08/29/14

CONGRATULATIONS TAYLOR!

Congratulations to Taylor Adamson on winning the 2014 PlayOffs!

Though we want to thank all 13 of our contestants for being such rockstars and making this such a difficult choice!

Thank you, and look for more from Taylor this upcoming year, and Season 3 of the PlayOffs, which will be back next summer!

08/22/14

WEEK FIVE:JUMP OFF

Congratulations finalists! This is your final step towards becoming the PlayOffs 2014 winner. As much as I know you’ll miss the stress of insane deadlines and wacky prompts, this is it. We’d like to say it’ll be smooth sailing to the finish line, but it’ll be work! So actually, nevermind, we wouldn’t like to say that, because that would be lying. This one may be rough, kids, but if you are victorious this round, the crown is yours*

Here they are, your three basic rules for every round:

1. All original all the time. No rewrites, re-works, re-mixes, polishing, dusting, etc of former pieces.
2. Your sample must be in by 11:59:59pm MST on the day of your deadline. If the clock strikes midnight and we haven’t received your piece, say goodbye to that happily ever after!
3. Don’t be lame. Creative, original, and flawed will beat beautifully crafted but boring.

Good luck, and in the words of our favorite reality show host, Don’t fuck it up! :)

WEEK FIVE – JUMP OFF
DUE: TUESDAY 8/26

No, this isn’t a reference to the Foxy song, we’re looking for something that’ll springboard you into a full length project that we could build together to premiere next summer! We want your best stuff, big ideas, something that you want to develop deeper, that expresses who you are and where you’re going. Talk about the things you want to talk about, embrace and expand your conventions, give us “you on a plate”.
But, of course, there are rules. And while we hope it’s a joy to work on something you could see getting bigger, there’s a little more to it than that. You know that circle of hell, the one where souls are punished to push a boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back down and have to push it back up all over again, for eternity? Well, we’re asking for something a little like that.

Just when you thought the past four challenges were behind you, we want you to incorporate elements from all of them anew this week:

1. include a monologue with a “reveal”
2. include a scene either before or after sex
3. and include a situation, a relationship, a proper noun, and an action…
4. inspired by a music video
** You’ll also be given the same quote to seamlessly integrate into your pieces, and be asked to provide the link to the video you used for inspiration when you submit your piece.

We’d like all this to fall under 2500 words, and as usual, we’re fine if it falls well under that number as well. This can be either a complete stand alone piece that’s a shortened version of what you’d like to work on this upcoming year with us, or loose pieces of it. If you aren’t writing it as a complete script, make sure we get enough of the narrative to “follow”.

We’ll choose based on both the quality of the writing AND our interest in telling the story you propose.

Finally, The Quote: “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself”

That’s everything! As always, ask if you have questions and happy writing!

*there’s no actual crown, just, you know, like a metaphoric one

08/22/14

WEEK FOUR: SOUNDOFF/SWITCHOFF RESULTS

This is it you guys/girls! What started as 13 will go down to the final three. Has it really only been four weeks? We feel like we’ve had the opportunity to get to know each of you a lot more, to understand your work, and to make it really painful to have to say goodbye to two of you. No winner this week, and those of you who make it to next week’s finale will have a mountain to climb!

Sean and I have been talking since all the pieces came in on Tuesday night, and while the performances informed a lot, we had to make the decision based on our experience with the text and what we responded to. We feel the three writers who had the 3 strongest pieces tonight, and also throughout all four weeks of the competition are…

Keegon – always heartfelt without ever being saccharine, your play with lyricism and symbols are beautiful. We want to see bite too, so make sure we’re getting edge to cut through as well.

Sarah – We always get so many comments about your work “popping” off the page. Always feel really real. It still somehow feels like it might be safe. We’d like to see you go farther.

Taylor – Well, no one can say you play it safe! Another week of strong reactions, which we think is the greatest compliment. Memorable, fun, full of life, your strongest moments are when we get the notes of bitter and sadness next to the silly. Don’t worry about going further, go deeper.

Congrats you three, but honestly congrats to all five of you for giving us great material, for inspiring our audiences, our actors, and us too. We’re blessed to know you, and you took this competition to a whole different level this year! Thank you thank you thank you.

For the three who remain, get ready for the next assignment, we’ll be touching base with you soon to tell you more.

08/15/14

WEEK FOUR: SOUNDOFF

And then there were 5. Welcome to the semi-finals, ie. you’re next to last competition week. If you survive this round, you get to officially call yourself a finalist with a 33.333333% chance of winning $500!

