Shellen Lubin on Theatre and Adapation

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Shellen Lubin discusses her new play AFTER THE THIN MAN. The interview was originally done in 2015 for the 365 Women a Year at Bennington College Festival. This is a four part series of interviews with playwrights who’s work will be featured in The Best of HERSTORY on March 28th and 30th at the New Haven Free Public Library.

Interviewer: Natalie Osborne

Q: How did you hear about 365 Women a Year? 

A: On facebook — not even sure whether it was a post in the Playwriting group there — or just noticing one of Jessica’s posts — but I immediately became involved.

Q: Why did you choose Stella Adler and Sylvia Gassell as your historic women? What drew you to them? 

A: I studied with Stella Adler when I was younger, and she was in her 70s. Sylvia Gassell was in a play of mine when she was in her late 60s. Sylvia told me about Stella coming back from Hollywood and telling her not to go out there as a “character actress” because there are no parts for them. It’s something that has stayed with me all these years. I decided to imagine the moment when Stella gave up on acting as a profession and decided to teach, and that decision became the center of this play. (Also the fact that she was right, because, as brilliant as Sylvia was, how much did she really get to work in New York?)

Q: Can you walk me through the process of adapting a persons life for the stage? What were some of the challenges? What parts really clicked together? 

A: I read and read until something about their path excited me, sparked me, and then focused my research on that aspect, fleshing out “information” where I needed it. The biggest challenges are 1) knowing that truth is more important than life, and so you have to write what makes the play work, not worry about what actually “happened”; 2) knowing that whatever you write about them, there is so much more, and the more ground you try to cover the less depth the piece will have.

The clicks were mostly found in the writing itself, the discoveries that come up when you create characters in your mind and set up the scene and discover where it goes. Some of the greatest clicks were: when I discovered why Stella became a teacher, something that she never discussed publicly and I’ve never heard anyone say about her, but I’m sure is true; when I discovered why she set up her classroom the way she did, not just to aggrandize herself.

Q: Are there any playwrights that inspired you while you were working on this piece, or who inspire you in general? 

A: Lanford Wilson. Secrets. Discoveries. August Wilson. Athol Fugard. And Shakespeare. Keeping things active.

Q: What has been your favorite aspect of working with 365 Women a Year? 

A: I have only once before written a biographical piece, and working on these two pieces has really helped me with that one (still in the middle of re-writes). I have also only written a few short plays. Most of my work has been full-length. It has been very exciting to just pick women I want to write about and then read all about them, become absorbed in their lives, and discover what it is I want to say, the angle I want to come from, how I want to say it.

Q: Do you have any advice for the playwrights joining 365 Women a Year in 2015? 

A: Don’t think you have to decide what you want to write about the person first. Go deep into them and find where they touch you deepest.

And don’t try to cover too much ground. The illumination of one moment or a sequence of a few moments is actually much more interesting than a bio-pic (as it were) of their lives. It’s not a history lesson. It’s a play.

Shellen Lubin is a playwright, songwriter, and director, most recently writing music & lyrics for Susan Merson’s BETWEEN PRETTY PLACES and THE QUALITY OF RESPECT, her take on Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. Other produced plays include: IMPERFECT FLOWERS, WAITING, COFFEE ONCE A YEAR, ELEVATOR INVENTIONS. Musicals include: MOLLY’S DAUGHTERS, MY BRAVE FACE, and DEAR ALEX, DEAR HARRIET. She is currently working on the musical WHAT ZEESIE SAW ON DELANCEY STREET (with Elsa Rael and Matthew Gandolfo) and THE SARAH PROJECT. Co-President – Women in the Arts & Media Coalition; Co-Secretary – League of Professional Theatre Women; DG, BMI, SDC, AEA  @shlubin @MonMornQuote.

If you would like to make a donation to support the project and win some awesome prizes, click here!

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HERSTORY 2019 Needs YOU!

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Hello Friends and Supporters of NOplays!

HERSTORY is right around the corner, and we’re looking forward to seeing you on March 28th and 30th at the New Haven Free Public Library.

The show is FREE!!!

We received a $300 grant to give to all the artists involved in the Festival, but we’re hoping to raise another $300 so we can really take care of everyone involved.

This year we have FABULOUS prizes for all of our donors!

A $5- $15 donation gets you a shout-out in our program and on our website.

$16- $25 gets you the shout-out AND a pack of limited edition historical women trading cards.

$26-$35 gets you all of the above PLUS a collection of posters from past NOplays productions.

$36- $50 gets you all of the above PLUS a copy of this years poster signed by the cast and crew!

You can donate here!

Thank you for your continued support!

Directing Opportunities!

NOplays New Logo

NOplays wants YOU to direct a play with us in this years HERSTORY Festival!

Rehearsal time is minimal (all the plays are only ten minutes each), and flexible based on your schedule. All directors receive a stipend.

The show is March 28th and 30th at the New Haven Free Public Library.

