Play Submissions Much Easier after a Few Years of Writing

I am consistently sending my plays out to festivals and theaters with the hope of getting produced. Sometimes I’m successful. Many times not. The competition is fierce, to say the least.

But now that I’ve been writing consistently for the past 7 or 8 years, I have a volume of plays (especially short plays) at my disposal to send to festivals. One minute play festival? No problem. Got it. A play based on the lives of senior citizens? You bet. Just sent one of my favorites, REVENGE OF THE GRANDPARENTS, to just such a festival. Short play with a strong female lead? You betcha. A unique take on Shakespeare? Got it covered.  Typically, in no time, I can have my submission off into the pool of potential. Then I cross my fingers.

Full-length plays are much more difficult. I’ve been pitching my play The Last Bastion the last two years. I’ve received some good feedback, even a recommendation from another festival, but still no bites. Must keep at it. Recently, I’ve started pitching my new full-length play For the Glory of Nat Turner as well. Only time will tell.

I’m fortunate enough that I’m a theatre professional in a school setting so I get to produce a lot of my own plays which is really cool. I love seeing my work come to life. But it’s even cooler when a festival or theatre decides to produce my shows out of their own free will. I hope that will continue in the future. I currently have two of my plays set to be produced around the world.

GRADE SEMANTICS will be part of the Short & Sweet Theatre Festival in Penang, Malaysia in November.

SAFE SPACES will be part of the Conservative Theater Festival in Columbus, Oh in January.

Besides that, I’m producing two of my own shows in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in the next few months.  STORIES VOL. 2 will be on October 30 and the world premier of CRAZY LOVE will be in April.

So now you’re up to date. Hope there will be much more on the horizon.

A Year of Writing in Review

What writer doesn’t look back at the end of a year and to give oneself a writing grade?

Well, actually, I don’t hold a lot of stock in goals hit or missed because time lines are flexible and life happens. But it’s still fun to take stock in what transpired in the year of writing. Here are some of my highlights.

Play writing:

Watched my play “The Birth of Technicolor” in Brooklyn! It was awesome.

My play “The Last Bastion” won me the 2018 Greywood Arts Writing Residency in Ireland and I spent a blissful week in a charming old English house finishing off two full-length plays and other miscellaneous writings.

Short plays – I hit my stride again in short play writing, finishing off a complete new show entitled “Crazy Love” in the spring and then in the fall I cranked out four new additional short plays which will be part of a show of mine called “Stories, Vol. 1.”

On top of this, I produced three shows – “For All Generations” in Jan 2018, the musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” in April 2018 and the experimental piece “How to Build a Dictator” in December 2018.

Novel writing:

Summer saw the release of book 2 of the Forgotten Child Trilogy called “The African Connection.”

Summer also saw me writing frantically to finish book 3 – which I did – entitled “A Parting in the Sky.”  This explosive piece will end the trilogy and will be released within the first few months of 2019. Very excited about it!

Planning stages and early writing for my mysterious novel #9. I will say it is an alternate history related to the 1960s. It’s going to get wild!

Short Story:

I published a new Christmas story “Jolly Old St. Hick.”

I’m also formulating my book on baseball. I promised myself I would. It may be a collection of short stories or a more unified piece. More to come.

Yes, it’s been a busy and fruitful year. Here’s hoping more productivity in 2019! I’ll give you my writing prognosis for the year soon!

I appreciate your support.

Happy New Year!

 

 

New Christmas Story Coming Soon!

I’m happy to announce I’ll be publishing a new Christmas short story this year. Unsure of release date, but it will be well early for the season. It even has a cover!

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Can you pick up the tone of it? Yes, light-hearted, silly, funny (hopefully) with a warm fire-place-like touch of sentiment – all those things you need to settle into the holiday season. You know, like a cinnamon stick in your hot chocolate or spiced cider simmering on the stove.

“Jolly Old St. Hick” was actually a short play that my drama group The RLT Players performed in their Christmas show “Tales of Wonder II” in 2015. It was a funny and well-received vignette, and last year I got the idea of re-writing it as a short story. I didn’t get very far.

Until now! I turned the 2000 word play into a 6000+ word short story coming your way to a Kindle near you!

I’ve actually not written many short stories in my life. I’ve written more novels than short stories, actually. I’m not sure if that is bizarre or not, but I’m becoming more familiar with the genre. Most of my short stories are Christmas-themed. Why is that? I’m not sure, exactly, but perhaps there’s something comforting about a warm cup of tea, a fireplace, and a 30 or 40-minute sentimental read.

In 2014, I published “If Love is a Crime: A Christmas Story” about a runaway slave in 1852.  Available Here.

In 2016, I published “Christmas in the Trenches 1914” a fictitious account of the real-life truce between the Brits and the Germans in WWI on Christmas Eve 1914. Available Here!

In 2018, I will publish “Jolly Old St. Nick.”

I hope you enjoy, and look out for the release of my new one soon!

