is so critical, is people who want to believe in you and your work. This means that even if your play isn’t what they want, or has problems, they will be willing to work with you. They’ll give you the readings you need, they’ll tell you where your potential likes, they’ll be honest with you, and they will provide you an artistic home. And that kind of nurturing can lead the production you seek and maybe not just at this theater. If you’ve been having trouble generating interest in your work, creating this type of relationship may be just the boost it needs.
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Until next RIPP,