Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Challenge #28 - Companion Plays


Hi folks

(2 of 2)

This prompt is the one you would be writing Sunday to be turned in on Monday morning, but just label your email for prompt 28 and you can turn it early and I’ll credit it ahead.

And of course, you can always use the mini-play at the bottom of the email and blog post as an escape hatch for the day’s writing.

Remember, if you get lost in this flurry of six prompts crammed into three days, just look at the date on your calendar - that’s the number of the prompt you should be writing that day, and turning in the next day by 8am, or, of course, as early as you want, to clear the decks for the holiday.



Let’s get you that writing prompt…


Challenge #28 - Companion Plays

Due: Monday, November 29th, 8am

(whenever 8am arrives in your time zone; we’ll do the math here in the Central Time zone, no worries :)

There’s a theater in Virginia dedicated to producing the work of Shakespeare that found an intriguing way to nurture the development of new plays that still relate to its mission.  Every six months (pre-pandemic, of course), they would put out a call for scripts “inspired by and in conversation with Shakespeare’s work” and they’d post a list of five random unrelated Shakespeare plays, a couple of the hits like “Romeo and Juliet” and “As You Like It” alongside some more obscure titles like “Cymbeline” and “Timon of Athens.”

Another theater in Washington DC in the before times put out a call for 10 minute plays that were related to the major themes in each of the plays that were headlining their season, like this:

Dreams & Discord
Seeking plays that address the juxtaposition between the lives we lead and the lives we wish for. We urge the exploration of the potential tension/energy between commitment and desire. We want scripts that explore how these forces interact between dynamic characters (couples of all permutations, families, strangers in a specific environment, etc).

Heroes & Home
Seeking plays that address our modern sense of belonging while contending with an aspect of bravery. Courage can take many different forms, and we are looking for scripts that reveal this contemporary perspective within a domestic environment. Updated twists on myths & legends might serve as one potential starting point, but we encourage you to branch out into other ideas.

Secrets & Sound
Seeking plays that explore a hidden truth or discovery. Your play must include a specific sound landscape or idea (such as cassette tapes, voicemail messages, vinyl, Siri, 8-track, etc), and be an active component of the play (as opposed to characters that happen to be musicians and play a drum on stage).

Covert Catalysts
We are looking for plays that examine an instant of revolution (on a macro or micro level) in an unexpected way. We encourage the playwrights to find a surprising method or action in which to invoke change. Expose and explore tension in a subterranean, surprising, humorous or clever way.

You can grab one of these, or better yet, what’s a play you really love?

What kind of play could you write that would serve as a companion piece to it?

Not a sequel or prequel, not using the same characters or story.  What story could you create that would play in the same territory, with the same themes or subject matter or type of characters?  Something original that comes from you, but inspired by a play that you admire.

Try that.

Or, you know, whatever you like.

Just write.




How to submit your work for Challenge #28

You have options.  They are:


Save your script as a PDF or Word Doc and send as an attachment to an email sent to ThresholdWritingChallenge@gmail.com

OR

Copy and past your script in the body of an email and send it to ThresholdWritingChallenge@gmail.com

OR

Post your script online (as a Google doc, or in a blog post, on your own personal website, etc.) - email a link to this script to ThresholdWritingChallenge@gmail.com
(If you’re going to Google doc route, just make sure to have the document public, or give permissions to our email address to open it)

When emailing us, make the subject line of your email - Challenge #28
(That just helps us sort through the email more quickly)
(Or, you know, just reply to this email if you want :)

OR

Post the link for the online document option above in the comments section on this very blog post for this challenge on our writing challenge blog.



Again, this is: Due: Monday, November 29th, 8am
(whenever 8am arrives in your time zone; we’ll do the math here in the Central Time zone, no worries :)

 

And, just to reassure you, no, we are not going to be sticklers about you following these directions down to the minutest detail - the important thing is that you write, and then that you share it with us, so we can keep track of who’s writing every day.

We will be VERY understanding about technical difficulties and how they can screw up making the deadline.  No need to fret about anything except the writing (and hopefully that’s not something causing you to fret too much either :)

Also, no, there is no penalty for finishing and submitting early - but it also isn’t a race, so give yourself all the time up til 8am on Monday to write if you need it.  When you’re done, you’re done.

