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Celebrating the members of the League of Professional Theatre Women

Archive for the tag “playwright”

Laurie James

Laurie_JamesPlaywright/Actor
New York, New York USA

Where do you look for inspiration?
I am inspired by all around me, what I see, hear, touch, read, while walking along the water’s edge under a hot sun, but mostly just by people, what they say, do, their daily lives, how they interact and react to situations, the choices they make, the company they keep, the pets they keep, the clothes they wear.

What’s your favorite movie?
Could there be any movie better than Gone With the Wind?

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
I dream of living to be 114 years of age, like a woman I heard about on TV, I dream of being able to speak Italian and live in Italy for at least a year; I dream of writing plays and having them performed in regional theatres, off-Broadway and on Broadway; I dream of standing on stages facing and inspiring audiences; I dream of every woman being able to bring forward her individuality and reach her potential and desired goals; I dream of a world without war, at peace, in happiness.

What is your best escape?
The beach, white sand, blue water either crashing or quietly cascading, scraggly trees bending and inviting, myriad shells daring you to pick up and add to your already overflowing collection.

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
Nobody knows that I like to walk in crowds, study the varied faces, wonder where each one is from, where going, what doing, how their lives are lived, etc., and make up stories.

Author/actor Laurie James has toured her original solo dramatization, Men, Women, and Margaret Fuller, throughout USA, in theatres, Chautauquas, colleges, libraries, conference sites as well as Mexico, Hong Kong, Edinburgh. Her book, Men, Women, and Margaret Fuller, won New York Foundation for the Arts non-fiction award. www.lauriejames.net

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Anne Hamilton

Anne Hamilton, member of the League of the Professional Theatre WomenDramaturg, Playwright, Educator
Quakertown, Pennsylvania USA

I once asked Judith Malina what she does when she’s not working, and she answered, “I work”. I feel like I take the same approach to life, because I seek out beauty, inspiration, and truth everywhere.

However, to take my mind off of writing, dramaturging and editing, I like to make up new recipes. One of my newest creations this year was a Red Velvet Gingerbread tree sculpture, in which I stacked heart and flower-shaped cookies to make a tree reminiscent of Dr. Seuss’ artwork. Things like that give me great delight.

When my mind is puzzling over a dramaturgical problem, I like to visit the ocean. I particularly enjoy going to Coney Island and watching the beluga whales at the aquarium and laughing at the antics of the otters.

The production which changed my life was GUYS AND DOLLS at St. Joseph’s High School in Metuchen, NJ. When I was a teenager, we would always see the musicals at my brother’s high school, which had a fine arts department. I fell in love with the first musical I saw there. In the “Luck Be A Lady” number, they used black lights. When the costumes and dice glowed in the light during the song and dance number, I fell in love with the theatre. And that was it for me. I’ve been in it ever since.

One of my favorite lines from a play is, “More life” from ANGELS IN AMERICA. I’ve made artwork with the phrase and placed it prominently in my home. I also write my own poetry on the walls of my home, in places appropriate for the content of the poem.

I would like to make a writer’s retreat for my friends in the city to escape to. It is beautiful here in Bucks County and I find it to be very conducive to writing and expanding my thoughts. I’ve already made the invitation to several of my friends in the League and I hope that they take me up on the offer soon.

Anne Hamilton is the Founder of Hamilton Dramaturgy, an international consultancy based in New York City’s professional scene, and located in Bucks County, PA. Anne also write plays, poetry and children’s literature, and give workshops in script development. (www.hamiltonlit.com).

Robin Rice Lichtig

Robin Rice Lichtig, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenPlaywright
New York, New York USA

Gathering Mojo
Oh Lord I just turned seventy. Unbelievable. Say it: seventy. The word stays in the air, hissing like an evil snake. Sssssssseventy!

My desk is just as piled with work as it was before. I feel the same urgency to send out script submissions, to meet deadlines, to keep up with what’s happening in the theater world. If I don’t go to Humana this year will that be the start of a downward slide? If I put a new headshot on my website will my gray hair knock me out of the running? If I don’t do anymore of those 24-hour playwriting marathons will people whisper: She’s too old!

I give myself a good shake and try not to think about it. I go to bed at 10 o’clock and pretend it’s 2 a.m. In the morning I make a stiff cup of espresso, check what’s happening on Facebook, then dive into my newest play. Seventy? The play doesn’t give a damn.

Dumpy, shlumpy Francine, my current heroine, has lost her mojo. The vision of herself as thin and gorgeous has taunted her throughout her life. It has worn her down. Francine has just said “good-bye” to Paul, who is going overseas for one year. Francine has a whole year. She decides it’s now or never. The hissing sound of seventy is — where is it? That’s the radiator. Ssssss is distant… outside my office… outside the apartment… There it goes across West End Avenue, across Riverside, across the Hudson. It’s off in New Jersey somewhere, banished by the story in front of me.

