San Diego Playwrights

Getting San Diego Playwrights Produced on San Diego Stages

OUR VOICES WILL BE HEARD–An Interview with Vera Starbard

Vera_Starbard

Tell us about yourself.

My Tlingit name is Tset’ Kwei, and I come from a Tlingit and Dena’ina Athabascan heritage (indigenous Alaskan groups.) I was born in Craig, Alaska, a small town on Prince of Wales Island, and now make my home in Anchorage. I have my own business, Writing Raven Communications, and am Associate Editor for First Alaskans Magazine. I am engaged to a wonderful Inupiaq/Cree man, Joe Bedard, and we are adopting our daughter Darrian soon.

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Tell us about your play.

“Our Voices Will Be Heard” is a story of what happens when the secrets of a family’s sexual abuse come into the light, following the journey of a mother of an abused daughter. It is definitely quite heavy, and autobiographical, though the setting is a late 19th century Tlingit village. I have woven in the culture of storytelling, and the visually striking art of the Tlingit people. The actors are all wearing traditional button robes my mother made, as the blankets themselves are used as a metaphor for the culture.

What are your challenges? What are your successes?

For the play, the most challenging part was that it is so autobiographical. I had to push myself to see the story through a viewpoint that was out of my comfort zone, and try and serve the story more than the “facts” of my own life. I was trying to impart the emotion of how the experience felt more than the exact events as they happened.

I think the success of the play this far is in the language and artistry of the story. While I have many things to fix still, my culture and the weaving of the ‘literal’ story and how the emotions played out are coming across to the audience so far.

What is your next step?

For the play, the next step is a workshop, reading, and possible production in Juneau. The script still needs plenty of work, but my time with Native Voices at the Autry has been invaluable. It is already a better script in the week I’ve been with Native Voices.

For theater, my fiancé and three additional playwrights started a Native theater company in Anchorage, Dark Winter Productions. In the short time we’ve been in operation, we have already great successes. Our intent is to grow the Native theater community in Alaska, with not only a play like “Our Voices Will Be Heard,” but more Native-written, directed, and acted plays.

Thank you for talking with us Vera! Good luck with OUR VOICES WILL BE HEARD and the Native Voices Festival!

Come see Our Voices Will Be Heard at La Jolla Playhouse on Saturday, May 31st at 5:00 pm! For more information or reservations, visit: http://theautry.org/whats-here/theater-native-voices

Native Voices at La Jolla Playhouse

16th Annual Festival of New Plays

FREE public staged readings!

http://www.lajollaplayhouse.org/native-voices-2014

There is no “I” in NDN  By Jennifer Bobiwash (Ojibway*) Saturday, May 31, 2014, 2:00 p.m.

Our Voices Will Be Heard By Vera Starbard (Tlingit/Dena’ina*) La Jolla Playhouse: Saturday, May 31, 2014, 5:00 p.m.

Note: A light supper will be provided between the two readings on Saturday.

Measure for Measure Adapted by Randy Reinholz (Choctaw*) La Jolla Playhouse: Sunday, June 2, 2014, 2:00 p.m.

These readings are free to attend, but we strongly encourage reserving your seats by visiting our website, www.nativevoicesattheautry.org.

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THERE IS NO “I” IN NDN–An Interview with Jennifer Bobiwash

Jennifer%20Bobiwash

Tell us about yourself.  
I am Ojibwe and hail from a tiny tipi in Canada. I am a First Nations, Actress, Writer, Accidental Producer and Content Creator. My dream of becoming an actor began when I watched The Kids of Degrassi Street because none of the characters were American Indian. Growing up and going to a French school, I never thought of myself as different. It wasn’t until I came to L.A. that I realized I was native. I have since been acting in local theater and film, as well as learning everything I can about the industries. Having always loved technology, I jumped at the chance to make my own content in the infancy of YouTube. Becoming an accidental producer, I have produced over 300 episodes of online content. This play has been years in the making and spawned my creation of my YouTube channel Welcome to the Tipi in an attempt to figure out how to be ndn. My co-host Geraldine Chases-her-Tail and I share our attempt at being ndn in today’s society. I have guest starred in APTN’s (Canada) Mohawk Girls and am actively involved in creating a happy place on the internet.

My youtube Channel. http://www.youtube.com/ndninla

My  personal site: http://www.jenniferbobiwash.com

Tell us about your play.

THERE IS NO “I” IN NDN is a one-person play about a woman’s search for what it means to be NDN in today’s society.

What are your challenges? What are your successes?

My challenge is to write everyday.  I feel it is necessary to consistently write, to be able to discover new ideas and stories.  As a new playwright I am still searching for my voice and my process.  I have sat with this current project for some time and am quite open to make changes that will serve the purpose of the play.   As an actor I never understood the fight that some writers make for a simple word.  But as a playwright, knowing the entire backstory of the project, that one word is sometimes a subtle hint of things to come.  My success is being accepted by Native Voices and having the amazing opportunity to work with professionals to realize my vision.

