Anne Hamilton/Hamilton Dramaturgy


OFEM by Anne Hamilton to Be Read in Ithaca May 4th

Little Black Dress Ink' new play festival takes place this spring across the country.

I am very pleased that my short play OFEM has been chosen as a semi-finalist for Little Black Dress Ink’s 2014 Female Playwrights Onstage Project. It will be featured in an Ithaca, NY reading on May 4th. If chosen as a finalist, it will have a reading at the Center Theater Group in Los Angeles later this year.

Here is a guest post I wrote for Little Black Dress Ink’s website. It gives a little bit of background on how I was inspired to write OFEM.

OFEM – A Comic Monologue on American Food Attitudes

I have been eating organic food for about fifteen years. I needed to regain some health after the exhaustion I felt after graduating from Columbia University and starting my career as a dramaturg in New York City. I started ordering deliveries from Urban Organics, based in Brooklyn, after a recommendation from Lynn Nottage.

In 2004, I moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, a beautiful region filled with farms and natural reserves. I was lucky enough to get in on the ground floor of a Community Supported Agriculture project at Blooming Glen Farm. As a CSA member, I often visited the farm to help with chores, like replanting onions, helping to hang garlic in the barn, and at the end of the season, to pull up tomato vines from the fields so the farmers could prepare the soil for the next season’s planting.

While on the farm, and also while hanging out with health-conscious new friends, I noticed that there is a particularly ferocious atmosphere in Bucks County with regards to food. Some are outright food preachers, espousing one type of diet over another, and some are more low-key but equally obvious about showing their attitudes, usually with a gesture of rolling eyes, or a sharp intake of breath when an opinion is mentioned that they don’t agree with. I’ve never been in a place where food attitudes were so important socially.

One day I was considering this fact, and I started thinking about writing a monologue that would push the envelope on dramatizing the food attitudes of urban and rural Americans.

As a serious example of such dramatization, I remembered an excellent monologue named A CHIP ON MY SHOULDER by Carol K. Mack, which appeared in the League of Professional Women’s New Play Festival in 2009 at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York City. In it, a woman named Annie, played by Kathryn A. Layng, gives a speech at a podium thanking Monsanto for its strides in food manipulation and production. She refers to an implanted electronic chip which the company has offered, and is now becoming a normal part of American life. It was a truly intelligent and chilling piece.

With admiration for Carol’s satire, I was inspired to move in the other direction, and my mind took a wildly comic turn. What if a group of female farmers, due to their feminist leanings, decided only grow to food that is round, or round-ish? What if they went further and banished phallic-shaped objects from their diets? What would cause them to do such a thing? And what if we visited them on the day that this new food movement was rolled out to the public?

And so, OFEM, or, the Ovo-Farmer’s Emerging Network was conceived.

Its leader, Sally Parsons, is giving a speech to launch the network, and stands at the podium in iconic magnificence, like Rosie the Riveter and Emma Goldman combined. Her speech has the passion of an early 20th—century union organizing appeal. As she rails against the “Farmer Man”, she goes over the top with a litany of vegetables and fruits which will and will not be grown by OFEM. And at the end, like a suffragette leading the charge to new freedoms and rights, she invites her listeners to participate in the movement and usher in a new era for humanity.

Sally is over the top, and obviously, her message is larger than life, but it makes a point about attitudes toward food consumption, both slightly mocking, and also, deeply respectful, because it points to the power – the anarchism, one could say – of influencing society’s attitudes by taking independent control of food production. I love her enthusiasm. Isn’t it anarchic to make a stand against oppressive food attitudes? And also against mainstream food growth systems, whether they’re corporations, or family businesses?

OFEM expresses what I consider a lot of time to be the silliness and offensiveness exhibited by privileged, wealthy foodies. I want to say to them, “Come on, people, it’s food. It’s nutrition. Be thankful for the hard work of the people who labor to bring it to you.”