There are three basic rules for every round. They are:

1. All original all the time. No rewrites, re-works, re-mixes, polishing, dusting, etc of former pieces.
2. Your sample must be in by 11:59:59pm MST on the day of your deadline. If the clock strikes midnight and we haven’t received your piece, it’s back to the scullery with you!
3. Don’t be lame. Creative, original, and flawed will beat beautifully crafted but boring.

Aside from that, fulfil the requirements of the challenge, and we hope you’ll live to see another week of competition!

WEEK FOUR – SOUND OFF
DUE: PART I FRIDAY 8/15, PART II TUESDAY 8/19

Music and theater, they go together so well you could practically make a whole separate genre of theater involving songs. Don’t worry, the hills aren’t coming alive, we’re thinking a little more contemporary, something with a little more pop. Or rap. Or country…

This week we’re asking you to write a short play (no word requirements) for whatever number/gender/ethnicity/type actors you so choose! But it has to be directly INSPIRED BY (hint hint, don’t be super literal, that would fall under the “don’t be lame” rule we have) a music video from our dearly beloved YouTube.

Because we want to incorporate the songs into the performance we need PART ONE by end of day FRIDAY (yes, that’s today). All we need is a link to the youtube video with the song… see not so bad! And then we’ll give you til Tuesday night to complete; a luxurious 4 days!

Don’t start writing your piece until Saturday, we need to approve your video (and make sure there are no duplicates), but we’ll do that as soon as we have all the links tomorrow night.

As always, ask if you have questions and happy writing!

08/15/14

WEEK THREE:RUNOFF RESULTS

We can’t believe we’re already down to 5 contestants. We’re now eliminating awesome playwrights with minor slip-ups, and the competition is getting stiffer!

*TAYLOR* WINNER AUDIENCE FAVORITE
It’s hard to think this week wasn’t “tailor” made for you (see what I did there? that was punny!) What you did transcended wacky off the wall laugh out loud funny, and made us marvel at your word-smithery. Fantastic job, all the actresses want to know when they can perform it again!

KEEGON RUNNER UP
Two weeks running…always a bridesmaid, huh? Seriously though, what a surprisingly beautiful play, and seamlessly incorporating all those wacky elements, not one felt out of place or unincorporated. Bravo

SARAH
What a bunch of Betty’s! Funny and clean, your style has become instantly recognizable and is a favorite among audiences and actors alike. There’s more depth to explore, as long as we don’t lose that signature style.

IDRIS
Likewise with style, you’ve got plenty of it! We can always count of your stuff feeling fresh, although we can hear a bit of rush. Yes, they’re short timelines, but your competitors are getting more nuanced work out, and we can see that as a potential stumbling block.

SAM
This one was really close. In fact too close to call on this round alone. Luckily for you that win in Week One and a decent showing last week kept you here. Parts of the script got away from you and felt ungrounded and random/beyond your control. But some strong relationship writing patched the plot holes and kept you in.

Elizabeth and James. This one hurt because, well, we know you more now. We’ve gotten to know and love your style, but this week was a rough one! We know we’ll continue to hear great things from you, and hope we get to meet sometime soon (we’ll start planning our Chicago/Ireland tour soon!) Thank you for being a part of this year’s competition.

08/12/14

WEEK THREE! THURSDAY 8/14 @8pm!

keep_calm_it__s_ladies_night_by_coco1994-d3i5ftq

New this week! 7 plays written in just 48 hours! Including a seemingly impossible list of items to incorporate and a roll of a die to find out how many actresses each playwright was writing for!

$8 online or $10 at the door, come check us out at 1400 Williams!

08/8/14

WEEK THREE: RUNOFF

Here we are again. For the 7 of you who have made it this far, you’ve made it halfway. 6 of your competitors are in the dust, and this is your 3rd of 5 writing challenges. Are you ready to bring it? Cause it’s already been broughten!

PS. You’re all kinda amazing, which means there is no more hiding in the middle. 2 of you will be going home this week, bringing us down to just 5 contestants in the semi-finals round!

There are three basic rules for every round. They are:

1. All original all the time. No rewrites, re-works, re-mixes, polishing, dusting, etc of former pieces.
2. Your sample must be in by 11:59:59pm MST on the day of your deadline. If the clock strikes midnight and we haven’t received your piece, no fairy godmother’s going to be able to save you!
3. Don’t be lame. Creative, original, and flawed will beat beautifully crafted but boring.

Aside from that, fulfil the requirements of the challenge, and we hope you’ll live to see another week of competition!

