A podcast by playwrights for playwrights, and everybody else

Show Notes

Episode 020 – Writing prompt (courtesy of Guillermo Reyes):

The Wake-Up Exercise.  Get to know your characters better by examining their morning routine. Imagine your characters when they first wake up in the morning. What conditions are they living in? Who are they sleeping with (or not sleeping with). What type of breakfast do they have? How do they prepare themselves for the day? We, as writers, are the spies, and we relay the information to the audience. Think: Exposition as gossip!

Connect with Guillermo on Facebook.

“That Day in Tucson” is available from Dramatic Publishing.

Daniel Hernandez Jr.’s memoir is They Call Me A Hero.

“Men on the Verge of a His-panic Breakdown,” starts streaming April 28 on the Teatro Audaz website.

Episode 019 – Writing prompt (courtesy of Starry Krueger):

Character Monologues.  Write one monologue from your main character’s perspective as a young child. Then, write another monologue from the perspective of your character on the last day of their life. The monologues may not make it into your play but can lead to interesting character discoveries. These may not make it in the play but can lead to a deeper understanding of your character.

Starry Krueger’s theatre company is Imaginary Theater Company.

Check out Starry’s plays as well as tons of warm-ups, lesson plans and exercises at Drama Notebook.

David Farmer’s website for tons of exercises and lessons lives here: https://dramaresource.com/author/admin/

We talked about a lot of great books on this episode, including:

The Write Thing: Kwame Alexander Engages Students in Writing Workshop (And You Can Too!)

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Stuck? Try Storymatic.

And check out Idris Goodwin’s “Jacked”, which runs through May 31st.

Episode 018 – Writing prompts – Yup, there are TWO this episode!

First prompt courtesy of Jordan Finley: 

Create a new Muppet. Citing inspiration from the Academy Award-winning song, “Man or Muppet,” and Mabelle’s healthy Muppet collection, Jordan invites listeners to make their own.

Second prompt courtesy of Cecelia Kouma:

Emotion Interview. Think of a strong emotion (e.g. fear). Imagine that this emotion is a character. Create an interview between yourself (as the interviewer) and this emotion (the interviewee). What did you learn about yourself and this emotion? 

Playwrights Project’s Plays By Young Writers festival runs March 11-26, 2021. Find Tickets here.

Jordan’s play “Why We March” can be viewed here

Enjoy the song “Man or Muppet” here.

Episode 017 – Writing prompt (courtesy of Robby Lutfy):

Start with yourself. You will write two lists.

In the first list, write all of the people/things you hold a resentment towards. The list can be abstract or specific (e.g. the college that didn’t accept me, my art form, the Confederate flag-flying Trump supporter, etc.). In the next list, write the opposite of the first list, including those people and things that you have hurt. Next, pick one item from each list and write a letter to each. Make amends with a resentment you are holding onto and then make amends with someone or something you’ve harmed. 

By starting with yourself, you start conversations about empathy.

BONUS Writing Prompt (Robby suggested as a Bake-Off ingredient–see below–from Tori’s experience): Incorporate the following into a piece of writing: Clips toenails in public.

Check out Robby’s monthly script reading club at Cygnet.

Check out Cygnet Theatre’s The Finish Line: A Bill and Judy Garrett Commission here.

The Paula Vogel Bake Off Robby mentions can be found here.

The book that Tori is reading with her daughter (recommended by Mabelle) is called Free Lunch by Rex Ogle.

Mabelle’s gift of choice to loved ones is the beautiful storybook, Milo Imagines the World, written by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson.

Episode 016 – No writing prompt BUT hopefully you will be inspired by the selection of the season of love short works from Stephanie Buckley (Happy Vaccination Day), Rachael Carnes (Personal Best), Michelle Giusto (The Worst Day Ever), John Mabey (Bump In The Night), Rex McGregor (Unromantic Bouquet), Thomas Misuraca (Voice Over ), Serena Norr (Tony’s Pasta House), Christian St. Croix (First Boyfriend), and Tom Steward (Massacre).

Cast: Susan Benninghoff, Jordan Marie Finley, Fred Harlow, Songyee Park and Tommy Tran.

Episode 015 – Writing prompt (courtesy of Aleta Barthell):

Start a scene with one of these sound effects:

  • Crickets
  • Rumbling of an avalanche
  • Sleighbells
  • Thunder

Check out Aleta’s Kids Act classes for kids here and New Village Arts’ Theatre for All here. Get more info and register for Saving Stories here. Aleta recommends the Southern Caregiver Resource Center for family care support. The retreat Aleta mentions is the Dorland Arts Colony. The 28-day challenge Tori is doing is called 28 Plays Later. Mabelle and Tori WILL finish their plays, thanks to the Dramatist Guild End of Play initiative.

Episode 014 – Writing prompt (courtesy of Colette Freedman): Grab a book, flip the pages and stop on a random page. Go to the top sentence on the right hand page. Free write, improvising for 15 minutes. This is a great opportunity for character discovery—letting the characters tell you what’s going to happen is what fuels Colette’s love of playwriting! Pick a different book each day for never-ending prompts. Check out more of Colette’s journey here: www.colettefreedman.com, the music for Serial Killer Barbie here, and Colette’s YouTube show with co-host, Brooke Purdy, Midlife Mutiny is here.

Episode 013 – Writing prompt (courtesy of Mabelle): Write a love letter to yourself. It can be from someone else OR you can write from yourself. Show yourself some love, grace and compassion! Enter for the Hey Playwright V-Minute Valentines contest here. Wondering about the shoes Mabelle is obsessed with? Check them out here.