What is your next step?

My next step is to finalize the play after reviewing the feedback I’ll receive from the public staged readings Native Voices is doing in L.A. and in San Diego. Then, I’ll work on finding a director and getting the piece ready for production to present to other theaters and interested groups.

Thank you for talking with us Jennifer! Good luck with THERE IS NO “I” IN NDN and the Native Voices Festival!

Come see There is No ‘I’ in NDN at La Jolla Playhouse on Saturday, May 31st at 2:00pm! This FREE public staged reading will be followed by a light supper reception. For more information or reservations, visit: http://theautry.org/whats-here/theater-native-voices

Native Voices at La Jolla Playhouse

16th Annual Festival of New Plays

http://www.lajollaplayhouse.org/native-voices-2014

There is no “I” in NDN  By Jennifer Bobiwash (Ojibway*) Saturday, May 31, 2014, 2:00 p.m.

Our Voices Will Be Heard By Vera Starbard (Tlingit/Dena’ina*) La Jolla Playhouse: Saturday, May 31, 2014, 5:00 p.m.

Note: A light supper will be provided between the two readings on Saturday.

Measure for Measure Adapted by Randy Reinholz (Choctaw*) La Jolla Playhouse: Sunday, June 2, 2014, 2:00 p.m.

These readings are free to attend, but we strongly encourage reserving your seats by visiting our website, www.nativevoicesattheautry.org.

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MEASURE FOR MEASURE–An Interview with Randy Reinholz

Randy Reinholz

Tell us about yourself.

I am a proud member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, and the co-founder and Producing Artistic Director of Native Voices at the Autry, the nation’s only Equity theatre company dedicated to the development of new plays by Native American writers. I have directed and produced over 75 plays across the U.S., Canada, and Australia. I am a tenured professor at San Diego State University, where I served as Head of Acting in the School of Theatre, Television, and Film from 1997-2007, and Director of the School from 2007–2012. In 2012, I was named Director of Community Engagement and Innovative Programs for the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts.

The Cast of MEASURE FOR MEASURE

The Cast of MEASURE FOR MEASURE

Tell us about your play.

In a nutshell, MEASURE FOR MEASURE is a bit like Blazing Saddles meets Shakespeare. This bawdy adaptation of Shakespeare’s MEASURE FOR MEASURE is set in the Old West in the fictional frontier town of Genoa, Nebraska. An Indian boarding school, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and the local town and saloon inhabitants collide over the fate of a young Native American boy unjustly sentenced to death for impregnating an Irish girl.

In particular, the play explores a key issue in Indian country today, which is the contradictory legacy and cultural damage of the Indian boarding school system. Designed by the U.S. government in the late 19th century, Indian boarding schools were meant to assimilate Native American children into Euro-Christian culture. The motto of the boarding school was “Kill the Indian, Save the Man,” and has been described by many as a system of cultural genocide. Although the practice diminished in the mid-20th century, this issue rouses deep emotions even today. A play about this subject seems to want some kind of theatrical distance – so I chose comedy.

What are your challenges? What are your successes?

Challenges – as always, it’s a challenge to carve out the time to write. It’s difficult because it means no distractions and thinking just about the play. I have to miss out on LOTS of other fun stuff when I focus on just the play. The good news is that I’ve been able to explore the history that informs the play– history about the American west and Buffalo Bill. Because of this, the play moved from the mid 1890’s to the mid 1880’s. A great success of this process is that I get to watch Deadwood and Blazing Saddles for research.

What is your next step?

This week, we are adding music to the play. I’m working with composer Nick Spear, who is originally from San Diego and now lives in Montana. (San Diego theatregoers will know Nick and his wife Rebecca from their long-term relationship with Lamb’s Players in Coronado. They performed there for nearly a decade.)  We’re working this week in L.A. with cultural advisers to fuse together music from the American West, France, Ireland, and of course, powwow-style music from the Lakota and Pawnee tribes. We are really looking forward to showing the play to the audiences in L.A. at the Autry and in San Diego at La Jolla Playhouse.

Thank you for talking with us Randy! Good luck with MEASURE FOR MEASURE and the Native Voices Festival of New Plays!

Come see MEASURE FOR MEASURE at La Jolla Playhouse on Sunday, June 1st at 2:00pm! This FREE public staged reading will be followed by a Meet-and-Greet reception with the artists. For more information or reservations, please visit: http://theautry.org/whats-here/theater-native-voices

Native Voices at La Jolla Playhouse

16th Annual Festival of New Plays

http://www.lajollaplayhouse.org/native-voices-2014

THERE IS NO “I” IN NDN By Jennifer Bobiwash (Ojibway*) Saturday, May 31, 2014, 2:00 p.m.

