By Hey Playwright
Hey PlaywrightSep 19, 2020
2023 TYA/USA National Festival & Conference Recap
Recorded on the drive home, Tori and Mabelle talk all things Theatre for Young Audiences during an on-the-road debrief of the 2023 TYA/USA National Festival & Conference hosted by Childsplay in Tempe, Arizona.
Process Over Product with Keiko Green
Tori and Mabelle talk with Keiko Green about her two origin stories, as well as her journey from the NYU Experimental Theatre Wing to Seattle to UCSD. She shares how her musical about feral bunnies helped her land a writer’s residency at Seattle Rep and how “Exotic Deadly: Or the MSG Play” opened up doors in Hollywood. Keiko shares her process, why she values process over product, and how she includes emerging playwrights in development workshops of her plays. She also includes a detailed breakdown of why and how she wrote her thriller farce “Sharon.”
Forming Families with Gary Garrison
Tori and Mabelle talk with Gary Garrison about his triumphs and missteps on his journey into theater. He talks about the importance of saying “yes” to every opportunity, the protective armor of theater, and the lovely theatrical families that form during productions. He also shares a short history of 10-minute play festivals, his work as an educator and author, tips for play analysis and writing, and assigning each draft a task.
Civilization Building with Lauren Gunderson
In the Season 5 finale, Tori and Mabelle talk with Lauren Gunderson about finding her playwriting voice, the catalyst for her free online playwriting classes, and why she writes one impossible thing into every play. She also shares how theater helps people practice living and that “theater at its best reminds us how to be good in this world.”
Andy Lowe: Storyteller for Social Change
Tori and Mabelle talk with Andy Lowe, the Director of Production and Casting for East West Players, the longest running professional theater of color in the United States. Andy talks about his beginnings as a storyteller towards social change and how his volunteer activism with nonprofits led to his stint as Artistic Director of Asian American Rep Theatre at 19 years old. Other topics include anti-racism, his full-circle journey with the Plays by Young Writers contest, his career journey of building platforms to uplift fellow artists, and his role as a podcaster for Pod Squadron.
Franky D. Gonzalez Moves Forward with Hope
In their first episode of 2023, Tori and Mabelle talk with Franky D. Gonzalez about his writing rituals, the importance of community, and how a chance bus ride and kindness led to his writing stint on “13 Reasons Why.” He also shares his shift from writing plays to please others to writing plays for his son and introduces us to the people and stories that shaped his award-winning play, “Even Flowers Bloom in Hell, Sometimes.”
Playwriting From the Inside Out with Jacqueline Goldfinger
In the final episode of 2022, Tori and Mabelle recap the year and then talk with Jacqueline Goldfinger about their work as a playwright and educator. Jacqueline drops serious knowledge about writing without limits, finding a community that embraces and lifts up your voice, and interrogating your WHY when approaching adaptations.
Storytelling Magic with Sara Guerrero
Tori and Mabelle talk with Sara Guerrero, founding Artistic Director of Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble, about her play, “Have to Believe We Are Magic.” Other topics include the art of archiving, finding your writer identity, and Sara’s multiple roles in theater and community-building.
New Visions with Jordan Stovall
Tori and Mabelle talk with Jordan Stovall about their role at the Dramatists Guild as Director of Outreach & Institutional Partnerships and the development of the New Visions Fellowship. Other topics include Jordan’s fantastical new play, “Bat Queen!,” the therapeutic emergence of Wanda Whatever, and the societal reckoning around systemic issues in theater.
Lighting the Way with Amanda Zieve
Tori and Mabelle welcome their first Lighting Designer to the show! Amanda Zieve talks about her path, her approach, and the advantage of working on smaller scale productions in conjunction with larger shows. She also shines a light on how play revisions impact the lighting design during rehearsals. Other topics include the power of a good mentor and her role as the co-founder of the Howell Binkley Fellowship Program.
The Truth of the Story with Linda and Michael Grady
Tori and Mabelle talk with Linda DeArmond Grady and Michael Grady about their musical, “A Beautiful Place,” inspired by an exhibit of children’s artwork from the Terezin Ghetto. The couple shares their journeys into theater, how they came together, and the challenges and triumphs of marital collaboration.
