On the way to ArtsMarket 2013!

Here we go to our first presenter’s conference in Durham, NC! Arts Market 2013 . Very excited, and hoping to get lots and lots of bookings. Getting the press kits and other marketing tools together. I will present 15 minutes of O’Keeffe! with a total of 5 minutes to get the set off and on. Yeah. . . . thankfully I will have my loving and capable niece, Veda Renfrow, sound and light tech to assist. My bro-in-law Bryan Jones, videographer, has put together a fantastic promo for me. I am still thankful to my website creator/manager/guru Rick Dickenson. My hubby Jon Piro helps more and deals with more crap from me than I can ever say.  . . my dear friend Tom Nevels is putting me up. . . I’m so blessed to have all of this support. It truly take a village!

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RUMPUS ROOM picked as finalist for Barter’s Appalachian Play Festival

“Development” is a word that playwrights both embrace and loathe.

Once I am past that delightful, solitary struggle to get the play onto paper, looking so neat and controlled, black against white, solid format—I realize that it’s not a play until it’s worn by bodies and the words are spoken aloud. That means involving others. Giving it to others. Giving it up. LOSING CONTROL. Actually, I’m okay with that. Some playwrights struggle, I think. Being an actor and director  I know the play can’t live without collaboration. It needs designers, costumes, lights, and a set. RUMPUS ROOM is ready for this next step. It needs bodies and voices.

I am lucky to get this illusive next step which is a staged reading at Barter Theatre as a finalist in the Barter’s Appalachian Play Festival, July 5, 2013, at 1pm. Nick Piper is directing, and I hope to meet the cast later this month and have a chance to converse with them. If I’m lucky, the play will be produced. Between the reading and the production however, I can bet that I will once again go back to the drawing board and tinker for yet another draft. Because that’s what playwright’s do. And then it will go into rehearsals, where most likely the director and I will wrestle and collaborate and fight and compromise and agree and disagree on changes. And that’s “development”. And after that first production, it might change again.

That’s if I’m lucky. However, the play could get stuck in the development rut of being tossed around from theatre to theatre from reading to reading. Or I could self produce. We shall see.

The good news is that I really, really like this play. I can not wait to see it, to hear it. That alone is pretty cool, I think.

Stay tuned.

RUMPUS ROOM had its first reading at Washington & Lee University, Feb. , 2011 as part of the Flournoy Playwright Festival

It is the grateful recipient of the 2011 Martha Hill Newell Playwright’s Fund

Synopsis for RUMPUS ROOM

Audrey, a mother and lapsed poet in her mid 40’s,  wants nothing more than to be Super Mom, Super Woman, Super Daughter and the Next Great American Poet, but raising children, her husband who is deep in the throws of mid-life crisis—and her aging mother is in the way. When her mother Ruth Ann has to move in with the family, the precarious balance tips further. Her children Cora, 8, and Dallas, 14, act out in alarming fashion, Ruth Ann’s dementia has humorous yet dangerous consequences, husband Keith is developing a secret life while Audrey fights to keep her and everyone else’s head above water. In the end, Audrey is no closer to “doing and having it all”, but instead discovers getting down and dirty with the rumpus beats being a passive by-stander.  RUMPUS ROOM shows the condition of the sandwich generation at its messiest, reminding us that if you resist change, you’re not living or embracing life to its fullest. A comic drama with elements of magic realism.AppFestLogo

The Vagina Monologues. Round 4

Current project:

Directing Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues for Women’s Studies at Radford University; show dates March 27 and 28 at 6pm, and March 30 at 2pm in the Hurlburt Auditorium (The Bonnie) at Radford University.

This is my 4th time working with a cast of vaginas that span generations, occupations, experience on stage, and are all fabulous. It’s always a creative challenge to make the production fresh, but when you have new folks to work with, the life experience and personalities they bring with them make it not as difficult as you think, and certainly not impossible.

You don’t have to go to the V-Day Organization’s website to sense the frustration of Ensler being 15 years down the road with this project and not much closer to ending rape.  However, she is not without hope for moving forward, or for appreciation of the many goals reached and victories won, sentiments she expresses in a video for this year’s organizers and activists.  She has labelled this year’s efforts One Billion Rising. Every year Eve adds a new spotlight monologue which is meant to indeed point a light on a particular area of concern. This year it is the statistic of one billion women having been raped IN THE WORLD. She has not only written a new piece, the show includes a 3 minute film titled One Billion Rising which is to be shown as part of the production and which is, I feel, an effective  punch in the gut of awareness. There is no sugary frosting on this message. Women are OVER IT. Which is another piece she has written that I have chosen to include.

I am grateful for the trust that Women’s Studies at RU has put in me to continue to work on this piece. I am grateful that over the years we have been able to raise approximately $3000 in donations to help with the good work that the Women’s Resource Center of Radford does.  I begin to ponder the ways in which this involvement has enhanced my life, made it richer, made me grow…. but I guess the most profound effect that comes to mind is that every year I have directed the show, my son and my daughter have seen it
since they were in puberty, and our conversations and awareness continue and grow as they have grown. I am grateful to see how my son is becoming a young man that is sensitive, caring, respectful, and admiring of women. I am delighted to see my daughter be someone who doesn’t take shit, is confident, not afraid to say no, and is discerning to say yes.

I am rising because we have come so far, and have still so far to go.

For tickets (free, but we recommend reservations.) Donations will be accepted at the door for The Women’s Resource Center of Radford

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