WEEK THREE – RUN OFF
DUE: ROLLING DUE DATE (see below)

We’ve been going through some serious numbers, and this week is no exception:

7 of you remain, and you’ll have to write a piece for up to
6 actors. The total number will be decided by a roll of the dice. You’ll also be required to meaningfully* incorporate
5 actions,
4 proper nouns,
3 props, and you’ll have just
2 days to complete it. That’s right once you get your required components, you’ll have just 48 hours, and it has to make
1 complete short play. This should be a stand alone piece with it’s own full arc.

*what do we mean by meaningful? The element feels incorporated into the story, not just gratuitous.
eg. if “running” is one of your verbs, then a character better be running to or from something important, not just casually mention going for a run the other day. Think less about checking it off the list, more about embracing a chance to shape the arc of the story.

*BONUS* This week we’ll be hosting LADIES’ NIGHT, so all your characters must be of the XX chromosomal variety.

You’ll get to choose your dates for your 48-hours. You can request to start Friday, Saturday or Sunday night, and your submission will be due two days later. We’ll do our usual get it in before midnight deadline rule.

Get all that? To review:
Write a short play (no length requirements) in 48-hours to include a given number of female characters, while meaningfully incorporating a number of actions, names, and props into your scene. The tone and style are up to you, but give us some good shit!

Email to let us know your preferred 48-hours and happy writing!

08/8/14

WEEK TWO: ROUNDOFF RESULTS

Going from 10 to 7 was no easy feat! Here they are folks, narrowed down to almost half the pack in the first two weeks!

*Sarah* WINNER AUDIENCE FAVORITE
Believability was the name of the game, and both we and the audience felt that these two real, funny ladies packed a serious punch. Congrats on your win!

Keegon RUNNER UP
On the other end of the spectrum, we felt like this was lyrical genius. Funny, sad, haunting. It made us want to see it come to life in a full performance!

Elizabeth
Your muse was killer, your landlord sweet and smarmy, and even though your incorporation of the quote was pretty flat, we fell in love with these imperfect people.

Idris
A bit of a power play, strong and sexy, the characters really felt like the fleshed out version of their true archetypes, and had just the right amount of sexy.

Sam
I never thought of snails as sexy, but I guess that’s the point. Far and away the most clever use of your love quote, and a nice little twist at the end.

Taylor
No one could accuse you of having a timid sense of humor, and your quick-paced tongue twisting language has been fun to read (if a bit tough for actors to wrap their mouths around so quickly). Your stuff is smart, but we do have concerns about accessibility. Dig deeper into that emotional core, and pair it with that wit!

James
Your stuff is super smart, even if it isn’t the most exciting on the page. We appreciate the amount of open space for an actor to play, but we want to see more dynamic work. Surprise us!

To our three eliminated contestants: This hurt. Alot. We barely knew ye! We’ve had to be ruthless to keep on track for these five (too) short weeks! While this might not have been your week, we love you lots and sincerely hope this isn’t the last time we get to do something together!!

08/1/14

ROUND TWO – ROUNDOFF!

Congrats those of you who survive to type another day! This week gets more intense, with 3 more being eliminated after next Thursday’s show, bringing us down to 7.

As always, we’re available to clarify, but take ownership of the ideas, and go for it, every time! Safe won’t be safe for much longer

There are three basic rules for every round. They are:

1. All original all the time. No rewrites, re-works, re-mixes, polishing, dusting, etc of former pieces.
2. Your sample must be in by 11:59:59pm MST on the day of your deadline. If the clock strikes midnight and we haven’t received your piece, it’s off to the pumpkin patch!
3. Don’t be lame. Creative, original, and flawed will beat beautifully crafted but boring.

Aside from that, fulfil the requirements of the challenge, and we hope you’ll live to see another week of competition!

WEEK TWO – ROUND OFF
DUE: END OF DAY – TUESDAY, AUGUST 5TH

This week, we’re drawing our inspiration from 1897 German dramatic literature, like we do. We’re asking the ten of you to recreate La Ronde*; writing round-robin scenes for two actors, before or after they’ve done the deed.
Sex is rarely about just sex, so don’t be afraid to delve deeper. And, to keep you on your toes, we’re also asking you to integrate a famous quote about relationships, that’ll you’ll need to find a way to make your own. Muah-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!