A friendly reminder - you don’t have to write to the prompts if they don’t inspire you.  You can ignore them and just write whatever you want, just as long as you’re writing (that’s the main thing, not what you write)

Someone had a good question about the overall goal of the month, are we supposed to write a full-length play, or two one-act plays, etc.?  The short answer is no (unless you want to).  The longer answer is here if you’re curious.

For those concerned about format, we’re pretty liberal about that, too - just as long as it’s legible and in English.  More on that here.

Again, remember, it doesn’t need to be great, it doesn’t even need to be responding to this prompt (the prompt is just there so you’re not staring at a blank screen to start with no idea what to write about :)

Doesn't even need to be complete - you could have the beginning or the middle or the end of an idea, maybe two out of three but not all, that's still fine. This is all about getting things started, you can write more later. You have 2 more days to build on whatever you come up with today, if you want. Just get anything on the page, even if won't make sense to anyone else, as long as it make sense to you.

It just needs to be something.

And that something can be:

Lights up.

Something happens onstage that is a reflection of a play you think of fondly as an old friend, and gets you thinking about it in a new way.

Lights down.

The End

That’s always your escape hatch, every day.

That’s your base line.

Build on it.

Have fun.

Don’t stress.

Make an impulsive decision and run with it.

Breathe.

You’ve got the day (and a half).

Just write.

 

 

Challenge #27 - She Blinded Me With Science


Hi folks

(1 of 2)

Again, sending you two prompts from the future again today, so you can work ahead for the holiday weekend if you wish.

This prompt is the one you would be writing Saturday to be turned in on Sunday morning, but just label your email for prompt 27 and you can turn it early and I’ll credit it ahead.

And of course, you can always use the mini-play at the bottom of the email and blog post as an escape hatch for the day’s writing.




Let’s get you that writing prompt…


Challenge #27 - She Blinded Me With Science

Due: Sunday, November 28th, 8am

(whenever 8am arrives in your time zone; we’ll do the math here in the Central Time zone, no worries :)

Now, I don’t know about you, but science was never my strong subject in school. I got by OK, but it didn’t engage me in the same way that writing did.

However, I was always impressed, and continue to be, by folks who can write a compelling story that centers on science.

The playwright Lauren Gunderson does this a LOT, and I find her work fascinating (so do a lot of other people apparently because she was the most produced playwright in America in 2017 and 2019).

And there are a lot of calls out there for plays that focus on science and scientists, so I keep getting drawn back, both by my admiration for Gunderson, and by the fact that there are so many stories yet untold, about people whose work improved the world, that it seems silly not to explore (and perhaps educate myself in the process).

As an example, here’s some of the info that’s part of the annual call for proposals from the Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Science and Technology Project collaboration with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  They’re looking for ideas for plays...

“delving into how we view and are affected by the scientific world. These plays examine the struggles and challenges scientists and engineers face from moral issues to the consequences of their discoveries.
 
The Project is designed to stimulate artists to create credible and compelling work exploring the worlds of science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes of scientists and engineers in the popular imagination.

The EST/Sloan Project is open to a broad range of topics related to the issues, people, ideas, processes, leading-edge discoveries, inventions, and/or history of the "hard" sciences and technology.

HARD SCIENCES INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING AREAS:
    •    Mathematics
    •    Physics (geological, nuclear, theoretical, etc.)
    •    Biology (evolution, zoology, animal behavior, ecology, molecular, genetics, etc.)
    •    Chemistry (industrial, biochemistry, etc.)
    •    Neuroscience
    •    Anthropology and Archaeology

TECHNOLOGY INCLUDES:
    •    Computer Science
    •    Software Development, Computer Development
    •    Engineering (civil, chemical, mechanical, electrical, aerospace, vehicle design)
    •    Space Research

AREAS NOT CONSIDERED FOR COMMISSIONS INCLUDE:
    •    Science Fiction
    •    Medical Conditions and/or Victims of Disease
    •    Psychology and Human Behavior

Another interesting science-related theater opportunity to check out is MACH 33: The Festival of New Science-Driven Plays at Cal Tech - https://tacit.caltech.edu/mach33

When I see something like this, I then think to myself, “well, what if I went looking for a queer scientist’s story, something that intersects with the other focus of my writing - that could be intriguing.”

So a jumping off point for LGBTQ+ scientists could be this one, which has a lot of other useful links:

And if you’re looking for women scientists, well, I landed here first (also with some handy additional resource links)

But type “(insert name of group here) scientists” in a search engine, and you’ll come up with all kinds of options to get you started.

