Theatre in an Animal Shelter? … Generosity and Creativity

Why in the world would anyone want to do a play reading in an animal shelter? Why violate the advice given by sage vaudevillians in the days of old: never act with children or animals. Because THE PET PLAY, my latest comedy about obsessive pet owners, and the search for unconditional love, features pets. And  this a great thematic fit with one of the finest animal shelters in the country: SAVE – A Friend to Homeless Animals (savehomelessanimals.org).

And because we non-profits have to start thinking outside the box (what box? you might be thinking): the “we-are-struggling-and-can’t-afford-to-do-anything-generous-for-another-organization” box. There are a lot of things we can offer each other: entertainment, art, shared audience, space, talent, etc. SAVE is offering a space for this reading of selected scenes, and publicity, and they have a wide audience that has never heard of Dramatic Question Theatre (www.TheDQT.org). And I have a play that touches on a subject near and dear to SAVE’s heart, and the willingness to put together this unique fundraising event to help support SAVE and the production of the play in New York in early 2018. SAVE volunteers have been super generous with their time, help, and guidance. And I have been super creative with putting together this evening of entertainment, and snacks, followed by fireworks. Ok – I don’t get credit for the fireworks, Montgomery Township does.

Come support this endeavor and be part of the paradigm shift!

Details:

Thursday June 29, 2017 – tour of SAVE at 5:30 PM, reading doors open at 6:00PM, play reading of selected scenes followed by refreshments, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, fireworks (weather permitting) at approximately 9:15 PM. Tickets $20 on line, $25 at the door, donations gratefully accepted and shared between SAVE and DQT.

Buy tickets or make a donation here.

Thank you!

Rewrites, and collaborators, and getting help!

statue_of_liberty_fires_lazer_by_SaturnV

 

I’ve been immersed in rewriting Act one of Manuel versus the Statue of Liberty. All the pieces were there, but they weren’t building the tension, and the story. They were wandering. So I fixed that. I clarified the big moment where Manuel challenges the Statue. All of this will make sense when you see the reading. For now, it will sound like the demented musings of a writer’s mind. That’s how we work, we writers. It’s like hearing voices in your head, and leaving the current reality for the reality you are constructing. Tuning out the real world and diving into an imaginary world. Like the “Lion. the Witch, and the Wardrobe”, except that I don’t have a cool, antique armoir to walk into for ideas.

Then back out into the practical world, where I keep asking friends for money, and fundraising support. Yeah – still time to donate to support the show (www.thedqt.org/donate/fountain-of-youth) through the internet. You can even mail in a check if you get nervous at the thought of the NSA knowing you gave money to a musical comedy about illegal immigration. Contact me for the address.

And then there is the dreaded insurance application for the show. Oy vey. I am on my third try. The first try yielded a premium 3x higher than the ball park estimate, thanks to my inexperience in filling out the forms. The second try was rejected because it was too close to the first try, and the underwriter said no to the request. The third try is a charm! I am armed with DQT’s previous insurance records, I have a better understanding of the concepts of salary, fees, and stipends (really important for the application – and silly me thought, hey, they’re getting paid, so it’s all the same…not in the wacky world of insurance). Special thanks to NYMF staff for helping me learn more about this topic.

Thank God for friends – the generosity of giving their hard earned money to support this show that takes a stand on the Dream Act, and then the friends who lend their talents and their time to help out. Special shout out to Mary McGinley who has joined us as Associate Producer! Yeah! So awesome that she is taking on some of the work in getting the word out, looking up grant information, local publicity, some fundraising.

And then there is NYMF – oh my God! I am so happy to be in this festival! Check out the great article on all the shows coming this July 2014 in the article in Playbill. The best press I’ve ever gotten! Yeah, I had to write the tag line and the marketing blurb, but NYMF gave me advice on how to do it. Look at the shows that are similar in tone to mine (like Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon) and see how they describe their shows. One short cut – take a look at the “about” pages on websites of shows you’ve seen, to see how they are described in “marketing speak”. You know the show, and you see the blurb, and you can make the translation for your show.

So that’s why I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks. Now off to prepare a feast for a very modern seder, and celebration of spring!

Wah! CD raffle ends – just over $300 !

merceroak_300_cropMy first fundraising effort comes to an end. I had a raffle of CDs donated by Her Wahness herself (Wah! – great kirtanist). The lucky winner was Fred R.V. See the drawing on facebook here. I raised just over $300 in raffle ticket sales. Good start. I am not great at asking people for donations. It feels so egotistical to say to someone “My show is really good and worth supporting! Be part of what launches a new voice!”, even though I believe it to be true. So a raffle of something wonderful like Wah! CDs makes it feel easier, because there is the offer of something, not just asking.

If it were not for DQT, my theatre company, and Andrew Frank’s workshop on asking people for money to support your theatre work, I would not be able to do this at all. Not even close. It’s a valuable skill – asking for what you want. Being specific. I want money so I can produce my solo show about the search for the fountain of youth, the finding of it, and the discovery that it comes with a curse.

Again – I have the intention of creating a dialog among all of us – what is it to mature, to grow old? How can we do it gracefully (because it will happen)? But without money, the show will not happen. That is the bottom line.

So my next endeavor will be some sort of “Thank You Party” for all my donors so far, and donors-to-be. I like being in a position to give something back to those who have been so generous to me so far. So my goal is $15,000 and I have just over $300, with the promise of another $100 from my mind map sister Jean F. I’m on the boards! Great oaks from little acorns grow!

First Major Setback, and Intention

I had a meeting with the Artistic Director of Theatre for the New City last week. Based on that frosty reception, and the harsh contract conditions, I did not sign. I am looking for a new theater. I don’t want to do the show at a place where on the first meeting they say “we don’t want to do your show.” Fuggetaboutit. So that took the wind out of my sails, and made me feel bad that my plan was already going awry.

Then today I had coffee with my very wise and good friend today, and he asked me what was my intention for doing the show. Through a chain of thought provoking, soul searching questions, I arrived at this: my intention for the show is to create a dialog among women regarding ageing, explore what is good about it, not just what sucks about it, and hopefully alleviate the suffering we go through as our society ignores us for the rest of our lives. We women of a certain age have to push back and say we are here, we are worth it, and we have a lot of wisdom to share. So put away your “anti-aging” treatments, and roll up your sleeves ladies! We are changing the paradigm.

Ad I saw in a shop window on Manhattan's upper west side.
Ad I saw in a shop window on Manhattan’s upper west side.

Fountain of Youth – my solo show

Oh Brave New World of Blogging! I am embarking on producing my solo show at Theatre for the New City, April 3 – 20, 2014. It’s a long ways away on the calendar, but I have so much to prepare for, and so much money to raise that I should have started yesterday. Actually, I did start last week. I am raffling off 2 sets of Wah! CDs, generously donated by Her Wahness herself (check out her music at www.wahmusic.com). Check out my efficiently organized raffle at www.thedqt.org/donate/fountain-of-youth. It ends in time for Wah!’s visit to www.IYIPrinceton.com in late October. It will be so great to hear her live! It will relieve all the stress of writing grant applications, and asking people for money to finance my show. Ahhhh…. and so what about this show?

My solo show, “Fountain of Youth” is about the “real” fountain of youth that Ponce de Leon discovered way back in the 1500s, in the swamps of Florida. What if it was real? What if it worked? What if there was a curse on it though? Would you drink from it and stay eternally young? Making the same mistakes over and over, never reaching the self acceptance that comes with maturity? What do you think? Let me know.