On Monday night, I was part of the historic first meeting of Just Theater’s New Play Development Lab (so new, it may end up with a different name in the future). I can’t tell you how excited I am about being part of this lab.
First of all, the company itself, Just Theater, is a new theater company in the Bay Area started by Jonathan Spector, Molly Aaronson-Gelb, Ellen Kamoe, Aaron Loeb and Leah Marthinsen. (That’s backgrounds at Soho Rep, Playwrights Foundation, PlayGround, Berkeley Rep, Shotgun Players, Balé Techlorico and a bunch of other places, in case you didn’t know.) Their first production, Caryl Churchill’s FAR AWAY, is slated to start on October 13.
So here’s the deal with the lab. Their goal is to help fill that gap in the play development world between developing short plays and working with completed drafts that are already written. This lab is supporting writers in the actual process of writing full-length plays from concept to first draft.
In practice, that means that four of us were accepted into the lab based on proposals for work we haven’t started yet. We will be paired with professionals in the theater world (could be a dramaturg, a director, a costume designer, a puppeteer). We will work within and outside of the group to write the plays. And we’ll have staged readings of the finished drafts in March.
The kickoff meeting was Monday night, where we hashed out meeting schedules and learned from Molly how to open beer bottles using a door frame. Everyone involved is very cool, very talented and likes beer. For me, that’s a slam dunk.
I’ll talk more about the individual writers involved (Liz, Greg, Aaron, me) and the folks we’re paired with (Molly, Jonathan, Leah, and a player to be named later) as things progress. Right now, I need to pull out my proposal and get to work: first pages are due October 23.