Anne Hamilton/Hamilton Dramaturgy


BCWJ Article – TACT’s Salon Series in NYC

TACT’S Salon Series in New York City

By Anne M. Hamilton, MFA

According to its mission, The Actors Company Theatre is, “dedicated to presenting neglected or rarely produced plays of literary merit, with a focus on creating theatre from its essence: the text and the actor’s ability to bring it to life”.  Last season, the Wall Street Journal named TACT “Company of the Year”. With mainstage productions held at the Beckett Theatre on Theatre Row, the ensemble also presents a more intimate Salon Series in the Flatiron District. This year TACT will present four mid-twentieth-century plays by female theatre artists.

Ruth Gordon was an American actress and writer who played many roles on Broadway from 1916 to 1976, including Nora in A Doll’s House, Mrs. Kitty Warren in Mrs. Warren’s Profession, and Mrs. Dolly Gallagher Levi in The Matchmaker. In A Very Rich Woman (based on a play by Phillipe Heriat), a rich Boston widow fights her daughters’ efforts to declare her incompetent in order to gain access to her money.

Alice Childress performed with the American Negro Theatre and premiered on Broadway with the ANT’s hugely successful Anna Lucasta. Later, she became one of the first African-American women to have work professionally produced on the New York stage.In the groundbreaking backstage satire Trouble in Mind (1955), a talented African-American actress finally has the chance to play a lead role on the Great White Way, but only if she’s willing to compromise her principles.

In Toys in the Attic, Lillian Hellman portrays a single day in the life of a New Orleans family, when a prodigal brother returns home to his middle-aged sisters with an overnight fortune in his pocket. The drama opened on Broadway in 1960 starring Jason Robards, Jr., Maureen Stapleton and Irene Worth, and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play.

Finally, in Agatha Christie’s The Hollow, a family gathering in an English country home leads to murder. This beloved mystery author’s play The Mousetrap has been running continuously in the West End since 1952. The Hollow, based on her novel of the same name from 1946, premiered in 1951 in Cambridge.

Anne Hamilton has 22 years of experience as an dramaturg. She is available for script consultations and career advising through hamiltonlit@hotmail.com. Season Three of Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! launched with an interview with Kate Valk, The Wooster Group’s leading actress.

Download the article here: BCWJ Article on TACT’s SALON SERIES IN NEW YORK CITY by Anne Hamilton

 



BCWJ Profile of Rachel Bonds

http://bit.ly/Aug2013HDramaturgy

Profile of Rachel Bonds

By: Anne Hamilton, M.F.A.

Brooklyn Playwright Rachel Bonds has had a terrific year.

A reading of FIVE MILE LAKE appeared in Manhattan Theatre Club’s 7@7 series, SWIMMERS was part of the Reading Series in the Powerhouse season at NY Stage & Film, and Philadelphia’s Arden Theatre presented a workshop production of her new play AT THE OLD PLACE in July.

Bonds developed the play in a four-month residency at Arden called The Writers’ Room. Artistic Director Ed Sobel, who also directed Bonds’ production, explains: “The Writers’ Room is a playwright residency program in which a writer is in residence at the Arden for six weeks completing the draft of a new play.  A few weeks after completion of the draft, the play is given a workshop and rehearsal process which culminates in public performance.”

“They gave me 6 weeks to write a first draft,” Bonds commented just as she was going into rehearsal. “And I got nervous and wrote it in 3 weeks. It was very useful to have a deadline. It’s a unique and wonderful program, because sometimes as playwrights we have to wait years to see our plays performed.  The Writer’s Room experience is so immediate. It’s rare and exciting. The Arden supports writers in a way that very few others do.”

In the play, a professor of English returns to her family home in Richmond, VA following her mother’s death, to find two young people camped out on her lawn. “AT THE OLD PLACE is a quiet play,” she says. “The events are small and human, and it’s about two people opening up. It’s about the little ways that we begin to change.” Describing the dialogue as “hyperrealistic”, she notes that the set design is abstract, portraying the overgrown yard of a rundown house in fabric and other unusual materials.

