Member Spotlight: Geralyn Horton
by Debbie Miller
I have been writing plays since I was first able to write
—I could read at age 3, write before age 4—and am
still at it, convinced that it is my Vocation! If there were
any play writing programs that admitted women in 1957
when I graduated from high school, I certainly did not
know about them. . . .I have no credentials, prizes, fans,
mentors, grants, honors—just persistence.
ICWP member G.L. (Geralyn) Horton was born in Toledo, Ohio and now lives in Newton, Massachusetts. She says she “has been doing theatre ‘forever’—romantic comedy, supernatural tragedy, political satire”--as well as musicals and mini-opera. Horton adds that “I’ve had a life-long commitment to agitating for gender parity in the arts.” She has performed as a “singing actor” in new plays and maintains a website of her work at www.stagepage.info Her website includes 100 monologues and 200 one-minute monologues, as well as plays and musicals.
Q: Tell me about a play you’re proud of.
A: “The musical Precious Bane—I was taken on as book writer/lyricist in 2007—is special to me because it’s a long-term collaboration with a composer who is devoted to the novel it is adapted from and with a serious group devoted to writing opera and musicals….We are currently performing a fifty minute stripped down version to try to draw the attention of people who could help us towards a production.” [www.precious-bane.com]
Q: Do you write primarily male or female characters?
A: “Both. I am very comfortable writing men. . . .When I cast myself as a writer, I assumed that nothing human was alien to me.”
Q: Do you prefer to write one gender over another?
A: “I write more parts for women than for men, and particularly for older women; I consider it a duty. So few interesting parts for older women, so few women writers writing them from the inside.”
Q: What type of plays are your favorite to write?
A: “I love large cast plays that have characters from differing backgrounds and age cohorts, some ambiguity and unresolved mystery, and poetic and/or witty language.”
Q: Why do you write plays?
A: “In childhood, I had a vision/dream, wherein I was summoned to join a golden carousel of poets and playwrights going round and round to celestial music. “You are to join us in writing plays,” they said.””
Q: What advice do you have for ICWP members who are new to playwriting?
A: “Enjoy! And I wish for you that you will find actors and directors to work in close collaboration with, who will foster and nurture the children of your imagination.”
Marianna Staroselsky has been writing since age 10, starting with poetry and later delving into most genres from journalism to microfiction to pantoums. Theatre is the one that makes her the happiest. Her current writing projects include "Cry Baby Meets Audrey Hepburn," a bilingual creative nonfiction play loosely based on her life and immigration from the Former Soviet Union whose production will be partially supported by a Tikkun Fellowship, she's also writing a brand new play as a member of the Writer's Room at the New Colony, and producing and co-directing her one act plays such as "1-800-Why-Does-Life-Suck," in upcoming festivals in Chicago (Fringe Fest) as well as in NYC (Manhattan Rep.) She’s also a company member with the Orchard, a brilliant new Chicago theatre company, and BYOT Productions, a monthly 24-hour theatre fest. Her theatre training comes from classes at the University of Chicago, Second City and the Annoyance. When Marianna isn’t playwriting, performing, or directing, she’s working on her dissertation on the performance of the self and identit(ies) in life and on the stage.
*Ibadete Abazi, Kosovo, Albania
*Interesting sidetone: Abazi is the first person to join from Albania, and as such, has free membership for two years. This policy was adopted by ICWP to encourage internationalism.
Ibadete Abazi is a student of Dramaturgy in the Art Faculty at the University of Prishtina in Kosovo. She is known for writing the 26 episodic scenario for the famous TV series City without a River produced by Idea Production and broadcasted on Radio Television of Kosovo – RTK. She has written several short dramas and screen plays. Some are awaiting production in theatre, and soma have been produced by students at the University of Prishtina. Ibadete is married and has two daughters.
After much consideration, ICWP has decided to become an Affiliate Member of the Women In the Arts and Media Coalition, an advocacy and networking organization that addresses issues of concern to women in the arts, media, and new media.
We would also like to sincerely thank The O'Neill Film and Theatrical Foundation for forfeiting the $150 dollar annual membership fee.
The O'Neill Film and Theatrical Foundation is dedicated to aiding women playwrights and screenwriters from around the world in getting their work produced on the stage and screen, by drawing domestic and international attention to their artistic achievements. The Foundation is equally committed to proactively and systematically advocating for gender parity in the theatre and film industries, striving toward the day when the employment gap for women is permanently closed. www.theoneillfilmandtheatricalfoundation.com
50/50 Applause Award
The nomination period for the ICWP 50/50 Applause Awards opened with a bang, garnering 70 nominations in the first week from, at least, five different countries! We hope ICWP members and the public will continue to find theaters who demonstrated gender parity between July 1, 2014-June 30, 215. Nominations are open until May 22, 2015. http://www.womenplaywrights.org/award
Equity in Theatre Update
The EIT Symposium on April 27th, 2015, was a successful event, with approximately 100 people from various fields in attendance, who brainstormed solutions for a more equitable industry.
Resources from the day are available on the Equity in Theatre website. The focus of the day, and the ongoing purpose of the EIT Initiative, is to devise actionable items, agenda and strategies for change. The Symposium generated a number of ideas to implement as we move forward, including a Canadian Kilroy’s list, an equity-based rating system for play productions, toolkits for Boards and Artistic Directors, and more. Furthermore, the Symposium drew attention to The Palette Premise, an initiative commenced by Tanisha Taitt. Central to her project is the core belief of celebrating cultural diversity as a means to bring women of all backgrounds onto equal footing in order to make greater strides towards gender equality.
"Toronto, Ontario is in my humble opinion, the epicenter of the theatrical Canadian sphere, particularly with Toronto's various theatre and affinity group initiatives striving for deeper representation of women in the Canadian Theatre, seeking the full representation of the Pan Asian culture in Canadian theatre as well as the representation of the growing LGBQ Community, the Latino Community, the enlightened youth which seek their active reflection in contemporary Canadian theatrical pieces from which they are peculiarly absent, and the presentation and preservation of the indigenous community of current obviously underserved presence in the Canadian theatre. Most importantly, women working in the Canadian Theatre yearn to preserve the thriving scene of theatre for social justice, which is much needed in the chaotic 21st Century, and is very much in lieu of the activism present in the United States on the theatrical front. In essence, activism on the part of women working in the theatre, in unification, is a growing necessity in achieving gender parity and social justice in Canadian theatre as it is mirrored in the US."
Sophia Romma, ICWP Vice President and representative at the Symposium
ARTICLES OF INTEREST
The story behind Friday Night Light's recent episode about rape and football.
"Maybe one of the reasons Schumer and the overtly feminist humor she does so well is resonating right now is because the raw material available to people who view the world through a feminist lens is inherently absurd. Women are fighting for rights so obvious they shouldn’t even be up for debate.
All Female Casts, Breaking Up the Boy's Club. Two new Canadian plays, Miss Shakespeare, set 400 years in the past, and J. Ceasar, set 400 years in the future, both feature all women casts. This is a great summary article about the status of women in theater, with several quotes from ICWP Board Member, Kris Bauske.
Spaulding Gray's Catastrophe, a poignant article about the actor's illness and suicide, written by his neurosurgeon.