Find your own way in but (just like with the history prompt a couple of days ago) it doesn’t need to be more than an idea that interests you.  Obviously this would take more than a day to research and start writing - though perhaps the idea of a scene or part of a scene, might come to you.  See what bubbles up.

And if not, you can always ignore this prompt and do whatever you want, just like every other day in November.

Just write.  Something.




How to submit your work for Challenge #27

You have options.  They are:


Save your script as a PDF or Word Doc and send as an attachment to an email sent to ThresholdWritingChallenge@gmail.com

OR

Copy and past your script in the body of an email and send it to ThresholdWritingChallenge@gmail.com

OR

Post your script online (as a Google doc, or in a blog post, on your own personal website, etc.) - email a link to this script to ThresholdWritingChallenge@gmail.com
(If you’re going to Google doc route, just make sure to have the document public, or give permissions to our email address to open it)

When emailing us, make the subject line of your email - Challenge #27
(That just helps us sort through the email more quickly)
(Or, you know, just reply to this email if you want :)

OR

Post the link for the online document option above in the comments section on this very blog post for this challenge on our writing challenge blog.


Again, this is: Due: Sunday, November 28th, 8am
(whenever 8am arrives in your time zone; we’ll do the math here in the Central Time zone, no worries :)


And, just to reassure you, no, we are not going to be sticklers about you following these directions down to the minutest detail - the important thing is that you write, and then that you share it with us, so we can keep track of who’s writing every day.

We will be VERY understanding about technical difficulties and how they can screw up making the deadline.  No need to fret about anything except the writing (and hopefully that’s not something causing you to fret too much either :)

Also, no, there is no penalty for finishing and submitting early - but it also isn’t a race, so give yourself all the time up til 8am on Sunday to write if you need it.  When you’re done, you’re done.

A friendly reminder - you don’t have to write to the prompts if they don’t inspire you.  You can ignore them and just write whatever you want, just as long as you’re writing (that’s the main thing, not what you write)

Someone had a good question about the overall goal of the month, are we supposed to write a full-length play, or two one-act plays, etc.?  The short answer is no (unless you want to).  The longer answer is here if you’re curious.

For those concerned about format, we’re pretty liberal about that, too - just as long as it’s legible and in English.  More on that here.

Again, remember, it doesn’t need to be great, it doesn’t even need to be responding to this prompt (the prompt is just there so you’re not staring at a blank screen to start with no idea what to write about :)

Doesn't even need to be complete - you could have the beginning or the middle or the end of an idea, maybe two out of three but not all, that's still fine. This is all about getting things started, you can write more later. You have 3 more days to build on whatever you come up with today, if you want. Just get anything on the page, even if won't make sense to anyone else, as long as it make sense to you.

It just needs to be something.

And that something can be:

Lights up.

A scientist makes a discovery that saves the world, but isn’t in time to save them, or someone they love.

Lights down.

The End

That’s always your escape hatch, every day.

That’s your base line.

Build on it.

Have fun.

Don’t stress.

Make an impulsive decision and run with it.

Breathe.

You’ve got the day (and a half).

Just write.

 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Challenge #26 - Random Phrase Generator, part 4


Hi folks

(2 of 2)

This prompt is the one you would be writing Friday to be turned in on Saturday morning, but just label your email for prompt 26 and you can turn it early and I’ll credit it ahead.

And of course, you can always use the mini-play at the bottom of the email and blog post as an escape hatch for the day’s writing.





Let’s get you that writing prompt…


Challenge #26 - Random Phrase Generator, part 4

Due: Saturday, November 27th, 8am

(whenever 8am arrives in your time zone; we’ll do the math here in the Central Time zone, no worries :)

Our last visit (for now) to Dan Bernitt’s writing prompt generator.  Here’s a sampling of options to spur some pages:

- That’s enough
- Asked what had happened this time
- All of it is you
- And for my wife, and for my child
- She wishes she had cut him then

And of course, you can always go right to the source and find other phrases you like better to play with.

And, like last time, Dan’s always curious to see what kind of work the phrases inspire in other writers.  So if you don’t mind my sharing your work with Dan, just let me know when you submit.




