Tuesday, December 8, 2009
- High School
Scripts are due by email no later than 11:59 p.m., Saturday, January 8, 2010.
Please visit the Festival website for submission guidelines, forms, and other information - www.njypf.org.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
You can click on the script samples for a larger view.
However, when you write a play and submit it to a theatre or contest, the preferred format looks like this:
This last format above is fairly standard with some variety in the way in which descriptive stage directions are formatted. For example, sometimes the stage directions that describe the scene will be indented toward the middle of the page and without parenthesis. This creates a paragraph on the right side of the page. Stage directions that provide specific character action or emotion are still indented once from the left.
However, the preferred format for the NJ Young Playwrights Festival is different from that variation and other theatres or contest might have a slightly different format, too. So, whenever you submit a play to a theatre or a contest, you should always check how they want the play to be arranged. You will find the NJ Young Playwrights Festival preferred format at the website - http://www.njypf.org/. And never be afraid to contact a theatre with any questions.
Monday, November 23, 2009
In the first few scenes of a play, the audience learns about a main character(s) everyday life. This includes what he/she does, who they communicate with, and the environment in which they live, among others. Once this everyday existence is established, the play will begin to take off as the character's world is suddenly turned upside-down and he/she is in a position where action is necessary. I wrote a little about this idea last year (http://njyoungplaywrights.blogspot.com/2008/12/creating-conflict-and-raising-stakes.html).
For an example, let's look at the story of Little Red Riding Hood. In our introductory scenes we want to create Little Red's everyday world so we explore her life and ask ourselves questions about where she lives (what is the house like? where is it located?), what she does (does she go to school? do chores around the house?), who she lives with (who is in her family). The answer to these questions can provide information that is used in the play to create Little Red's world as it exists day-in and day-out. Then, something needs to happen that changes everything. In your English/Language Arts classes your teacher might refer to this as the "Inciting Incident" of the story - we'll call it the "Emergency."
Depending upon how you interpret the story of Little Red Riding Hood, or even which version you consider, there are a couple of dangerous moments that Little Red has to face. The Wolf may come to mind - his actions certainly present a dangerous situation for Red and her Grandma - but this is not our Emergency. Instead, we need to look for an event earlier in the play that changes Little Red's life and sends her on the journey where she eventually confronts the Wolf. For me, the Emergency is the moment when Little Red's mom asks her to take a basket of goodies to her sick Grandmother in the woods. This journey is new for Red - something completely out of her everyday existence - and it is in the action of trying to get the goodies to Grandma that Little Red's story unfolds.
Also consider the story of Cinderella (http://njyoungplaywrights.blogspot.com/2008/12/emergency-situation.html). The arrival of the invitation to the Prince's Ball is the Emergency event that breaks Cinderella from her typical routine. Now, she has the chance to get a better life for herself (not that I'm suggesting that marrying a Prince is the answer for Cinderella).
Take a look at the first scenes of your play and ask yourself the following questions:
- Do these scenes show a typical day in the life of my main character?
- Is the character's goal/want clear?
- What happens that causes the character to go on his/her journey? (What is the Emergency?)
You may find that some of the answers to these questions will help to clarify the Emergency event that sets the entire play in motion. See where it takes you!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
The program begins at 4:30 pm with a reading of the new full-length version of Requiem by Samantha Berstler. At 7:30, there will be a series of readings of short plays that will include The Art of Interrogation by Fallon Schlossman, Rebecca Van Voorhees, and Lydia Gracey.
The readings will take place in the 3rd floor student lounge in the Pless Annex. The building is located at the corner of Washington Square East and Washington Place. The event is free and open to public, so please come out and support the playwrights' work.
Congrats to Samantha, Fallon, Rebecca, and Lydia on this achievement!
Friday, October 23, 2009
THEATRIX! YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS PLAY-READING FESTIVAL
Spread the word...
NYU's Program in Educational Theatre is seeking 10-minute plays from young playwrights (up to age 18)
The Run Down...
- Interested young playwrights should contact Amy Cordileone at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a submission form.
- A completed submission form and script must be emailed to Amy at email@example.com to be considered for the Festival. The submission deadline is October 30.
- Selected playwrights will be notified of acceptance by November 3.
- Young playwrights will work with a playwriting mentor from NYU on Friday evening (Nov 12, 7-10 pm) and all day Saturday (Nov 14, 10 am -10 pm)
- The plays will be featured in a showcase on Saturday evening, at 7:30 pm, in the Pless Hall Student Lounge (open to the public). Plays will be performed and directed by members of the NYU community!
