Anne Hamilton/Hamilton Dramaturgy


BCWJ Article – Creativity Through Planned Reflection

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

Here is my last Bucks County Women’s Journal column – Page & Stage (October/November 2015, column shared with Linda C. Wisniewski)

Creativity Through Planned Reflection

By Anne M. Hamilton, MFA

Last summer I made a conscious effort to set aside time to clear my mind. I took a short hiatus from my dramaturgy practice after teaching the playwriting workshop at the Philadelphia Writers Conference in June. Planning the break took a great deal of effort, because it involved notifying all of my writers and editors that I would not be available for a short while.

As an adult, I find that I have to work twice as hard to find space to rest. Yet if I don’t rest, I can’t regenerate. During my deliberate break, I looked to other women for inspiration. I read photographer Annie Leibovitz’s PILGRIMAGE, a thick coffee table book with photos that she took not on assignment, but from her own sense of interest. She began by visiting writers and artists’ studios, and then began to photograph landscapes and objects. Some of the creative settings belonged to Emily Dickinson, Virginia Woolf, Louisa May Alcott and Georgie O’Keeffe.

I returned to some of the things I love to do most. I took a trip to the sea, I visited old homes and churches, and bought fresh produce from local farmers. I walked in strange cities. I took road trips. I walked by rivers and looked at the scenery. I spent more time with people I love and avoided the ones who cause me stress.

What does all of this have to do with what’s happening on stage in Bucks County? Well, what eventually appears on the stage comes from the heart, mind and hands. I did an experiment to change the foundations of my thinking and perceptions.

As a playwright, I don’t know yet what kind of new stage work this break will inspire; I didn’t write anything new during my hiatus. Yet I noted the journeys taken by every one of the women in Leibovitz’s book – whether of isolation, wandering, or exploration.

As Amy Goodman recently said, “Go into the silence.”

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Anne Hamilton has 24 years of experience as a dramaturg. She is available for script consultations and career advising through hamiltonlit@hotmail.com. Her drama THE SHOEBOX is a winner of Little Black Dress INK’s 4th Annual Female Playwrights Onstage Project – OUTSIDE THE LINES – National Festival of New Work. It was read in Minneapolis and Los Angeles and received a production in Arizona in August.

Dowload the article here: BCWJ Article -Creativity Through Planned Refection by Anne Hamilton



BCWJ Article on Little Black Dress INK

Outside the Lines_UNBOUND posterLittle Black Dress INK

By Anne M. Hamilton, MFA

For the past year I have had the pleasure of being involved in Little Black Dress INK’s Female Playwrights Onstage Project.

Now in its fourth year, the competition is the brainchild of Playwright and Educator Tiffany Antone, who currently resides in Texas. This national festival of new work has a different theme each year and utilizes a peer review process to identify semi-finalists, whose short plays or monologues are then read in different cities across the country. Finalists are chosen from those events. They enjoyed a staged reading at the Los Angeles Theatre Center last year, followed by a production in Arizona in January.

In 2014, the theme was Planting the Seed, and my play OFEM, inspired by my experience as a CSA member at Blooming Glen Farm, was a finalist. It was read in Ithaca, NY, and Los Angeles before being given its premiere in Arizona. Indie Theatre Now will publish OFEM and all the finalists in an online volume of 11 plays.

This year’s theme is Outside the Lines, and my two character drama THE SHOEBOX is a semifinalist. This short play reunites two high school classmates to reminisce in a late night phone call after their homeroom teacher, a nun, has passed away. Theater Unbound in Minneapolis gave it a staged reading along with five other pieces in March. The festival is still unfolding in events across the country.

Tiffany summarizes her goals on her website: “Little Black Dress INK is an experiment in support, inspired by recent revelations in numbers on the subject of just how few female playwrights actually get produced. Through outreach, education, and producing opportunities, Little Black Dress INK strives to create more production opportunities for female playwrights while also strengthening the female playwright network.”

I have found this competition to be a highly effective and rewarding way of reaching those goals. It grows every year, and currently involves 35 new plays and over 60 artists in eight cities. 2016 submission guidelines will be posted on www.littleblackdressink.org on October 1, 2015.