Episode 012 – Writing prompt (courtesy of Tori and Mabelle): A Letter from the Future Imagine yourself twenty years from now. Have this future version of yourself write a letter to your current self. Consider the hopes and dreams you have for yourself now, as well as the worries and wonders. What wisdom can your future self share with you? Here’s the 90-Day Play book.

Episode 011 – Writing prompts (courtesy of Sarah Greenman): Inspired by Maggie Smith’s poem Good Bones. Prompt #1: Write a real estate advertisement for the world. What will you highlight for the reluctant buyer? What good bones are you going to shine a light on in your advertisement? Prompt #2: Write a monologue from the realtor who is walking you through the half terrible world. Allow the realtor to reveal the half wonderful bits, selling points and insider tidbits about how someone could really make this place beautiful. Find Sarah Greenman here (and prepare to be transformed!).

Episode 010 – Writing prompt (courtesy of Tom Steward): Tom shares an exercise based on his own writing practice called “Complete the Beat.” Start with two lines of dialogue (provided below) and then write 2-3 more lines of dialogue to complete the conversation. By the end of the exercise we should know who the characters are and their relationship to each other: Character A: I need your eyes. / Character B: You’re not getting them. (Now add 2-3 more lines of dialogue!) Tom heads Lonesome Whistle Productions and shares podcasting duties with Michael Shantz for The Everything Sequel Podcast.

Episode 009 – No writing prompt BUT hopefully you will be inspired by the spooky selection of short works from Thelma Virata de Castro (Veritas), Jack G Hyman (Just Kidding), Donna Latham (Selkie), Lee Lawing (Zoom Exhaustion), Rex McGregor (Horror at Sea), Martha Patterson (The Lonely Monster), Tom Steward (End of Service), and John Weagly (The Haunted Handbag). Prefer to watch? Check out the recorded performance here.

Episode 008 – Writing prompts (courtesy of Tania Katan): Prompt 1: Explore opposite traits for your characters. (A villain isn’t simply evil…what other traits to they have?) Then, translate this exploration of opposites to your own life. If you are stuck, ask: “What if the opposite were true?” By exploring possibilities, we always find the solutions to break through. Prompt 2: (from her book, Creative Trespassing). Make two columns. In the first column list all of the things you love doing at your job. Next, in the second column list your actual responsibilities at work. Now you can create a job title based on purpose. For example, Mabelle loves ‘Motivating her students’ but has the actual responsibility of ‘grading.’ She becomes a ‘Motivational Grader.’ Find Tania at taniakatan.com. Find out more about The Museum of Walking here.

Episode 007 – Writing prompt (courtesy of Mabelle):  The characters are two family members. One wins a contest and the other is worried about how that might change them. This episode is chock full of ways to prepare your plays for contest submissions, ravings about Sarah Greenman’s zoom tutorial and her Creative Alchemy Oracle Deck, and a shout out to the highly entertaining The Everything Sequel podcast. We mentioned New Play Exchange, the Official Playwrights of Facebook, the International Centre for Women Playwrights, and NYC Playwrights. This is the Twilight Zone episode.

Episode 006 – Writing prompt (a timely one, courtesy of Izzy Ster):  You had a Zoom bomber crash your Zoom math class today. Who was it and what happened? Write a scene! Izzy shared her love of Tony Kushner, Aaron Sorkin, Harry Potter and Alt TikTok. Izzy’s play, Thorazine, garnered Honorable Mention in Theatremania’s Young Playwrights Festival 2020. Check it out here.

Episode 005 – Writing exercise (courtesy of Albert Park): Imagine yourself in a bubble traveling back or forward in time. Engage the senses — what do you see, smell, touch, taste, hear? Who else is there and what lifechanging thing just happened. Then write a scene! Albert mentioned some of his favorite playwrights: Lauren Yee, Qui Nguyen, and Anna Moench, who wrote Man of God, the play Albert was working before the pandemic shutdown.

Episode 004 – Writing prompt (courtesy of Thelma Virata de Castro): Write a scene in which “release shame” is either a line of dialogue or the theme. This prompt was inspired by this artist card created by Sarah Greenman. Thelma is the founder of San Diego Playwrights. Follow @SanDiegoPlaywrights on Facebook and Twitter. Find more info about The Fire In Me, Thelma’s play about domestic violence in the Filipino community here.

Episode 003 – Writing prompt: Access the news! (Pull up a news site, open the newspaper, turn the TV news on.) Write a 12-line scene inspired by the FIRST news story/headline you encounter. Writing exercise: The next time you go to the grocery store, check out what the customer next to you is buying and start formulating ideas about it. Tori, an admitted sniffer, likes how this product smells.

Episode 002 – Writing prompt (Courtesy of our show guest Dr. Maria Patrice Amon): Write a scene about a puzzle (can be as big or small) and one piece is missing. Check out the San Diego Repertory Theatre Latinx New Play Festival on Sept. 4-6, 2020. Get tickets and info here: sdrep.org. Some of Patrice’s “dream” playwrights are Octavio Solis, Luis Alfaro, and Alexis Scheer. This is a Thighmaster.

Episode 001 – Writing prompt: Write a 12-Line Scene using the following characters: An eraser shaped like a narwhal and a pink tape dispenser. The setting is a cabin in the woods. The first line of dialogue is, “Are they gone yet?” Books we mentioned: Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon and What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter.