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Centre Stage

A blog for women-related theatre issues worldwide.



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  • 06 Dec 2021 5:53 PM | Anonymous

    After being displaced from my home in NYC in the pandemic, when theatre went dark, I was miraculously awarded a one-year writing residency in Los Angeles. In July, when the residency ended, I decided to travel to Europe to see my family after almost two years of separation.

    I knew, as a Brit and European living in the USA, with the borders still closed, I would be locking myself out of my work and life in the US, as an immigrant.

    However, spending time with family was my priority. It was therefore, with incredible delight, that I was taken under the wing of leading literary agent Wendy Goldman Rohm, who had awarded one of my one act plays a scholarship in Paris, in 2019. Wendy, kindly, invited me to her summer retreat workshops in Paris and Biarritz, offering to be my agent on my screenplay, and to work on a novel. In this way,

    I met so many literary artistic souls, who encouraged me to read my plays in salons at Wendy’s house. Wendy suggested I bring them to stage in Paris. This is how this passion pandemic project began. I started to put the word out, and soon, fabulously, experienced thespians and directors, from the Paris literary theater community were reading my work.

    They were praising the writing and they wanted to be involved, despite the logistics and unusual circumstances. In the same way, my finance arrived. Then we had a church. Then I was upgraded to theater space in the heart of Paris. Then I had my amazing actors. It just kept growing from there... My dream to write and perform in Paris was coming true...

    I still didn't believe it was possible (and working as a producer myself). I made a call to The League of Professional Theatre women and the ICWP and they started networking across the pond. Then, all the way over in NY (Barrow Group FAB women) producer Christine Cirker, knowing the plays from the USA showcase, jumped in and said, it absolutely wasn’t impossible (it was).

    I was also, fortunate to have my co-producer Koël Purie Rinchet and Hollywood talent Eugenia Kumina flying in from LA (to read a small role just to be part of my writing). They all made connections (often over the pond) right into the Paris theatre community -- the exact people I needed to know, vouching on my behalf that this had to happen.

    Then, the miracle that is super director Chris Mack arrived. Chris is connected and revered, by the entire Paris English Theatre community. I tend to go for all female directors for my themes, but he sent me his scripts (all written for strong women) and he understood my work and vision, so exactly, and in ways I was yet to experience, especially on 'Cat And Mouse," which is the bravest piece I have written.

    I don't want to write in black and white areas. I want to explore areas that other's are afraid to explore. I think that is our duty as writers, but it's not easy when tacking difficult subject matter (sexual allegations and assault), not to mention current times. The direction of that piece is as crucial as the writing. Every person in Paris replied on my news to have him direct (not only my work, but me, and as a film actress predominately), “You’re in the best of hands.” And, I am. It's a wonderful feeling for my work, it’s themes, and me as a writer.

    Then, I had the magnificent, director Pulchérie Gadmer, who got my work instantly, as a dark British playwright. She has worked on Sarah Kane’s work and came with all these 100% unique ideas, (which I do not want to spoil -- so come and see the show). And then, Alessia Siniscalchi joined -- who worked with all my peers in NY and The Brave New Theatre Company/New School. Alessia is an absolute force to be reckoned with as a director. We are all -- cast and producers -- a little in awe of her directing style.

    It was such a welcoming experience in Paris from US. Even the Parisian thespians and directors who read the work, or auditioned, and sadly, could not make the final line up, mainly due to schedule (or mom's who were sick or in hospital -- hope she's doing okay if you're reading) praised the work and I was flooded with more encouragement. They instantly passed it on to another, forming this magnificent Parisian theatre chain to get my work to stage for me. It was awesome. I am so grateful. It is now a project that grew from the problems of the pandemic into something much bigger than us and carried us on.

    It is a very humbling time for me and lots of crazy hard work. And that's not to say I haven’t made mistakes along the way as a producer, but I love that feeling too, as it means you’re learning new skills. All my team know, at the end of the day it’s about the writing, the plays. I hold the utmost respect for those who bring my words to life. I’ve met so many wonderful people through my writing work all over the world. That’s a gift to me. This is the dream. And anyone who knows me, I never stop.