If you’re interested, email natalie.noplays@gmail.com before the end of the week with your resume!

NOplays HERSTORY 2019!

NOplays New Logo

We’re happy to announce the plays with the most votes in the online poll, which will be featured in this years HERSTORY at the New Haven Free public Library on March 28th and March 30th!

After the Thin Man by Shellen Lubin

Little Swan by Allie Costa

A Moment of Silence by Allie Costa

Frida Khalo: Heartbreaker by Lylanne Musselman

Congratulations to these four plays and to all the plays that we’ve had the privilege of producing over the past five years!

We’re still looking for directors and performers, so if you’re interested in joining our team, email natalie.noplays@gmail.com.

LADIES FIRST MARCH 2019

LADIES FIRST is a list of new productions, workshops, readings, and publications by female playwrights. Our goal is to create greater gender parity in theatre by highlighting the works of female writers and the organizations that promote and produce their works.

PRODUCTIONS:

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Join us March 15th-17th at Stage Left Theater in Spokane, Washington for the sixth year of the Fast & Furious Festival! The festival features readings of 36 original one-minute plays from around the world. Tickets: https://red.vendini.com/ticket-software.html?t=tix&e=fb51706afe19a242a9c2440d7d8c8255

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HERSTORY 2019

March 28th and 30th at the New Haven Free Public Library.

In honor of NOplays five year anniversary, we’re asking YOU to pick your favorite plays from HERSTORY’S past for a Best of the Best Festival. You can cast your votes from now until March 8th: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HERSTORY2019

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Rover Dramawerks presents the annual 365 Women a Year Festival March 28th-April 6th in Texas. The festival features new and exciting plays about extraordinary women in history, past and present. This year’s lineup includes:

Being Wendy Wasserstein by Karen Fix Curry
Blonde Ambition by Lindsay Hayward
Ful Nabit by J. Thalia Cunningham
Heartsong by Allie Costa
Imperial Impetus Impeded by Katherine Dubois
Just a Girl? by Susan Shafer
Margaret and Beatrice by Jess Eisenberg
Partner of — by Rachael Carnes
The Beginning of It All – by Dorothea Cahan
The Dress Doctor is In by Christina Hamlett
The Honeytrap by Carol M. Rice

Tickets:
https://roverdramawerks.thundertix.com/events/136785/performances

READINGS:

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VAGABONDS is a comedy that reimagines the life of the eminent French writer Colette. In this alternative history, she chooses not to marry Willy, her first husband, who forced her to put pen to page and took credit for what she produced.

Vagabonds is a staged reading of a new play by Molly Kirschner. March 22nd, NYC.

Click here for tickets: https://www.facebook.com/events/297029274305300/

To submit to the April issue of LADIES FIRST, email natalie.noplays@gmail.com before the end of the month. Send us your name, the name of your play, the name of the theatre producing your work, a sentence or two about the play, the where and when, and an image. Thank you to everyone who participated in this month’s LADIES FIRST newsletter.

HERSTORY 2019

NOplays New Logo

We’re excited to announce that NOplays will once again be hosting a HERSTORY Festival in New Haven this March! Join us on March 28th at the New Haven Free Public Library.

This year we’re doing something different. We want YOU to pick the plays that are in this years HERSTORY Festival. That’s right, YOU get to be the Artistic Director. Vote for your favorite plays from past HERSTORY Festivals. Four plays will be selected for a revival this March.

SURVEY CLOSES MARCH 8TH! 

Get you’re votes in soon! Happy Voting, and we’ll see you on the 28th. Vote for your favorite plays here.

LADIES FIRST JANUARY 2019

Happy 2019!

LADIES FIRST is a list of new productions, workshops, readings, and publications by female playwrights. Our goal is to create greater gender parity in theatre by highlighting the works of female writers and the organizations that promote and produce their works.

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On January 13th, Words of Choice will stage a special one-night-only show in New Jersey, an inspiring collection of writings on reproductive freedom and justice, including works by June Jordan, Justice Harry Blackmun and Sally Blackmun, Judith Arcana, Angela Bonavoglia, Esosa Edosomwan, Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney, Allie Costa, Michael David Quinn, Cindy Cooper, Living Newspaper Project, Feminist Health Network, Cindy Cooper, Zoneziwoh Mbondgulo-Wondieh and more. The cast includes Alinca Hamilton, Donna Jean Fogel, and Carl H. Jaynes, directed by Francesca Mantani Arkus. For more details, please visit https://wordsofchoice.org/upcoming-performances/

If you interested in a performance in January or February 2019, please contact wordsofchoice@mindspring.com

To submit to the February issue of LADIES FIRST, email natalie.noplays@gmail.com before the end of the month. Send us your name, the name of your play, the name of the theatre producing your work, a sentence or two about the play, the where and when, and an image. Thank you to everyone who participated in this month’s LADIES FIRST newsletter.