Anne Hamilton/Hamilton Dramaturgy


Cate Cammarata Named Dramaturgical Intern

I was so impressed with Cate Cammarata’s experience and talent that I brought her on board Hamilton Dramaturgy as a dramaturgical intern to help spread the word about TheatreNow! She will assist me in approaching women’s studies programs and organizations, as well as theatre departments in colleges and universities. She is creating a master document which we will use to promote TheatreNow!, my an oral history podcast series of female theatre artists. Welcome, Cate.

Advertisements


Laura Maria Censabella’s Tribute to Romulus Linney

Laura Maria Censabella, an upcoming guest on TheatreNow!, was kind enough to give me a copy of  her letter to the editor of AMERICAN THEATRE magazine. Excerpts of the letter were published recently, but the full letter is much more poignant and moving.

Romulus Linney was an American playwright and novelist who passed away after a short illness this winter. He taught me everything I know about dramaturgy while I studied at Columbia University School of the Arts.

Read it here: Laura Maria Censabella’s letter to AMERICAN THEATRE magazine regarding Romulus Linney



Anne Mentors Cate Cammarata, an Early Career Dramaturg
July 19, 2011, 12:12 am
Filed under: Career Advising, Dramaturgy | Tags: , , , ,

I met and discussed all things dramaturgical with Cate Cammarata of Long Island, through LMDA‘s Early Career Mentoring Program. Cate struck me as a very dedicated, enthusiastic and talented emerging dramaturg. Much luck to you, Cate!

SHORT BIO:

Cate Cammarata is a director, dramaturg, writer, teaching artist and passionate advocate of arts education. She has worked with Hughes Moss Casting, Norman Rothstein & Associates, The Travel Channel and Syracuse Stage. She is the founding Director of Music in Me Productions on Long Island and a contributing arts writer with Mater et Magistra Magazine. Currently the Educational Associate at the John W. Engeman Theatre at Northport (Long Island), she holds a BFA in Acting and Directing from Syracuse University and is now working toward her MFA in Dramaturgy at SUNY Stony Brook.



THE FAMILY BUSINESS, A New Monologue
July 8, 2011, 4:15 pm
Filed under: New Work by Anne | Tags: , ,

THE FAMILY BUSINESS

By Anne Hamilton

© July 8, 2011

Character:  CHUCK WOOD

Place:  His Dining Room Table in rural Minnesota.

Time:  The Present.

(Chuck sits at the table with a glass of milk and a piece of pie in front of him.)

I don’t know. When I started, you know…

It just seemed the right thing to do. It’s what we…do in my family.

I didn’t start by… No, no, you don’t do that.

It started with, you know, pebbles, in the woods. We’d go out to my grandfather’s farm and take a ride with him on his tractor. And then my brother and I would stay down in the meadow and cool our feet in the stream. There was a really cold stream, a “crick” we call it, and it felt so good and cold on a hot summer day.

We were there one day by ourselves, granddad had taken the tractor back to the barn, and my brother said to me, “Hey, you want to do it?”

“Do what?” I replied, my legs dangling in the water.

“Do it. You know, what we do.”

Fear began to overtake me. “No,” I replied, “Not…”

“Yeah,” he said with a mischievous grin on his face. I had never seen him look like that before. But that was the day he had decided we would do it. He would teach me…the family business.

“We can’t…” I said.

“Yeah, we can.  And we will,” he replied.

I swallowed hard.

“Right now?”

“Yeah, right now.” He pointed to a small stone. I’ll never forget it, it was gray, with white spots.

“Pick it up.”

“I can’t.”

“Sissy!” he yelled. “If you’re going to be one of us, you have to learn to do it right!”

My short life flashed before my eyes. My mother’s eyes, warm and loving. My father’s smile, his teeth flashing in that wide open grin. My granddad, walking straight despite his years. And my grandma, making a pie, dusting flour from her hands.

Would I, could I, live up to their expectations?

In a flash, I decided to do it.

I nodded, bent down, and picked up the stone.

“Now aim it this way, and try to make it skip a couple of times,” my brother instructed.

It was good, no, it was right, to have him here with me.

I took good aim, drew my arm back, and…oh, it was no use. I couldn’t go through with it. I wasn’t ready to grow up yet, I wanted to be a kid. Forever. Then I didn’t have to learn this nasty family business, to spend my life/

/“Do it!” my brother insisted. “Grow up. Go ahead.”

And seeing that I couldn’t run past him, or get to the other side of the crick, I did it. It happened so fast I almost didn’t know what happened until I heard the plink of the stone in the water.

The smooth surface rippled with a spreading circle. I knew that the stone was gently falling to the bottom where it would rest for a very long time.

