Saturday, April 6, 2013

Entitlement to premiere at Summerworks 2013

Last summer and fall I wrote my first play, called Entitlement.  It came out of my third not being called back to teach scriptwriting at a local film school.  Getting a temporary teaching job is much like getting a TV series.  Every twelve weeks or so you find out if you're getting renewed.  In this case, I wasn't and having been not renewed two other times over the last seven years, clearly I wasn't cutting it as a script writing teacher for millenials.  (In all cases, the school's didn't bring me back because students complained about me.)

Well, I tried.

So in the spirit of when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, I decided to write a play--my first--about my experiences teaching.  It's about an underemployed screenwriter who takes a job teaching scriptwriting only to have an ambitious student try to get him fired.  It was amazingly easy to write in retrospect.  I finished a first draft after a couple of months and then after meeting with my agent and a couple of trusted colleagues, did a second draft, (which was really adding new scenes, but not much revising of the original draft) in October.  I then got my friend and colleague, David Ferry, who also happens to be one of the best theatre directors in the country, to read it.  He loved it and organized a reading in January.

The reading was an eye-opener for me.  I finally saw myself how my students must have seen me, when I heard the actor reading the teacher's part.  As "right" as the teacher/me was, he/I was still a bit of a dick.  But the student meets his dickishness step for step and it turned out to be a pretty good piece of theatre.

So I submitted the play with David attached as director to Summerworks, which is a prestigious theatre festival held in Toronto annually.  And a few days ago, Summerworks announced that Entitlement would be part of their 2013 offering, one of 36 different plays.  There was no cast attached when I applied, but since being accepted, David's lined up a terrific group of actors to be in it.

I'm thrilled, (though getting into a festival means you also have to raise the money to produce the play.) But that's a topic for another post.

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