Thursday, October 29, 2015

Doug Wright on Functionaries

I had the pleasure of hearing playwright Doug Wright speak the other day at the University of North Texas. He read from his Pulitzer Prize-winning one-person show I Am My Own Wife.

During the post-reading discussion he mentioned an interesting tidbit that is specific to solo performance works. In traditional playwriting, with multi-character plays portrayed by multiple actors, it is considered hackish to put in really flat, purely fuctional characters.

These characters show up as waiters or waitresses, bank clerks, people waiting at a bus stop, and so on. They don't have complex, rounded personalities, but instead are in the play in functional roles. They serve as minor little catalysts. The waitress establishes that the other, probably main characters, are at a restaurant.

Actors hate playing these purely functional roles. Wright labelled them "functionaries." A really capable playwright would make these functional roles gifts for actors and add at least a little depth and background to them.

On the other hand, in his play I Am My Own Wife, he pointed out that despite the fact that it has over 30 roles, some of the characters that show up only appear for a single purpose, do their job, then disappear. They are purely functional. 

He went on to imply that one can get away with this in a solo show because the actor performing it has enough to deal with. A solo actor playing multiple roles doesn't need a gift of all the characters being super well-rounded. A charcater can come in and be functional and the story keeps going.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Applications now open for...

2016 Dallas Solo Fest (app deadline: Nov 8... fest: June 2-12, 2016)

Cincy Fringe (app deadlines: Dec. 3rd (or Nov. 13th for earlybird)...fest: May 31-June 11, 2016)

 Orlando International Fringe Festival (app deadline: Nov. 16th... fest: May 18-30, 2016 )

 Atlanta Fringe (app deadline: postmarked by January 4th. (Yes, you have to mail it in)... fest: June 8-12, 2016)

 Edmonton Fringe (app deadline: Nov. 23rd... fest: August 11-21, 2016)

Ottawa Fringe (app deadline: Dec. 1st... fest: June 15-26, 2016)

Victoria Fringe (app deadline: Jan. 12th (or Dec. 11th for locals-only)... fest: August 26 – September 5, 2016)

Thanks to Grant Knutson of Minion Productions for this update

Siobhan O’Loughlin performs in a bathtub

Siobhan O'Loughlin in Broken Bones Bathtub

"After a severe biking accident last October, her fourth in four years, O’Loughlin was left with a large cast on her arm that made showering almost impossible. Instead, she opted for a traditional, safer route: baths. The only problem? Her apartment didn’t have one.

“Friends would ask, ‘What can I do?’ and I’d say, ‘Well, do you have a bath?’” To O’Loughlin’s surprise, many of her friends eagerly offered up their bathrooms. She was soon bathing all over New York City. This gave her the idea for Broken Bones Bathtub, an immersive theater experience designed to bring people together around the themes of generosity and healing."

Read the whole article... HERE