At the same time, I respect their choices. Food consumption involves personal, ethical, financial and sometimes medical choices that I might not be aware of.  So in the end, who am I to judge?

I hope that everyone will enjoy Sally’s speech. Who knows? Maybe I’ve created a viable movement! Power to the farmer!

 

 

 



DEELMAYKER – A staged reading near Dallas – tonight

Congratulations to Warren Bodow, whose play DEELMAYKER has won third place in the 3rd Annual McKinney Repertory Theatre’s New Play Competition. It will receive a reading tonight at 7:30pm in McKinney, Texas, just outside of Dallas. I have worked as Warren’s dramaturg to develop the comedy for the past two years. Previously, it received readings in New York City and Tucson, Arizona, before being chosen for this national award.

McKinney Repertory Theatre DEELMAYKER by Warren bodow

DEELMAYKER, the main character’s email address, features the loveable Bernie Harris, a successful 65-year-old media broker who wants to keep on truckin’ but is challenged by a client base that is shrinking and a business environment that is pushing him to the sidelines.  As he struggles to win the trust of a much younger client, and with problems in his marriage, Bernie strives to make the perfect deal, and learns if he has what it takes to face the new realities of a world growing young.

McKinney Repertory Theatre 
111 N. Tennessee Street
McKinney, TX

http://www.mckinneyrep.org/Home_Page.html

Warren G. Bodow is a “second-act” playwright, having turned to this craft following a thirty-year career in broadcasting. He has written six plays, all of which have been produced in festivals or as fully-staged box-office productions. His second play, RACE MUSIC, was performed on Theatre Row and received critical acclaim from The New York Times in 2009. A native of Syracuse, New York, he graduated from Syracuse University and served as chair of the Newhouse School Advisory Board. He lives with his wife, Ellen, in New York City and in Tucson, Arizona. His book THREE SHORT PLAYS ABOUT LOVE was published by Hamilton Dramaturgy Press in 2011.



BCWJ Article – Preparing for Theatre Conferences

Here is my latest article for my Page & Stage column in the Bucks County Women’s Journal. You may download the article here: BCWJ Article – Preparing for Theatre Conferences by Anne Hamilton

Preparing for Theatre Conferences

By Anne M. Hamilton, MFA

Every year I attend the Great Plains Theatre Conference in Omaha, Nebraska. For a week, Metropolitan Community College hosts a multifaceted developmental program which includes productions, five MainStage readings, workshops, and more than twenty PlayLab readings.

The process starts when the conference puts out a call for play submissions in the fall. Plays come in from all over the world, are read and evaluated, and then the final plays are chosen. The process is similar for other play development conferences like Seven Devils, the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, and PlayPenn in Philadelphia.

When playwrights are looking to develop their work, they often send out their scripts to gain the widest range of experience. Having actors, directors and dramaturgs read the scripts in front of an audience allows the playwright to hear her work, and determine which areas are working, and which can be strengthened.

At Great Plains, a team of artists gathers for several rehearsals, and then presents the reading. A panel of professional playwrights, directors, educators and dramaturgs gives the playwright feedback, and then the playwright discusses the play with her assigned dramaturg. During the week, playwrights also take a variety of workshops, writing new work, and learning new approaches to creative inspiration.

As a Guest Artist, I really enjoy getting to know each new work, and then discussing the reading with its creator. Many scripts go on to great success with other festivals and conferences, as well as productions. It is a pleasure to continue a professional relationship with the playwrights, and to support them as they continue their submissions, and apply to professional training programs and graduate schools.

It is in every playwright’s best interest to actively research and submit to developmental workshops and conferences. The theatre starts with a rather level playing field in that every actor has to audition and learn to perform on stage, and every playwright has to submit and have her plays read and performed on stage. A conference can be a marvelous experience which pushes a writer’s career forward, and gives her a refreshing collaborative experience.

Anne Hamilton has 23 years of experience as a 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.

