Playwright and composer – creator of the musical Group

Posts tagged “playwriting

I’ll Be Waiting

No one wanted Crissy dead, but everyone had a motive. I’ll Be Waiting is a mystery drama that is centered around the disappearance of a young woman. This piece has a long history for me and I’m excited to finally put it out into the world.

Shortly after moving to Los Angeles in 2001, I wrote a play titled The Belt. It was a fast paced and complicated mystery drama that jumped back and forth through time as it revealed what happened to a young woman who was missing.

My friends and I wanted a project so we began filming it. Now, this is before everyone and their mother could shoot in HD with their phone, so it was a pretty big project for how little money we had. After a week of shooting, we began watching the footage to find that the sound was so bad, that it was unusable. I scrapped the project, put away the script and forgot about it. I even poached the song that I had been writing as it’s theme and converted it into the closing number of act one of Group titled “Inner Workings.” You can listen to that here:

After Group wrapped in 2011, I began to work on a number of different project to see what would hit when I stumbled back onto Belt. I am a very different writer than I was ten years ago, but I absolutely loved the bones of it. It had potential. So I digitally dusted it off and got to work. I cut, I edited, I rearranged, I renamed it.

Then I sent it to The Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble to see if they wanted to put I’ll Be Waiting in their Scriptyard Series as they did Group a couple years back. Much to my surprise, they wanted to play with it and we got to work. Between the first and second rehearsal I cut the play down another 14 pages. The notes I received from my actors and brilliant director were absolutely crucial to my editing process. It was now a streamlined mystery that clipped along.

We had a reading at the Kirk Douglas Theatre rehearsal space on October 1st and the reactions from the audience was absolutely fascinating. The play went over well, but there were a number of details that I could tell went unnoticed. I used that reading to inspire significant changes to the end and now here I am; excited to share my new work with whoever is interested in producing a new play.

It is an ensemble piece with seven characters. The set, props and costuming is simple, but you are going to want a clever lighting designer to make the blending of scenes work. If you are interested in reading I’ll Be Waiting, shoot me an email at I look forward to discussing my work with you.

Playing Catch up

Too obvious?

We theatre creators need to try harder.

There was a time when theatre was king. Film, Television and now the Internet has passed us by and we are in a constant fight to catch up. We are struggling and we need to try harder.

Can going to the theatre still be a powerful and life-changing experience? Yes. But the question is not the power of the theatre but the motivation of the viewer. Everyone knows that seeing a live show can be infinitely more moving then watching something on TV. Go see a hockey game live and tell me how you feel about this. The problem is, it is EASIER to sit on your couch and stay inside.

So, we theatre directors, creators and performers need to make going to the theatre as easy as possible so that our audience will not have to WORK to see us.

I think many of us are failing.

This all came about when I began conducting a cursory search on theatre companies that hold playwriting competitions. I recently finished a one act play and a full-length mystery drama that I want to enter in a few contests. I actively am interested in paying companies my own hard-earned money to read my scripts. What did I find?

Most of what comes up in my searching is about contests of the past. There was almost nothing relevant that came up right away. Is this a failure of companies to update their sites? Yes. But it is an even greater failure of companies with current contests to make their sites relevant and accessible. Again, we need to catch up to the other forms of entertainment and we don’t even know how to make our websites come up on search engines.

I’m not coming from a place of hate. I’m writing this with love. If we truly want to catch up and help audiences see our work we need to try harder. It is not difficult to update a website or make a site popup on search engines. It’s just not.

Trust me.

The last computer class I took involved dial-up. I’m serious. Yet, in about ten minutes I can create a website, that’s free, that will come up in a search. To make sure it keeps coming up all I have to do is update it with keywords every week… hell, every month. It’s not that hard.

If you have a site with the wrong information or outdated material, you are hurting yourself and making your potential audience work too hard. Catch up to the times and get to work. Update your site, keep updating it and help me and your audience give you money!

The Collective We

My Bookshelf

Early on in my musical “Group” Dr. Allen talks about the power of a community and how the collective we can figure anything out.

I’ve decided to follow my own advice and lean on collaboration more often.

Last night, for example, I had five gifted actors over to cold read my one act “The Unspoken Pull Of The Moon.” In the past I might have started submitting it without much outside help. I know now the power of others opinions. When the play is working, it helps to have confirmation from people you believe in. When a play isn’t working it… Helps to have confirmation from people you believe in.

Thankfully it went well and we had a blast. There are few things as satisfying as creation and sharing that process is rewarding… I promise.

Adam Emperor Southard
Los Angeles playwright