Kristina Wong: From Solo Artist to Overlord
Tori and Mabelle talk with powerhouse performance artist turned mutual aid leader, Kristina Wong, about the evolution of her Pulitzer Prize finalist project, “Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord.” Other topics include why Kristina ran away from home at 22, the pros of digital theater, finding breathing space as a dramatist, her work as a food bank influencer, and why she ran the Auntie Sewing Squad like a theater collective.
Inda Craig-Galván and the Ownership of Ideas
Tori and Mabelle talk with Inda about her journey from sketch comedy in Chicago to Dramatic Writing at USC and beyond! Inda shares about motherhood, the moment at an audition when she realized she needed to make a life change, and how she found her voice as a playwright.
Dreaming through Plots with Daniel Olivas
Tori and Mabelle talk with Daniel Olivas about writing his first play at age 60; He penned “Waiting for Godínez” as a response to the absurdity of the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the previous administration’s Family Separation Policy. Daniel shares about his life as a fiction writer, anthologist, and book critic, as well as his day job as a senior lawyer with the California Department of Justice. Other topics include how Daniel’s creative writing has made him a better legal writer; playwriting as a 24-hour a day job; and the incredible influence of his parents.
The Existential Evolution of Roger Q. Mason
In the Season 5 Premiere, Roger Q. Mason takes Tori and Mabelle to church as they talk about their life as a playwright, activist, yogi, and truth teller. Roger shares what it means to give everything in your art; how a playwright’s words are a blueprint for the actor; and how they practice non-attachment and self care.
Shortcuts to the Soul with Chisa Hutchinson
In the Season 4 finale, Tori and Mabelle talk with Chisa Hutchinson about her path into theater, the inspiration for her plays “Amerikin” and “Whitelisted,” and the vast possibilities of writing for the stage. Other topics include Chisa’s love of teaching, her process as a playwright, and the recurring theme of accountability in her writing.
Cultivating Space with James P. Darvas
Recorded at the stage of Onstage Playhouse, Tori and Mabelle chat with Executive Artistic Director James P. Darvas about his artistic journey, starting at 8 years old in Ohio singing “Beauty School Dropout,” to his current role managing a playhouse in Chula Vista, CA. James shares his vision for the theatre; how he strives to cultivate a space of inclusivity, accessibility, community; and why the energy that fills the room is the most important aspect of theatre.
Tori and Mabelle moderate a panel about producing TYA with Idris Goodwin, playwright and TYA/USA Board President; Khalia Davis, Artistic Director Bay Area Children’s Theater; Julia Flood, Artistic Director of Metro Theater Company; and Jacqueline Thompson, Associate Artist of Metro Theater Company. The panelists discuss their perspective on new play development; how they discover new plays and playwrights; and the importance of building relationships. Other topics include how the pandemic has shifted theatrical productions; the evolution of Idris’ play, “Jacked”; and a q&a with the audience.
Inge Festival Recap
Tori and Mabelle share a play-by-play of their journey to the 39th William Inge Theater Festival in Independence, Kansas. They highlight the amazing people and businesses who pull together to support the festival, as well as the joys of meeting past guests from the Hey Playwright Universe in person!
A DIRE Conversation with José Casas
Tori and Mabelle talk with José Casas about his path into TYA via law and social justice; his book, “Palabras del Cielo: An Exploration of Latina/o Theatre for Young Audiences”; accomplices versus allies; representation; publishing new playwrights; and changing systems actively rather than passively. Other topics include building audiences starting with youth, as well as his upcoming projects: a second volume of Palabras, an anthology on African American TYA, and a superhero book connected to 18 brand-new BIPOC theatrical projections nationwide.
Joyful Invitations with Joanne Ruelos Diaz
Tori and Mabelle talk with Joanne Ruelos Diaz about her incredible book, “The Little Book of Joy: 365 Ways to Celebrate Every Day.” Other topics include mom-ing and writing; Joanne’s work with educational literacy publications and Sesame Street in Communities; streaming shows centering Asian characters; and finding your joy.