 

 



BEHOLD by Tom Cavanaugh Returns to Los Angeles

I hope that you will all join me in Los Angeles on Monday night, March 10th for a reading of BEHOLD, which I have helped Tom Cavanaugh develop over the years. It is a daring and timely play which I am very proud of.

The award-winning stage play returns to Los Angeles with a special workshop production by The Blank Theatre Company, as part of its Living Room Series.

Tom Cavanaugh

The Blank Theatre of Hollywood as part of their Living Room Series presents a workshop production of BEHOLD a new play by Tom Cavanaugh, on Monday March 10th, at 8pm, at Second Stage Theatre. Cast for this workshop production includes David Marciano (Virgil of HOMELAND), Kerris Dorsey (Bridget of RAY DONOVAN), Blaire Chandler, David Hemphill and John Ross Clark, Directed by Christopher J. Raymond and Written by Tom Cavanaugh.

BEHOLD is about a suburban family which loses a son to a Columbine-type shooting at the local high school and how the family changes while dealing with the tragic loss. While the mother descends into depression, and the daughter into violence, the father rips down a cross representing the shooter from a hillside memorial. The central, timely question here is, “Was the shooter a victim of violence, too?”

Rather than playing a blame game, or making a political statement, BEHOLD shows the severe reactions to the loss of a son and a brother from within the family home. Only Bobby, the surviving brother, receives what he feels is a message from above, bringing compassion for the whole series of events. An extended fugue of internal monologues surrounding the father’s iconic destruction of the shooter’s cross memorial opens the second act. “Not only does the play pack a sucker punch along the lines of The Normal Heart and Death of a Salesman,” says artistic director, AJ Ciccotelli of the La Strada Theatre in New Jersey, “The play reveals the destructive force of violence in the home when the unthinkable becomes a reality.”

BEHOLD was one of three plays awarded the 2011 Pickering Award for Excellence in Playwriting and received a workshop production at the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

A twenty-two year veteran 911 operator & police dispatcher, Cavanaugh used his own experience with the murder of his grandfather, who was beaten to death in his home by three teenage boys, and manifested his responses and sentiments during that experience into the lives of the characters.

Cavanaugh, who is a graduate of the MFA program in playwriting at the Actors Studio Drama School in New York City, used his powers of healing insight when he bought a hundred cups of coffee for the people of Newtown, CT in the wake of the Sandy Hook School Shooting. “I wanted to restore some normality in the lives of the people of Newtown,” when asked by a national reporter on his motives. Tom went on to explain, “After the last camera crew leaves, the real grief begins. Hopefully this act is only the beginning to help the people of that town.”

Cavanaugh’s act of kindness caused a media sensation that brought direct donations to the people of Newtown, CT from as far as South Africa and Great Britain. Inspired by Cavanaugh’s actions, people picked up their phones and purchased goods and services from Newtown stores that were given for free with the purpose of directly helping the people of Newtown CT.

The staged reading of BEHOLD will be presented on Monday, March 10th, at 8:00pm, as part of The Blank Theatre’s Living Room Series at:
2nd Stage Theatre
6500 Santa Monica Blvd. (at Wilcox)
Hollywood CA 90038

For reservations please e-mail info(at)theblank(dot)com
Suggested Donations Start at $10.



Great Plains Theatre Conference Announces Playwright Selections

Once again, I will attend the GPTC in Omaha, Nebraska as a Guest Artist, to give my dramaturgical feedback to the selected playwrights and their new works below. I will appear on panels with Kia Corthron, who is the 2014 Honored Playwright. My fellow dramaturg respondents are Walter Byongsok Chon and Heather Helinsky. The conference will take place from May 24th to May 31st.