This is the first time Bonds has worked in Philadelphia. “It’s a great community and the actors are really wonderful. I’m so pleased with the cast that we got. They’re lovely and hardworking,” she says. “The whole experience has been a gift and a rare opportunity.”

Last year Wendy MacLeod, author of HOUSE OF YES completed the first Writers’ Room residency.

Anne Hamilton has 22 years of dramaturgical experience. She is available for script consultations and career advising through hamiltonlit@hotmail.com. Season Three of Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! launched with an interview with Kate Valk, a leading actress with The Wooster Group.

You may download a copy of the article here: BCWJ Profile of Rachel Bonds by Anne Hamilton

 



BCWJ Article – ON HER SHOULDERS in NYC

Here is my latest Page & Stage column from the Bucks County Women’s Journal (June/July).

On Her Shoulders in New York City

By Anne M. Hamilton, MFA

My respected colleague Susan Jonas, the founder/ director of The Legacy Projects, is also a co-founder of 50/50 in 2020. In recent years she has made pursuing gender parity in theatre her life’s work, and her success continues to grow.

Her newest endeavor is On Her Shoulders, a series of staged readings of plays by women which will occur in Manhattan monthly through December, 2013. It’s a terrific new program which seeks to educate theatre professionals and the public about women’s plays which have been written over the course of ten centuries. The historical scope of the material, as well as the involvement of leading theatre specialists, is unprecedented.

On Monday, May 20th, the project will present Rachel Crothers’ controversial 1909 play, A MAN’S WORLD, directed by Melissa Crespo, and introduced by Jane Ann Crum. Other plays in the season include: Anna Cora Mowatt’s FASHION, Cicely Hamilton’s DIANA OF DOBSON’S, Shelagh Delaney’s A TASTE OF HONEY, Lorraine Hansberry’s LES BLANCS, Daphne Du Maurier’s THE YEARS BETWEEN, and Susanna Centlivre’s A BOLD STROKE FOR A WIFE.

Founded in 2012 by Andrea Lepcio (Playwright), Lillian Rodriguez (Performer), and Susan Jonas (Dramaturg/Scholar), the reading series is dedicated to, “‘re-loading the canon’ by familiarizing potential producers and audiences with a neglected legacy of plays– not by women playwrights– but by great playwrights.”

On Her Shoulders intends to restore their contribution to theatre history, the canon and the living repertory,” the founders assert on their website, which includes a curated list of significant plays by women.

The initiative encourages teachers to include plays by women on their syllabi, introduces students to monologues and scenes for acting and directing exercises, and invites literary managers and artistic directors to produce these plays on their stages. Its practical, multifaceted approach is unique because it provides the incentive to look at the plays as living works of art rather than just relegating them to history books.

The series will culminate in the publication of an anthology of the scripts staged for production with introductions by major scholars and theatre artists.

Admission is free, and seating is first come, first served, with RSVPs required. More information is available at http://onhershoulders.weebly.com/.

Anne Hamilton has 22 years of experience as an dramaturg. She is available for script consultations and career advising through hamiltonlit@hotmail.com. Season Three of Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! launched with an interview with Kate Valk, a leading actress with The Wooster Group.

You may download the article here: BCWJ Article on ON HER SHOULDERS by Anne Hamilton

 

 



BCWJ Profile of Maria Alexandria Beech

Profile of Maria Alexandria Beech

By Anne M. Hamilton, MFA

Maria Alexandria Beech is a playwright and librettist living in New York. She has written over fifteen full-length plays, several as a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages Theatre, which co-produced her play LITTLE MONSTERS at Brandeis Theatre Company. Her full-length musical titled CLASS, with Karl Michael Johnson, was presented in a reading in May, 2012 at NYU.

AH: Alex, I know that you hold an MFA from Columbia University. Now you have a second, this time from NYU.

MB: It’s in musical theatre writing. It is a true honor. One would think that writing a musical and writing a play are similar processes, but in fact they’re not. They each require their own craft and their own knowledge base.

AH: What is CLASS about?

