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Playwrights Local 4181 Launches New Playwrights’ Center for Northeast Ohio

October 7th, 2015 No comments

Playwrights Local 4181 Logo

Inaugural festival to be held November 6-7, 2015, at Waterloo Arts

(Cleveland, OH; October 7, 2015) — Playwrights Local 4181 announces its debut as Northeast Ohio’s first playwrights’ development and production center, marking its launch with a free festival on November 6 & 7, 2015. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Playwrights Local presents new plays written exclusively by area dramatists. It also offers classes and engages the community through site-specific projects. Playwrights Local is a home for novice and experienced dramatic writers to learn, create, and share their work.

“This type of organization has already succeeded in Chicago, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Cincinnati,” said David Todd, Artistic Director of Playwrights Local. “We see this as a way of putting our under-recognized playwrights on the map, and of making their plays a bigger part of the arts conversation.”

Literary Manager Arwen Mitchell seconds the need for a space in Greater Cleveland dedicated to dramatic writing. “Other theaters support local playwrights to the extent that they can, but there’s no place focused on them exclusively,” Mitchell said. “Having an outlet like Playwrights Local is both amazing and essential.”

Playwrights Local 4181 welcomes the Northeast Ohio community to its inaugural Cleveland Playwrights Festival on November 6 & 7, 2015. All sessions in this event are free. (Online registration is recommended.) Dramatic writers of all skill levels can participate in workshops and discussions. Fans of live theater can attend staged readings of local works and take part in a recording of Mike Geither’s podcast play, Flame Puppy. Other offerings include a luncheon and post-show reception. The festival will be held at Waterloo Arts in Collinwood (15605 Waterloo Road, Cleveland, OH 44110).

Information on festival sessions and registration is available at www.playwrightslocal.org. Tax-deductible donations in support of this new, locally focused arts organization also may be made at the site.

Standardized Child TM

October 15th, 2011 No comments

Springboard a staged reading festival

Springboard

Standardized Child in Springboard

Went and saw Claire Robinson May’s new play on Thursday night at Springboard. It is worth taking a look at.

Springboard

Springboard is CPT’s new festival of staged readings so you need to be aware that these productions are staged readings and not full productions. That being said, CPT is taking an new approach to staged readings and not allowing the boring old “music stand” approach to be the dominant factor. In fact, the directors and actors are encouraged to attempt to get as much into the “full boll” of a real production as possible.

That being said, all should remain aware that staged readings are a public presentation of unfinished work and that there is a lot of fat still on the meat. Claire’s play is no exception. There is a lot going on in this: a lot of good stuff that needs to be focused.

The story in short is about a couple that cannot conceive. So they go to a newly created company that offers robot children and adopt. The “standardized children” are pre-programmed to be successful in standardized ways–good at standardized tests, rote learning, core and fundamental sports and painting techniques, etc. However, they lack the capacity for “creative” thought: they can do as they are programmed, but cannot be spontaneous or operate outside of the bounds of their installed software set.

That being the premise of the play, the play itself is really about some tough themes, themes that were discussed quite passionately. One group of thoughts was that the play is about control. That raising children is about controlling children–after all, children are projections of ourselves into the world and parents attempt to shape their children to be what they want them to be. Society attempts to control children (and parents) and to have them raised according to precepts that are important to society. In discussion, Raymond Bobgan raised the point that public education in the US was never about educating children so much as it was about creating a workforce for industry–and the approaches to education reflect that attitude: standardized, rote, uniform, etc. Another theme that I picked up on is that of connection–or attempts to connect. Throughout the parents who have adopted the robot child attempt to connect with the child in ways that the child is not capable of. In many ways the parents end up projecting their emotional desires onto the child. Additionally, the parents themselves have some work to do in how they relate to each other, a fact that becomes painfully obvious as the play moves forward.

Claire does a wonderful job of keeping the pace of the play moving forward and she has a wicked sense of humor that makes the play as funny as it is serious.

Go tonight

If you’re looking for something to do tonight, get over to CPT and check out Standardized Child, it starts at 7:00 in the James Levin Theatre.

I also have to give a shout out to Debbie Keppler who does a great job as the confused and emotionally distraught mother. Debbie was my lead, Asa, in Patterns at CPT in March.

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