November Spotlight: Diane Taber-Markiewica
by Eliza Wyatt
Diane Taber visited me in my living room last night, even though we live three thousand miles apart. The human voice over the landline phone is still a miracle we take for granted and yet has immense importance to me, as a playwright. It was revealing to hear her laugh, her rhythms (she’s a musician) and absorb her enthusiasms.
Diane Taber was a founding member of the International Women’s Playwrights’ Conference in Buffalo, New York, where she grew up. This accords with my experience of home turf being a good place to stand when you want to reach the rest of the world. Her family were interested in the arts and there was music at home; her father enjoyed treading the boards and was an accomplished actor. Her life was changed, however, by a performance of "A Taste of Honey" by Shelagh Delaney by a local theater group, the Studio Arena Theater of Buffalo. Swept away by the play, Diane applied for and won a scholarship to study there. I note with pleasure that the work was written by a woman about a disadvantaged girl in Northern England. It was a seminal play for many of us in the U.K., a play written when Shelagh was eighteen.
Diane was inspired by her training and that play to connect with other women in theatre and provide support. Her motto was "Never Alone Again". As Communications Director, she realized the enormous potential of the fledging organization of women playwrights, which was established the year following the first conference in Buffalo in 1988. She introduced and edited a quarterly newsletter, Seasons, whose readership grew to over 1100 women in 48 different countries.
During the nineties Diane remembered being thrilled with the opportunity to read so many scripts from women across the world who wanted their plays read and performed at the conferences. The importance of the group continued to grow and have an impact by championing women who were under threat in their own countries, notably by supporting the Bosnian Women Playwrights performance tour of 1997 and the successful international effort that secured the release of celebrated playwright, Ratna Sarumpaet of Indonesia. She feels proud that the Fourth Conference in Galway in 1997 had such an impact. Not content with the International outreach, which reached women in India, Africa, South America and Canada, Diane realized, while living in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1999 that the International Women Playwrights Conference should be appended by smaller regional U.S. conferences, beginning with Dayton, Ohio. Activism has to begin close to home.
It was with great delight that I was able to access Diane’s first play, Headwind, through the magic of YouTube. This was a reading of the hour long play set in Seventeenth Century Maine. Her play was based on much research and included an authentic sea shanty, although she tells me the romance between the two main characters was fictional.
Diane has remained a passionate support of ICWP but her music career has taken off since in 2006 she began writing her own songs. She has formed her own production company, DTM-Music and Didja Tangle the Muse Publishing. Her recent work has received international airplay and praise. And the future? Diane, like all of us, hope that theatre will continue to reach young people even if venues and equity performances prove too expensive to be experimental. Perhaps the fact that halfway across the world, I could enjoy her play on YouTube is a taste of things to come.
Welcome New Members
Kristin (K.D.) Carlson’s writing has appeared in The Asheville Poetry Review, Shark Reef Literary Magazine, Daily Serving and Writer’s Digest Magazine. Her play, “The Job Interview” was a semi-finalist in the 2012 Minnesota Shorts competition. “Eudora’s Box,” a 2010 new play pick, was produced at Thunder River Theatre Company in 2012, and her award-winning drama, “Unmarried in America,” has been produced statewide in Colorado and nationally. She is currently at work on a first novel.
Her stage plays have been selected for the Playwrights Showcase of the Western Region, the Chicago Snapshots Festival, Colorado’s CCTC Festival, and the National AACT Fest, where her drama about the impact of the Prop 8 trial, “Unmarried in America,” earned the coveted Best Ensemble Production. A screenplay version is now in development with AEC Studios.
Carlson is a Bronze Tablet graduate of the University of Illinois and holds a Master of Arts in Performance Studies from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill where she was selected as an outstanding instructor. She was awarded a Dramatists Write Change Scholarship in 2015 and serves as a Colorado teaching artist in residence.
Dramatists Guild Page Link:
Elin Hampton, USA
Most recently, Elin Hampton’s ten-minute play F4, was a national finalist at CityWrights, where it received a full production in CityWrights Summer Shorts. This past summer, her ten-minute play THINGS THAT MATTERED was produced for Studio Players’ 10-Minute Play Festival in Lexington, Kentucky and had a reading at the Samuel French Book Shop at its first Short Play Festival. Her plays have also been produced at The York Theatre, The Road Theatre Co., the Hollywood Fringe Festival, Greenway Arts Alliance, The Collective (NY), Open Eye Theatre and EST/LA’s Winterfest. AMOTHER MUSICAL (book, lyrics) is licensed by Steele Spring Stage Rights, and was produced July 2016 at the Musical Theatre Guild in Butler, PA. Other works are published in Smith & Kraus’s: Best Ten Minute Plays 2015 and in Applause Theatre Book: Contemporary
Monologues for Kids 7-15. Television credits include "Mad About You," “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” "Dream On," "Pinky and the Brain,” “Rugrats,” “The Wild Thornberries,” John Leguizamo’s House of Buggin’,” “Life’s Work,” “The Gregory Hines Show,” “Barclay’s Beat,” and “The Jackie Thomas Show.”
Representative Play Titles
The Bells of West 87th, Amother Musical
Jodie Leidecker, USA
In fourth grade, I started writing poems and by sixth grade, I'd moved on to soap operas and a school play.
I've done technical writing for industry, newsletter and press release writing for colleges and nonprofits, blogging, and essay and humor writing for the web. I've written for various humor sites and self-published a series of funny essays. I've most recently begun writing plays, several of which have been performed in theater festivals in New York City.
Everyone has a story. I love finding that story and telling it.
Representative Play Titles
John; Dr. Hoxley; There Are No Straight Lines in Nature; Stockpile; Apocalypse Fatigue
Now Playing & Coming Soon
November 18, 7:30 p.m.
A New Daddy
My ten-minute play about a Midwestern family surviving the loss of the father in 1952 will be presented as a public reading by The Scripteasers in San Diego, California. Free and open to the public, at 3404 Hawk Street.
November 14, 7:30 p.m.
Bernice Sizemore's 70th Birthday is the first in a series of staged readings of plays with LGBTQ themes by Louisville-area playwrights presented by Pandora Productions. Surprises arrive on Bernice's birthday including a gun and a gift certificate for a tombstone. Yoga-loving square-dancing Bernice has a few surprises of her own for her workaholic daughter and the son she hasn’t spoken to since he announced he was gay.
Jeanne Drennan’s Get out of Dodge will have its premiere production November 3-20 at the Venice Theatre, in Venice, Florida. For more information, see venicestage.c
Articles of Interest: Feminism
by Karin Williams
Women who make theater and film will benefit from a new 5 million dollar fund in NYC. The program, started by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, will also offer women opportunities to network with financiers.
For over thirty years the Guerrilla Girls have been bringing feminist theatre to the masses.
Chicago’s visionary, female-driven Artemisia Theatre Company is currently staging Shrewish, a feminist adaptation of the bard.
Equality for Women in Irish Theatre is a grassroots movement calling for equality for women across the Irish theatre sector. #WakingTheFeminists.
Feminist theatre was alive and well at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, according to the The List.
Washington Ensemble Theatre is focusing on feminism in their 2016-17 season.
Yours for innovative, engaging, and equitable theater,