Being an Emerging Playwright by Andrew Black
Being an emerging playwright is hard. Very Hard.
If you are an emerging musician, you can write a new piece of music at your piano and then invite friends over to your house and play it for them.
If you are a visual artist, you can go into your garage, put paint on a canvas and then show it to people and see what they think.
If you are a new playwright, and you write a 30-minute one act with five characters, you have to know five reasonably talented actors who are all available at the same time, have a place that is big enough to accommodate a cast of five and at least five of your friends if you want to experience your own work in a very minimalistic setting.
If you want to see a real production of your 30-minute play, good luck! You have to find a theater company which is willing to invest in new work and has a space, and some design professionals (costume, director, set design) in order to experience your creation. And you find that very few theaters (which work on shoestring budgets anyway) are willing to work with you on your project.
That is why the Indiana Writers Center (IWC) in its partnership with Indy Fringe is so important for emerging playwrights. The Indiana Writers Center provides a setting where playwrights can take a playwriting class. In these classes, professional actors come and read new work at no charge. The playwrights can re-write based on what they learn. Professional theater companies partner with the IWC to help develop work through low-cost staged readings (rehearsals and blocking, but no sets, costumes or props).
Finally, Indy Fringe offers festivals where playwrights can see and experience fully realized workshop productions of their own plays, complete with stage, basic set pieces, and an audience.
This year (2016), DIVAFEST features workshop productions of plays by eight emerging playwrights who have come up through this IWC/Indy Fringe connection. (April 1-April 10)
The next week (April 15-16), The Short, Sharp and Twisted play festival features work by six additional emerging playwrights, four of whom are having their first-ever production of a play.
When you come to DIVAFEST or Short, Sharp and Twisted, you are supporting a process which is making life easier for the emerging playwright in Central Indiana. Much Easier.
Andrew Black has an MFA from Ohio University’s School of Theatre, where he was the recipient of the prestigious Trisolini Fellowship. His first full-length play Porn Yesterday (co-written with Patricia Milton) has been produced across the country. Since that play reached the stage, it has been a non-stop, full-on adventure! Many productions of short plays and full-lengths followed. Now in Indianapolis, Indiana, Andrew has developed a full playwriting curriculum for the Indiana Writers Center, and is on the teaching staff of the Indiana Repertory Theater and the Young Actors Theater. He is currently developing a one act play, Iceberg, and has a short play in the upcoming Phoenix Theater Holiday Show. Strange Bedfellows (co-written with Patricia Milton) will be produced in Indianapolis in 2016 by Khaos Company Theater.