Friday, January 25, 2013

I Believe In This

A Theater Manifesto by Taylor Mac, ladies and gentlemen.

I was going to post my favorite bits, but just about everything is my favorite bit.

Even the bits I'm not sure I agree with are my favorite bits.

Good God Taylor Mac.

Taylor Mac Taylor Mac Taylor Mac.

Taylor Mac.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Link on Links - Galileo

If you want to play Link on Links at home, simply take the text of a favorite play and add hyperlinks as you see fit. This week let's take a look at the opening of Bertolt Brecht's Galileo.

(Galileo's scantily furnished study. Morning. Galileo is washing himself. A barefooted boy, Andrea, son of his housekeeper, Mrs. Sarti, enters with a big astronomical model)

Galileo: Where did you get that thing?
Andrea: The coachman brought it.
Galileo: Who sent it?
Andrea: It said "From the Court of Naples" on the box.
Galileo: I don't want their stupid presents. Illuminated manuscripts, a statue of hercules the size of an elephant--they never send money.
Andrea: But isn't this an astronomical instrument, Mr. Galilei?
Galileo: This is an antique, too. An expensive toy.
Andrea: What's it for?
Galileo: It's a map of the sky according to the men of ancient Greece. Bosh! We'll try and sell it to the university. They still teach it there.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Newest from THE SHARE Starring...

One of the best parts of being a Youngblood Playwright is getting to work with some of the finest and funniest actors in town. After reaching a saturation point with these actors, I decided I HAD to write a Sitcom Pilot for some of these folks.

This Sitcom is called "The Share" and it stars The Ensemble Studio Theatre's Steven Boyer, William Jackson Harper, Lucy DeVito, Julie Fitzpatrick, Robert Askins, Megan Tusing, Scott Sowers and Maureen Sebastian. It's about a bunch of people crammed into a Crown Heights apartment trying to make ends meet.

The 22 minute Pilot was released spring of 2012 and following that, Webisodes about all of the characters. Check out the newest Webisode starring the Obie-award winning Steven Boyer right here:

And the TRAILER, PILOT and other WEBISODES from "THE SHARE" at

Thanks for Liking The Share on Facebook and following it on Twitter @TheShareSitcom

And thanks, Actors, for saying yes to us Playwrights.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

An Interview With Unfiltered's Stage Manager Eileen Lalley

Eileen Lalley is the Stage Manager for Unfiltered. With only 3 shows left in the 21-performance run, she kindly used her lunch hour for a little GChatting about what she's learned in the process.

Chiara: Okay: You just opened 5 (!!) Unfiltered shows. HOW DO YOU FEEL?

Eileen:  like i just ran a marathon! proud, exhausted and ready to do it again....after sleeping for a month straight

Chiara:  it's been the same crew, right? for all 5 shows? same design team?

Eileen:  yep- we had two costume designers that alternated shows and the rehearsal SMs have been different but other than that

Chiara:  are you sick of each other yet.

Eileen:  i'm not? they might be sick of me

Chiara:  lol
I have to say that
I feel like there's an enormous sense of relief, from the writers and the director, when you step into the process? Cause you sort of come in right when things are starting to get really stressful
And you just have a REALLY calming and authoritative presence in rehearsals
is that something you're aware of/try to cultivate?

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Tony's 2013 Oscar Nomination Predictions

Tony Meneses makes his picks

You guyyyys, I’m freaking out… You see, tomorrow the Oscar nominations are going to be announced and though I would usually reserve my giddiness to a select few (who never actually really care), I thought I would take this opportunity to do A BLOG POST, and share with you my 2013 Oscar Predictions! Perhaps this could be annual tradition? (Well until I am booted outta here the year after next).

I figured this might be good post material since we all tell stories with actors and words, and movies have all that good stuff too. Plus who among us wouldn’t take a stab at writing a movie if given the opportunity, which yeah right if you’re one of those playwrights that only ever wants to write for the stage (that’s like saying you wouldn’t go out with that hot chick in high school if she ever deigned to look your way- or in my case, hot guy). Plus- PLUS- we all got stock in this horserace since one of our own Youngblood alum is likely going to hear her name called tomorrow! (Lucy Alibar, yeah!!)

Without further adieu!

Best Picture:
Zero Dark Thirty
Les Miserables
Silver Linings Playbook
Life of Pi
Beasts of the Southern Wild

The last three are on the fringe of being nominated, but I’m using my women’s intuition and guessing they’ll make the (surprising) cut. And I’ll even go out on a- further- limb and say if Amour is nominated, I have a hunch it’ll win.