MainStage

  • Matthew Bennett, The Cause — Salt Lake City, UT
  • Cody Daigle, In the Bones — Scott, LA
  • David Hilder, Drown — New York, NY
  • John Morogiello, Civilizing Lusby — Montgomery Village, MD
  • Josh Wilder, Leftovers — Minneapolis, MN

PlayLab

  • Tiffany Antone, Twigs and Bone — Waco, TX
  • Claudia Barnett, Witches Vanish — Lascassas, TN
  • Anne Bertram, The Good Fight — Minneapolis, MN
  • James Christy, Egyptian Song — Princeton, NJ
  • Murphi Cook, Birds of America — Pittsburgh, PA
  • Nancy Cooper Frank, Daniil Kharms: A Life in One Act and Several Dozen Eggs — San Francisco, CA
  • Jennifer Faletto, Bathroom Hate — Boulder, CO
  • Lindsey Ferrentino, Ugly Lies the Bone — Merritt Island, FL
  • Daniel Giles, Sea Change — Pittsburgh, PA
  • Jessica Lewis, Knock Off — Brooklyn, NY
  • Bonnie Metzgar, You Lost Me — Chicago, IL
  • Tira Palmquist, Two Degrees — Irvine, CA
  • Robert Plowman, The Route 19 Roadside Choir Of Dead Babies Invites You To Visit “The Fountain of Youth” Museum & Gift Shop — Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Dean Poynor, Together We are Making A Poem In Honor Of Life — New York, NY
  • Cecelia Raker, Skinwalking — Brighton, MA
  • Amy Schleunes, IHOP Is No Rent-A-Center — Granada, Nicaragua
  • Jordan Seavey, The Third Thing — Brooklyn, NY
  • Celine Song, The Feast — Brooklyn, NY
  • Eva Suter, We Only Go Home in Retrograde — Austin, TX
  • Michael Tooher, The Perfect Sameness of Our Days — Portland, ME
  • Evan Twohy, Permission — Brooklyn, NY
  • Jennie Webb, Crazy Bitch — Los Angeles, CA
  • Nia Witherspoon, The Messiah Complex — Tallahassee, FL
  • Michael Yichao, Goose — Burbank, CA


Finalists Announced for 2014 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama

Congratulations to Columbia University, my alma mater, which has created a new major drama prize.

http://kennedyprize.columbia.edu/archives/133

NEW YORK, January 9, 2014 – Columbia University Libraries/Information Services, on behalf of the board of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, has announced the five finalist plays and musical for the 2014 award:

Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, produced by the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival of New American Plays.

Detroit ’67 by Dominique Morisseau, produced by the Public Theater in New York, NY.

Fun Home, book and lyrics by Lisa Kron and music by Jeanine Tesori, produced by the Public Theater in New York, NY.

Party People by Universes, produced by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon.

the road weeps, the well runs dry by Marcus Gardley, produced by the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Los Angeles, CA.

The Edward M. Kennedy Prize is given annually to a new play or musical of merit that, in the words of the prize’s mission statement, “…enlists theater’s power to explore the past of the United States, to participate meaningfully in the great issues of our day through the public conversation, grounded in historical understanding, that is essential to the functioning of a democracy.”

The Prize Board of Governors includes Alan Brinkley, Allan Nevins Professor of American History and Provost Emeritus, Columbia University; Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University; Andrew Delbanco, Mendelson Family Professor of American Studies and Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University; Mandy Hackett, Associate Director, The Public Theater, New York, NY; Tony Kushner, Pulitzer Prize Winning Playwright; James G. Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian, Columbia University; Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient; Amanda Smith, author.

Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith created the prize to honor the life and legacy of her late brother, Senator Ted Kennedy. Finalists were selected through nominations from a group of 20 theater professionals around the country. The jury will meet at Columbia in early February 2014. The Prize will be announced on February 22, 2014, the anniversary of Senator Kennedy’s birth.  The winning play will receive an award of $100,000, and will be honored in a ceremony at Columbia later this spring.

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services (CUL/IS) is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 12 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers, including affiliates. CUL/IS employs more than 450 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.