We’re expecting 3 things:

1. A single-scene script for two actors (as assigned), set before or after they, well, you know, do it. Real time and realism aren’t required, but you are writing ONE encounter. Think of it as an episode in a 10 episode play you’re all writing if that helps. A contained stand alone piece, but of a larger work.
2. Use the archetypes to inform your work, but push boundaries too. The original script for La Ronde used disparate people to talk about class and status, but sexual politics run deep, and there’s lots of places where you can explore something deeper than just sex.
3. Incorporate your assigned “love quote” and make it your own. (eg. No “Shakespeare once said…”)

Your entire submission document: 1000 words, MAX. (Note there is no minimum, hint hint)

And since we have 5 guys and 5 girls now, we thought we’d play with gender as well! You’ll note your archetypes will have a M-male, F-female, or A-ambiguous (should be able to be played by any gender), and they might not pair in the ways you expect:

Your assignments:**

Gabrielle – The Whore (M) & The Soldier (M)
Scott – The Soldier (M) & The Virgin (F)
Emily – The Virgin (F) & The Predator (A)
Keegon – The Predator (A) & The Good Spouse (F)
Sarah – The Good Spouse (F) & The Artist (F)
James – The Artist (F) & The Muse (A)
Elizabeth – The Muse (A) & The Landlord (M)
Idris – The Landlord (M) & The Politician (F)
Sam – The Politician (F) & The Actor (A)
Taylor – The Actor (A) & The Whore (M)

**if you have the same archetype, you are writing for the same actor/character, but we don’t expect you to coordinate with the other writers who have the same characters. Unless you want to, that’d be kinda cool…

And finally, your quotes:

Gabrielle – “If music be the food of love, play on”
Scott – “You meet someone and you fall in love and that’s that.”
Emily – “You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.”
Keegon – “A man that’s married is a man that’s marred”
Sarah – “Love is an emotion experienced by the many and enjoyed by the few.”
James – “If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
Elizabeth – “Hearts will never be practical until they are made unbreakable.”
Idris – “As long as you know most men are like children, you know everything.”
Sam – “There is no remedy for love, but to love more.”
Taylor – “Only time can heal a broken heart, just as only time can heal his broken arms and legs.”

*About La Ronde
Reigen (ger), aka La Ronde (fr) is a play written by Arthur Schnitzler in 1897. It scrutinizes the sexual morals and class ideology of its day through a series of encounters between pairs of characters (shown before or after a sexual encounter). By choosing characters across all levels of society, the play offers social commentary on how sexual contact transgresses boundaries of class.
The title of the play refers to a round dance, as portrayed in the English nursery rhyme Ring a’Round the Rosie

08/1/14

The Results are in!

Congrats to our 10 continuing contestants! They are:

*Sam* WINNER AUDIENCE FAVORITE
powerful, suspenseful, hilarious, and frightening. Audiences couldn’t get enough “Teeth”, and honestly, neither could we!

Taylor RUNNER UP
While not everyone “got it”, everyone had a strong reaction, and most people loved the perfect opening, ballsy action, and profound depth

Elizabeth
Another with lots of strong reactions. Nailed the challenge and gave us that antici…..pation we asked for like no one else! A fabulous close to the night!

Idris
Beautiful poetry, your scripts also look as good as they sound. Your style already feels very recognizable to us, which helps us (and audiences) understand your voice, which feels so modern without ever being trite.

James
Beautiful and simple. We appreciated the cleanliness and the heart.

Keegon
This got better the longer we spent with it, and same goes for the actor’s experience with the monologue. What at first glance was a bit off-putting and dickish had surprising heart when it was read out loud.

Sarah
Fortunately and unfortunately the funniest part of your monologue was the opening stage directions, which gave the actor a wonderful place to play from, but we don’t get to enjoy that language with the audience. Your signature is strong though, and the portrait was compelling.

Scott
Clean and honest, if a bit small dynamically. Volume-wise it got a bit lost, but its purity kept you in.

Emily
No one voted you as their least favorite, but no one voted you their favorite either. As the only piece to not elicit a strong enough response to get a vote either way, we’re worried. The irreverence we were drawn to in your submission felt watered down and the piece was just okay. Amp it up!

Gabrielle
Some beautiful lines and ideas scattered throughout, but a confusing relationship and surfacey dialogue concerned us. Ultimately, there was still promise, and we want to see what else you can do. But we need you to dig deeper to continue on.

To our three eliminated contestants: We’re so sorry to see you go! Thank you for being a part of this year’s competition; we have a tremendously strong group, and we had to make difficult choices (and trust us, they are VERY difficult when we care so much about all of you!) We can’t wait to hear more from you in the future, and hope you’ll continue to follow along and root for a winner!