OUR VOICES WILL BE HEARD By Vera Starbard (Tlingit/Dena’ina*) La Jolla Playhouse: Saturday, May 31, 2014, 5:00 p.m.

Note: A light supper will be provided between the two readings on Saturday.

MEASURE FOR MEASURE Adapted by Randy Reinholz (Choctaw*) La Jolla Playhouse: Sunday, June 2, 2014, 2:00 p.m.

These readings are free to attend, but reservations are strongly encouraged. Please visit http://www.nativevoicesattheautry.org to reserve.

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THE BROTHERS LIPSCHITZ–An Interview with Paul-David Halem

Paul Halem Color

Paul-David Halem

Tell us about yourself.

I started out as an actor in New York in the sixties.  As a teen, I worked off off Broadway and did summer stock at the Bellport Theatre on Long Island.  At first, I went to Hofstra, which has a wonderful drama department, but I soon ran out of money.  In those days, there was a draft and once I lost my student deferment I quickly became red meat for the Vietnam War. Somehow four years in the Air Force seemed better than two years in the infantry.  As it turned out, the Air Force sent me to Bangkok as a nineteen year old and I was happily recruited by a theatre group that was associated with the American Embassy. After Bangkok, I finished out my service at Travis AFB in Northern California where I met my wife Sandi, who was a student at UC Davis.

When I finally finished up with the Air Force, I returned to school at San Francisco State and earned a BA in Drama in 1973.  For the next several decades I raised a family and started three businesses in San Francisco.  Really no time to work in the theatre.  In 2004, we moved down to Escondido and I discovered to my delight that San Diego has a wonderful theatre community.  Over the past 9 years, I’ve acted in a dozen plays and in 2010 my first play LIFE CYCLES had its world premier at PowPAC Theatre in Poway.  In the thirty plus years PowPAC has operated, my play was their first World Premier.  I am grateful they gave me the opportunity to see my play come to life.

THE BROTHERS LIPSCHITZ had its World Premier at the Broadway Theatre in Vista this past November.  I am delighted that Jerry Pilato of Different Stages has offered to stage another production at Swedenborg Hall in June 2014.

To both my surprise and delight, it seems that all those years as an actor helped me develop an ear for dialogue.  It is, indeed, a pleasure to discover late in life that I have a talent for playwriting.  Some people have asked what my process is when I write a play.  The fact is I don’t have a set format.  I just let the characters start talking and I find out what they want to say as I go along.  Probably not the way playwriting is taught, but it works for me.

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Paul-David Halem and Jim Clevenger

Tell us about THE BROTHERS LIPSCHITZ.

A few years ago I was about to have the World Premier of my first play LIFE CYCLES at PowPac Theatre.  At that time, I noticed that Jim Clevenger, who was involved in the original staged reading, looked a lot like me.  We are both bald with generous noses and little beards that cover our double chins.  At that time, I mentioned to Jim we could play brothers.  I then said I was going to write a play where we could actually play brothers.  From that idea THE BROTHERS LIPSCHITZ was born.

The play could best be described as a warped comedy.  It is about two brothers who live together.  Not unlike ODD COUPLE, they could not be more different. Al is a very flaky Pulitzer Prize winning historian and Jack is a very straight arrow marriage counselor who, in fact, has never been married.  Jack has decided that Al needs to get off of the couch and back in the world.  With that in mind, he has invited two women to dinner.  It soon becomes evident these women are more than a little off and a series of dates will keep the audience guessing what in the hell is going to happen next.  Jim Clevenger and I play the brothers and Renee Gandola and Karen Schooley are wonderfully strange as the women in our lives.

Karen Schooley and Paul-David Halem

Karen Schooley and Paul-David Halem

What are your challenges? What are your successes?

As far as challenges with this play, I am pleased to say there were few.  Other than rewriting the ending and Jim putting in wonderful transition music between scenes, the play is pretty much as I wrote the first draft.  Nice when things work out that way.  Now that the play will have been produced twice I will need one more production for it to be published and promoted nationally.

What is your next step?

As far as my next goals, I have two new plays that I am now shopping and hopefully will have the opportunity to see them come to life too.

Thank you for talking with us Paul! Break a leg with THE BROTHERS LIPSCHITZ!

San Diego Premier
THE BROTHERS LIPSCHITZ
Written by Paul-David Halem
Directed by Jim Clevenger
Swedenborg Hall, San Diego
Produced by Jerry Pilato, Different Stages
The World Premier was at the Broadway Theatre, Vista, November 2013.
Cast:
PAUL HALEM  AS  JACK LIPSCHITZ
JIM CLEVENGER  AS AL LIPSCHITZ
RENNE GANDOLA AS JOY
KAREN SCHOOLEY AS ELAINE
Runs June 14–June 28, 2014
Evening performances at 8 pm on June 14, June 21, June 27th and June 28th.
Matinee performances at 2 pm on Sat, June 21 and June 28th.
Check http://www.Goldstar.com for special price tickets.