Friday, October 9, 2009
Students in the Madison and Cranford Schools returned to the annual Madison and Cranford Young Playwrights Programs over the past few weeks. There is some phenomenal turnout in both programs, particularly at the schools where students saw their plays performed in the NJ Young Playwrights Festival in May. We wish those students all the best as they begin to create their new scripts this year. I hope that you have begun your writing, too!
Remember, you do not need to wait for the January deadlines to submit your work. Submissions are currently being accepted at the Contest website - www.njypf.org. We already have a couple in, so feel free to drop your's off, too (via internet and email, of course).
I'll be back with some writing exercises over the next few weeks. Hopefully these will help you along as you write. In the meantime, brainstorm some ideas that you would like to write about. See if you can at least get a main character in mind. The next exercise will focus on developing characters. So until then...
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
So, if you've got your play ready, don't wait for the school year to start. You can submit a script by visiting the Festival website at www.njypf.org. Be sure to follow the submission procedures carefully as they are all new for this year.
We're looking forward to reading your play!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
There are a lot of opportunities out there for you to explore. I hope to have some of that information to you in the next few weeks. In the meantime, the new NJYPF website has been fully updated - www.njypf.org - Take a look and happy writing!
Monday, August 3, 2009
NEW SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
The biggest change for NJYPF 2010 is the submission process. We are now accepting scripts via internet submission. Plays MUST be written in MS Word or a PDF document to be eligible.
PLEASE NOTE!: Word documents should be saved as .doc files. We are not currently able to open .docx files.
The other submission guidelines have also changed considerably. Please be sure to check those out on the website before submitting your script.
Podstages is a division for students in grades 10-12 to submit original radio dramas. The format for a radio drama is different from the play script format. A sample of each is provided on the website.
PLEASE NOTE!: A plays may only be submitted to one division. If you write a play for the HS division, that play CANNOT be reformatted and submitted in the Podstages division, and vice versa.
Scripts for the High School, Rewrites, and Podstages divisions are due by 11:59 pm on Friday, January 8, 2010.
Scripts for the Junior HS and Elementary divisions are due by 11:59 pm on Friday, January 15, 2010.
Contest brochures will be sent to schools at the beginning of October, but you can begin writing your play now. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Ben Clawson and some of the playwrights at work.
Monday, June 29, 2009
I am addicted to theatre - which is interesting, since I'm no actor. Instead, I like to slip into the very sinews of a performance. I like to mold, to craft. To be brief, I write plays.
I wrote my first script at age ten for a Playwrights Theatre class. It was terrible. This attempt was followed by several subsequent scripts, which were also terrible but were admittedly less terrible than the first. But I had good teachers and encouraging friends, so I never quit.
Last November, nearly seven years after penning my first stage direction, I tried to tell a story one more time. This story became Requiem, and Requiem became a winner of the New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival of 2009, and I learned that my words would breathe on a stage.
And I was terrified.
Here's the thing about Requiem: the play tells the story of a writer in a totalitarian prison and utilizes such devices as, say, torture and guns. My director and cast, I was convinced, would think I was an absolute psycho.
So as I listened to the first read-through and clutched my binder like a life-buoy, I wanted to crawl under the table. A heavy silence hung over the room after the last line, and then my director began to speak. I cringed, waiting for the question, "What on earth were you thinking when you wrote this garbage?" But a minute passed. Then another. And I realized that they - my director and cast - respected the story. This was a powerful validation of my work as a writer.
Indeed, it was inspiring to see four accomplished adults dissecting, probing the dialogue I had written. Several times, I paused to wonder, "Wait, really? Seriously? They're talking this way about my, a seventeen-year-old's, work?"
But ultimately this wasn't an exercise in flattering a writer's ego. The experience truly helped me learn more about my script. After only one read-through, I was able to hear a myriad of new things: rhythm that didn't work and rhythm that did, lines that needed to be cut or added, plot points that remained unclear. Sometimes someone asked me a question, and I realized I couldn't answer because I had never thought about that aspect of the story before. After the performance, I began rewriting the script based on information I had gleaned from this process.
Before the lights rose for the actual performance, I was trembling again. I cannot tell you what my audience thought as the play progressed. But I do remember hearing sharp gasps during the violence. I do remember my friends wiping dewy eyes. And I do remember the tremendous, painful stillness that swelled throughout the room after the Poet asked the audience to look at him.