Now that it was over, I felt a knot in my stomach that I hadn’t felt before.

I had done it. I had…chucked something.

(He pauses with his head down, considering deeply what to say next.)

From then on, I chucked bigger and bigger things. An apple at the barn. A baseball into the woods. (Quietly) A Frisbee at a passing car.

My parents responded with a mixture of anxiety and pride. I never knew which one I was going to get. “Nice aim,” my mother said.

“You’re going to pay for that window you broke,” growled my father. “A little to the left, son,” he said the next time the horseshoe missed the pole.

I didn’t care. I was learning, I was chucking, and nothing was going to stop me. I took up the discus at school, competed at all the track meets. I threw the javelin and won state records. I lifted weights and worked on my arms. I could bench press most of my weight and then I turned sixteen and my father said to me, “Son, it’s time”.

My brother had a sharp intake of breath.

My mother’s head jerked almost imperceptibly, but I caught it.

I nodded.

He took me out to the fields behind the house, where he led me through the path. We came to a clearing and I saw a fallen tree. Its guts were spilled out, with rotten bark everywhere. There was a branch. Not a very long branch, but a heavy one.

He pointed. “That’s your one, right there”. And then he pointed to a group of tall weeds in the distance. “Put her right there, son, you can do it”.

And I stepped up to that branch and heaved it up. Pulled my strength together. (He laughs nervously) And I did it. I chucked it. I chucked that wood as far as I could.

Like my father before me, and his father before him. I chucked it. I…chucked…wood.

Yeah, and it was great. I felt good.

(Beat)

I’m glad I learned. Didn’t know if I wanted to do it, but yeah, it felt right. Felt good. I’m glad I did it.

Dad smiled that snarly grin and bit me on the arm. I…wasn’t used to such affection. But I guess he just got carried away with himself. With pride. I…made him feel good, I guess, knowing he has someone – two sons, really – to pass things on to.

We walked home. Didn’t say a word. And Mom was waiting with a hot pie. Blackberry. She glanced into my eyes as she put the plate in front of me. “I gave you extra crust. The kind you like, with the fork marks on it”. She straightened up. “Good job, Chuck,” she said. “Looks like we named you correctly”.

And she smiled.

I bit into the berries, sweet juices and all, sure that I had done a good thing that day.

(He smiles. He reaches down and takes a piece of pie onto his fork. He eats it, chewing slowly.)

(Lights down.)

END OF PLAY.



GROUNDING, a new dramatic monologue

I wrote this monologue today and thought I’d share it. I draws on my experience of working at Blooming Glen Farm out here in Bucks County, PA. I belong to a community supported agriculture project (CSA) and I take a little bit of time to work in the fields. Many thanks to my farmer friends for this inspiration.

GROUNDING

By Anne Hamilton

© July 5, 2011

Character: Shelley, 25

Place: The Field.

Time: The Present.

(Shelley is on her knees working in the dirt. She is barefoot. There is a greenhouse behind her with flats of growing seeds. A flat of growing onions, sits to her left.)

I come here. To ground myself.  (laughs at herself) That’s funny. Of course. You work in the ground, you ground yourself.

Of course, we all walk on the ground. But we seldom really touch it. We’re always standing on pavement, blacktop, cement. Stones. We wear shoes. When is the last time you actually touched the earth with your bare feet? Think about it.

I had a dog once. We lived in Queens. There was no grass for miles. Everything was paved over. Her feet never touched the ground in the first five years of her life, except once. We put her in the car and drove her to a park. That’s when she touched grass.

When we moved out here, I bought her a backyard. She didn’t know what universe she was in. There were other animals – she only knew cats, and squirrels, mice, pigeons. And cockroaches, not that we had them in our house.

She was on the deck when we first moved. A rabbit came hopping by. “Oh, wonder! How many goodly creatures there are here!” She nearly went crazy with excitement. What was that? Another little creature! It has a round tail! I want one!

She loved rabbits from then on. Thought they were her own little pets. Started wagging her tail and whining every time one hopped by.

We took care of one that our neighbor neglected. Kept in a cage with no extra shelter inside. Didn’t give it water every day. I would go over there and feed it. Carrots. Cranberries. Little morsels. I took my dog. And she wanted to kiss that rabbit so badly – stuck her head in the cage up to her shoulders and licked its little face. Scared the rabbit half to death until it got used to her. (Beat)  She loved that rabbit.

After we fed it so it got fat, they sold it to a farm. As a stud. Lucky rabbit. All its dreams came true.

(She pauses.)

Sometimes…I have to talk like this. Just keep talking. It passes the time, keeps my mind from thinking.

(She looks down at the earth.)