    We are now in full rehearsals and the work is finally taking a wonderful shape. The impossible just became possible.  

    I can't wait to share it with everyone.

    Link to Ticket Office , Dates and times [ https://www.womenplaywrights.org/marquee/12158525

    Featured in Broadway World 


  • 12 Sep 2021 7:05 PM | Anonymous

    Annie Lanzillotto reads her story  Twelve Rabbis Went to a Party, and talks with Jenni Munday about her story writing and performing, and how she is helping herself and others cope with the COVID pandemic.

    Annie Rachele Lanzillotto is a New York poet, performance artist, actor, director, playwright, songwriter, who has promoted audience participation in hundreds of performances everywhere from street corner mailboxes, to Bronx butcher shops, to the Guggenheim Museum. She is the Artistic Director of StreetCry. Find out more about her on her website.

  • 01 Sep 2021 4:30 AM | Anonymous

    My Creativity SECRETS

    By Travel Journalist/Playwright/Artist Sharon Baker

        Every creative female has her Secrets. Don’t you?  

    Most of mine are darker and scarier than you’d ever guess. But surviving the terrible pandemic/lockdown launched this Light bulb moment: why keep all my creative secrets locked inside my Pandora’s Box?

        So, dear Friends, read on.

    THE CREATIVE TEEN, 1967

          “Sharon is exceptionally creative,” my high school guidance counselor enthused. “Aren’t you so proud of her many accomplishments, Mrs. Spence?”

           “She’s lead Soprano in choir,” my mother beamed. “And VP of Yearbook and Photo Clubs.  You got mostly straight A’s, right hon?”

            Mamma winced. “Except for that D in calculus…. But she’s going to be A Writer!!!! Did you know Sharon wrote the sweetest story about adopting our dog Hoodie?”

            I wear my best Mona Lisa smile, staying oh so very silent.

            How’d I adopt a puppy, you wonder?  I was disobedient at age ten. Despite Mamma’s warning to “NEVER EVER LEAVE THE FRONT YARD”, I happily followed an energetic little beagle out my front yard, across the six- lane highway, uphill to the dangerous guns/drugs/hooker neighborhood and picked him right up.

            A snarky teen in a green bikini and red stilettos (I would kill for) snarled, “He’s mine.” But I grabbed beagle’s tail.

          “No,” I insisted. “Hoodie just wandered out of our house.” Before we started scratching each other’s eyes out, a shiny black police car arrived, flashing a beautiful cherry light.

             “Your hysterical mother has sent out a countywide notice:  a girl named Sharon ran away from home,” the police office said. “Would that be you, miss?

    Bikini Babe ran away, sobbing.

              “Meet my new puppy,” I declared triumphantly. “His name is Hoodie.”

                That nice policeman smiled, and gave Hoodie and me a wonderful ride home. Mamma was sobbing at our front door.

                First I got a butt smack. Then a bear hug. Mamma was so happy to see me not dead; she let me keep that naughty dog.

                So I wrote a pack of lies story on  “How I Rescued Hoodie”. That essay got me an A in English and a full ride scholarship to Northwestern University Journalism/Theatre in Chicago. Every Christmas I visited Hoodie, thanking him for keeping Our secret.

    THE CREATIVE YOUNG WOMAN, 1980

               Remember just starting your career? Of course you tell prospective employers everything you’re good at. Since I was masterful at making stuff up, I mailed resumes to 500 international magazines.

               “I’m a brave, confidant, adventurous, globetrotting travel writer,” my cover letter lied.  “To get a fantastic travel story, I’ll go anywhere, do anything.”

                Over the next fifteen years, editors that had never been outside asked me to write about really scary things. Outside.

               Dalu Lama Pakace Imagine scaredy cat me kayaking with orca killer whales off Vancouver Island. Swimming with giant whale sharks off Cancun. Climbing to 15,000 feet in Peru. Riding Thai elephants in mosquito infested jungle. Wading Trinidad’s rivers teeming with boa constrictors. Diving with hungry hammerhead sharks off Palau.