By the end of the play, I realized I was no longer frightened. The Man spoke the final line. I closed my eyes and listened to the soft silence between his last word and the applause. It was a beautiful feeling.
Note: Samantha is currently working on a revision of Requiem.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Mary's award winning plays in the NJ Young Playwrights Festival include The Original in 2000 and Grandfather's House and A Room, both in 2001. According to the biography listed at the PlayPenn website, Mary "received a BA in English from Rutgers University, and is currently a recipient of the Iowa Arts Fellowship, completing her final year in the University of Iowa's Playwrights Workshop."
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Anywhen is a science-fiction work that examines a society where the individual has become obsolete and in order to promote an efficient and conflict-free society, its members function as if they had "one mind." The ease of operating as a collective comes with some drawbacks as creativity, passion and emotion are no longer necessary. All members of this world are conditioned to function for the benefit of the whole and those that display even small behaviors to the contrary are reformed, however there is one that is so different, that all of societies boundaries only fuel his desire to be himself. Anywhen is his journey.
Anywhen will have two performances; Saturday, June 13 at 7:00 pm and Sunday, June 14 at 3 pm at Playwrights Theatre, 33 Green Village Road, Madison, NJ. No reservation is required but space is limited. Admission is $8.00 Adults, $5.00 students.
We hope to see you there!
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Congratulations to Kate and to all of the Bergen County playwrights!
Friday, May 29, 2009
I spoke with the playwrights after the performance and it sounded like they came away from the show with a few new ideas about the piece, and perhaps some inspiration for a new play down the line. I've asked them to write about their experience in the Festival and I hope to have those pieces on the blog during the summer. So stay tuned!
Here are some pictures of the playwrights and cast after the performance:
(From l - r) Tyler McGuckin, Jennifer Woods, Ben Muzi, and Samantha Berstler.
Playwrights and casts.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
These eight plays were terrific! The audience laughed a lot and applauded a great deal. At the end of the reading, we presented certificates to the thirteen playwrights (three of the plays were written by a duo or trio!) and a representative from each school. Here are some pictures of the playwrights...
Elementary School playwrights (grades 4-6)
Junior HS playwrights (grades 7-9)
Junior HS playwrights and the cast.
Congratulations again to all of the playwrights!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
(l - r) Alannah Potter as Hero, Paul Reisman as Man, and Jack Moran as Poet.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Very productive day two rehearsal sessions.
Got the new script from Samantha (excellent re-working of the doctor scene) and staged Requiem in the morning session. New version runs about 20 minutes or so. Some complicated staging required, but the actors were quite good at making it look easy and natural after a few run-throughs. Sam told us about all the research she's done on persecution in totalitarian states and how she was inspired by that research to write the play. Also - gave us all a pronunciation lesson in Latin! :-)
Lunch - Ziti ala DeVivo!
In the afternoon session we finished staging About to Pop, and then ran through it a few times. Some great comic bits grew out of the session. Next prom -- everybody dresses in black!
- - - - -
In the staging of "script-in-hand" readings like this, the emphasis should be on the author and his/her work. It's important for the audience to get a feel for what the play might look like physically staged, but it's more important for them to hear the words and feel the power of the language. That's why we create the physical world with as few impediments to the script as we can, but still try to establish a sense of space, time and character. The actors are all quite good at this and that makes the process that much easier. Looking forward to tech and the performance on Tuesday.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
I love this stuff. Working with new writers, fresh ideas and different voices. Requiem is a very mature and complicated play about a young woman's visions of the torture of a dissident poet in a totalitarian state. At the other end of the theatrical spectrum is the satirical comedy, About to Pop, about a HS senior whose collage poetry project is mistakenly thought to be a warning sign of an imminent emotional breakdown, when in reality it's just about getting ready to leave HS for college. It's wickedly funny.
Both Ben and Samantha were nervous, hearing their work read for the first time today! After hearing the plays read aloud, Samantha was inspired to head back to the computer and make some line changes and some minor restructuring. We anticipate a new script tomorrow morning from her! I caught Ben laughing at his piece, out of the corner of my eye, as we were staging it. He left today's session with a few suggestions to punch up some jokes, and maybe consider a few line changes for clarity's sake.
I'm glad to be collaborating with two very intelligent and creative writers. Looking forward to seeing it all on it's feet, as well as the other two plays in the HS festival.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
- May 18 @ 10:00 am - a reading of the Junior HS/Elementary plays
- May 19 @ 10:00 am - a staged-reading of the High School plays
Space is limited for both sessions, so please call as soon as possible if you wish to attend. Let your friends and family know!
