Anne Hamilton/Hamilton Dramaturgy


BCWJ Profile of Genne Murphy

Here is my latest Bucks County Womens Journal article. Download it Anne Hamilton’s BCWJ Profile of Genne Murphy.

Profile of Genne Murphy

By Anne M. Hamilton, MFA

Genne Murphy is a rising star in the theatre world. Her plays have been developed or produced in Nebraska, Colorado, New York and Connecticut as well as locally. The Azuka Theatre produced HOPE STREET AND OTHER LONELY PLACES.

Recently, she was honored with the Leah Ryan Fund for Emerging Women Writer’s Award for her play GIANTESS at the Lilly Awards, hosted at the Signature Theater in New York City. The Lilly Awards celebrate significant contributions by women to the American theatre, including 2016 honorees Danai Gurira, Jesse Mueller and Martha Plimpton.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Murphy has been deeply involved as a writer and arts educator since graduating from Central High. Her many local awards and affiliations include the Philadelphia Young Playwrights, PlayPenn, and the Leeway Foundation Transformation Award/Art and Change Grant.

Originally, she says, the idea for GIANTESS came in a dream: “I was trying to pour water into a tiny glass and it was really annoying. Then all of a sudden I realized, ‘OMG I’m a giant!’ I panicked, woke up. [The dream] really stuck with me–that idea of being so discombobulated and feeling extremely uncomfortable in your body. I thought there were a lot of interesting metaphors to explore.”

Described by the Leah Ryan FEWW program as having, “truly singular and theatrical voice,” Murphy will workshop her play with a few closed-door readings at Primary Stages in New York City and New York Stage and Film before the Fund presents a full public reading in the fall.

“GIANTESS starts with a young woman who is taking care of her ailing, disabled grandmother,” says Murphy. “Early on in the play she discovers a girl her own age in the abandoned factory behind her grandmother’s house – a 30-foot tall giantess. They develop a deepening connection to one another in this very fraught and heightened situation.”

Reflecting on her time with Philadelphia Young Playwrights, she states, “My experience, [as] a student, educator, and staff member enabled the idea of revision – the actual work of revision – to be a less scary prospect.”

She holds a bachelor’s degree from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is currently an M.F.A. candidate in playwriting at the Yale School of Drama.

Anne Hamilton has 25 years of experience as a dramaturg. She is available for script consultations and career advising through hamiltonlit@hotmail.com.

 

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Redirecting My Energies to Become A Woolf Woman

Please note: I am continuing my practice as a freelance dramaturg with Hamilton Dramaturgy. The office is still open! I am still actively pursuing the activities that I have conducted for 24 years – freelance dramaturgy, script development, research, career advising. I am accepting new clients. hamiltonlit@hotmail.com

Redirecting My Energies to Become A Woolf Woman

By Anne M. Hamilton, MFA

© 2015

I am about to lay it down, so listen up. I will speak in the vernacular so that everyone will understand.

It is September 13, 2015. There are less than 5 years left before 2020 arrives. That’s 4 years, 3 months, 2 weeks and 5 days. In total there are 1,570 days. I support the 50/50 in 2020 movement. But the clock is ticking and desperate times call for desperate measures. We have made great strides, but it looks like we are not going to make it.

I realize that the foundation for gender parity is set. I, for my part, will now go back to the old-fashioned notion of making one’s way in the world in a practical way.

I love being effective. I have skin in the game. I take every available measure to achieve every goal I set.

Therefore, I am taking these extraordinary measures to help achieve gender parity:

  1. I am not working with any company, festival or organization that does not have a policy in place (or in the works) for gender parity – or heritage parity for that matter (read that statement in theatre speak as “a diversity program”)
  2. I am resigning from organizations which I don’t feel are living up to their mission statement.
  3. I am refraining from spending time or volunteering time for “awareness” efforts. We are aware. We are just not effectively setting, pursuing and achieving our goals.
  4. I am not participating in shaming organizations that don’t have gender parity goals. Unless they are breaking the law, their use of their own resources is their choice and they are entitled to that.

Now – here is my “I Am” list

  1. I am diligently focusing on creating an income stream with my talents. That means that I am actively writing my own properties that I will have control over and I can sell: plays, musicals, children’s stories, essays and poetry.
  2. I am spending my time creating income for myself as a freelancer.
  3. I am seeking representation for my properties.
  4. I am diligently sending out my work using all the submission opportunity information that is readily available at this point in time.