I come here to dig. To watch something grow. Instead of die. If you plant something you can watch it grow. It’s the only time you see progress. I need progress. Every kid should live near nature. He can see that things grow and things die. That in the winter they look like they’re dead, but then they come to life again in the spring. It’s the only way to understand…how things are.

I lost – my sister. My second sibling to die in 27 months. Most families count the years by births. Our counts it by deaths. A rare genetic disease. Blood condition.  Fifty percent get it, fifty percent don’t. You don’t – we don’t – know who has it until we’re adults.

Sluggishness. Pale skin. Muscle weakness. That’s how it starts.  We’re always checking on each other. “How do you feel?” “Let me look at your face.”

And then – drowsiness, lack of energy. And hospitals. It always ends in hospitals. And hospices. She was twenty-years years old in a hospice. The staff knows us all by name by now.

It happened last Saturday. That last breath. The nurse called. “Your sister has taken her last breath,” she said. Funeral was Wednesday. We had it planned, of course. Dinner together and on to – the rest of our lives.

I come here. To reconnect. Plant. Hope that something grows that something completes its own life cycle, that something LIVES, goddamn it! And I watch for signs of life. And death.

Not by the side of a bed, but out here. In the sun. with my feet in the dirt. Grounded. Grounding. Watching. And waiting. Waiting for my own blood to tell me…what it’s going to do.

(She picks up a spade and digs a little hole. She places an onion sprig into the hole and gently fills in the space around it. She repeats the action, with reverence. She looks up and smiles a brave smile. Lights fade.)

END OF PLAY



FUSE, a new ten-minute play
July 4, 2011, 12:30 pm
Filed under: New Work by Anne | Tags: , ,

I wrote this play today while thinking of fireworks. Two years ago, unfortunately, a man was killed at my town’s Fourth of July fireworks celebration. I wondered how the company’s manager would get a new worker to replace him. This is how I imagine the scene. I’ll probably develop this play more.

FUSE

By Anne Hamilton

© July 5, 2011

Characters

Mr. Tewson, Manager of the Labbadia Fireworks Company, early thirties

Todd Jackson, 18 years old.

Place:  Tewson’s office.

Time:  The Present.

(Lights up on Mr. Tewson at his desk. He is flipping through his calendar. He looks at his watch. He sends a text. He gets up and opens the door. Jackson enters.)

 TEWSON

Hello, have a seat.

JACKSON

Thank you.

(They sit.)

TEWSON

So you’re interested in the job with the/

JACKSON

/with the fireworks.

TEWSON

Umm, this is a fireworks company.

JACKSON

Oh, yeah. Right.

TEWSON

And why are you interested in this position?

JACKSON

My girlfriend’s pregnant.

TEWSON

I beg your pardon?

JACKSON

My girlfriend’s pregnant.

TEWSON

Oh, I’m sorry. We’re not allowed to discuss any domestic matters in a job interview.

JACKSON

We’re not domestic. She lives at home and I live at home.

TEWSON

It’s not a question of whether you’re married or not…

JACKSON

Nah, can’t do that. I’m Jewish.

TEWSON

Whoa, now. I can’t talk about this. Let’s just take a step back.

JACKSON

Hey, you’re pretty uptight for a manager. Don’t you run things around here?

TEWSON (is silent)

(They eye each other for a moment, manning off against each other to see who’s going to talk first.)

JACKSON (gets uncomfortable)

Yeah, like, it’s not like I want to get married anyway. No use getting hooked up with the first…

(TEWSON stares at him. JACKSON falls silent.)

JACKSON

Uhhh, what else do you want to know?

TEWSON (after a pause)

What kind of experience do you have?

JACKSON

I’ve been working on cars with my father since I was a kid.

TEWSON

Do you have any experience working with explosives? Or a crew? Have you ever had any safety training?

JACKSON

I did CPR on my mother. She was choking once. Saved her life.

TEWSON

Well, that’s…good.

(Beat)

Look. I’ve got to tell you something. This job is dangerous. The last guy who had the job, well, he got blown up. You must have heard about it in the papers. A defective shell. We get them from China. Are you sure you want to put yourself at risk? You’re a young guy, and you have…obligations.

JACKSON (sits quietly)

Yeah, I know. I know. (Pause) But ever since I was little, I’ve had this – this need to feel something. I don’t know, danger? Excitement?  I need more than other people to ummm, to feel. I can’t do drugs, it’s against my religion. Oh, right, I can’t talk about that. I need more than other people. Fireworks are…light and sound. And suddenness, and expected. You see them go up, you know they’re going to blow, it’s just…a matter of time. And I like that. It feels like…life.

TEWSON (after a beat)

And what if I were to say to you that I think it’s only a matter of time before you blow, too? What would you say to that?

JACKSON

I’d say you’re right. I’d rather (long pause) risk dying trying to live than keep living like I’m gonna die.

(Pause.)

TEWSON

You have to take a safety training course. You know these things are dangerous.

JACKSON

Yeah, fireworks.

TEWSON

And we need to register you with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. You don’t have any felonies, right?

JACKSON

Yeah, all right. And, uh, no.

TEWSON (pauses)

It’s not pretty, you know, if something goes wrong.

JACKSON

I need the money.

TEWSON

All right. (Pause) You have to take a drug test.

JACKSON

No problem.

TEWSON

Random testing from time to time.

(JACKSON is silent. TEWSON looks like he wants to say something else.)

 JACKSON

Are we done here?

TEWSON

Yes. We’re done. Start Monday morning. Bring your birth certificate and driver’s license. Eight o’clock.

JACKSON

All right. (He stands and sticks out his hand.) Thanks, man.

TEWSON

You’re welcome.

(JACKSON exits.)

 (TEWSON looks at JACKSON’S empty chair for a moment. He’s thinking. Then he turns to his computer and opens a file. Lights down.)

END OF PLAY.



OFEM, A NEW COMEDIC MONOLOGUE
July 4, 2011, 12:00 pm
Filed under: New Work by Anne | Tags: , , ,

Bucks County, where I live, is filled with foodies. It’s also filled with food snobs. As I travel around to farms picking up my produce, I’ve met some very peculiar people who are entrenched in their own way of eating through life. In a satirical response, I’ve come up with the concept of Ovo-Farming, and want to share it with you through its intrepid leader’s opening speech. I hope you’ll enjoy my summer skewering of food snobbery everywhere.

OFEM

By Anne Hamilton

© July 4, 2011

Character:  SALLY PARSONS, An organic Ovo-Farmer.

Place: The Heartland.

Time:  The Start of the Growing Season, The Present.

(SALLY stands at a podium. There is ambient noise of many people in the room, shifting in their seats. There is a very excited atmosphere.)

SALLY

First of all, I want to thank you all for coming to the first meeting of the Ovo-Farmers Emerging Network. Today is an auspicious day. We will band together as farmers and distributors to grow and sell only female centric fruits and vegetables. Hence: OFEM – Ovo-farmers, like the egg, but without eggs. We will not grow eggs. We are vegans.

(She stops and smiles. She has gotten ahead of herself.)

Let me back up. My co-founder and partner, Kate Meehan and I, decided to start this organization after looking at our plates one afternoon at lunch. And what did we see? Cucumbers, braised squash. Carrots. (She almost gags.) Italian eggplant. And what did we think? Why are we eating all of this phallo-centric food? Think of it, people, how many times does “The Farmer Man’s” (she indicates the quotes with her hands) penis have to be shoved in our face before we wake up?  The time has come to take back the fields from the male farmer with his string beans and corn stalks and celery.

We started the OFEM movement to provide feminists and feminist sympathizers everywhere with a source of food that they can truly enjoy. That they can consume in small, ladylike bites, without feeling that the male-centric food industry is literally shoving its penis down our throats.

We will grow only – are you ready for this? – round, vaguely egg-shaped produce. Think of it, Sisters –non–GMO, organic, pleasantly plump edibles. Cherries. Potatoes. Pumpkins. Bell peppers. And of course, apples.

Apples will be the symbol of our movement as we take back the garden, take back the farmers markets, and overthrow the tyranny of the roadside fruit stand. We will offer gorgeous, plump tomatoes – heirloom tomatoes. Peaches in season. And garlic with its offending stem cut off, yeah, I’ll enjoy that. (She makes the movement of castrating the garlic.) Roundish, delectable lettuces in all colors and textures, with all their lovely peaks and valleys.

Who knows the benefits of eating an OFEM diet? Maybe researchers in the future will discover a lessening of aggression in males and females investing in this way of life. An increase in empathy. Neighbors will no longer be shouting at neighbors. Road rage will decrease. Speeding – well, that may become a thing of the past.

Ovo-farming, Sisters, mark my words, may become the new way of life for the masses. But it starts here. Take a stand with me. Say no to sugar snap peas. And YES to gourds. No! to corn. And YES! To watermelon. Hell, no! to zucchini and YES! YES! YES!! (She says this with orgasmic glee.) To endamame.

In conclusion, thank you for coming to this historic event. Please leave us your email so we can be in touch, and remember the life-giving quality of female-centric plants. It’s ovum, the egg; OFEM, the new true, right and good food movement; and Oh, Femme! How we need you! Let us all take back our vim and vigor.

Say hello to a new way of life.

Thank you very much!