How to submit your work for Challenge #26

You have options.  They are:


Save your script as a PDF or Word Doc and send as an attachment to an email sent to ThresholdWritingChallenge@gmail.com

OR

Copy and past your script in the body of an email and send it to ThresholdWritingChallenge@gmail.com

OR

Post your script online (as a Google doc, or in a blog post, on your own personal website, etc.) - email a link to this script to ThresholdWritingChallenge@gmail.com
(If you’re going to Google doc route, just make sure to have the document public, or give permissions to our email address to open it)

When emailing us, make the subject line of your email - Challenge #26
(That just helps us sort through the email more quickly)
(Or, you know, just reply to this email if you want :)

OR

Post the link for the online document option above in the comments section on this very blog post for this challenge on our writing challenge blog.


Again, this is: Due: Saturday, November 27th, 8am
(whenever 8am arrives in your time zone; we’ll do the math here in the Central Time zone, no worries :)

 

And, just to reassure you, no, we are not going to be sticklers about you following these directions down to the minutest detail - the important thing is that you write, and then that you share it with us, so we can keep track of who’s writing every day.

We will be VERY understanding about technical difficulties and how they can screw up making the deadline.  No need to fret about anything except the writing (and hopefully that’s not something causing you to fret too much either :)

Also, no, there is no penalty for finishing and submitting early - but it also isn’t a race, so give yourself all the time up til 8am on Saturday to write if you need it.  When you’re done, you’re done.

A friendly reminder - you don’t have to write to the prompts if they don’t inspire you.  You can ignore them and just write whatever you want, just as long as you’re writing (that’s the main thing, not what you write)

Someone had a good question about the overall goal of the month, are we supposed to write a full-length play, or two one-act plays, etc.?  The short answer is no (unless you want to).  The longer answer is here if you’re curious.

For those concerned about format, we’re pretty liberal about that, too - just as long as it’s legible and in English.  More on that here.

Again, remember, it doesn’t need to be great, it doesn’t even need to be responding to this prompt (the prompt is just there so you’re not staring at a blank screen to start with no idea what to write about :)

Doesn't even need to be complete - you could have the beginning or the middle or the end of an idea, maybe two out of three but not all, that's still fine. This is all about getting things started, you can write more later. You have 4 more days to build on whatever you come up with today, if you want. Just get anything on the page, even if won't make sense to anyone else, as long as it make sense to you.

It just needs to be something.

And that something can be:

Lights up.

A child walks to the front of the stage, stares out into the audience, and points to someone, “All of it is you.”

Lights down.

The End

That’s always your escape hatch, every day.

That’s your base line.

Build on it.

Have fun.

Don’t stress.

Make an impulsive decision and run with it.

Breathe.

You’ve got the day (and a half).

Just write.

 

Challenge #25 - Unstageable


Hi folks

(1 of 2)

Again, sending you two prompts from the future again today, so you can work ahead for the holiday weekend if you wish.

This prompt is the one you would be writing Thursday to be turned in on Friday morning, but just label your email for prompt 25 and you can turn it early and I’ll credit it ahead.

And of course, you can always use the mini-play at the bottom of the email and blog post as an escape hatch for the day’s writing.





Let’s get you that writing prompt…


Challenge #25 - Unstageable

Due: Friday, November 26th, 8am

(whenever 8am arrives in your time zone; we’ll do the math here in the Central Time zone, no worries :)

Personally, I don’t think anything play is unstageable.

Theater has the benefit of suspension of disbelief and the power of the audience’s collective imagination behind it.  Anything is possible.

Producers or directors sometime think too literally, as if everything in a script needs to exist in an exact replica of reality on the stage, as it would in a film or TV show.

Another call for scripts along these lines from a couple of years ago amused me, so I offer it up to you, to see what it might inspire:

A theater out of St. Petersburg, Russia called Vibrating Body declared their intention to create an Independent International Award for Improper Dramaturgy, to support and identify underground dramatic writers.

One prize was to be awarded in the category of:

A Play That No One Will Ever Agree To Stage

Under Requirements it said:

Formal requirements are absent
There are no linguistic and geographical limits.

The theater Vibrating Body described itself as “an independent project in the field of theater, contemporary art and social service.
Our field of activity: mysticism, the joy of creativity, archetypes, dreams, paranormal, complex, subtle.
Our projects implemented in the field of modern theater, art performance and video art. In our works we rely on our own aesthetics and philosophy. We like to use mysticism, local archetypes, symbols and images. Each project is unique and has literary, theatrical, artistic and musical components.”

So, given all that, what do you want to put down on the page?