MB:  It’s based on a play that I wrote in the writers group at Primary Stages, about a girl who is struggling with alcoholism and she signs up for a summer school class in New Orleans in 1987.  And so this girl walks into the situation, and the professor has recently learned that she doesn’t have much longer to live.

It was a real challenge to adapt as a musical, in the sense that it is very much a play as it exists. It was an homage not only to a professor that I had, who was dying of cancer and who had to face students who wanted to use her illness against her, but it was an homage to professors and teachers I had had growing up.
AH: Tell us about your reading at NYU.

One of the things that I learned is that musical theatre is still very much about that well-made musical, that traditional structure of the well-made musical, and the opening number and the closing number. One of my goals is to still honor that tradition, but kind of also do other things and explore more. [I’d like to] not look at the book or the dialogue just as a bridge between the songs. I think the songs could be little kind of poems that stand alone.

Anne Hamilton has 22 years of experience in the professional theatre in NYC, across the nation, and internationally. She is available for script consultations and career advising through hamiltonlit@hotmail.com. Season Three of Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! launched with an interview with Kate Valk, a leading actress with The Wooster Group.

Download the article here: BCWJ Profile of Maria Alexandria Beech by Anne Hamilton



BCWJ Article on Indie Theater Now

In New York City, Martin Denton is a tireless theatregoer, writer, publisher, advocate and critic. His contribution to the profession with the website http://www.nytheatre.com is immeasurable. His new venture, Indie Theater Now, is a wonderful opportunity for playwrights and other theatre artists.  Recently, Martin wrote an article for my ScriptForward! E-newsletter entitled, “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Indie Theater Now”. I’ve shared an excerpt below.

Indie Theater Now (ITN) is an online service that presents and preserves new American plays in script form. Our vision is to be both comprehensive and inclusive. ITN is kind of like a traditional review/preview site, but on steroids: Instead of simply just writing ABOUT a play that excites us, we share the full text of that play, along with dynamic, continually updated content that provides background and context—e.g., podcasts, interviews, reviews, videos, photos, etc.—created by the playwrights themselves as well as other artists and ITN staff. In this way readers can discover the work more fully, wherever they are, at their convenience. It’s also kind of like traditional play publishing, but on a massively larger scale (i.e., hundreds of new plays published per year rather than a few dozen) and at comparative warp-speed: the “Now” in Indie Theater Now reflects our ability to publish work days, not months or years, after its initial presentation on stage.

I started nytheatre.com 16 years ago in order to share my excitement about drama in general and many amazing but underrated/unappreciated/unknown new plays in particular. Playwright Kirk Bromley once said that nytheatre.com was “an engine of enthusiasm for the art”—a phrasing I particularly like.

I think of Indie Theater Now as a much more robust engine – not just of enthusiasm but of genuine discovery; one that enables teachers, students, actors, directors, producers, and artists of every stripe, as well as those not involved in the theater, to experience the fruits of indie drama as close to first-hand as possible.”

Please read the entire article on my Hamilton Dramaturgy blog, which is https://hamiltondramaturgy.wordpress.com.

BCWJ Article on Indie Theater Now by Anne Hamilton

Anne Hamilton has more than twenty years of experience in the professional theatre in NYC, across the nation, and internationally. She is available for script consultations and career advising through hamiltonlit@hotmail.com. Season Three of Hamilton Dramaturgys TheatreNow! launched with an interview with Kate Valk, a leading actress with The Wooster Group.



BCWJ Profile of Barbara Pease Weber

Please enjoy my latest Page & Stage column article for the BUCKS COUNTY WOMEN’S JOURNAL. It is  a profile of Philadelphia-based playwright Barbara Pease Weber.

Profile of Barbara Pease Weber

By Anne Hamilton, M.F.A.

Barbara Pease Weber is a Philadelphia native with four published plays and productions all over the country. And it seems that no-one is more surprised at this than she is.

“I started out acting and it just morphed into playwriting,” she said recently. “The fact that it has gone this far is a miracle and a dream come true.”

“My writing comes in fits and spurts. I’m writing, writing, writing and can’t stop, or I’m not writing anything. In the past three years, I’ve rolled out three plays and I’m exhausted.” It’s a great problem to have.