 

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My Brooklyn Hamlet: An Interview with Brenda Adelman

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Tell us about yourself.

My name is Brenda Adelman and I am an actor, playwright and a transformational life coach. I consider myself a healer. I grew up in Brooklyn amongst mobsters and religious Jews. I started professionally acting in Europe after college and when my life was blown apart by my mother’s murder by my father and his subsequent marriage to my mother’s sister. I found the road to healing through writing my show, going back to school for a master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology and through the practice of forgiveness. I’ve been fortunate to teach forgiveness and I’ve had the honor to receive a Hero of Forgiveness award from the Hawaii International Forgiveness Project. I’m married and in the best relationship of my life for 13 years. We have a son who used to be a foster child. I get to travel internationally with my one-woman show and I recently started mentoring creative types on creating their own one-person shows.

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Tell us about your play.

My Brooklyn Hamlet: A Meshugenah True Story grew out of a 30 minute storytelling exercise in an acting class I was taking three years after my mother’s death. The assignment was to be authentic on stage. I hadn’t been because I had been so swallowed up by my grief and shame. I decided to write one of my poems into a scene and then expanded it into a mini show without the intention of having it ever be a show. But not only was I surprised by the standing ovation from the 100 person class but I learned that my honesty was incredibly healing for others too. My Brooklyn Hamlet is based on my life story. It’s raw and dark and intense and funny with a twist of Shakespeare. It comes from Truth and I believe that is what connected with the class and with everyone ever since. It heals others by allowing audience members to feel all their emotions, forgive their judgments and open their hearts. It’s about family, love, loss, vengeance, and the sweetness and strength of forgiveness.

What are your challenges? What are your successes?

The very first professional production of My Brooklyn Hamlet was produced in Los Angeles before I had went back to school to get my degree in Psychology. During my master’s program I learned what a healthy boundary was for the first time in my life. Because I wasn’t healed yet I would perform the show and my audiences would be moved to laughter and tears but I would feel terrible at the end of the night. I’d go home to my lonely apartment and be depressed. At that time I was still in an on again off again relationship with my father. That was a huge challenge for me. Luckily a friend recommended The University of Santa Monica and I enrolled in the two-year program and I have never looked back. It changed my life for the better. I worked out my inner demons (rage/anger/being uncentered and unconscious of the patterns that were running me) so that I didn’t have to work it out on stage. The success is that when I took up the show again a few years later I rewrote the ending with my new sense of awareness and self-love and the show felt like a gift to me and for the audience. It’s an incredible way for me to express myself creatively, get to travel the world and make money doing what I love at the same time that I am helping change people’s lives for the better.

I’d say one of my biggest successes with the show was when my brother invited me to perform My Brooklyn Hamlet in Vienna, Austria a couple of years ago. He was then running The Jewish Theatre of Austria and was hosting a huge Jewish Theatre Festival and Conference (the 1st of its kind since WWII). The thing is–my brother and I had been estranged for six years right after our mom died because it was my father who had murdered our mother. My father was his step-father. I wasn’t ready to go after my father legally at first. We stopped talking. We then reconciled six years before the invitation to perform at his festival but we had never spoken about anything. Obviously we both did the inner work we needed to do to come together but still we didn’t talk anything through. Then he invited me to do the show at his theatre. He had his son (my young nephew) in the audience. My brother and I did the Q and A together on the stage after the show. It was a pure moment of art and life coming together for incredible entertainment and healing. I’ve been paid more, I’ve performed my show in London and NYC, for women prisoners and for the United States Air Force, but I would say I call this experience the most successful.

What is your next step?

I’ll be performing my one-woman show at The Orlando International Fringe Festival from May 16th – May 25th and then I will be performing My Brooklyn Hamlet: A Meshugenah True Story  at The 2nd annual San Diego Fringe Festival as part of the Actors Alliance of San Diego and the San Diego Playwrights “Breaking Waves” Festival.  Info about those performances and so much more is on my website at http://www.forgivenessandfreedom.com and on my FB page at http://facebook.com/MyBrooklynHamlet. I have an exciting new online video course I am developing called, How to Create, Promote and Profit from Your Own One-Person Show. After years of having people request my mentorship and speaking on the subject I decided to create an online course to share everything I’ve learned. For a free report on How to Step into Your Own Spotlight and to keep up with the show go here: http://www.forgivenessandfreedom.com/spotlight.

Thanks for sharing your inspirational story Brenda! Good luck in the Orlando International Fringe Festival, the San Diego Fringe Festival and beyond!
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