Playwrights Local

Cleveland's home for dramatic writers.

Author: PL (page 2 of 4)

3 Questions with Director Dale Heinen

Director in Residence Dale Heinen comes to Playwrights Local after long stints as a dramaturge at Soho Theatre in London’s West End and as co-Artistic Director of an equity off-Loop theatre in Chicago. Her work has taken her to New York, Dublin, Tokyo, and Brazil. Since returning to her hometown of Cleveland, she has directed at Playwrights Local, Lake Erie College, and Cleveland Public Theatre.

Dale began working on This is NOT About My Dead Dog with playwright/performer Amy Schwabauer in Playwrights Local’s 2016 Play Lab.

Read her thoughts on this upcoming production, opening January 13 at Waterloo Arts, below.

Find more information on This is NOT About My Dead Dog at http://playwrightslocal.org/thisisnot/.


(1) What excites you about working on a one person show? 

I’ve directed three other one person shows before: one in Chicago, one in New York, and one that was performed in London and other UK cities. All have been new plays, and two were adaptations. What I love about this form as a director/dramaturg is that my focus isn’t divided in the ways it usually is: between actors in a scene, between actors and the writer. There’s an uninterrupted, uncomplicated flow of information and ideas. It’s a very efficient way of working.

A challenge to this form is that it’s very demanding of the performer/writer. They’re wearing two hats, and must place an unusual amount of trust in one person to guide them towards performance readiness. I think it would be easy to be led down wrong paths. There needs to be a lot of trust on both sides, in fact. Rehearsals are demanding for the performer, as they’re always “on.”

Drama is typically built out of two or more characters acting on each other. Here, one actor has to create all of the characters and all of the conflict between them, and keep the energy and momentum going nonstop.

Sketch by set designer Elaine Hullihen

(2) What can you say about Amy Schwabauer and the story she’s telling with this play? 

I think this is a story that everyone can relate to because it’s about the bumpy, and at time ridiculous and painful, transition from childhood to adulthood. This is a very personal play for Amy, yet it’s interesting–as the rehearsal process has progressed, we now speak of “her” and “she” rather than of “you” when referring to the Amy of the play. We draw from her personal experiences as we rehearse (in particular to detail moments), but we may deviate from history when it doesn’t push the story forward. Amy has pushed past the person she depicts in the play, which allows us to coax it into a piece of art that stands apart from biography. Even so, it can be bruising when we rehearse some of the more painful memory scenes.

By definition, a good actor can access those dark places, but in this case, these things really happened to Amy. That also gives it teeth and guts.

We continue to make small script changes in rehearsal as we evolve the piece from something that was more akin to standup towards a more theatrical form. It retains a strong storytelling aspect and is still funny, but we’re finding ways for the character to act rather than to narrate. It’s been great fun to discover the visual side of this play, which also leads back to script decisions.

Much of the development process is about clarity – which may mean reordering scenes, cutting superfluous material, and adding bridges so that themes and images link up.

Sketch by set designer Elaine Hullihen

(3) What design approach are you taking with your collaborators, including set designer Elaine Hullihen, lighting designer Stephanie Kahn, and sound designer James Kosmatka? 

None of the designers had worked together before, but two had collaborated with Amy on other projects. That’s key, because Amy (as the creator) has an important voice in the design aspect of the play. Early on she had an idea that the set could have elements of a childhood bedroom. Elaine, the set designer, came up with something that has echoes of a girl’s childhood bedroom but also functions for the many scenes that aren’t set in a bedroom. It’s a memory space that exists somewhere in Amy’s own mind, with pieces from different stages of her life.

Amy manipulates the elements in the way that helps her share her story with the audience. The lighting and sound design take their cues from the play’s imagery and setting. All of the design elements flow freely between the real, the remembered, and the imagined.

Stephanie, the lighting designer, was drawn to the play’s koi fish/water imagery, especially the moon on the water at night, and the idea of an attic full of memories with light streaming in from a small, high window.  The lone whale separated from its pod is another key image.

James, the sound designer, is manipulating and mixing various whale sounds as a recurring theme (each species has its own sound!), and metamorphosing popular music in ways that express the play’s arc towards chaos.

These are a few of the ways in which we’re trying to make the inner life of the play manifest for audiences.

PL and "O/R" Recognized in BWW-Cle Theater Tributes

We’re thrilled to say that Objectively/Reasonable and Playwrights Local have received special recognitions in the 2016 Broadway World-Cleveland Regional Professional Theater Tributes.