              The scariest? Freezing on a Polar Rover bus in icy Churchill Canada, whereupon a 12- foot snarling polar bear almost snatched me out the bus window for his lunch. My essay, “A Polar Bear in my Window” and my YouTube video, “Hey Mr. Polar Bear” were global sensations. But no one cared I was nearly devoured. Not one bit.            

                The more danger I was in, the more assignments I got. I would cry to my Editors how terrified I was, how I hated being cold, hot, lost, starving. Their response? “Good Sharon. Keep Writing.” Over fifteen years, I published 300 travel essays and 5 guidebooks.

                   I found out: Once you’re a creative liar, no one believes when you tell the Truth. 

    THE CREATIVE SENIOR CITIZEN

                   So now that I’m 68 years YOUNG, spending languid days with my golfer husband Kenny, my one eyed cat Sage, and a pack of fun loving gal pals, am I still creative?

                    No….. Yes……

                    No-I can easily while away a whole day watering flowers. Or Swiffering the entire house. Or ambling through a grocery store:  should buy chicken fingers for our gourmet dinner or get take out from Chick Fil-A?

                    Yes-I’m writing comedy stage plays inspired by my global adventures and pitching theaters worldwide. I’m enjoying books by authors who have secrets waaaaaay darker and scarier than me.

                   The great part? Everything I write now can be a Big Fat Lie.

                   It’s called Fiction.

                   I’m just the same creative girl I always was.

    THE END

    © September, 2021

    Sharon Baker writes happily in Bluffton, SC.

    Her stage play comedy about the meaning of life, “Birthday Party at the Dalai Lama’s Palace,” was presented on ZOOM in 2020 by the Dramatists Guild of America.  Some of it is True.

    Email her: sharonspencelieb@gmail.com 

    Sharon’s travel essays and books are on Google, under Sharon Spence Lieb.

    Her 4 plays, under Sharon Baker, are on New Play Exchange.

    Laugh over her YouTube polar bear music video, “Hey Mr. Polar Bear by Sharon Spence Lieb.”

    She exhibits her wildlife paintings at Hilton Head Art League, South Carolina. 

  • 05 Jul 2021 9:38 AM | Anonymous
    Laura reads an excerpt from her play " Punk Grandpa" and discusses the writing of the play and how she began writing plays.


  • 27 May 2021 7:09 PM | Anonymous

    Christine reads from, and then talks about three of her plays:  Dying in Pittsburgh, Fragments of A Witches' Journal, and Old Hippie.

    Christine Emmert is an actress, playwright and director as well as enthusiastic fan of theatre. Living in the woodlands of eastern Pennsylvania with her husband Richard, she has been in the theatre world for over sixty years.

    Her work has been performed and read through out the English speaking world. She will be filming her one woman play, FROM OUT THE FIERY FURNACE, next month for the National Parks.

    This piece has been presented as a story of one woman and her stove to bring attention to the ironworking industry that flourished in the 1800s throughout the Northeastern part of the United States. You can read her occasional blog on
    chrisitneemmert.wordpress.com or access her on dakinichris@yahoo.com

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christine.emmert.54

  • 24 May 2021 3:28 AM | Anonymous

    Hard doctor’s fingers
   
    grab her tiny baby arm

    Failing tawny flesh    
    strained against the sharp until    
    pop    
    he forces it in    
    a new hole    
    the size of a bullet           

    Her final journey    
    paused impatient       

    Blown vein leaking    
    infant red    
    into tissue and    
    flies flies flies    
    in seared heat    
    of middle east last breaths  

    Family gone she is the only left    
    not for her to know no one notices    

    This home this God    
    forsaken inhospitable dust    
    thanks be to the occupying infidels    
    God help her and you go yourself lord    
    not Jesus this is no place    
    for children La ilaha illallah    

    Green lake of soldier urine    
    and poppies grow crimson    

    Row on row the vital provisions    
    rushed out to relieve in discretions    
    from distant lands so bombs bombs bombs    
    she is just culled lateral dam age    
    name unknown concussed    
    internal organs blown butchered       

    Impatience interstitial fluid    
    will not replace blood    
    lost why bother mere moments    
    he must move on no longer    
    he speaks when    
    “A Gift from US”    
    arrives it is not polite to    
    complain in horses’ mouths.    