Best Actor:
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Denzel Washington, Flight
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Jean-Louis Trintignant, Amour

I’m taking a big gamble on Trintignant, especially since this spot could easily go to Hugh Jackman in Les Miz or Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings, but something tells me Jackman is too showy, and trying too hard (his eyes practically scream ‘look at me, I’m so raw right now’) and Cooper just doesn’t seem to be there yet in his career (though he totally will be one day). Trintignant gives a powerfully quiet and
unsentimental performance as an old man taking care of his dying wife… Though we could all end up surprised and see Gigli star Ben Affleck in Argo.

Best Actress:
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

This is the category I have the most stock in, mostly because I will probably cry if both Riva and Wallis get nominated, making them the oldest and youngest Best Actress nominees ever, respectively. They both gave beautiful performances that unlike their more known possible fellow nominees, you really can’t imagine anyone else playing their roles.

Best Supporting Actress:
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Sally Field, Lincoln
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Amy Adams, The Master
Judi Dench, Skyfall

I think there’s going to be a strong push for Skyfall that’s going to land in several categories, including here. I mean, the Academy is doing a tribute to 50 years of Bond films this year, I doubt that’s a mere cosmic coincidence.

Best Supporting Actor:
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Alan Arkin, Argo
Javier Bardem, Skyfall
Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike

Some posit that Django could sneak in here with DiCaprio or Christoph Waltz, or that Robert De Niro will make the cut with Silver Linings, but my money’s on Bardem and McConaughey to elicit a good wtf moment when either one or both are announced.

Best Director:
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Ben Affleck, Argo
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Michael Haneke, Amour

I wager Amour is going to be the movie this year that’s going to sneak up in a lot of categories and everyone will wonder how they didn’t see it coming. Well everyone except me that is.

Best Original Screenplay:
Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom
Michael Haneke, Amour
Rian Johnson, Looper

Paul Thomas Anderson could be here for The Master, but I have my doubts. The other screenplays have more support and fans. Fun fact: Playwright Martin McDonagh could sneak in here with Seven Psychopaths.

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Tony Kushner, Lincoln
Chris Terrio, Argo
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Lucy Alibar & Behn Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Yeah, that’s right: it could be Kushner vs. one of Youngblood’s own.

So, those are my guesses. I’ll find out tomorrow when I’ll be one of few watching the nominees announced live at 8:30am EST!!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

An Interview with Cory Finley

Youngblood member Zhu Yi interviews Youngblood member Cory Finley.

Cory Finley

ZY: When did you decide to be a writer? And why?

CF: I’ve always been into storytelling: I always used to monopolize creative duties in childhood pretend games, and the hard drive on the old family Windows ’95 is loaded up with fifteen to twenty of my unfinished fantasy novels. When I started writing and staging plays in college, I got really into the discipline of it, the limitations. It felt like what I’ve always loved doing, but a real craft, a practice -- something I could refine and master. I’ve been doing it ever since.

ZY: What are your favorite and least favorite parts of your body and why?

CF: I’ve got great hands. Tremendous, but surprisingly delicate and kind. They can palm a basketball and also hold a baby bird. My feet, though, look like the feet of an alien. I can’t walk in a straight line: I often run my walking companions off the road. I blame the feet.

ZY: When you are at a party, people (usually non-theatre people) try to start a small talk with the question “So what kind of plays do you write?” How do you respond?

CF: That does always seem to happen, doesn’t it! Things would be simpler if I had a clear answer, like “Southern family dramas” or “plays about cats.” Unfortunately, I’m at a stage in my career where I’m determined never to repeat myself -- in terms of plot, style, or subject matter -- so usually I just dodge the question and try to say something witty about the hummus in the buffet spread.

ZY: COMBO-QUESTION: What is your favorite food, who is your favorite writer, and what do you think that writer would think of that food? Or, alternately, what do you think that food would think of that writer?

CF: I really like a good burger. I also really love Caryl Churchill. I have a feeling Caryl Churchill doesn’t like burgers. But since every burger I know is a big fan of formal experimentation, subtextual menace, and feminism, I bet they’d feel great about Caryl.

ZY: What is your most irrational fear?

CF: Short people.

ZY: When was the last time you were sad? What happened?

CF: This is a great question. I’m sad right now. Because the caffeine from my coffee this morning is fading, and I know it’s all pretty much downhill from here.

An Interview with Zhu Yi

Relatively new Youngblood member Cory Finley interviews relatively new Youngblood member Zhu Yi.

(As a documented alien, Zhu Yi never remembers to carry her passport around. That's why she always ends up drinking orange juice while everyone else is having adult beverage.)