Objectively/Reasonable was recognized in the category of 2016 Outstanding Non-Musical Productions. AND, Playwrights Local was recognized for “creating a venue for local playwrights to develop their works.”

On top of that, our own Ashley Aquilla was recognized in the category of 2016 Outstanding Performance by a Female in a Non-Musical.

See the announcement here!

http://royberko.info/

Thanks to Roy Berko and the BWW-Cle Theater Tributes for this honor.

Thanks also to the entire creative team behind this play and to the audience members who made the production such an amazing experience.

Check out the return engagement of “Objectively/Reasonable” from February 17 – March 11, 2017 at Waterloo Arts! Tickets are available now at http://playwrightslocal.org/objectively-reasonable-return/.

PL and "O/R" Cited by Cleveland Critics Circle

We’re proud to announce that Objectively/Reasonable has been cited as the “Most Socially Significant Local Play” in the Cleveland Critics Circle’s 2016 Theater Awards, and that Playwrights Local was credited for “creating a venue for local playwrights to develop their works.” See the “Special Mentions” section in the link below!

http://clevelandtheaterreviews.blogspot.com/2016/12/cleveland-critics-circle-2016-theater.html

We thank  the awards committee–Bob Abelman, Roy Berko, Kerry Clawson, Mark Horning, Christine Howey, David Ritchey, and Andrea Simakis–for their attention and support.

We also thank all of the cast, artistic staff, production team members, donors and benefactors, and audience members who made the premiere production of Objectively/Reasonable such  a meaningful experience. We’ve received such strong reactions from people for this play — its impact on audiences and ourselves continues to amaze us.

We hope to see you all again when Objectively/Reasonable returns in February/March 2017 for four more weeks at Waterloo Arts!

See our show page for that return engagement at http://playwrightslocal.org/objectively-reasonable-return/.

Or, find more info on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/612143835653375/.

 

 

 

 

"O/R" at YWCA's Forum on Race

itt-logo-2-1An Invited Performance of Excerpts from

Objectively/Reasonable: A Community Response to the Shooting of Tamir Rice, 11/22/14

YWCA Greater Cleveland’s
“It’s Time to Talk: Forums on Race”

February 3, 2017 from 8:30 am – 1:30 pm
Mandel Humanities Center at Tri-C East

Playwrights Local is proud to announce that its recent production, Objectively/Reasonable, will be featured in an upcoming event hosted by YWCA Greater Cleveland. Original cast members Kaila Benford and Nathan Tolliver will open this half-day program with monologues from our critically acclaimed play on the 2014 shooting of Tamir Rice.

Entitled “Foundations for Change,” this gathering on February 3, 2017 is part of the YWCA Greater Cleveland’s series “It’s Time to Talk: Forums on Race.” In addition to our performance, there will be a gallery walk, a keynote speaker, circle conversations, and lunch. The tentative schedule runs 8:30 am – 1:30 pm at the Mandel Humanities Center at Tri-C East. Complete information can be found at http://www.ywcaofcleveland.org/site/c.9hKQL9NNLmJ2G/b.9228373/k.4659/Its_Time_to_Talk_Forums_on_Race.htm.

Objectively/Reasonable: A Community Response to the Shooting of Tamir Rice, 11/22/14 originally ran from August 18 through September 4, 2016, at the Creative Space at Waterloo Arts. Directed by Terrence Spivey, the play was praised by Cool Cleveland as “a work that should travel to theaters all over the country…a catharsis” and by Broadway World as “a must-see experience for anyone interested in the real world around them.” Objectively/Reasonable was written by an ensemble of playwrights—Mike Geither, Tom Hayes, Lisa Langford, Michael Oatman, and David Todd—and conceived/edited by Todd. Additional information on the play is available at http://playwrightslocal.org/objectively-reasonable/.

“O/R” Invited to CPAC Event

logoPlaywrights Local is excited to bring our play “Objectively/Reasonable” to CPAC’s “Creative Intersections: Moving Forward” event on November 17! We will present a 45-minute excerpt from the play and host a talkback about our creative process. This event will run from 1:30-5:30pm at Bohemian National Hall in Cleveland.

Thanks so much to CPAC for inviting us to be a part of this program. We’re looking forward to performing with director Terrence Spivey and participating cast members Ashley Aquilla, India Burton, Samone Cummings, Kali Hatten, LaShawn Little, and Nathan Tolliver!