Recent history shows us that boycotts and strikes sometimes do work in powerful ways. If enough of us make it a policy to spend our talents, earn our dollars – and spend our dollars – in places that please us, we will create a more equitable environment. Gender parity – and heritage parity – are rights.

Perhaps if enough of us step away from the places that don’t please us, and work to create an equal presence in the places (and organizations) that do, we can create a more equitable environment for everyone.

Becoming a Woolf Woman

Now – I want to remind us all of Virginia Woolf’s statement beginning, “Give her a room of her own and five hundred a year…”

Virginia Woolf delivered a set of lectures at Cambridge University in 1928. These lectures became the basis for “A Room of One’s Own” which was published the following year. We have all read that book. What a woman needs, she said, is an income of £500 and a room of one’s own.

Today in US dollars, that amount is approximately $53, 500. Add a taxation rate of 28% and the minimum amount of earnings is $68,480. (If one earns approximately $68,500 and pays one’s taxes on time, she will end up with about $53,500 as a net income to actually utilize.)

Now – let’s think about Virginia Woolf’s premise that someone should “give” a woman a room of her own and five hundred a year. In Woolf’s scenario, someone should give her that money. It is passive, guaranteed income. She does not have to earn it. In addition, the woman is to be left alone, without household or any other responsibilities, simply to write. For her whole lifetime. Woolf’s scenario presupposes that maids, gardeners, housecleaners, cooks and servers are providing all of the necessary daily services to the woman. In addition, all other medical, legal and other professional needs would also be paid for. To fund a staff for one’s household today – well, let’s just say that the figure needed would probably triple.

Woolf’s “Her” does not work outside the home – she does not lecture, teach, direct, dramaturg, take day jobs, write articles, make speeches, or volunteer for “the cause”. She uses her time solely according to her own discretion. She is not obligated to do anything but sit and write in order for Woolf’s scenario to become reality – that a great piece of literature might be written.

Now – I know a few women who are in this position, but I am not. I need to keep a roof over my head. Virginia Woolf was wealthy and had social status by birth and by marriage. She was born into a patriarchal society and was given an inhimitance. It was given to a her, but it was given by a him. At this point in history, as theatre artists in the 21st century, a scant 100 years after women were even given the right to vote, we are still being grandfathered in to the social and economic environment.

We have be grandfathered into the workplace of the theatrical profession, by dint of our place in history, and we have to create a new legal, social and economic environment for ourselves. We must heed Virginia Woolf’s statement about having income and a room of one’s own, and also her unintentional assumptions about the realities of patriarchal support.  In order to take advantage of her wisdom and insight, we must make enough money to pay for our own expenses throughout our lifetimes, and build wealth, and leave an inheritance for someone else. That is what keeps the system, and the parity going.

So much work has been done to change the legal environment in the past 100 years so that women can own property, obtain a loan, work outside of the home and retain an inhimitance in issues surrounding marriage and divorce.

As you see – the English language at present doesn’t even accommodate the reality of our situation. So let’s add words to the language, change the paradigm, and create a new social and economic environment based on leaving not only laws, but wealth and property, to others that we care about.

The basis of that parity starts with wealth. Money. For some of us, income earned by working. I don’t have children, but I want to leave an inheritance to someone. And I surely need to cover my living expenses while I am alive. So I am doing everything I can to build my own resources and parity. It is my privilege and my challenge to take advantage of my position in history. But mostly my privilege, and I am taking advantage of it with the time I have.

So how am I going to be a “Woolf Woman” today?

I am going to buckle down and focus. I am eliminating distractions. I am shutting out the emotional siren calls of outrage and bitterness. Woolf spoke rationally and I think that has contributed to the way that her message has endured. She looked at practicalities. And she gave me a basic outline, which I have updated for my own use.

I am combining Woolf’s 86-year-old enlightened message with 50/50 in 2020’s modern one. I seek to earn $75,000 per year (padding the figure for inflation) by 2019. That will make me a “Woolf Woman” by January 1, 2020, and begin to set the stage for some literary achievement.

The key to being a Woolf Woman is financial. For me, it means paying off my mortgage, creating passive income through securing royalties for my properties, and eliminating debt. Creating stability. Having income-producing investments. Owning property. Reducing costs. Increasing income.