ADAM & YOSHI at Utah Shakes

Congratulations to long-term Hamilton Dramaturgy client Tom Cavanaugh, whose ADAM & YOSHI has been gaining attention all over the country. I dramaturged the play to prepare it for submission to festivals and workshops.

THE NEW AMERICAN PLAYWRIGHTS PROJECT SELECTS L.A. PLAYWRIGHT TOM CAVANAUGH

CAVANAUGH CHOSEN FOR A SECOND TIME!

ADAM & YOSHI
By Tom Cavanaugh
Directed by Aaron Galligan-Stierle
August 22, 23, 30, 2013 • 10 a.m.

Utah Shakespeare Festival
351 West Center Street • Cedar City, UT 84720
800-PLAYTIX • 435-586-7878

http://www.bard.org

The New American Playwrights Project at the Tony Award-winning, Utah Shakespeare Festival has selected L.A. playwright Tom Cavanaugh for the second time to participate in the company’s premiere development theater workshop. He will develop his new play ADAM & YOSHI.  Cavanaugh is the first out-of-state playwright to attend the program for a second time. In 2010, the Project developed his play BEHOLD, which explores what happens to a family when it loses a child in a school shooting caused by bullying. BEHOLD is now being considered for an Off-Broadway production in New York City and a TV movie with major cable networks in Los Angeles.

ADAM & YOSHI is a full-length stage play about a young law graduate who falls in love with a woman who believes she is a Japanese Anime Super Hero from another planet. It was inspired by visual artists on Deviantart.com who participate in “COSPLAY”.  Cosplay, short for “costume play,” is an activity in which participants wear costumes and accessories to represent specific characters or ideas from a work of fiction. Cosplayers create a subculture centered on role playing in everyday life.

“Cosplayers dedicate themselves to the perfection of their art in front of the camera and beyond.  They create and recreate pop culture personas and other characters to perfection through costumes, make-up and even set construction, but show real guts when they walk out into the world dressed in character,” explains Cavanaugh. ”However, Yoshi in the play takes it to whole new level and starts to live it… all the time.”

ADAM & YOSHI won the 2012 Make the House Roar Prize for Comedy from the Lionheart Theatre in Georgia.  ADAM & YOSHI was then chosen for its first staged reading by Play Club West in North Hollywood, CA and went on to become a finalist in the 2013 McKinney Repertory Theatre Festival in Texas.

ADAM & YOSHI explores the ideas of the self and alternate self while asking many questions: How do dreams and practical needs intersect in everyday life? How does one become brave enough to develop a vision and then live it out? And can love be the bridge which helps people live out their dreams? The play also illustrates the power of love and how Adam’s love for Yoshi gives him the courage to pursue his own vision for his life.

In 2009, Cavanaugh’s one act play WONDER won the Irene Bashore Award for Playwriting from Firstage Los Angeles, and he received his first commission from Twilight Productions in Gilbertsville, Kentucky for writing the one act play ACE OF HEARTS.

Cavanaugh is an accomplished screenwriter as well, and has won many screenwriting competitions since 2002. His coming-of-age story THE WILDERNESS TREATMENT won an Honorable Mention at the 2012 L.A. Movie Awards and was a finalist at the 2013 Beverly Hills Film Festival.  In 2006 he was featured as a “Writer to Watch” in the March/April  issue of “Script” magazine, and his screenplay THE SHIFT received financing and  was professionally  produced as a 22-minute short film. THE SHIFT won Best Short at the 2007 Garden State Film Festival, was a finalist at the San Fernando Valley Film Festival, and was shown as part of the Exposition at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

Cavanaugh is a graduate of The Actors Studio Drama School in New York where he received his M.F.A. in Playwriting and studied under Romulus Linney, Jeffrey Sweet, Jim Ryan and Laura Maria Censabella.  Cavanaugh has been a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Inc. since 1998, and he is currently a member of the Actors Gym Workshop in Hollywood, California.

 Media Contact: Ron Martino, 908-472-4840, theconcern@mac.com