Saturday, November 28, 2009

Join us....

If your house is like mine you are on the third day of leftover turkey, you've been shopping and you've had enough of the house guests who haven't left. So... its time for you to leave and join 517 Playwrights as we read two one act plays be Steve Taylor and plan for the organization's future! That's right 517 Playwrights will be one year old tommorow and we'd like you to join us at COMMON GROUNDS (coffee house) on High Street in Lexington, KY. The meeting will begin at 2:00 and end at 5:00 so sneak away from the football and the relatives and join us. See you there!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

November 29th meeting

The next meeting of 517 Playwrights will be held on Sunday November 29th 2009 at Common Grounds Coffee House on High Street in Lexington from 2-5 pm. The first two hours will be spent reading new works, so if you have a new play in the works please bring it.

If you would like your work read then please bring enough copies for every reader to have his/her own script to read from. If there are four characters please bring four copies of the script with you.

If you have an interest in new works for the stage please join us. Playwrights are important to the process of developing new works, but so are directors, techies and audience members. If you'd like to participate then please join us on November 29 for what will be the first anniversary of 517 Playwrights. Who knows, we might even have a cake!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The End of (517's) History

By August what was to be the future Midway Festival of Plays was in the making. Directors had been selected for each of the plays. Among the directors were both Bob Singleton and Jim Betts. Also among the directors were Leif Erickson Rigney who agreed to direct two plays (and act in a third), Ross Carter, Lillie Ruschell and Scott Turner.

September found the plays cast with some of the areas finest local actors and also with a member of 517 Playwrights, Bruce Williams who was in Leon Kaye's MORE PASTA.

September was also when the Kentucky Playwrights' Workshop, Inc. was incorporated with the Kentucky Secretary of State's Office as a non-profit. The purpose of the KPW, Inc. was to establish a nonprofit that could produce the Midway Festival of Plays and future productions of plays either written by members of 517 Playwrights or selected by them for production.

October was production time in the Bluegrass: the Midway Festival of Plays opened on Friday Ocotber 9th with a nearly full house. The following two performances on Saturday and Sunday were full houses. Not bad for a first production.

When all was said and done nearly 220 people came to the Thoroughbred Theatre in Midway, Kentucky for the Festival of Plays and the organization made about $500. It was a small profit, for a small production, in a small theatre (capacity was about 85), in a small town but it got our organization off to a BIG start.

Looking forward: we are seeking new members with new plays and lots of ideas about where and how we go forward from here. We need to do a lot of "paperwork:" writing a mission statement, bylaws and all the rest. We need a board of directors. We may need an advisory board. We do need a direction for the next year year. Would Stephen Colbert, of The Colbert Report, want to sponsor a 10 Minute Play Contest? Would you, or the company you work for?

Mostly, what 517 Playwrights and the Kentucky Playwrights' Workshop, Inc. needs is YOU! We need your plays, your ideas, your enthusiasim.... you. Come join us. Be part of our future; make us part of yours.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

More History

When it became evident that we were actually going to have to judge the submissions Bill McCann contacted Actors Theatre of Louisville for help. One of the heroes of our tale, Amy Wegener ATL's Literary Manager came to the rescue. Riding out of Louisville into the outer reaches of Central Kentucky Ms. Wegener came to the group's June 7, 2009 meeting.

By this time members of 517 Playwrights had reduced the 100 submissions by about half. Contest Coordinator Bill McCann had forwarded about 20 or so submissions to each of the other judges and judged the remainder himself. At the early June meeting Ms. Wegener gave the group ideas about how to select not only good plays but plays that would work well together to create an evening's entertainment that would be both varied, but unified.

Two weeks later the judges met again and selected the contest winners:

Crish Barth, Orinda, CA, Hill Cattle

Len Cuthbert, Mt. Brydges, Ontario, CANADA, Enigmatic Lucidity

Lawrence DuKore, New York, NY, The Day that Brando Died

Leon Kaye, Hyde Park, NY, More Pasta

Thomas Pierce, Seattle, WA, Almost Connect....

Kay Rhoads, Ankeny, IA, Last Church of Lost Souls

Steven Schutzman, Baltimore, MD, The Weight

With the selection of winners, the hard work began. Jim Betts was selected to produce the plays: he found directors and actors, a venue oversaw the finding of props and scenery, and otherwise made the event happen. Meanwhile Bill McCann made certain that we had contracts with the playwrights and kept the playwrights up to date about what was going on with the contest.

Jim though had the biggest task-- getting the plays on stage. He found a venue in Midway, Kentucky The Thoroughbred Theatre located in the heart of that vibrant but small community midway between Lexington and Frankfort. Working with the theatre's owners Jim and John McDaniel and their staff a date for the production was settled on: October 9th throu the 11th. Time it seemed started to move faster.

Jim secured the help of Bob Singleton to co-roduce the event. Between them Jim and Bob found five other local thespians to help them cast and direct the shows.

1st Anniversary will Soon be Here!

The first anniversary of 517 Playwrights is coming up! On the Sunday following Thanksgiving last year-- November 30, 2008-- the first meeting of 517 Playwrights was held in the kitchen of a house on Georgetown Road outside Lexington, KY. At that first meeting-- hosted by Greta Fields-- Bruce Williams, Steve Taylor, Bill McCann, Jr. and Greta Fields read through Bruce William's delightful full-length play TIM: A CHRISTMAS STORY while enjoying snacks and drinks provided by Greta Fields.

Members of 517 Playwrights took the month of December 2008 off. In January 2009, at a meeting of the group at the Beaumont Branch of the Lexington Public Library, Jim Betts joined the group. As the meeting was winding down Betts suggested that the group should hold a 10 minute play contest. There was enthusiasim for the idea so a day or two later Bill McCann, Jr., who had been serving as moderator of 517 meetings announced on line that the group was holding a play contest for 10 minute plays beginning February 1, 2009 and ending July 30th or whenever it "received 100 entries."

At the February meeting of 517 Playwrights Bill McCann announced that he had done as the membership had asked and posted the rules inviting entries for the 517 Playwrights 10 Minute Play Contest. However, it quickly became evident that the posting was a mistake; noone had meant to begin a play contest. Misunderstanding or not though members agreed that since the contest had been posted the contest should be held. So, the contest continued, and entries continued to arrive in Bill's email mail box.

Who would have guessed that the 100th entry would be received March 11th 2009; the contest was "closed" that same day. The play contest had been advertised in only two places: this blog and Playwrights Forum! According to the contest rules the submission period ended with the 100th entry. But getting that word out was more difficult than that there was a contest. Entries continued to arrive, more than 150 total!

At the March meeting it was evident 517 might have bitten off more than it could chew. We had more than 100 plays to read and judge, what now?