Thursday, July 28, 2011

2011 Playwright Interviews (Part One)

Posted by Matt Shea, Assistant to the Artistic Director

Hey everybody!  Here are interviews with two of our four fantastic playwrights from WordBRIDGE 2011! The first is with Caroline V. McGraw, writer of Tall Skinny Cruel Cruel Boys and the second is with Sarah Saltwick, the writer of Rabbits.  The interviews with Katharine Sherman (christopher marlowe's mystery play) and Krista Knight (Unhinged: A Silent Opera) will be up shortly.  Keep checking back for updates throughout the year from WordBRIDGE!

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Topography of WordBRIDGE

Posted by Krista Knight, Playwright '11

a stately pleasure-dome decree:

I had the most amazing time at WordBRIDGE Playwrights Laboratory these past two weeks. I was led into a theater Xanadu between Baltimore and the river Alph where an extremely talented group of actors, directors, dragmaturgs, resource artists, company members, and student artists helped me create from a place as foreign to me as Mount Abora to Khan. I ventured in holding tight to safe ways of working and wielding a play that resisted my attempts to force it into something other than what it was - something WordBRIDGE fed it to be. I am happy and so grateful.

A Topography of WordBRIDGE

On the first floor you find a theater stage set with round tables and breakfast banquet. The company members toast raison bagels, pour soy milk into fresh coffee, and share war stories. Down the hall the script office buzzes with research requests and hot copies of new pages for rehearsal. Another turn of the rectangular hallway brings you to the rehearsals rooms—wide and bright and open, with two story windows overlooking the green trees of Towson’s campus. Around the tables, the playwright, director, dramaturg, stage manager, and actors insert the fresh pages into their scripts. As the actors highlight their new lines with one of the stage manager’s coterie of yellow, green, and pink highlighters, the dir/dram/pw triumvirate create a game-plan to investigate the new material. The resource artists orbit the circle with their own stations of investigation particular to their discipline. The computer visualization programmer with his laptop, the book artist with her sketch pad and charcoals, the psychologist with his proverbial pencil and pad. The drummer somewhere in between poised to improvise the drumming sequences with the actor whose monologues they underscore. Another pivot down the rectangular hall leads to a studio theater where Guest Artist Hours are populated by resource and visiting artists and the members of the company and outside community hungry for their expertise. The Green Room rounds out this first floor with couches, baskets of apples, T-Shirts of WordBRIDGEs past and fresh coffee, fresh coffee, fresh coffee.

One floor below is nestled the Playwrights Lounge—part work space, part rec/dressing room, den, snack repository, discotheque. Strategically placed speakers, mood lighting, and lava lamps catalyze not infrequent playwright dance parties that lift our spirits and our skirts on break from the catacombs of our scripts. Around the bend the Resource Artist Room aptly inhabits a converted chemistry laboratory, where mathematical, visual, musical, and tactile experiments build the sensory worlds of the four plays.

On each floor, at every bend, in every room—the future of American Theater is being ecstatically, elastically, actively made.


Krista Knight's plays have been produced by The Ontological Hysteric Theater, The Ashland New Plays Festival, The Hangar Theatre, Brown University, LiveGirls!, Harvest Theatre, Goshen College, The Attic Theatre, The New Perspective Festival, The Pan Theatre, and The Bus Barn Stage Company among others. Commissions include The Assembly, LiveGirls!, and Class Act. Krista has been in Residence at New York Mills, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Interplay in Australia, UCROSS, the Santa Fe Art Institude, Yaddo, and MacDowell. Winner of th 2011 KCACTF Musical Theatre Award from the Kennedy Center. 2007 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow. After WordBRIDGE, Krista will go to Berkeley Rep to write two plays for young adults and then will begin the year-long Shank Playwriting Fellowship at the Vineyard Theatre in New York. BA: Brown University. MA: Performance Studies from NYU. MFA: Playwriting at UC San Diego.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

WB First: The Actor's Perspective

Posted by Darlene McCullough, WordBRIDGE 2011 Actor

"Do not try to write a story while you're still in it," Bill Harley cautioned at his performance to benefit WordBRIDGE this past Saturday night. Sage advice; given from a gracious and powerful storyteller. Advice that I'm choosing to ignore as I shore up to my keyboard to type these paragraphs. I'm in the middle of my first WordBRIDGE Playwrights' Lab – a process I can claim to grasp but generally wonder if I can really understand until the closing readings when I am freed from the awe-inspiring responsibility of being an actor in a 'baby play'.