Anne Hamilton has 24 years of experience as a dramaturg. She is available for script consultations and career advising through hamiltonlit@hotmail.com. Her play WHO’S ANDY WARHOL? was performed at The Lost Theatre in London in October, 2014. She will teach a playwriting workshop at the Philadelphia Writers Conference in June 12-14, 2015.

To be published in Anne’s Page & Stage column in the Bucks County Women’s Journal (April/May 2015 issue). www.buckscountywomensjournal.com



BCWJ Article – Writing in the Winter

Here is the link to my latest Bucks County Women’s Journal Article.

http://bit.ly/StageFebMar15  

Writing in the Winter

By Anne M. Hamilton, MFA

I find it very easy to be creative when it’s very cold or very hot outside. I consider myself lucky to live in a four season climate, where I can experience the changing temperatures as well as the differences in light, which stimulate my senses.

This winter, my muse has been working overtime and I’ve completed a new full-length play as well as a 10-minute play and some poetry.

Something about extreme weather inspires me to delve deeply into my imagination and my emotions, and pull out whatever has gotten stuck there, or happens to be emerging into consciousness. I try to go with the flow, and harness my body’s natural rhythms, rather than fighting them by struggling to write, for instance, a comedy or a drama.

As a practice, I stop what I’m doing and sit down to write whenever I am struck by the muse, which I experience as a phrase, or a scene in my head that I can simply write down. For me, it is like going into a meditative state and transcribing the scene that is occurring to me.

For those who are new to playwriting, or are fine-tuning their writing process, it is possible to gradually train the mind to reveal its stories. This can be done by sitting silently for as little as fifteen minutes at a time, and writing down what appears in the mind’s eye. Then the time can be lengthened. It is useful to look over the writing on a regular basis and try to find a pattern that can be made into a monologue or a short play.

I think that it is very important for a playwright to give herself time to go into “the deep mind” as I call it – a meditative form of reflection which allows hidden gems to emerge.

By nurturing my creative spirit and enabling my imagination to leap in its own direction, I am building a pathway for fluent expression.

(c) 2015

Anne Hamilton has 24 years of experience as a dramaturg. She is available for script consultations and career advising through hamiltonlit@hotmail.com. Her play WHO’S ANDY WARHOL? was performed at The Lost Theatre in London in October, 2014. She will teach a playwriting workshop at the Philadelphia Writers Conference in June 12-14, 2015.



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.

 

 



BCWJ Article – Achieving Authenticity On Stage

http://bit.ly/Dec13HamiltonDramaturgy  

Download a copy of my last Bucks County Women’s Journal Page & Stage column here: BCWJ Article on Achieving Authenticity on Stage by Anne Hamilton

Achieving Authenticity on Stage

By Anne M. Hamilton, MFA

As a dramaturg, one of my tasks is to do research. Many times, a playwright will need to know specific facts about a time period or a place so that her work will be as authentic as possible. As a master of fine arts student at Columbia University School of the Arts, I was trained to gather, review and summarize materials in order to help playwrights and directors to portray authentic scenes on stage. Whether producing a classic play, or a new one, there is always an information-gathering process which contributes to the finished piece.

How do you go about searching for historical facts in a timely and effective way? When I was in grad school, we would have to visit libraries and special collections, but now the internet offers tremendous resources. The growing national trend for archiving materials online allows us greater access than ever before. And new media resources add to the richness of available materials.

Besides some standard resources, such as online newspapers, dictionaries and encyclopedias, I have some new favorites. For visual, cultural, and historical information, the Metropolitan Museum of Art launched a series called “82nd and Fifth” this year.

According to the museum’s website, “82nd & Fifth is the Met’s address in New York City. It is also the intersection of art and ideas. We’ve invited 100 curators from across the Museum to talk about 100 works of art that changed the way they see the world. Eleven Museum photographers interpret their vision: one work, one curator, two minutes at a time. 82nd & Fifth is a year-long series of 100 episodes.” This beautifully-produced series is a treasure trove of images with cultural contextualization.

Metmuseum.org also describes the Heilbrunn Timeline as an online publication which, “presents the Met’s collection via a chronological, geographical, and thematic exploration of global art history.” The timeline covers many millennia of artistic creations, which allows the researcher to easily find accurate information. Available online since 2000, it is searchable by works of art, timelines, and thematic essays, from 8,000 B.C. to the present.

The world is at our fingertips.

Anne Hamilton has 22 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.

 

 



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