How to submit your work for Challenge #25

You have options.  They are:


Save your script as a PDF or Word Doc and send as an attachment to an email sent to ThresholdWritingChallenge@gmail.com

OR

Copy and past your script in the body of an email and send it to ThresholdWritingChallenge@gmail.com

OR

Post your script online (as a Google doc, or in a blog post, on your own personal website, etc.) - email a link to this script to ThresholdWritingChallenge@gmail.com
(If you’re going to Google doc route, just make sure to have the document public, or give permissions to our email address to open it)

When emailing us, make the subject line of your email - Challenge #25
(That just helps us sort through the email more quickly)
(Or, you know, just reply to this email if you want :)

OR

Post the link for the online document option above in the comments section on this very blog post for this challenge on our writing challenge blog.


Again, this is: Due: Friday, November 26th, 8am
(whenever 8am arrives in your time zone; we’ll do the math here in the Central Time zone, no worries :)

 

And, just to reassure you, no, we are not going to be sticklers about you following these directions down to the minutest detail - the important thing is that you write, and then that you share it with us, so we can keep track of who’s writing every day.

We will be VERY understanding about technical difficulties and how they can screw up making the deadline.  No need to fret about anything except the writing (and hopefully that’s not something causing you to fret too much either :)

Also, no, there is no penalty for finishing and submitting early - but it also isn’t a race, so give yourself all the time up til 8am on Friday to write if you need it.  When you’re done, you’re done.

A friendly reminder - you don’t have to write to the prompts if they don’t inspire you.  You can ignore them and just write whatever you want, just as long as you’re writing (that’s the main thing, not what you write)

Someone had a good question about the overall goal of the month, are we supposed to write a full-length play, or two one-act plays, etc.?  The short answer is no (unless you want to).  The longer answer is here if you’re curious.

For those concerned about format, we’re pretty liberal about that, too - just as long as it’s legible and in English.  More on that here.

Again, remember, it doesn’t need to be great, it doesn’t even need to be responding to this prompt (the prompt is just there so you’re not staring at a blank screen to start with no idea what to write about :)

Doesn't even need to be complete - you could have the beginning or the middle or the end of an idea, maybe two out of three but not all, that's still fine. This is all about getting things started, you can write more later. You have 5 more days to build on whatever you come up with today, if you want. Just get anything on the page, even if won't make sense to anyone else, as long as it make sense to you.

It just needs to be something.

And that something can be:

Lights up.

Something happens on stage that causes the audience to scratch their heads and wonder, “Why the hell did they do that?!  How the hell did they do that?!” 

Lights down.

The End

That’s always your escape hatch, every day.

That’s your base line.

Build on it.

Have fun.

Don’t stress.

Make an impulsive decision and run with it.

Breathe.

You’ve got the day (and a half).

Just write.

 

 

Monday, November 22, 2021

Challenge #24 - Alternate Timelines

 

Hi folks

(2 of 2)

This prompt is the one you would be writing Wednesday to be turned in on Thursday morning, but just label your email for prompt 24 and you can turn it early and I’ll credit it ahead.

And of course, you can always use the mini-play at the bottom of the email and blog post as an escape hatch for the day’s writing.

Just some weekly trivia on the daily output: we still stayed in the low 30s, with one exception last week.  One day we only had 29 entries turned in, but other than that, it was 30 submissions or more for the day, getting as high as 35 one day.  Keep it up, folks, you’re doing great.

Again, if you miss one day, don’t beat yourself up, just write again the next day.





Let’s get you that writing prompt…


Challenge #24 - Alternate Timelines

Due: Thursday, November 25th, 8am

(whenever 8am arrives in your time zone; we’ll do the math here in the Central Time zone, no worries :)

There was a call a couple of years back from a theater in Seattle named Forward Flux (now on hiatus, sensing a theme?) that I continue to find intriguing and amusing.

They were looking for scripts inspired by one of the following three prompts:

One Nation, Under Water

or

This Land Is My Land

or 

Madame President

As the Thanksgiving holiday once again conjures thoughts of real history vs. American mythology, those three prompts still pique my interest.

Do any of them do something for you?

Or, you know, ignore the prompt and do what you want instead.