Weber has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over thirty years and is an empty nester, with two daughters who are college graduates. Samuel French has published four of her plays – DELVAL DIVAS, HOGWASH!, SENIORS OF THE SAHARA, and A CROCK OF SCHNITZEL.

She has been involved with the Old Academy in the East Falls section of Philadelphia for many years, with many of her plays debuting there. The performing space’s claim to fame is that Grace Kelly acted there as a child. Weber’s THE WITCH IN 204, which is a sequel to SENIORS OF THE SAHARA, debuted there in September 2011, and went on to a production in New Mexico in September 2012. “SENIORS is a senior romance about Sylvie Goldberg, a retired New Jersey schoolteacher, who goes to Israel and buys some souvenirs, among which is a priceless relic – a genie in a teapot.”

How did she get her publishing deals? “Sheer luck,” she says. “Nobody told me it would be so hard to get somebody to read my work. I did it out of pure ignorance. I wrote a play and asked them, ‘Do want to read it? Do you want to produce it? Do you want to publish it?’ For my first play I got a postcard from Samuel French which said, ‘Dear Ms. Weber, Your play has had two readings and now is in the President’s office.”

Brava, Barbara. We all wish you continued success in the future.

Anne Hamilton has more than twenty years of experience in the professional theatre in NYC, across the nation, and internationally. She is available for script consultations and career advising through hamiltonlit@hotmail.com. Season Three of Hamilton Dramaturgys TheatreNow! launched with an interview with Kate Valk, a leading actress with The Wooster Group.

Please download the article here: BCWJ Page & Stage Profile of Barbara Pease Weber by Anne Hamilton



BCWJ Profile of Catherine Rush

Please enjoy my latest Page & Stage column article for the BUCKS COUNTY WOMEN’S JOURNAL. It is  a profile of Philadelphia-based playwright Catherine Rush.

Profile of Catherine Rush

By Anne Hamilton, M.F.A.

In the nine years since moving to Philadelphia from Connecticut, Catherine Rush has built deep connections to the city’s vibrant theatrical scene.

Productions started with BACKYARD CONSPIRACY, a ten-minute play for Luna Theatre Company in the SPARK Festival. And BCKSEET Productions commissioned LOSING THE SHORE, a work of historical fiction set in 1953 featuring five characters travelling on a ship. “The play is about a time of transition in America,” she says. “What was happening then still rings true today. I was struck by the truth of the adage, ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same.’” BCKSEET produced the play in March/April of last year.

Rush, and her husband Adrian Blue, co-wrote THIS ISLAND ALONE a play set  in Chilmark on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Historically, the town was home to a large deaf population. The residents routinely spoke and used sign language because one out of every four people was deaf. THE LOUDEST MAN ON EARTH, which was commissioned by Philadelphia Theatre Workshop, is about the relationship between a deaf man and a hearing woman.

“The play is indicative of the things that deaf and hearing couples have to deal with over and over,” Rush explains. The play was read at the New York Theatre Workshop, which then workshopped it at Dartmouth College. “It includes several different modes of communication – English, Sign Language, gesture, and Visual Vernacular, which is a style of theatrical communication that uses Sign Language, mime and cinematic techniques.”

Blue was an actor with the National Theatre for the Deaf for many years, and will perform one of the leading roles in a west coast production slated for the 2013/2014 season.

Catherine is finishing her M.F.A. in Creative Writing (Playwriting) from Spalding University, a low-residency program in Louisville, KY. She may be reached through www.catherinerush.com.

Anne Hamilton has more than twenty years of experience in the professional theatre in NYC, across the nation, and internationally. She is available for script consultations and career advising through hamiltonlit@hotmail.com. Season Three of Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! has launched with an interview with Kate Valk, a leading actress with The Wooster Group. On May 19th, Anne directed a walking tour version of THE STACY PLAY – A LOVE SONG – VOLUME I, featuring members of The Living Theatre’s acting company, for sold out audiences in Central Park in New York City.

Download the article here: BCWJ Profile of Catherine Rush by Anne Hamilton