The Art of Creating Space with Hannah Joyce
Festival and as the director of membership and education at the Playwrights’ Center. Other topics include the reframing of the fellowship application process at the Playwrights’ Center; connecting with the people and artists in your community to create theatre where you are; and tons of hot tips on producing and trusting and celebrating the creatives around you.
Otherworldly Things With Prince Gomolvilas
Tori and Mabelle talk with internationally-produced Thai-American writer Prince Gomolvilas about his body of work in the TYA and adult playwriting worlds; commissions born out of a need in the community; and his transition from stuffed animals to actors. Other topics include an in-depth discussion of his play, “The Brothers Paranormal”; why children are the best dramaturgs; and Prince’s interest in hidden history, racial intersectionality, mental health, and shifting tone within a play.
The Life Behind the Life of Rehana Lew Mirza and Mike Lew
Tori and Mabelle talk with married playwrights Rehana Lew Mirza and Mike Lew about the playwright-parent balance; the importance of asking for what you need (and what your productions need); and the evolution of “Bhangin’ It: A Bangin’ New Musical.”
The Quiet Revolution of Delicia Turner Sonnenberg
Tori and Mabelle talk with Delicia Turner Sonnenberg about how a chance elective in 8th grade led to her love of theatre; why she loves the bravery of actors; and why theatre at its best is subversive. Other topics discussed include Delicia’s role as an Artist in Residence at The Old Globe, the importance of mentorship, and her goal to give voice to Black women.
Alvaro Saar Rios and The Facts of the World
Tori and Mabelle talk with Alvaro Saar Rios about his journey from the Army to playwriting, saying “yes!” and celebrating the voices of his community through his plays. Other topics include the importance of reading contracts, his approach to adaptations and what his death metal band taught him about storytelling.
Women with Moxie: Jennifer Eve Thorn and Vanessa Duron
In this twofer episode, Tori and Mabelle talk with Moxie Theatre’s Executive Artistic Director, Jennifer Eve Thorn, about the evolution and mission of Moxie Theatre and the upcoming world premiere of Diana Burbano’s play, “Sapience” (a co-production with TuYo Theatre). Next, they chat with multi-hyphenate theatremaker Vanessa Duron, about the joys and challenges of both directing and acting in “Sapience" and why she disagrees with audience silence in the theatre.
Jeffrey Ingman Meets You Where You Are
Tori and Mabelle talk with audition coach Jeffrey Ingman about his company, Audition Revelation, as well as his work as director of the La Jolla Playhouse Young Performers’ Conservatory and the MCITStudio. Other topics include Jeffrey’s approach to text and the musicality of plays; how speed skating relates to the arts; and the moments when theater approaches divinity.
Getting Home with Marsha Norman
In the Season 4 premiere, Tori and Mabelle talk with award-winning writer, educator and activist Marsha Norman about her career, the importance of women writing about women, her work as an educator, and the architecture of a play. Other topics discussed include conjuring the Writing Spirit, setting a 2-year deadline to finish a play, pastafarians, writing from rage, and her upcoming book about how to write a musical.
BONUS: Script Club with Brian James Polak
In this bonus episode, it's script club time! Tori and Mabelle talk with Brian James Polak, producer and host of American Theatre magazine’s The Subtext podcast, about the evolution of his play, “Here Rests the Heart.” Other topics discussed include the freedom to explore as a playwright, the importance of using your voice, and seeking a positive impact in your community.
The Observational Comedy of Herbert Siguenza
In the Season 3 finale, Tori and Mabelle recap a busy time of year and then talk with Herbert Siguenza about his journey from visual artist to theatre-maker; the importance of excavating the past to understand the present; and his play development process, including his approach to adaptations.
Reimagining TYA with Ashleigh Akilah Rucker and Samantha Miller
Tori and Mabelle talk with Ashleigh Akilah Rucker & Samantha Miller, two of the inaugural grantees of the 2021 ReImagine: New Plays in TYA program.
She Persisted: Playwrights in Conversation
Tori and Mabelle talk with Jacquelyn Reingold, Jennifer Maisel and Laura Rohrman, three Honor Roll! playwrights featured in “She Persisted: Thirty Ten-Minute Plays by Women over Forty.”