CF: I know you write in (at least) two different languages -- do you find you write differently in different languages? Have you translated your own work?

ZY: I've been speaking/writing/dreaming in Chinese through my life but in English only for 4 years. Of course I write much more smoothly in my first language, but sometimes skillful writing can distract a writer's mind and cover the deeper truths. Since I have nowhere to hide in English, because I don't know how to gift-wrap my plays with beautiful (or correct) language (all I can hope is making less grammatical mistakes every time), I have no choice but to focus more on the structures, stories, images, themes, etc.. I become more honest when I write in English. And I find the great power in the simplest words.

More specifically, the difference between writing in Chinese and English is like the difference between - this is going to be inappropriate - making love with the lights on and off.

I write in both languages.

CF: Do you write on a computer? On paper? What are the day-to-day mechanics of your writing process like?

ZY: Firstly, I randomly put words on a piece of paper. And somehow I know what to write about by staring at it. Then I write on my laptop with the help of e-dictionary and food.

CF: COMBO-QUESTION: What is your favorite food, who is your favorite writer, and what do you think that writer would think of that food? Or, alternately, what do you think that food would think of that writer?

ZY: My favorite food is Sichuan food. It's super spicy but subtle because it's well balanced by different kinds of spices. My favorite writer is Charles Mee. His plays are “ broken, jagged, filled with sharp edges, filled with things that take sudden turns, careen into each other, smash up, veer off in sickening turns.” And that sounds exactly like Sichuan food to me – stimulating, fierce, heated and well-balanced.

(a typical Sichuan dish)

CF: What is your most irrational fear?

ZY: That no one loves me.

CF: Why theater, rather than any other art form?

ZY: Among all the art forms, I like the ones that are practical and associated with daily life. That's why I prefer design to fine art, architecture to sculpture, and storytelling to academic writing. They make me feel alive. However, even with the practical ones, the magic would only happen when you take a leap of imagination and dare to be less “useful”. So I choose theater, an art form can swing between practical and impractical, earth and heaven.

CF: I've been considering whether I should create a profile on an online dating website. Do you have any thoughts on online dating? On dating in general? On the internet?

ZY: I tried online dating once, and I could never artfully or truthfully answer the question “So how did you guys meet?” Neither could my boyfriend at that time.

But I think you totally should create a profile. You know, more and more undocumented immigrants are fostering the improvement of immigration laws by self-exposure; more and more gay people are advocating for gay rights by coming out. I believe if more and more people try online dating, one day it will be no longer awkward to answer “so how did you guys meet”. Plus a tall handsome smart young Yale playwright will bring an increase in the overall level to the online dating pool. So dooo it for the world, Cory.

My thoughts on dating in general... I was amazed by how many terms Americans have invented for dating: hang out, casual date, exclusive date, booty call, friends with benefits, take a break, open relationship, open marriage, etc. It's been a pain in the ass for me to adapt to such a system, but lately I've realized when it's not The one, cultural background, timing, distance, language, or anything would make it complicated; but when it's right, it's just two human beings wanting to be together. Nothing is simpler than that.

(I do cheesy things.)

CF: Any upcoming productions you'd like to promote?

ZY: My new play HOLY CRAB! will have a workshop presentation at New York Theatre Workshop in March 2013. It's a dark comedy looking at American immigration history through the metaphor of Chinese Mitten Crabs in Hudson River.

Another play of mine I AM A MOON will have a staged reading at IATI Theater on March 27th, 2013.

Friday, January 04, 2013

10 Essential Steps of Brunch Prep: A Field Guide

The following outlines the various tasks that a responsible Youngblood member will perform on the morning of a brunch. 

1. Arrive at EST at 11am. This is extremely difficult unless you happen to still be at EST from the night before (recommended). However, brunches don't brunch themselves, so a crisp 11am playwright call is a critical part of the process. After all, there are muffins to cut.

2. Begin cutting muffins.

3. Locate tablecloths. Apply tablecloths to tables. Seek a partner to help you if needed (if possible, ask Rachel Bonds to help you, as she is very skilled at this.)

4. Resume muffin cutting.

5. Make sure somebody makes coffee.

6. Do a lap of the entire second floor (2x-3x) with concerned look. If possible, do a lap while holding clipboard to ensure zero interruptions. 

7. Clean up muffin crumbs/begin distribution process.

8. Decipher whether clusters of actors are socializing or running lines. Join conversations/suggest rewrites as appropriate.

9. Hide backstage and question your choice to become a playwright. Immediately stop when you see all the fantastic people in your life eating various bits of muffin. 

10. Stay in lobby directing the lost to the Medicine Show.