Just write something, one more day…




How to submit your work for Challenge #24

You have options.  They are:

Save your script as a PDF or Word Doc and send as an attachment to an email sent to ThresholdWritingChallenge@gmail.com

OR

Copy and past your script in the body of an email and send it to ThresholdWritingChallenge@gmail.com

OR

Post your script online (as a Google doc, or in a blog post, on your own personal website, etc.) - email a link to this script to ThresholdWritingChallenge@gmail.com
(If you’re going to Google doc route, just make sure to have the document public, or give permissions to our email address to open it)

When emailing us, make the subject line of your email - Challenge #24
(That just helps us sort through the email more quickly)
(Or, you know, just reply to this email if you want :)

OR

Post the link for the online document option above in the comments section on this very blog post for this challenge on our writing challenge blog.


Again, this is: Due: Thursday, November 25th, 8am
(whenever 8am arrives in your time zone; we’ll do the math here in the Central Time zone, no worries :)

 

And, just to reassure you, no, we are not going to be sticklers about you following these directions down to the minutest detail - the important thing is that you write, and then that you share it with us, so we can keep track of who’s writing every day.

We will be VERY understanding about technical difficulties and how they can screw up making the deadline.  No need to fret about anything except the writing (and hopefully that’s not something causing you to fret too much either :)

Also, no, there is no penalty for finishing and submitting early - but it also isn’t a race, so give yourself all the time up til 8am on Thursday to write if you need it.  When you’re done, you’re done.

A friendly reminder - you don’t have to write to the prompts if they don’t inspire you.  You can ignore them and just write whatever you want, just as long as you’re writing (that’s the main thing, not what you write)

Someone had a good question about the overall goal of the month, are we supposed to write a full-length play, or two one-act plays, etc.?  The short answer is no (unless you want to).  The longer answer is here if you’re curious.

For those concerned about format, we’re pretty liberal about that, too - just as long as it’s legible and in English.  More on that here.

Again, remember, it doesn’t need to be great, it doesn’t even need to be responding to this prompt (the prompt is just there so you’re not staring at a blank screen to start with no idea what to write about :)

Doesn't even need to be complete - you could have the beginning or the middle or the end of an idea, maybe two out of three but not all, that's still fine. This is all about getting things started, you can write more later. You have 6 more days to build on whatever you come up with today, if you want. Just get anything on the page, even if won't make sense to anyone else, as long as it make sense to you.

It just needs to be something.

And that something can be:

Lights up.

The president and her entourage swim by in their scuba gear, on their way to an unusual State of the Union address.

Lights down.

The End

That’s always your escape hatch, every day.

That’s your base line.

Build on it.

Have fun.

Don’t stress.

Make an impulsive decision and run with it.

Breathe.

You’ve got the day (and a half).

Just write.

 

Challenge #23 - Hidden Histories


Hi folks

(1 of 2)

Yes, I’m going to send you two prompts a day for the next three days, so you have all the prompts early to take you through the holiday weekend.  That way, if you want to write extra ahead of time and bank it, you can do that.

This prompt is the one you would be writing Tuesday to be turned in on Wednesday morning, but just label your email for prompt 23 and you can turn it early and I’ll credit it ahead.

And of course, you can always use the mini-play at the bottom of the email and blog post as an escape hatch for the day’s writing.





Let’s get you that writing prompt…


Challenge #23 - Hidden Histories

Due: Wednesday, November 24th, 8am

(whenever 8am arrives in your time zone; we’ll do the math here in the Central Time zone, no worries :)

The Queerstory prompt from Left Coast Theatre the other day reminded me of other script calls that asked for writers to delve into figures from history that didn’t make a lot of our classes in school growing up.

There’s the ongoing call for scripts called “365 Women A Year” which is endeavoring to collect scripts on an epic list of women leaders throughout history from all over the world.  And they’re not accepting repeats until they cover all the women on the list.  You check out the list, put in a claim for a set of names (just in case someone else gets to one of your choices first), and then you get an assignment of who to write about, and it goes on from there. “This international playwriting project involves over 300 playwrights who have signed on to write one or more one-acts about extraordinary women in both past and present history. The project’s ambitious yet focused goal is to write women back into the social consciousness as well as empower and promote female playwrights around the world.”

The Arch & Bruce Brown Foundation used to support an annual playwriting competition (sadly discontinued in 2018) which asked for writers to submit scripts that focused on “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or genderqueer characters and/or themes and must be based on, or directly inspired by, a historical person, culture, work of art, or event. LGBTQ history must be central, not incidental, to the work.” 2017’s call had the intriguing additional guideline that “although submissions on any theme are welcome, this year we are particularly interested in works concerning pornography, sex workers, military service, aging, and education of LGBTQ youth.”  That is… a very eclectic list of interests.

