This week I went to two performances of my one-act play, “Yo’ Momma,” which was one of six winners of Ampersand Arts “Bar Hopping” contest. The production was awesome, the actors were fantastic, and the director captured the essence of my story perfectly. I did a little drama in high school (over and above the usual adolescent angst), and this was a great reminder of how a good actor can find nuance in your words you never knew was there.
Here’s an example. The main thrust of the play is a conversation in a bar between an upwardly mobile white woman and a jive black dude. The way I wrote it was simple: Woman enters bar, sits at bar, man begins to speak. Here’s the way the actors portrayed it: Woman enters bar, sits at bar, man moves his stool closer, woman shifts purse to the arm opposite the man, woman turns so that mostly her back is to the man. Nuances, but they brought out the racial tension in the conversation far better than a thousand words could. I was blown away.
There were even subtle difference between their performance on Tuesday night and on Wednesday night, but I was excited about and proud of both. If you’re interested in seeing it, I was allowed to video it; click here to go to my Facebook Author Page. Look for the April 16 post.
This week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt was challenging, but I decided to go for the nuances and not be literal. First Contact stories are some of my favorite science fiction tropes, and, unlike Star Trek’s interpretation (a peaceful encounter with Vulcans), most first contacts end badly. “One Small Step” is my interpretation. As usual, if you don’t see the link on the title above, scroll to the top of the page, click on the Friday Fictioneers tab, and select the story from the drop-down list.
In November I entered a play in the Ampersand Arts Bar Hopping contest. It had to be a 10-minute play set in a bar. I had written a play after a play-writing workshop sponsored by my local writers group, SWAG Writers. I didn’t hear anything after several weeks and put it out of mind until I got this email today:
Thanks so much for your script submission! We have selected “Yo Momma” to appear in Ampersand’s upcoming production of Bar Hoppers!
The shows will be held April 15th and 16th at Red Beard Brewing Company and April 22nd and 23rd at The Pompei Lounge. Shows start at 7:30pm. We would like to offer you two complimentary tickets. Please let me know which nights you would like to attend!
We really appreciate your participation with Bar Hoppers! Your script is brilliant and we look forward to the many laughs it will produce!
So, if you’re in Staunton, VA, on any of those dates, stop in and see my play performed. I’m very excited!
I was so overwhelmed by the AWP Conference last year (just me and 9,999 other writers), I decided I needed a warm-up to get ready for AWP Boston in March. And at least it’s something close to home.
Hollins University, site of Tinker Mountain Writers Workshop, hosts the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference this coming weekend: a meet and greet and some speechifying on Friday evening, then a jam-packed Saturday of workshops. And, oh, those workshops. They make you want to defy the laws of physics and be in two–in some cases four–places at the same time.
From book promotion to pitches to writing humor and/or cookbooks to marketing and memoirs to self-publishing to craft to blogging, there is something for everyone. It’ll be a long, but invigorating day.
I’m looking forward to attending workshops by writers I’ve not met as well as one by Jim Minick, who is a Tinker Mountain classmate and previous presenter at my local writing group, SWAG Writers. I look forward to all the pointers and advice I know will be forthcoming from all the presenters.
And just so February won’t feel left out, that same SWAG Writers is sponsoring a playwriting workshop on February 23. The location is yet to be determined, so stay tuned for the details. If you find yourself in the Shenandoah Valley that weekend, consider giving it a try. I’ve taken a “writing for movies” workshop before, but I’m eager to stretch my boundaries a little–or a lot.
March will be a two-fer: AWP then the Virginia Festival of the Book. In May I’m attending my first writing retreat, and I’ll write more about that later. June will be a return to Tinker Mountain, so right now I have April open. Suggestions, anyone?
I’ll report on each workshop after it happens, and I hope to see some of my writer friends at each.