Tickets are still available at https://web.charityengine.net/default.aspx?tsid=7583.

More info on CPAC’s “Creative Intersections” series can be found at: http://cultureforward.org/Our-Programs/Creative-Intersections.

About CPAC
The Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) is non profit organization in Cleveland, Ohio. We serve and support arts and culture professionals, community leaders and visionaries, who are shaping greater Cleveland. CPAC’s research and advocacy helps people make informed and inclusive decisions. Its training, online programming and customized advice supports new ideas, skills and connections. CPAC works to strengthen, unify and connect greater Cleveland’s arts and culture sector. CPAC envisions greater Cleveland’s diverse arts and culture sector as a leading partner in contributing to our community’s vitality and enlivening the human experience.

About “Objectively/Reasonable: A Community Response to the Shooting of Tamir Rice, 11/22/14”
A documentary play on the impact and aftermath of the Tamir Rice shooting, expressing unheard voices from the Cudell neighborhood and Greater Cleveland. This new work lets the people speak, with their fears, reservations, and hopes fueling monologues drawn from original interviews. “Objectively/Reasonable” was written by an ensemble of playwrights—Mike Geither, Tom Hayes, Lisa Langford, Michael Oatman, and David Todd—and conceived/edited by David Todd.

More info on the play: http://playwrightslocal.org/objectively-reasonable/

Playwrights Local
http://playwrightslocal.org/

“O/R” Featured on NPR

npr-logoPlaywrights Local is proud to announce that our recent production, Objectively/Reasonable, will be featured in NPR’s upcoming event in Cleveland!

On October 18, NPR’s Michel Martin: Going There will host “Getting Real About Race,” a unique live event to engage in an open and honest conversation about this issue in Northeast Ohio. Playwrights Local has been asked to open this show with an excerpt from our play.

This performance, with full video, will be streamed and archived on NPR’s website.

Find information on the event at https://www.nprpresents.org/event/going-there-getting-real-about-race/.

And information on Michel Martin: Going There at http://www.npr.org/series/352974380/going-there.

Thanks so much to NPR for inviting us to be a part of this. We look forward to collaborating again with director Terrence Spivey and participating cast members Ashley Aquilla, Kaila Benford, Samone Cummings, Kali Hatten, LaShawn Little, and Nathan Tolliver!

Objectively/Reasonable: A Community Response to the Shooting of Tamir Rice, 11/22/14
A documentary play on the impact and aftermath of the Tamir Rice shooting, expressing unheard voices from the Cudell neighborhood and Greater Cleveland. This new work lets the people speak, with their fears, reservations, and hopes fueling monologues drawn from original interviews. “Objectively/Reasonable” was written by an ensemble of playwrights—Mike Geither, Tom Hayes, Lisa Langford, Michael Oatman, and David Todd—and conceived/edited by David Todd.

Playwrights Local
http://playwrightslocal.org/

2016-2017 Season Announcement

Playwrights Local is pleased to announce our 2016-2017 season, our second as Cleveland’s only home for all-new, locally written work. Highlights include three world premieres, two festivals, and playwriting workshops that are free and open to the public!

This year’s playwrights include newcomers to the company Amy Schwabauer, Lisa Langford, and Michael Oatman. Additional writers selected for readings and development projects will be announced as the season unfolds.

Press Release [PDF]


AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2016
Objectively/Reasonable:
A Community Response to the Shooting of Tamir Rice, 11/22/14
Written by Playwrights Local
Directed by Terrence Spivey
Conception and dramaturgy by David Todd

A documentary play on the impact and aftermath of the Tamir Rice shooting, expressing unheard voices from the Cudell neighborhood and Greater Cleveland. Created by an ensemble of playwrights: Mike Geither, Tom Hayes, Lisa Langford, Michael Oatman, and David Todd.


NOVEMBER 2016
The 2nd Annual Cleveland Playwrights Festival

A weekend event featuring staged readings of plays, free workshop-style classes, audience feedback sessions, professional development seminars, and post-show gatherings.


JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017
This is NOT About My Dead Dog
Written by Amy Schwabauer
Directed by Dale Heinen

A comedic one-woman show in which playwright and performer Amy Schwabauer explores the lifespan of dogs, the behavior of aquatic life, the challenges of being a young adult who loves to party, and the struggles of leaving childhood behind.