All of which got me thinking, why not dig into history and see what stories we could find?  Because there’s lots of opportunity, both in theater companies calling for material on particular communities of people, and direct calls for works grounded in historic events and the people at their center.

I pulled some random websites up as potential resources:

African American

Asian American

Latino American

LGBTQIA+

Native American

Women

These are just samples.  If you type “(Insert Name of Group Here) History” into a search engine, you’ll find lots of other potential jumping off points.

Figure out a place your personal or family background might intersect with history, and find a person or event you’d be interested in researching further and writing about.

Or maybe just for a rough draft of the day, take real events and people as inspiration, and create something fanciful that recontextualizes it in a fictional framework you can take greater artistic license with.’

However, since truth is often stranger than fiction, you might find a story that needs no embellishment.

Poke around.  You may not have time to write even a script, but you might have time to write a scene, or a proposal of a paragraph or two about what you want to do.

Play around, or, as always, feel free to ignore this entirely.  It was just on my mind because I knew there are always outlets for it.




How to submit your work for Challenge #23

You have options.  They are:

Save your script as a PDF or Word Doc and send as an attachment to an email sent to ThresholdWritingChallenge@gmail.com

OR

Copy and past your script in the body of an email and send it to ThresholdWritingChallenge@gmail.com

OR

Post your script online (as a Google doc, or in a blog post, on your own personal website, etc.) - email a link to this script to ThresholdWritingChallenge@gmail.com
(If you’re going to Google doc route, just make sure to have the document public, or give permissions to our email address to open it)

When emailing us, make the subject line of your email - Challenge #23
(That just helps us sort through the email more quickly)
(Or, you know, just reply to this email if you want :)

OR

Post the link for the online document option above in the comments section on this very blog post for this challenge on our writing challenge blog.



Again, this is: Due: Wednesday, November 24th, 8am
(whenever 8am arrives in your time zone; we’ll do the math here in the Central Time zone, no worries :)


And, just to reassure you, no, we are not going to be sticklers about you following these directions down to the minutest detail - the important thing is that you write, and then that you share it with us, so we can keep track of who’s writing every day.

We will be VERY understanding about technical difficulties and how they can screw up making the deadline.  No need to fret about anything except the writing (and hopefully that’s not something causing you to fret too much either :)

Also, no, there is no penalty for finishing and submitting early - but it also isn’t a race, so give yourself all the time up til 8am on Wednesday to write if you need it.  When you’re done, you’re done.

A friendly reminder - you don’t have to write to the prompts if they don’t inspire you.  You can ignore them and just write whatever you want, just as long as you’re writing (that’s the main thing, not what you write)

Someone had a good question about the overall goal of the month, are we supposed to write a full-length play, or two one-act plays, etc.?  The short answer is no (unless you want to).  The longer answer is here if you’re curious.

For those concerned about format, we’re pretty liberal about that, too - just as long as it’s legible and in English.  More on that here.

Again, remember, it doesn’t need to be great, it doesn’t even need to be responding to this prompt (the prompt is just there so you’re not staring at a blank screen to start with no idea what to write about :)

Doesn't even need to be complete - you could have the beginning or the middle or the end of an idea, maybe two out of three but not all, that's still fine. This is all about getting things started, you can write more later. You have 7 more days to build on whatever you come up with today, if you want. Just get anything on the page, even if won't make sense to anyone else, as long as it make sense to you.

It just needs to be something.

And that something can be:

Lights up.

Someone unexpected you never heard of does something historically significant.

Lights down.

The End

That’s always your escape hatch, every day.

That’s your base line.

Build on it.

Have fun.

Don’t stress.

Make an impulsive decision and run with it.

Breathe.

You’ve got the day (and a half).

Just write.


Sunday, November 21, 2021

Challenge #22 - Left Coast Theatre Prompts

 

Hi folks

21 writing challenges down.

Only 9 to go!