My formal education is complete. I earned an MFA from Columbia and a BA from Drew University. I have been a college professor. I have worked in corporations, as a senior staff member at a university, and as a public relations director, a publications manager, as an editor, as a writer, a singer, an actress, a dramaturg, and a financial advisor. I am single. I own a house. I own a car. I don’t have children. I am a freelance theatre professional.

If we as women are going to speak out with power and effectiveness, we must find our way into mainstream culture. And that requires financial independence. How did others do it? Often they were supported by private wealth, inheritances, their spouses or significant others, their churches or other religious and civic organizations. I do not have those support systems. I have to earn it myself.

It is time to get back to basics. Arranging my life to give myself that income of £500 a year. I have a room and I use it. Now it is time to get creative.

And by the way, if you have found value in this article – if it has helped you to focus – send me $5 (or more!) through paypal to hamiltonlit@hotmail.com. I’m starting right now to earn passive income.

Anne Hamilton is a NYC-based freelance dramaturg and the Founder of Hamilton Dramaturgy, an international consultancy. She holds an MFA from Columbia University School of the Arts, and has worked with Andrei Serban, Michael Mayer, Lynn Nottage, NYMF, Niegel Smith, and Classic Stage Company. She created Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow!, and her specialties include new play development, production dramaturgy, new musicals, career advising, advocacy, and oral histories. She was a Bogliasco Foundation Fellow. www.hamiltonlit.com

Download the article here: Redirecting My Energies to Become a Woolf Woman by Anne Hamilton, M.F.A.



THE DRAMATIST Magazine – Quiara Alegria Hudes on Subject

THE DRAMATIST - Quiara Alegria Hudes on Subject

Congratulations to Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow!’s Inaugural Podcast guest Quiara Alegria Hudes. She leads off the cover story of this month’s THE DRAMATIST magazine with an article on “Subject”.



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!

 

 

 



TheatreNow! Expands in 2013

2013 was a year in which I worked on building TheatreNow!’s platform.

We have expanded internationally as well as in the U.S., and now have Representatives for many areas:

US Representative: Cate Cammarata
Asia Representative: Walter Byongsok Chon
UK Representative: Natalie Pandya
South America Representative: Thais Flaitt
Young Audience Development Representative: Danica Rodriguez

In April, Natalie, a recent Oxford University graduate (St. Catherine’s College), corresponded with leading UK universities and conservatories about the podcast, laying the groundwork for greater dissemination there. Natalie now works for the BBC.

During the summer, Danica, a rising senior at the prestigious Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School in Manhattan, created a proposal for introducing the podcast to young adults and theatre aficionados.

In December, I invited Thais Flaitt, a recent M.A. graduate of the University of Nebraska Omaha, to serve as our South America representative. A native of Brazil, Thais is a skilled scholar, director, and translator.

Several hundred people have listened to the audio postings on the Soundcloud site. In addition, the TheatreNow! blog (http://theatrenow.wordpress.com) drew visitors from 57 countries, and the top podcasts viewed were with Paule Constable and Jennifer Tipton, lighting designers.

The TheatreNow! website (http://hamiltondramaturgystheatrenow.com) continues to attract many visitors. Helaine Gawlica’s design and archiving expertise show off the podcasts well.

2014 will bring an expansion of the program, and a posting of new podcasts, including Maria Alexandria Beech, Murielle Borst Tarrant, and Judith Malina, to complete Season Three.

Thank you for all your support and I am looking forward to expanding the program in 2014.

Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the purposes of Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! must be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.



Yvette Heyliger on the Artist as Activist

Here is a new HowlRound article by TheatreNow! Season One guest Yvette Heyliger.

Excerpt: “Artists are the gate keepers of truth. We are civilization’s radical voice.” so said singer, actor, social activist, lawyer and athlete, the great Paul Robeson. Robeson may not have been the first, but he was certainly one of the most outspoken citizen-artists of his day, choosing to set aside his theatrical career to become politically involved—fighting for the causes he believed in, even though it meant his own financial ruin.

What makes a human being, against his own “best interests,” fight for those less fortunate, for the voiceless and the downtrodden?

– See more at: http://howlround.com/artist-as-activist-civilization%E2%80%99s-radical-voice#sthash.ijwCZ3oF.dpuf



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