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Manhattan Project: Cleveland Lab

April 21st, 2013 No comments

Shmokee by Joe Park

Shmokee by Joe Park

Just finished my first :10 minute play for the project. I was given the prompt of Shmokee (two elephants smoking marijuana) by Joe Park. Playwrights receive their prompt in dramatic fashion like choosing lots and then raising the prompt high for all in attendance to view. In addition to the prompt, the play must have a tool used incorrectly, a character who finds something, and a character who curses something.

I’m working with Gregg Ashbrook II, and Lynda and Andrew Santa. In discussions with them I learned that Gregg likes characters with “rough edges”, Lynda wanted to play an “evil mastermind” and Andrew a “lazy, toady.” All this combined lead to rather surreal short play I named “Spare Room” involving a construction worker and a entranced/distracted serial murderer and her assistant. To see the short, come to the May 6 Manhattan Project event at Mahalls.

Manhattan Project: Cleveland Lab

April 10th, 2013 No comments

Manhattan Project Oak Ridge

Manhattan Project Oak Ridge

My good friend Peter Roth did something quite exceptional yesterday, well, he had probably been working on it and thinking about it for a bit longer, nevertheless, yesterday evening he convened the first meeting of the Manhattan Project.

By his own description:

Between 1942 and 1945, J. Robert Oppenheimer gathered the most brilliant minds of the age at Los Alamos, New Mexico to create something magnificent and terrifying. The Manhattan Project – Cleveland Lab seeks to do the same for the Cleveland stage.

Based on the Theatre Lab model taught at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama and inspired by The Brooklyn Generator in New York, The Manhattan Project wants to introduce Cleveland actors and playwrights to each other by organizing a monthly production of brand new 10-minute plays.

Participating artists will meet early in the month and will be broken into teams, each with one playwright. The playwright will then be given a writing prompt to write a new 10-minute play based on the prompt and including all the team’s actors. The rest of the evening the team members will get to know each other and get a feel for each other’s skills and voices.

The teams will reconvene later in the month to perform these plays for each other.

These 10-minute plays are not an end in themselves. Through these small collaborations we hope to build relationships between the two most vulnerable artists in theatre; the actors who put themselves on stage and the playwrights who pour themselves onto the page. Perhaps these 10-minute plays will grow into longer works or maybe these collaborations will become partnerships on larger projects.

I am pleased that Peter invited me and that I am one of six inaugural writers. Upwards of twenty people showed up last night and all were enthusiastic. This is an exciting project and will only grow with time.

If you want to participate, please RSVP at

The first performance will be Monday, May 6, at 8:00pm at Mahall’s on Madison Avenue, which is a kick-ass venue with a good beer selection.

Rock-on, Peter!

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