Collecting Infinity Stones with Ahmed Kenyatta Dents
Tori and Mabelle talk with Ahmed Kenyatta Dents about his goal as Director of Venue Experience at the San Diego Repertory Theatre; justice and representation in theatre; breaking down the rotten wood of old structures; and the quantum possibility of multiple yous.
A Conversation with el Maestro José Cruz González
Tori and Mabelle talk with the legendary José Cruz González who shares how he came to playwriting out of necessity; the importance of inviting yourself to come back to the playwriting table; and why children make the best dramaturgs.
The Forward Momentum of Donna Hoke
Tori and Mabelle talk with Donna Hoke about her journey as a gig writer into playwriting; embracing and owning your hometown; the value of development workshops; and the art of documenting submissions.
Lucy Wang and the Reverse Law of Gravity
Tori and Mabelle talk with Lucy Wang about her leap from Wall Street trader to playwright; ageism and sexism in American theatre; the revolutionary effect of laughter; and the parallels of playwriting and baseball.
Monster Talent of the American Theatre: Christian St. Croix
Tori and Mabelle talk with Christian St. Croix, an emerging talent in the theatre world who is no stranger to theatre-making. Christian shares his theatrical journey, the evolution of his play, “Monsters of the American Cinema,” and the importance of tenacity and hope.
Love 5: The Tennis Plays
In the Season 3 kickoff, Tori and Mabelle host Love 5: The Tennis Plays festival celebrating the work of eight playwrights from around the world who submitted their 5-minute masterpieces to the tennis-inspired Hey Playwright short play festival.
CALL FOR ENTRIES: Tennis Plays
Do you have a five-minute tennis play or have you been itching to write one? On this mini episode, we put out the call. Deadline is approaching quickly so act fast! Plays are due August 27, 2021 at 11:59 PM PT.
BONUS: Steven Oberman and the DIY MFA in Self-Producing
Tori and Mabelle talk with playwright Steven Oberman about playing multiple roles as playwright/actor/director and producer in his one-man show, Blurred at the Edges, about the life of Dr. John Langdon Down.
BONUS: The Bright Light of Stephanie Kauffman
In this mini episode, traveling Tori and Mabelle talk with Stephanie Kauffman, owner of Mose Mary and Me, a boutique custom & pop culture prayer candle company in New Orleans, LA. We even offer up a prayer... candle writing prompt.
The Illimitable Generosity of Idris Goodwin
In the Season 2 finale, Tori and Mabelle talk with Idris Goodwin about his life as an art-maker. He shares his journey from Detroit to Chicago and beyond and how all of the places shaped his life’s work and play. Along the way, he drops knowledge around freestyle cyphers, finding your tribe, expanding narratives, the empowerment of educators and students, as well as how the teacher acts as DJ, fostering the energy of students.
The "Yes, and" of Jacole Kitchen
Tori and Mabelle talk with Jacole about her roles as La Jolla Playhouse’s Director of Arts Engagement and In-House Casting, as well as her directorial hat for the POP (Performance Outreach Program) world-premiere of Idris Goodwin’s play, "Pick Me Last". Jacole shares her “yes, and-edness” approach to life; her mission statement as a theatremaker; LJP’s artist-driven approach and their shift to online streaming; and the joyful collaboration with other theatremakers for "Pick Me Last".
The Eternal Vigilance of Josh Irving Gershick
Tori and Mabelle talk with Josh about his development of “Dear ONE: Love & Longing in Mid-Century Queer America.” He shares the sacred duty of oral history storytelling, including transparency and honor, focusing on a theme, and preserving the voice of the subject. Other subjects include: the importance of a playwright’s mission statement, artistic generosity, and Josh’s continued drive to uplift the stories of every day queer folk.
The Fabulous Monsters of Diana Burbano
Tori and Mabelle talk with powerhouse playwright, teaching artist and Southern California Dramatists Guild Rep, Diana Burbano, about her punk rock musical play, Fabulous Monsters. Other topics include music as an entry point to character development, ageism and sexism in the music industry, Latinas in the punk movement, and joy and anarchy.
For the Love of...Gina Femia
Tori and Mabelle talk with the fantastically prolific and lovely human, playwright Gina Femia. Gina discusses the evolution of her play, For the Love of (or, the Roller Derby Play). Gina reveals insights into her writing process, the importance of workshopping and rewriting, and starting from a place of love.
