Monday, June 29, 2009

Winners to be announced soon! Check back.

Winners of the first 517 Playwrights 10-minute play contest have been selected. Each of the selected 8 playwrights will be contacted to see if they still wish to have their play performed even though we do not have resources to pay them anything in the way of royalties or prize money. (This lack of resources of course is the downside of being a new organization and of not charging an entry fee.)

Check back in the next few days. I will post the winners as I receive confirmation of their interest in being show cased on stage. Once all eight have accepted I will also post the list of all winners on Playwrights Forum.

To all those who entered let me say again how impressed we were with the quality of the plays submitted. From 100 submissions we first received the judges cut to 15 plays and then to the final 8. Winners selected come from California, Canada, Iowa, Maryland, New York, and Washington (state) etc.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Next Meeting: Sunday June 28th, 2:00 pm

The next meeting of 517 Playwrights will be Sunday June 28th at 2:00 pm at the main branch of the Lexington Public Library. We will meet on the second floor near the elevators and then find a quiet table where we can finalize play selections and a production venue, discuss a name for the organization and how to more formally organize, and most exciting Greta Fields' plans for a playwrights retreat. As always our meeting will conclude not later than 5:00 pm (when the library closes). Hope you can join us.

Monday, June 22, 2009

New Directors Welcome!

Yes. Even if you have never directed a play before you will be considered for an opportunity to direct one of the contest plays. Simply let us know of your interest and you will be considered.

Ten-minute plays are a good place to get directing experience: they're short, have simple sets and generally few technical requirements. So if you've acted in plays, or worked as a stage manager, done lighting or scene design work you may be a good candidate to direct a contest play. If on the other hand, you've simply stumbled across this blog or want to direct on a "lark" you probably won't be asked to direct.

As playwrights ourselves the members of 517 Playwrights are searching for directors who have an understanding of how plays come together, how directors, actors and technical personnel work together collaboratively to bring any play to the stage.

And as playwrights we want to know that our directors, whether they are directing their first play or their 100th, have an understanding of theatre. We want to give directing opportunities to individuals who can think conceptually about how to take a play from page to stage.

We are seeking as directors men and women (age 18 and older) of any race or ethnicity who can explain to themselves and their casts (and technical assistants) their vision for the play and how to put it on stage. Directors need to understand the characters and be able to help their actors to come to a similar understanding. Directors must be able to work collaboratively with their actors when there are disagreements about interpretation. He or she should be willing to include the playwright/s in the process to the extent that that is possible.

Plays entered have come from as far away as Ireland and as close as our own community. We are still in the process of selecting the finalists so the possibility for playwright involvement ranges (at this point) from unlikely to probable. We want directors to be willing to communicate with playwrights to seek their guidance and input recognizing that there would be no play without the playwright.

After all that any individual who wishes to be considered for the opportunity to direct a new play should send a brief email expressing interest and his/her resume of directing, acting and or technical experience to:
please put "Play Director" in the subject line.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Directors Needed!

Put out the word to near and far, 517 Playwrights needs directors (and actors) for its 10-Minute plays! On or about June 28th we will be selecting the finalists for our first 10-Minute Play Contest. At that point, if not before we need to begin lining up directors for the selected plays.

If you are a director then please get in contact with Bill McCann, Jr. at 2020 Armstrong Mill Road, #823, Lexington, KY 40515. Send him a letter expressing an interest in directing one (or more) of the shows. Also, please be sure and give an address or phone number so that he can get in touch with you.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Update on the Play Contest

Amy Wegener of Actors Theatre of Louisville attended the June 7th meeting bringing solid advice and lots of encouragement about the play contest. Ms. Wegener's comments helped the judges clarify what was most important in choosing plays.

Discussion focused on questions like: from a practical standpoint can the play be produced in the space and with the resources available; are actors available for the roles; does the play sustain itself for its entire length; is diversity important in terms of such matters as where playwrights are from, gender (of playwrights and/or of the characters in their plays)? And so forth.

We did not read or discuss particular plays with Ms. Wegener. We did however, get into practical considerations regarding the contest such as venues in which to produce the selected plays (TBA after confirmation of the dates with the venue owner), the care and feeding of playwrights LOL:)! (contracts, contacting and working with out-of-area playwrights, etc.), where and how to find actors and directors for the plays we select and who, how and (even) whether or not to select a (single) winning play.

Though many of the questions were discussed at some length I'm not sure it is possible to say that we came up with many answers. In fact, it may be most accurate to say that we simply decided to defer conclusive answers to our next meeting on June 28th at 2:00 pm. Between June 7th and June 28th the final 15 plays will be read by all four judges with an eye towards selecting the final 6 to 10 plays that will ultimately be produced.

Once the finalists are chosen the playwrights will be contacted to notify them of their selection and to get formal permission to produce their work before winners names are posted on this blog and on the Playwrights Forum. Hopefully, posting of winners will happen sometime in mid-July or early August.

Pending confirmation of the dates and times production of the selected plays will be the second weekend in October 2009, October October 9, 10 and 11.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Please don't forget that our next meeting will be Sunday June 7th at the Beaumont branch of the Lexington Public Library. Anyone-- whether they are a playwright or not-- is welcome to join us. Our speaker for this month's meeting is Amy Wegener of Actor's Theatre of Louisville who will discuss how to judge entries in a play contest.

517 Playwrights' first play contest "concluded" on March 11th with the submission of the 100th play. The group is now in the process of determining semifinalists that will be produced later this year. Ms. Wegener's advice and insights should help us conclude the judging phase of the process more quickly than might otherwise be the case.

The quality of plays submitted has been truly amazing! Thanks to all who submitted plays, my fellow judges and I have really enjoyed reading them. And if you did not submit, or did so after we had received 100 scripts, please submit next year. Information about next year's contest will be posted late this year or early in 2010.