Friday, May 8, 2009
The scripts were sent to the actors yesterday and I've already begun to hear about their excitement to perform. I've read each of the 12 plays to be presented at the Festival a couple of times and am anxious to see how they transform. It is quite one thing to read a play and imagine how the story might be staged. As a playwright myself I find there is so much more to the play than I ever intended once a group of actors and a director get a hold of the play and put their own ideas into it.
We're eight days from rehearsal. Keep your eyes open for more posts as we get closer. I'll also keep you updates of the day's events once we get started.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
We had a great time at the school and thank Assistant Principal Steve Raimo for his hospitality and for his continued encouragement of the students' creativity. We look forward to continuing our partnership and working with the students again next year.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
As their website states: "TheAlternativePress.com is the all-online hyperlocal daily newspaper of the State of New Jersey, currently serving the residents of Berkeley Heights, Livingston, Madison, Millburn/Short Hills, New Providence, and Summit, New Jersey."
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Also, the response from playwrights' schools has been outstanding! I have received inquiries from all but one school regarding their intent to attend the Festival. This is excellent, but unfortunately also means that we need to limit the number of attendees for school groups and playwrights' for the Junior HS and Elementary reading on May 18th. But this is a great sign that the program is growing!
Sunday, April 5, 2009
JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL
Beyond the Paint by Caroline Gelinne, 9th grade, Mount Saint Mary Academy
What We Remember by Melina Murray, 9th grade, Glen Ridge High School
The Art of Interrogation by Fallon Schlossman, Rebecca Van Voorhees, and Lydia Gracey, 8th grade, Millburn Middle School
Star Crossed Lovers by Viraj Khetani, Lindsay Maron, and Anna Gracey, 8th grade, Millburn Middle School
The Blacksmith's Daughter by Cristina Lopez, 4th grade, Lafayette Elementary School, Chatham
Filched by Salonee Shah and Lindsay Wang, 5th grade, Wildwood Elementary School, Mountain Lakes
Billifride by Owen Mairo, 4th grade, Brookside Place School, Cranford
The Time Machine of Spring Lake by Fiona Purce, 4th grade, Kings Road School, Madison
These plays are listed in no particular order and were selected anonymously. Judges were not provided with any of the playwrights' information.
These plays will be presented as readings during the New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival on Monday, May 18th at 10:00 am on the campus of Kean University in Union, NJ. The Festival is a partnership between Playwrights Theatre and Premiere Stages @ Kean University. This event is free, but reservations are required.If you or your school are interested in attending, please contact the Education Office at Playwrights Theatre at 973-514-1787, ext. 14. As seating is limited, priority will be given to the young playwrights' families and schools. Any other reservations will be made on a waiting list and admittance will be provided as seats become available.
We congratulate all playwrights who submitted their work to the Contest/Festival this year. As with the high school plays, we hope to have the written critiques of Junior HS and Elementary plays in the mail around mid-April.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Requiem by Samantha Berstler, 11th grader at Villa Walsh Academy
About to Pop! by Ben Muzi, 12th grader at Lawrence High School
Suitcase by Tyler McGuckin, 11th grader at Bergen County Academies
'Til Death Do Us Part by Jennifer Woods, 11th grader at Bergen County Academies
These plays are listed in no particular order and were selected anonymously. Judges were not provided with any of the playwrights' information.
These plays will be presented at the New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival on Tuesday, May 19th at 10:00 am on the campus of Kean University in Union, NJ. The Festival is a partnership between Playwrights Theatre and Premiere Stages @ Kean University. This event is free, but reservations are required.
If you or your school are interested in attending, please contact the Education Office at Playwrights Theatre at 973-514-1787, ext. 14. As seating is limited, priority will be given to the young playwrights' families and schools. Any other reservations will be made on a waiting list and admittance will be provided as seats become available.
We congratulate all playwrights who submitted their work to the Contest/Festival this year. We hope to have the written critiques of these plays in the mail around mid-April.
Judging for the Junior HS and Elementary school divisions has completed. Winning playwrights will be notified by mail in the next few days.
Thank you. And congratulations again!
Monday, March 23, 2009
This afternoon we will begin with a read-through of all 16 plays with most of the playwrights on hand. Rehearsals will run throughout the week with three sets of performances: on Thursday and Friday we will conduct a staged reading at the four participating schools; on Saturday, all 16 plays will be featured on our main stage here at Playwrights Theatre. It is an exciting week and we're looking forward to getting started.
