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I’m writing a play in 18 hours or less!

I can’t do it in 24 hours, because I work until 5 pm.

Yes, the 2nd Annual Writeathon begins at noon tomorrow!  Last year’s was…bonkers.  Fellow writers made velcro out of their beards and resorted to lacing of warm drinks (and then just tossing the mix altogether and drinking straight out of the mickey).  Oh, and we all did some writing and raised some (a crapload) of money to keep Alberta Playwrights Network ticking.

I haven’t been flogging the Writeathon at all.  With this two months ago, and flareups of this, I’ve been lying low. Now, however, I’m going to write out the beast that is endometriosis and kick it across the room.  I am re-writing It Started With an Allergy from beginning to end, and one way or another, I’m performing it (me!) at next summer’s Edmonton Fringe.  If you’d like to see it, feel free to visit HERE.

I’ll see you when I come down from the caffeine high.

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I didn’t get in.

I didn’t get home in time to catch the start of the Edmonton Fringe livestream of the 2014 lottery draw, and things were happening too fast for Twitter to handle, so I completely missed the TYA draw. However, a friend who was there immediately texted me: “Hey, 3 on the waiting list has potenital 🙂 ” That’s for The Ugly Princess. Then came the final draw…and The Book of Anne didn’t even make the waiting list.

I’m so sorry everybody…I feel a bit stuck. I don’t know if the show everyone went to bat for during the Writeathon this past weekend will happen or not. I certainly can’t pull off the TYA waiting list – 3 is too close not to hang on. But it means hoping that three shows ahead of me pull out instead. How likely is that? And how do I promote and fundraise for a show that MAY be in the Fringe? Probably? The question of a Bring-Your-Own-Venue will, I know, come up. I genuinely believe you should try (almost) everything once; I tried a BYOV once. It wasn’t for me.

So…limbo. Well, there’s a long time between now and next August, isn’t there?

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T minus 48 Hours to Writeathon madness.

As I write it is exactly two days until Alberta Playwrights Network’s first ever Writeathon begins. You’ll note we’ve long surpassed our original goal of $10,000, so we’re very stoked.

In their infinte wisdom, by fellow APN members have made me one of the managers of our Facebook page for the Writeathon’s duration. Feel free to follow along as the caffeine and sleep deprivation take hold.

Oh, and I have entered both The Ugly Princess yet-to-be AND The Book of Anne into the Edmonton Fringe lottery. (Just to clarify I’m not using the word “madness” lightly.)

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$10,000 to see a bunch of monkeys write?


The idea was to get a bunch of playwrights to lock themselves up and write for 24 hours, in the hope that others would show a little mercy and sponsor us to do so. All to support Alberta Playwrights Network, who would, in turn support those playwrights. The goal was a rather whopping $10,000,

We’re at $9,575. So the goal has been pushed UP. To $15,000.

Now that you’ve picked your jaw up off the floor (hey, I had to, and I’m one of the writers!), feel free to tell us monkeys to write even more and donate too. The 24-hour-clock begins at 7pm, on 22 November 2013!

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How to create an Ugly Princess in 24 hours (or less)

I will be writing a new play, The Ugly Princess, almost from scratch, in 24 hours for APN’s Writeathon on 23 November. I say “almost”, because I have two scenes. This post…is about making you want to see the whole thing.

The story is linked – in my head, somehow – to this painting, now at the National Gallery in London, a painting which, the story goes, gave Sir John Tenniel the idea for how the Duchess should look in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

by Sir John Tenniel, from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, 1865. Courtesy of eBooks@Adelaide
by Sir John Tenniel, from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, 1865. Courtesy of eBooks@Adelaide

When I was asked to provide one scene, no more than ten minutes long, with two characters, for my workshop at Playworks Ink, and I realized I didn’t have anything fitting the bill, that’s when the “squidgies” set in, and I had to write a scene from this play still sitting entirely in my head. And here, exactly, is what happened:

There were twenty of us playwrights in the workshop room the first day. Robert randomly picked one person. Her scene was read out loud by two actors in the middle of the room. Robert asked the playwright what she’d intended, and she explained. Then he said: “Your assignment…is to remove all the dialogue of this character, and give ALL the dialogue in the scene to the other character. Make it a monologue.”

And I could feel everyone else in the room thinking the same thing as me: Holy. Crap.

One playwright brought part of her stage adaptation of Things Fall Apart. He told her to set in the year 3000 and make it Sci-Fi. My fellow tweeter James was told to take his very idyllic scene of a brother and sister between the two World Wars, and transform it into the first level of a violent, gory video game.

I remembered the one brilliant moment in the Muppets Tonight series, when Cindy Crawford (yeah) was on. There were some besotted pigs asking what made her a supermodel, and then laserbeams came out of her eyes and vapourized one pig. The remaining pig ran after her shouting “Cindy! Do me! DO ME!”

I was that pig. Sitting there, in trepidation and glee, thinking “Me! Me next! What do I get to do?!”

So. The two actors got my script, and after glancing at it, they asked if I wanted British accents. Hell yeah. So they read it. Everyone laughed. Robert laughed. When the scene was done, he said, “This is very interesting.” I remained calm. He did not ask me to rewrite what I had, no. My assignment was to write a NEW scene, bring in the prince, and have him meet the two ladies at once, but when he spoke to one, the other answered, so he’d be flipping back and forth between them…for five pages. He said “It’s a bit complicated, but judging by your writing I think you can do it.”

We took a break, and I was vibrating in the hallway. I went off to write, and I had those five pages in 30 minutes.

My intention is to let the rest simmer, and then pound it out in support of the marvelous group that let me go to Playworks and got this to happen. And then enter it into the KidsFringe draw for next year. Want to see it?