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!  

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Rehearsal Check-In: "Caleb's Moon"

Hey all!

So I'm going to start writing these throughout the day, splitting up the Daily Round-Up segments into individual videos, so make sure you keep checking back here!

This update brings you the rehearsal check-in with "Caleb's Moon" playwright Dani Faulkner. Check out the video before!  Thanks everyone!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day Five: Final Touches

Today was a busy day for everyone. Morning tasks included finishing the Lab Manual, getting everything in the Script Office in place, and, most importantly, picking up the rest of the company and making sure their move-in to the apartments was flawless.

Unfortunately, such a busy day resulted in no Daily-Round up, as everyone was literally too spread out to...round-up. But I was able to grab a few minutes with Student Artist Playwright Eric Poch and chat about his process with A Soldier Went To War. To see that, check out the video below.

Tomorrow things really get going, so make sure you come back tomorrow to find out what's happening now that the rest of the company is here!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day Four: 103 Degrees

That was the official temperature at Towson University today, a day that brought two readings from each of the students plays, the assembly of the script office, final preparations for the arrival of the rest of the company over the next two days, and fifteen cases of donated sugar from the local Domino Sugar Factory.

What it did not bring was an interview with either of our two student playwrights, so their check-ins will be coming along shortly. I was able, however, to put together a short round-up, (minus a Word of the Day), so check that out below. We may, in the future, be breaking these videos up into individual videos rather than segmented ones, so keep a lookout for lots of different updates coming out of WordBRIDGE!

Things are getting very busy around the Center For The Arts, but they're also getting very exciting as our four playwrights arrive tomorrow! Make sure you come back for another post (or two) tomorrow.

Also, Mike Perrie just added some pictures to the Picture page, as well as WordBRIDGE 2011's Photobucket! Check out 'Pictures' for more details!

And don't forget to follow us on Twitter! @WordBRIDGE! (feed on the sidebar)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day Three: Titles, Gnats, and Chicken Wings

Day Three brought exciting developments to the two Student Artist Plays. Caleb's Moon had their improvaturgy rehearsal with Will Manning, while No Title Yet...found a title! A Soldier Went To War proceeds with its final day of rehearsal tomorrow.

The day ended with a great grilled chicken dinner back at the apartments, with a few unwelcome insect friends.

In addition to today's Round-Up, today was supposed to also deliver to you a rehearsal check-in with A Soldier Went To War playwright Eric Poch, but due to faulty audio...we'll be bringing you that video tomorrow. The Caleb's Moon check-in will be right behind. 

So for today, another lovely Round-Up:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day Two: Back Where We Started

Hello again!

So, as it turns out, I lied in the last post.  Due to some technical difficulties we are back at the old blog (but with a new look!) as opposed to  Maybe next year...maybe. But for right now, this is where the WordBRIDGE 2011 Blog will be staying. You can check out the individual play pages as they develop, as well as keep an eye out for new Under The Bridge videos, and of course, the Daily-Round ups featuring rehearsal check-ins. Word of the Day, Question of the Day, and Deep Thoughts with Will Manning.

Again, during the first week at WordBRIDGE the students artists are hard at work prepping Towson University's Center For The Arts for the next two week when the rest of the lab participants arrive. At the same time we are in rehearsals for the two Student Artist plays being developed this year: Caleb's Moon and No Title Yet, by Dani Faulkner and Eric Poch respectively.

Tomorrow's Round-Up will feature Eric Poch and No Title Yet. Although, from what I hear...we might just have a title for you.  See you then!

WordBRIDGE 2011 Kicks off!

Hey everyone! WordBRIDGE 2011 has officially begun! As with last year I’ll be making daily updates to this site to make sure everyone knows what is going on here in Baltimore during WordBRIDGE 2011!
This year’s lab is being hosted by Towson University. The pre-lab week this week will feature two student-artist written plays: Caleb’s Moon by Dani Faulkner and No Title Yet by Eric Poch. Both had their initial readings today and will continue rehearsals all week.
The other plays featured at the lab this year are:
Krista Knight - Unhinged: A Silent Opera * Caroline V. McGraw - Tall Skinny Cruel Cruel Boys Sarah Saltwick - Rabbits Katharine Sherman - christopher marlowe’s mystery play
Check out the play’s individual play pages as they evolve over the next three weeks. Also make sure you keep looking out for new ‘Under The Bridge’ videos and ‘Daily Roundups’
I made a video for the first day, but the camera cable was left at Towson for the night, so that will come out tomorrow night, if not before.
Check back here tomorrow for more information!
-Matt Shea, Student Artist