That's the metaphor that we've been passing around: that these four playwrights have entrusted us as a company with the care and growth of their children. Their fresh-born baby ideas that we, as a company of actors, dramaturgs, directors, designers, resource artists, drummers, and clowns (yes, we have a clown on staff these 2 weeks!), have been asked to nurture and give ourselves over to. (One writer referred to her play as a 'preemie' the first day since her first draft was finished 15 days before the lab.) And with great power comes great responsibility. Much of our process is protected from the 'outside world' to shield our writers so they may take big, bold risks.

As an actor, I find this simultaneously harrowing and terrifying. We take on the unknown; not only with respect to the new challenges we face as actors (as I am), but also the unknown in the sense that these plays are unfinished. Much of what I've worked on in the past 10 days have been questions about these plays that cannot be answered in text – because the text doesn't yet exist. Joining me on this journey have been not only a great company of actors, but a generous director (I've been blessed (cursed?) to have the same director and a few common actors in both pieces I'm working on here).

So we risk. But what does that mean to someone who's never been to WordBRIDGE and seen what we do? Well. It means exploring dark corners of possibility within the world of the play as the playwright tries to learn what her own play is really about. Sure, these explorations are structured through improv and exercises, but I've never improv'ed quite like this before. It means being ready to come in one day and be working on a draft that isn't just changed; it could be completely different. It means checking your ego and your agenda at the door and believing, as much as you can, that anything that happens has no reflections on you and yours. It's about the play. And, as an actor living 99% if the year in the New York market (where it so often seems every actor is hyper-focused on themselves) it's nice. And it's scary. And it's exhilarating.


Darlene recently made her Off-off debut at the Notes From the Underground Festival premiering the role of Leslie in 'Carbon Based Life Form Seeks Similar', as well as wrapped production as the goddess-turned-super-villain Galatea in the upcoming web series 'Team Allies'. Regional credits include 'REVELATION' at Baltimore Theatre Project with Generous Company (Rebecca), 'Funy As Hell' at Yale Cabaret (Three), and 'Magnificent Yankee' at Monomoy Theatre (Mary). For more information on Darlene's other projects visit Darlene holds a Bachelor of Arts, Acting Concentration from the University at Albany.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

'Juggling' at WB: Megan Gogerty

Posted by Anna Chovanec, Script Office

When I think of WordBRIDGE, a whole cadre of people come to mind: from our many guest artists, to each year's uniquely memorable playwrights, my own past creative teams, personal mentors, and amazing international guests over the past five years, but few are as utterly delightful as the incomparable Megan Gogerty. This year, Megan is burning the candle at both ends as she pulls double-duty for us as dramaturg and actor. She was kind enough to take a few minutes and talk to us about her experience so far this year.

Interview with Megan Gogerty, WB 2011 artist:

What is your history with WordBRIDGE?
MG: I was a nubile playwright in 1996, then I workshopped another play in 1998. Then I came back as a Boomerang playwright (a professional playwright who has returned triumphant) in 2008 to workshop my play BAD PANDA.

You're juggling some different roles here at WB this year. Can you tell us a little about each role, and what it's like to see all these playwrights' processes from different perspectives?
MG: I'm working as both a dramaturg for RABBITS and as an actor in TALL SKINNY CRUEL CRUEL BOYS. What's it like? It's great! It's fun to attack these scripts from different viewpoints. It's also reminded me how sedentary the 'wright and 'turg lifestyle can be compared to acting. Acting is all about "Jump! Run! React! Feel things!" wheras writing and dramaturging are all about, "Think about this for a while...perhaps eat a cookie while you think your deep thoughts..."

How does your experience having been a playwright in this environment in the past affect your reception of these plays?
MG: I think about it all the time. It makes me especially sensitive to the pressures on the writers. I try to couch my feedback in ways that are useful while also being cognizant that playwrights are people and not machines. Sometimes people just need to stare into space and not have demands put on them. Sometimes people need impromptu dance parties.