Let’s get you that writing prompt…


Challenge #22 - Left Coast Theatre Prompts

Due: Tuesday, November 23rd, 8am

(whenever 8am arrives in your time zone; we’ll do the math here in the Central Time zone, no worries :)

There’s a theater in San Francisco (still hanging in there, planning for a 2022 comeback) called Left Coast Theatre Company, and once or twice a year (pre-pandemic) they would put out a call for short scripts that could fall under the umbrella of a fairly broad theme.  For instance:

I’m Not OK, Cupid

Twisted Fairy Tales

Shock & Awww

#WTFamily

Sometimes they’d offer up a bit more of a hint of the sort of thing they were looking for, or additional elements to consider, such as:

Family Programming:
the characters and characteristics of queer family life — both the chosen family and the family we were given

Screaming Queens:
an LGBT perspective to classic horror subjects from haunted houses to the Zombie Apocalypse

San Francisco, Here I Come!:
Set in a single San Francisco apartment, SFHIC gave the audience six stories of LGBT experience from a noir-ish-1949 to a tech-crazed 2018 and explored the complicated relationship our community has with the City by the Bay.

The Morning After
plays that address big moments we experience in life: weddings, funerals, breakups, proposals, birthdays, coming out. But sometimes it’s the morning after that really changes our lives. We are looking for shorts that showcases the hilarity, the joy, the grief, the angst, and the uncertainty of the morning after the big event.

Between the Sheets
the trials and tribulations of queer sex

Queerstory
Forgotten Figures and Moments of Queer History - little-known, unknown or forgotten people or events in LGBTQ+ history


Now, Left Coast is an LGBTQ+ theater company, just like Threshold, so all these prompts and subsequent anthology shows that were birthed from them had a very queer bent.  But you can feel free to embrace that or go off in any other direction which tickles your fancy and speaks to your own style and aesthetic.

Take one of the above thematic prompts as your jumping off point and have fun with it.




How to submit your work for Challenge #22

You have options.  They are:


Save your script as a PDF or Word Doc and send as an attachment to an email sent to ThresholdWritingChallenge@gmail.com

OR

Copy and past your script in the body of an email and send it to ThresholdWritingChallenge@gmail.com

OR

Post your script online (as a Google doc, or in a blog post, on your own personal website, etc.) - email a link to this script to ThresholdWritingChallenge@gmail.com
(If you’re going to Google doc route, just make sure to have the document public, or give permissions to our email address to open it)

When emailing us, make the subject line of your email - Challenge #22
(That just helps us sort through the email more quickly)
(Or, you know, just reply to this email if you want :)

OR

Post the link for the online document option above in the comments section on this very blog post for this challenge on our writing challenge blog.



Again, this is: Due: Tuesday, November 23rd, 8am
(whenever 8am arrives in your time zone; we’ll do the math here in the Central Time zone, no worries :)

 

And, just to reassure you, no, we are not going to be sticklers about you following these directions down to the minutest detail - the important thing is that you write, and then that you share it with us, so we can keep track of who’s writing every day.

We will be VERY understanding about technical difficulties and how they can screw up making the deadline.  No need to fret about anything except the writing (and hopefully that’s not something causing you to fret too much either :)

Also, no, there is no penalty for finishing and submitting early - but it also isn’t a race, so give yourself all the time up til 8am on Tuesday to write if you need it.  When you’re done, you’re done.

A friendly reminder - you don’t have to write to the prompts if they don’t inspire you.  You can ignore them and just write whatever you want, just as long as you’re writing (that’s the main thing, not what you write)

Someone had a good question about the overall goal of the month, are we supposed to write a full-length play, or two one-act plays, etc.?  The short answer is no (unless you want to).  The longer answer is here if you’re curious.

For those concerned about format, we’re pretty liberal about that, too - just as long as it’s legible and in English.  More on that here.

Again, remember, it doesn’t need to be great, it doesn’t even need to be responding to this prompt (the prompt is just there so you’re not staring at a blank screen to start with no idea what to write about :)

Doesn't even need to be complete - you could have the beginning or the middle or the end of an idea, maybe two out of three but not all, that's still fine. This is all about getting things started, you can write more later. You have 8 more days to build on whatever you come up with today, if you want. Just get anything on the page, even if won't make sense to anyone else, as long as it make sense to you.

It just needs to be something.

And that something can be:

Lights up.

Cupid hovers in the dark corners of the bedroom, chuckling as two eager lovers awkwardly struggle to get out of their clothes and make it to the bed without suffering a concussion.

Lights down.

The End

That’s always your escape hatch, every day.

That’s your base line.

Build on it.

Have fun.

Don’t stress.

Make an impulsive decision and run with it.

Breathe.

You’ve got the day (and a half).

Just write.



Challenge #28 - Companion Plays

Hi folks (2 of 2) This prompt is the one you would be writing Sunday to be turned in on Monday morning, but just label your email for prompt...