The Elaborate Wisdom of Kristoffer Diaz
Tori and Mabelle talk with playwright, librettist, screenwriter and educator, Kristoffer Diaz. Kristoffer discusses various works including his Pulitzer-prize finalist play, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, Football Football Football and Going Left, as well as his adaption of RENT for Fox and writing for Netflix's GLOW. Other topics include the democratization of theatre, the importance of industry relationships and “chasing the churn.”
Guillermo Reyes on “That Day In Tucson”
Tori and Mabelle talk with playwright and educator, Guillermo Reyes, about his play, “That Day in Tucson,” which centers on Daniel Hernandez Jr., the young man credited with saving congresswoman Gabby Giffords’s life when a man opened fire on a crowd hitting 19 people and killing six. Guillermo reveals the challenges and triumphs of dramatizing a real-life event and discusses his upcoming streaming performances of “Men on the Verge of a His-panic Breakdown” and his new musical, “Hit Music.”
Unleashing Superpowers with Starry Krueger
Tori and Mabelle talk with educator and TYA playwright, Starry Krueger, about the Imaginary Theater Company, her pivot to teaching and producing online theatre, and the importance of art as a tool for catharsis and empathy.
The Twofer! Jordan Marie Finley and Cecelia Kouma
It's a two-for-one episode! In the spirit of the 2021 Plays By Young Writers Festival, Tori and Mabelle talk with Jordan Marie Finley, two-time winner of Playwrights Project’s annual California Young Playwrights Contest. Jordan shares her journey into playwriting and the inspiration for her plays, as well as how a twitter post led to front row tix to Elton John; her most liked tiktok featuring a WB actor and her appearance on Michelle Obama’s Twitter feed. THEN, Cecelia Kouma, Executive Director of Playwrights Project, joins the show to discuss her 20+ years with the organization; the evolution of the Plays by Young Writers festival; and her development of the Community Storytelling programs.
Following Hunches with Robby Lutfy
Tori and Mabelle talk with Cygnet Theatre’s Associate Artistic Director, accomplished theatre-maker and all-around beautiful human being, Robby Lutfy. Robby shares his approach to reading plays through multiple judgement-free reads using his *vomit writing* free-writes to lift the rocks created by the playwright. Robby discusses wrestling with his own artistic mission statement by taking the theatre to couples counseling; the importance of giving young people agency in the theatre; and for theatres to rise post-pandemic more equitable and inclusive to create bridges of empathy. His writing prompt involves self-reflection to build empathy.
V-Minute Valentines Festival
Tori and Mabelle host the V-Minute Valentines festival celebrating the work of nine playwrights from around the world who submitted their 5-minute masterpieces to the Valentine-inspired Hey Playwright short play festival.
Connecting Magic, Past & Present with Aleta Barthell
Tori and Mabelle talk with triple threat actress, playwright and teaching artist, Aleta Barthell. Aleta reveals how she connects historical moments with current events through magical realism in her plays Window of Shame (Finalist, 2020 National Playwrights Conference, O’Neill Theater Center; Finalist, HUMANITAS/CTG Playwriting Prize), Walking Down the Corn, and Night Witches: Flight Into Fantasy. Aleta also introduces the writing ribbon and the important link between movement and creativity.
Midlife Mutineer, Colette Freedman
Tori and Mabelle talk with the multi-talented powerhouse, Colette Freedman. Colette shares her journey from her first 10-minute play to internationally produced playwright, and the value of writing with passion and the intention to get your work out in the world (and off of the computer!). She also drops advice that led to her successful career as an award-winning novelist, teaching artist and script doctor, inspiring listeners to avoid the career pigeonhole trap. She leaves us with a sustainable prompt for 365 days a year and reminds us to be kind and go create something!
Season 2 Premiere: A Good Shoe is a Good Shoe is a Good Shoe
Season 2 is here! Tori and Mabelle dive into Season 2 with a check-in of their 90-Day Play experiment, shoes as the dangling carrot for finishing pages, favorite love stories, AND an invitation to submit to the next Hey Playwright contest, V-Minute Valentines!