You can find more information about the Festival on our website at http://www.ptnj.org/SpecialEvents/MYPF.htm
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I have not yet had the chance to look at the site thoroughly as I only came across it today through a link from the blog of YA novelist Laurie Halse Anderson. However, I did look at the "Hero's Journey" interactive and being a big fan of using this structure as a way to begin a story, thought that I would pass it on. You can link directly to the Hero interactive by clicking this link, or cutting and pasting it into your browser - http://www.readwritethink.org/materials/herosjourney/
This will take you through the background of the Hero's Journey concept and each of the steps of this story structure. Some of our older young playwrights may find it a bit elementary, but I would encourage giving it a try as a writing organizer, or something to help generate an outline. Give it a try!
Thursday, March 5, 2009
In a few weeks, I will meet with the Selection Panel to decide the four plays from each division that will receive a staged-reading during the NJ Young Playwrights Festival on May 19 & 20 at Kean University. A few playwrights and teachers have written me emails to inquire about our selection date and I wanted to post that information here in case there are more of you with similar questions.
Immediately after the Selection Panel makes its decision, I will contact each of the winning playwrights and their families directly. By the end of March, early April, we will publicly announce the selected plays. So, just another 3-4 weeks to go!
In the meantime, I'd like to publicly thank all of the Contest Readers who have given their time and expertise to make this program possible. They are still at work writing up their feedback to each of you who submitted a play to the Contest. I hope to have those to you by the end of April, early May.
Thanks again and happy writing!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
The first round of the Contest will wrap up this Sunday, February 15th. The plays that advance to the second round will be sent back out to another group of readers who will recommend the plays that make it to the final round.
This week, I sent invitations to the other artists who will serve on the Selection Panel with me. We are working to schedule a time in March. At that time, we'll select the winning plays in each division.
There's not much to inform you of in between now and March, but please send me any questions that you might have about the Contest, or about playwriting in general. Send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will try to post and answer some of them on the blog. Until next time... happy writing!
Monday, January 19, 2009
Thanks and congratulations are also owed to all of the teachers, parents, and other supporters of the young playwrights. Your encouragement and assistance throughout this process is invaluable. Thank you for patronage of these young people as they have endeavored to share their insight with us.
What happens next?
The office has been inundated with scripts these past few days and I look forward to receiving many more when the post office reopens tomorrow morning. Over the next two weeks, our office will enter these scripts into our Contest database and begin forming packets of plays that will be read by two theatre artists. I will keep you updated of the Contests progress throughout the next few months. So, stay tuned and in the meantime, have fun!
Friday, January 16, 2009
Now that you're done. Go celebrate!
I look forward to receiving your plays!
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Is it still the New Year even if you don't get to see the ball drop and the "2009" light up? Anyway, I hope you’ve had a great holiday filled with inspiration for your play. Some scripts have already started to come in to the office and I look forward to being inundated with them over the next two weeks. There is just a little over a week until your plays need to be postmarked for entry into the NJ Young Playwrights Contest. This means that you still have some time for last minute revisions and tweaking before January 16th.
Perhaps this weekend you can get together with a group of friends or family who’s opinion you trust and have an informal reading of the play. This doesn’t need to be a formal presentation, or a fully acted reading (though it can if you want it to be). Often a reading like this works best when everyone is hanging around the living room on couches or chairs. An informal reading will provide you with the opportunity to hear the play outside of your head and see how actors or your intended audience might respond to the piece.
I know that receiving critique on something that you’ve written can be uncomfortable to bear. This is why it is important to keep the event informal and only include people whose opinions you trust. It is also helpful to inform your group that the goal of the reading is for you to hear it out loud and potentially strengthen some areas. You may want to provide your readers with a list of questions you have, or certain sections of the play that you are unsure about. Ask the group to tell you what they liked FIRST, and then get into suggestions, questions, or ideas.
IMPORTANT! - Always remember that YOU are the playwright! Everyone who reads or sees your play will respond to it differently; will have his or her own opinion about how your story should be told. It is important that you listen to what people have to say, but in the end, this is your play and you have the final say in how it is written. Just remember that the goal of writing a play is to communicate an idea to the largest audience possible. The reactions of your reading group may give you an idea of what a larger audience does and does not get from your play. If they are missing something that you want the audience to get, you may want to see where you might be able to make revisions to get that point across.
Rewriting is tough, especially after you've put so much into completing that first draft. But it is well worth the trouble. Have fun!