Playwright and composer – creator of the musical Group

Posts tagged “theatre

Where I’ve Been

Where has the time gone? It is so easy to get caught up in whatever shiny thing is in front of me, that I neglect things… like my blog… like my playwriting.

The reading of my latest drama, “I’ll Be Waiting” was great. The feedback was excellent and incredibly useful. I even changed the ending after considering the questions that some of the audience had at the end of the show. I love ambiguity, but some things were not clear enough. Sadly, I have not thought about writing that much since then. What I need to do is finish tweaking the new play and start submitting it. Maybe writing that here will get me moving.

The photography is going well. I am really focusing in on just specializing on headshots. I took this new profile pic of myself today:

1-29-13

1-29-13

 

What else, what else… OH! I’ve been doing a TON of songwriting lately. I have written the theme song for two different, great webseries. More information to come on those soon. Also, I wrote a plug theme for my favorite comedy podcast, Comedy Bang Bang. They played on their first ever videotapped podcast and broadcast on youtube. So, I was the first plug song composer to get to see the comedians dance / react to my music. It was pretty great. Pretty freaking great. You can view and hear my song at the 57 minute mark: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=tpBLYhbljFI#t=3443s

It is by far the oddest song I’ve ever written since normally I stick to musicals and singer/songwriter stuff. Doing an R&B song in falsetto surprised even myself, which is why I think it worked.

Anyhow, I apologize for not having more to say. I just wanted my placeholder to be something more recent. If anything exciting happens, I’ll let you know 🙂


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: http://soundcloud.com/adam-emperor-southard

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 AESPiano@gmail.com. I look forward to discussing my work with you.


Notes on Of People and Not Things

A couple breaks up and at least for one of them it felt like the end of the world, that is to say, until it was. This brilliantly written piece is essentially two epic monologues performed truthfully first by the man crushed from the breakup and then from the woman trying to sort through all that she has lost and all that she doesn’t miss.

This show is surprising well crafted and thought out. Each moment in the first monologue connects to something in the next and we see how subtle differences in experience can change everything.

I thoroughly enjoyed this moving piece. Of People and Not Things is clever, tight, moving and much funnier than the term “post-apocalypse” may imply. There are only three more performances and the show is only 70 minutes long so make sure you fit it into your Fringe schedule. I’m glad I did.

Remaining performances: June 18 (10:15pm), 19 (8:30pm) & 20 (8:15pm) all at the Complex. http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/445

Moving forward:

Tonight I’m going to be performing new and never before heard versions of songs from Group (some cut from Group) at Fringe Central with two of my actresses. We will be on the stage in the tent from 9pm – 915pm tonight. We will be back up there Tuesday 9:30pm – 9:40pm as well.

Monday is our full dress rehearsal and then we open on Thursday!!! I can’t wait for you all to see Group. Here is a link to where you can buy tickets to see our musical: http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/452


Notes on Spring Awakening

Have you ever seen a production where the positive energy and passion of the cast made it impossible not to enjoy their performance? Lonesome No More’s production of Spring Awakening has energy and passion in spades.

Spring Awakening is a coming of age story featuring the tragic results of negligent parenting during puberty. This tragedy is surprisingly funny under the skilled direction of Dana Murphy and Patrick Riley. I’m not sure which director was responsible for the bulk of the staging for this production, but whoever first decided to use every inch of that space should be commended. It was brilliant.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the many young and promising actors who give powerful and honest performances throughout. I was particularly impressed with leads Patrick Riley and Jennifer Allcott whose truthful portrayal of two youths mystified by love are a must-see.

Spring Awakening – Complex Theatres – Friday June 17 & 24 at 10:30pm / Sunday June 19 & 26 at 2:00pm Tickets are $10. More information on their show can be found here:  http://lonesomenomoretheatre.blogspot.com/

Moving Forward:

I regrettably won’t be able to see any shows tonight (June 10) as we have a rehearsal for Group all night. It’s one of only two more rehearsals we have (excluding tech and dress) before we open on June 23rd!

I cannot wait until this weekend. I’m seeing Voices from Chornobyl Jr & Last Five Years on Saturday!


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