What will you take with you from this year's lab?
MG: Domino's sugar cubes.

(A big thanks to our gracious sugar donor – we in the script office are big fans of the cinnamon sugar and agave!)

Megan Gogerty is a playwright, performer and songwriter. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution listed her solo show HILLARY CLINTON GOT ME PREGNANT in the Top Ten Best Plays of 2009 alongside Billy Crystal and Twyla Tharp. It premiered to sold-out audiences at Riverside Theatre (Iowa City) in 2008 before being performed all over the country, including an extensive run at Synchronicity Theatre (Atlanta). Megan's musical drama LOVE JERRY was produced in the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2008. It won multiple awards, including three Talkin' Broadway Citations and four NYMF Excellence Awards including Excellence in Writing (Book). It premiered at Actors Express in Atlanta after touring England with Dartington College of the Arts. Her ten-minute play RUMPLE SCHMUMPLE (Dramatic Pub.) was a Kennedy Center/National ACTF honoree. Other plays include: SIG GOTTA DO (Synchronicity's SheWRITES Festival, Pasadena Playhouse Hothouse Series) and BAD PANDA (officially banned in China; Sycamore Rouge Theatre; WordBRIDGE 2008 Boomerang Playwright honoree; Syzygy Theatre/LA Writers Center series). Megan was a Playwrights' Center Jerome Fellow, and she earned her MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin. She currently teaches dramatic literature at the University of Iowa.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Night At The Theatre.

Posted by Matt Shea, Assistant to the Artistic Director

Hey everyone!

Today was a very exciting day at the WordBRIDGE camp. Vasilena Radeva had a great guest artist hour on the state of Bulgarian Theatre this afternoon, and then this evening the company went and enjoyed a fabulous performance of Iron Crow Theatre Company's Brad Fraser's Love and Human Remains, which features WordBRIDGE Director/Actor Michele Minnick, and was directed by WordBRIDGE 2010 Playwright Joseph Ritsch. Iron Crow featured a production of his play Apartment 213 this past fall, which was developed at the lab this time last year!

All the different rehearsal processes are in full swing, and everyone is getting very excited for the arrival of Bill Harley, who will be tomorrow's Guest Artist talking to the company about storytelling.  Once again, we will feature a LIVE STREAM of his talk, which begins at 5:30pm.

To check out Bill, and all the other Guest Artist Hours that will be broadcast LIVE from WordBRIDGE, follow this link to our USTREAM account, and please pass it along!

And, of course, I wouldn't want to leave you without a little video update! Here the company answers the question: "Who or what is one of your theatrical inspirations?"

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Posted by Matt Shea, Assistant to the Artistic Director

Hey everyone!

So from now on we're going to spread out our timing of these videos a bit. Now that being said, i know we're a few days behind on the round-up material, so here is Day 7's (Sunday's) Question of the Day. Later on today I'll get yesterday's question: "Who or what is one of your theatrical inspirations?" online.

The first official rehearsal block was yesterday and today we move into a somewhat 'normal' schedule, with rehearsals in the morning and afternoon, and a Guest Artist Hour at 5:30pm.

Look for more posts soon!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Come To The Guest Artist Hours

Posted by Matt Shea, Assistant to the Artistic Director

Hey everyone!

Been wondering if there was someway for you to be directly involved with WordBRIDGE this year? Well while our readings are not open to the public...the Guest Artist Hours are!  Below is a list of the Guest Artist Presentations that you are more than welcome to join us for:

Tuesday, June 14: Dramaturgical Innovations and New Plays 
Wednesday, June 15: Contemporary Bulgarian Theatre
Thursday, June 16: Story Telling with Bill Harley 
Sunday, June 19: State of Hungarian Theatre with Phillip Arnoult 
Monday, June 20: READING: "Panties" by Maxim Kurochkin
Tuesday, June 21 : Crosby Hunt's "Tiger, Tiger" 
Wednesday, June 22: Reading of a TBD Play by George Brant

All Guest Artist Hours take place between 5:30 and 6:30 in Towson  University's Center For The Arts' Studio Theatre.

Come check it out!  For more information, or if you have any questions, e-mail

Check back later for more updates!