Francine stands, turns, faces her opponent. She says…

Robin Rice Lichtig has written plays since 1990. Productions worldwide. In New York: PLAY NICE! at 59E59 in 2011; THE POWER OF BIRDS (3Graces production) in 2010. New plays include: ALICE IN BLACK AND WHITE, SUKI LIVINGSTON OPENS LIKE A PARACHUTE, FRONTIER. Synopses at www.dramamama.net. Publishers: French, Dramatists, Smith & Kraus.

Romy Nordlinger

Romy Nordlinger, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenActor / Playwright / Theatre Teaching Artist
New York, New York USA

I look for inspiration in people who dare to be honest about who they are and live on their own terms. I am always inspired by kindness and empathy, particularly on an overcrowded subway!  I will forever be inspired by the kids I teach theatre with in special education who amaze me with their creativity and love and lack of self- consciousness.  Though some of their bodies are bound to wheelchairs, their spirits are boundless.  It sounds corny but I am so jazzed by smiling and by receiving a smile – the kind that comes from the inside.

My favorite plays are The Zoo Story and this line “WITH GOD WHO IS A COLORED QUEEN WHO WEARS A KIMONO AND PLUCKS HIS EYEBROWS, WHO IS A WOMAN WHO CRIES WITH DETERMINATION BEHIND HER CLOSED DOOR…” And T. Williams’ Orpheus Descending – “What else can you do on this earth but catch at whatever comes near you with both your hands until your fingers are broken.”

My favorite authors are Dostoyevsky, Zola, Orwell and so many others it’d be too many to list – and choose from. If I had more time I’d read and read!  I’m pretty obsessed with the New York Times. The first place I’d go to if I had a chance is Egypt or the duck pond on 112th in Central Park. I love the Sex Pistols, Joni Mitchell, David Bowie, Woody Allen, Virginia Woolf, Mozart, Camus, Shakespeare, calamari, and my husband Adam Burns (but perhaps not in that order). I’m not so crazy about math or sardines. I love people who are passionate and aren’t afraid to say they are. I am most frustrated by people who don’t appreciate enough – though I can’t say I always appreciate enough.

I love red, I love to dance (though I can’t take choreography and my college fencing teacher said I have no eye/hand coordination) and I feel most myself when I’m acting, writing or teaching. I feel most myself when I’m sharing an emotion, be it happy or sad, as long as it’s alive.

Romy Nordlinger Theatre/film: Resonance Ensemble Member, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Kirk Theatre, NY Fringe Festival, Primary Stages, Circle Repertory, Fleetwood Stage, Wilma Theatre. Law & Order CI, One Life To Live, All My Children. Playwright : Lipshtick @ NY Fringe, Sex & Sealing Wax @ Midtown Festival, Feeling Part @Theatre For the New City, Broadville @ The Source. www.romynordlinger.com/

Chiori Miyagawa

Playwright Chiori MiyagawaPlaywright
New York, New York USA

Memory of Swan Lake
Once a year, the Bolshoi or Kiev Ballet company came from the Soviet Union to the civic center in Nagano City and performed Swan Lake.  Some years it was excerpts from different ballets, but Swan Lake was always part of the evening’s program.  My parents took me to the show all through my elementary school years.   This was the only exposure to theater I had in Nagano, a small town surrounded by mountains, during my childhood.  Each year, as soon as the curtain went up in what must have been a pretty shabby performance space, I thought, this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.  The magnificent half-human half-bird beings inhabited the stage, encircled mysteriously by colored lights.  I have no memory of my parents or sister being there.  I remember the packed hall, every seat taken, but people seemed to be elsewhere, not physically around me.  I might as well have been sitting alone in the theater, watching a personal performance by magical beings.

Many decades later, in 2002—my first summer together with my yet-to-be-husband—Lincoln Center Festival was presenting two shows I was interested in—Swan Lake performed by the Kiev Ballet and Pacific Overtures, a production from Japan.  I felt obligated to choose Pacific Overtures—it was much talked about as the production with which the Japanese artists reclaimed the history of the Black Ship’s arrival through their interpretation.

I wasn’t impressed by the performance in Pacific Overtures.  During the intermission, we went outside to the second floor balcony at Avery Fisher Hall—right next to us was the Metropolitan Opera House, where Swan Lake was happening.  It was a balmy night. I regretted not being over there with Odette and Prince Siegfried.  Do they resemble what I remember?  Through the Met windows, I looked at the Swan Lake audience who were ending their intermission, soon to witness the love suicide dance.  My love took my arm to lead me back to Pacific Overtures—his hand felt warm on my body, which was still cold from the air conditioning during the first act.

Chiori Miyagawa is a NYC-based playwright. A collection of seven of her plays, Thousand Years Waiting and Other Plays is available from Seagull Books; and another collection of five plays, America Dreaming and Other Plays, is available from NoPassport Press. She is a resident playwright of New Dramatists. chiorimiyagawa.com

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