MARCH 2017
The Mac Wellman Homecoming Festival

A three-day celebration of groundbreaking Cleveland-born playwright Mac Wellman, widely recognized as among the most influential figures of the Off-Off-Broadway era.  Features Playwrights Local’s production of Bitter Bierce (directed by Christopher Johnston) and the presence of the playwright himself! Presented in partnership with Cleveland State University’s Department of English and the NEOMFA Creative Writing Program, and including performances by convergence-continuum, Baldwin Wallace University Theatre & Dance, CSU Theatre & Dance, and Theater Ninjas.


APRIL 2017
2017 Play Lab + Spring Workshops

A series of staged readings, classes, receptions, and special sessions presented at the conclusion of Playwrights Local’s second annual new-play incubator program.


MAY/JUNE 2017
Things as They Are
Written by David Todd
Original score composed by Ben Chasny
Directed by Anjanette Hall

A play-with-music on American poet and insurance executive Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), featuring an all-new score written and performed by Ben Chasny, who records for the Drag City label as Six Organs of Admittance. A collage of scenes, poems, movement, and original compositions.

PlaywrightsLocal_Logo_RedoPNG

Two Grants from Ohio Arts Council

OAC Image for Website Blog PostPlaywrights Local is thrilled to announce the awarding of two grants from the Ohio Arts Council for projects in our 2016-2017 season!

An OAC ArtSTART grant of $3,989 will apply toward Objectively/Reasonable, our ensemble-written piece opening in August 2016.

An OAC ArtsNEXT grant of $6,840 will apply toward Things as They Are, a new play by David Todd with an original score by Ben Chasny. Things is scheduled to open in May 2017.

The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Its vision is to provide leadership and voice for the arts to transform people and communities.

Find our more about this great organization at http://www.oac.ohio.gov/.

Grant from The Cyrus Eaton Foundation

cyrusPlaywrights Local is pleased to announce a generous grant from The Cyrus Eaton Foundation to support our 2nd Annual Play Lab & Spring Workshops, planned for January-April 2017.

This project grant will enable us to conduct the development phase of the Play Lab, in which three playwrights will work on scripts in progress with assigned dramaturgs and directors. The grant also will fund the presentation phase of the process, including a weekend of public staged readings and additional free playwriting workshops.

We thank The Cyrus Eaton Foundation for their support!

The Cyrus Eaton Foundation is a family foundation located in Cleveland, Ohio, where Mr. Eaton made his home. All Trustees live or have lived in Cleveland, affording us a direct connection with the life of the city, and first-person involvement in its welfare.

The Cyrus Eaton Foundation is committed to providing financial support to qualifying non-profit organizations in Cleveland and northeast Ohio, whose programs enhance the quality of life in this area, and whose aims are in accord with those of our founder, the late Cyrus Eaton.

http://www.deepcove.org/

Waterloo Arts Fest on June 25th!

Playwrights Local wants you to join us on Saturday, June 25th at the Waterloo Arts Fest! This annual celebration of arts, music, crafts, vendors, and food  runs from 12 pm to 7 pm on Waterloo Road in beautiful Collinwood, Cleveland! Find more information about this free event at http://waterlooarts.org/waterloo-arts-fest-2016/!

In discussing our involvement with the Fest, David Todd, our artistic director, said, “Waterloo Arts has been a gracious host to us, and we saw this as a way to give back to them. It’s also a way to contribute to the neighborhood of North Collinwood, which has welcomed us warmly.” We are so grateful to make a contribution to the Fest by curating and underwriting a set of performers on the Kids’ Stage and beyond!

The acts Playwrights Local will be sponsoring include StarDrop Circus (aerial acrobatics), Pinch and Squeal (vaudeville cabaret), and the UpStage Players, who’ll be presenting portions of Shrek The Musical.  Additional performers we’re providing including Talespinner Children’s Theater and Wandering Aesthetics (storytellers). (If you want to check out some of the acts, see the links below).

“There’s so many great bands and artists already participating in the festival,” Todd added. “We’re happy we were able to find a niche for adding some additional content in the performing arts.”

This Saturday will be a great opportunity for us and a wonderful experience for everyone involved! A big thank you to Waterloo Arts for their ongoing support and overall greatness!

For more information, visit http://waterlooarts.org/waterloo-arts-fest-2016/!

Also find the Fest on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/1516097215361874/

Playwrights Local at Waterloo Arts Festival

https://www.facebook.com/Super-Happy-Fun-TIme-Burlesque-Pinch-and-Squeal-Cleveland-165307360211978/

https://www.facebook.com/stardropcircus/

We can’t wait to see you there!

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