We made it to our Season Finale!
Tori and Mabelle round out their 12-episode season with a cornucopia of topics including: upcoming writing projects; the joy of smooth writing utensils; dislodging constipated gel pens; a seasonal asking for a friend; and an invitation to journey with them on their “The 90-Day Play” adventure inspired by Linda Walsh Jenkins’s book. This week’s writing prompt invites you to peek back at the past (from the future!).
The Creative Alchemy of Sarah Greenman
Tori and Mabelle talk with one of their artist idols: Sarah Greenman. A storyteller, visual artist and Woo-woo catalyst, Sarah discusses the evolution of her Creative Alchemy Oracle Deck, playwriting, motherhood and the importance of choosing this life every day. Her upcoming projects, as well as her acclaimed play, Leni, based on the life of Leni Riefenstahl, are also discussed. Sarah offers two prompts inspired by Maggie Smith’s poem, “Good Bones."
Tom Steward, A True Legacy Character
Tori and Mabelle talk with theatremaker, film aficionado and podcaster, Tom Steward. Tom digs into the details of dissecting film sequels, starting with dialogue to create compelling stories, holding onto your writing drafts AND the importance of self-advocating. He also shares which horror movie he’d choose to be trapped in. He gives a potentially haunting (but not necessarily) prompt to jumpstart your writing.
5-Minute Frights Festival
Tori and Mabelle host the Five-Minute Frights festival celebrating the work of eight playwrights from around the world who submitted their short plays to the first Hey Playwright short play festival.
Creative Trespassing with Tania Katan
Tori and Mabelle talk with Penguin Random House inspirational speaker and creative disruptor, Tania Katan. Tania shares insights about the two Cs of creativity, her life as a best-selling author and Curator of Shenanigans, and how she found her “in” as a public speaker. Tori and Mabelle receive new job titles: Motivational Grader and Storytelling Reporter. Tania drops two writing prompts, including one from her award-winning book, “Creative Trespassing: How To Put The Spark And Joy Back Into Your Work And Life.”
Mindful Contest Submissions
Tori and Mabelle drop helpful tips on prepping for contest submissions (hint: Don’t be like Johnny Smartypants), including resources for finding opportunities. Everyone’s a winner with a contest-inspired writing prompt.
The Magnetic Optimism of Izzy Ster
Tori and Mabelle talk with award-winning playwright and high school senior, Izzy Ster who shares her thoughts about distance learning, the magic of theatre, and the importance of doing what makes you happy. Izzy gives us a timely scene prompt, just right for the times.
Hey Playwright Call for Entries!
Tori and Mabelle announce a call for entries for the 5-Minute Frights - a Zoom festival of spooky short plays. Sign up by October 7, 2020 to get started. More info at heyplaywright.com.
The Recalibration of Albert Park
Tori and Mabelle talk with one of their favorite actors, Albert Park. Albert discusses his journey as an actor and what he has been up to during the pandemic. The Twilight Zone, eating off the floor, and junior high are also discussed. Albert provides a sensory exercise to spark up an idea for something to write about.
Sage and Super Fun Playwright Thelma Virata de Castro
Tori and Mabelle talk with playwright, teaching artist, and calming presence Thelma Virata de Castro. Among many other things, Thelma talks about her work as a playwright and a standardized patient. And she serves up a really great prompt.
Productivity and the Pandemic
Tori and Mabelle discuss where their inspiration comes from, the magic of eavesdropping, and nice smells. There's an exercise to try the next time you go grocery shopping and a writing prompt to get you going.
Superstar Maria Patrice Amon and the Latinx New Play Festival
Tori and Mabelle talk with Dr. Maria Patrice Amon, founder and executive producer of the Latinx New Play Festival at the San Diego Repertory Theatre. Jane Fonda, expired mayonnaise, and the sedentary lifestyle are also discussed. A writing prompt tops off the fun.
Meet Tori and Mabelle, your hosts who talk playwriting, discuss virtual theatre during the pandemic, and compare game faces (or lack thereof). A writing prompt pushing the limits of creative constraints concludes the episode.
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Hey Playwright is a new podcast about playwriting, theatre, and life., featuring tips, tricks, and writing prompts to get you going.