    Supplies are supplies    
    are supposed so flies flies flies    

    No cries she also is polite    
    slipping away sixteen-gauge I.V. catheter    
    so-called sewer-pipe reserved for    
    major adult veins    
    major adult arteries    
    major adult surgeries       

    Needle one third    
    the size of her arm    

    Exploding vein    
    and tearing humerus    

    Muscle already that is cold    
    no more abductions here    
    statistics are needed not in    
    formation of actual people    

    And now she    

    these tiny baby    
    three months is    

    But one more.

    ------------------------------------

    Sandra Dempsey

    SandraDempsey.com

    ICWP Member Profile 

  • 02 May 2021 3:31 PM | Anonymous

    Member Joanna Pickering is a British actor and writer, currently living in the USA. She reads from her play Beach Break, and then talks with Jenni Munday about her current projects and where to from here after COVID.

  • 01 Apr 2021 4:51 PM | Anonymous

    Jenni Munday Interviews Amy Ostreicher about her work and Amy reads from her monologues.


    Read Amy's plays on New Play Exchange
    A
    my's Website https://www.amyoes.com/playwright
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amy.oestreicher

  • 01 Mar 2021 6:27 AM | Anonymous

    US member Ali MacLean reads excerpts from two of her plays “Sullen Girl” and “This Will Be Our Year”. She then joins Jenni Munday for a conversation about what motivates her playwrighting, researching dark subject matter, and what inspires ideas for new plays.

    Learn More about Ali MacLean
    Website: www.alimaclean.com
    Twitter and Instagram: @aliontheair

  • 25 Jan 2021 10:46 AM | Anonymous

    Jenni Munday in conversation with Julia Pascal, playwright and scholar.  Julia reveals insights into the background and writing of her play " Happy as God in France", and reads an excerpt from it.  Julia  also discusses her play "The Honey Pot" . 

    More about " Happy as God in France"

    Genre DRAMA

    Length FULL LENGTH

    Characters

    Hannah Arendt at 33                                            

     Charlotte Salomon at 25                                 

     Eva Daube   at 16                                                 

     Agathe Blumenfeld at 50                          

     Trude Gottlieb  at 22  

    Other roles are taken by the ensemble.

    As Happy As God in France. 

    The title references the joyful Yiddish invented by  Jews in appreciation of their new status as equal citizens in post-Revolutionary France. Its use here is ironic as the play explores French antisemitism In May 1940, German Jewish exiles, seeking refuge in France were ordered to report as  'Undesirables'.  Of those 8,000 women were deported to the largest of the many camps near the Spanish border.  This drama focuses on the largest of these, Gurs, whose history is hardly known.

    This text  investigates the false dream of safety in France through the lens of three  German Jewish women: thirty-four-year-old, political writer, Hannah Arendt; sixteen-year-old schoolgirl Eva Daube and twenty-four-year-old painter, Charlotte Salomon. They were incarcerated during in the chaotic days between armistice and occupation. The action of this play focuses on a decision of whether to stay, and hope for liberation, or escape in to a dangerous landscape.

    As Happy As God in France explores major events of the twentieth century as experienced by these women. Themes include the French betrayal of Revolutionary values, the abandonment of the Jews, sex, love, art, politics, resistance, survival, suicide and escape.   It is the first play about Arendt, Salomon and Daube in Gurs.

    The facts

    Hannah Arendt was in Gurs in 1940 for eight weeks. Charlotte Salomon is believed to have been incarcerated there before she was murdered in Auschwitz. Eva Daube was in Gurs. Agathe Blumenfeld and Trude Gottlieb are created from research in this hidden history.

     The play was completed in 2020 and has had no productions.

    To contact Julia about this play go to her website and use the contact form. 

    www.juliapascal.org

    If you enjoyed this podcast or would like to ask Hulia a question, log in to the site and leave a comment. 

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