THE BIRTH OF TECHNICOLOR in Brooklyn

THE BIRTH OF TECHNICOLOR in Brooklyn

I had the privilege of watching the world premiere of my play THE BIRTH OF TECHNICOLOR at the Gallery Players’ Theatre Black Box New Play Festival 2018.

Here I am, excited standing outside the theater.

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The play was adeptly directed by David Thomas Cronin and beautifully acted by two talented actors: Elizabeth Pickering Hopland (who played the character Black & White) and Danielle Ferretti (who played Technicolor). Here we are basking in the aftermath of opening night.

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You’ll notice Elizabeth was too quick with taking off her make-up since she didn’t know the nosy writer would be there requesting a photo after curtain call.  So I grabbed a promotional photo from dress rehearsal so you can see what she looked like.

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Yes, fabulous. Both of them. And they shined on-stage with terrific chemistry and point-on timing. It is always such a treat for a playwright to see a new work come to life. This is a quirky and funny play which honors the throwback golden era of cinema with loads of references to many of the great black and white films of all time.

This was the very first time I have ever gotten to see one of my plays in America. I’ve spent so much time overseas and produced many different shows in some unique venues, but it was special to finally be able to be there in the Big Apple at Brooklyn’s “premiere off-Broadway theater” to see a great show.

I tip my hat to all involved including Sue and Dominic who produced the show.

Hopefully, there will be many shows to come.

In Brooklyn This Week: “The Birth of Technicolor” @ Gallery Players’ Theater

In Brooklyn This Week: “The Birth of Technicolor” @ Gallery Players’ Theater

If you are in the NYC area this weekend, don’t miss the world premiere of my play “The Birth of Technicolor” at the Gallery Players’ Black Box New Play Festival. It is one of four plays which will be performed Thursday June 14 through Sunday June 17. (Thurs-Sat @ 7:30 & Sunday @ 3:00)  I will be on hand Thursday and Friday evenings. Hope to see you there!

The play itself is a cute little thing. Black & White Film and Technicolor Film show up to give an audition to famed movie director DW Griffith. Each of them want the starring role in his next film. It doesn’t take long for Black & White to feel threatened by Technicolor’s brash and colorful personality. Eventually they each perform a death scene for the director, but the outcome is not what either of them expects.

Play: The Birth of Technicolor   Written by Mark W Sasse

Directed by David  Thomas Cronin

The Gallery Players
199 14th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215

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Checking in from Ireland

I’ve been in Killeagh, Ireland at Greywood Arts for a little more than two days now so I wanted to check in with everyone concerning how’s everything going. Well, in a word, great!

Greywood is a terrific venue for the arts. A renovated (and still being renovated) 18th century Georgian house specifically for promoting the arts. Here’s my amazing writing room.

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It overlooks the Dissour River, more of a stream in my mind, but has a beautiful view of  a small cascade right from the desk. I even saw a river otter! It is bright, cheery, and quiet. A perfect combination for creativity. How’s it been working? Amazingly well. On day one, I completed a play called “Embrace” which I started nearly five years ago and wondered if I would ever finish it. Well, I did. Seven hours of hard labor on that script completely revitalized it and I’m very happy with it. Unlike anything I have ever written.

Today, day two,  was spent working on a play called “For the Glory of Nat Turner.” I had started it last year with a mere 2000+ words and I hammered out the entire first act, clocking the whole thing in at around 7000 words now. Tomorrow, I’d love to finish this one too! Amazing productivity.

The village of Killeagh is small and quaint. No more than 500 souls live here. Here are a few shots.

The weather today turned toward the nasty. Really cold and rainy. No walks and very little out and about. The forecast isn’t great, but I hope it clears a little tomorrow cause I was going to take the bus over to the seaside town of Youghal only 10 minutes away. We shall see how it looks in the morning.

I’m also hoping to take a trip into Cork for a day and check out the city. That will likely be the extent of my touring since my main focus is on writing, writing, and writing.

This is such a terrific opportunity. So relaxing and rewarding and I can’t think Greywood enough for their hospitality.

Let’s get back at it!

Getting Ready for Short & Sweet Penang

This is the third year that I’ve been involved with the Short & Sweet Theatre Penang festival which is kicking off next week. In 2011 I submitted my short play “Drive All Night” which came home with the Audience Choice Award. That was a lot of fun. Last year my script “No in Spite of Itself” won for Best Script, which was an honor for me. Even my daughter won the award for Best Supporting Actor – Female. All the awards and honors are great, but they are certainly secondary in my book. Here’s a few things I especially like about this festival:

  • It’s a great intro to live theatre for a lot of performers. This festival attracts a lot of young people who may haven’t had the opportunity to perform. It’s a stretching and fun experience, and, hopefully, it will connect them to the magical world of live theatre for the rest of their lives.
  • Second, it’s a fun mix of professional and amateur performers. It’s great to see those who work in the performing arts take part in the festival right alongside the newbies. What a great way to learn! The mixture and interaction is fun for all involved.
  • For me it’s a great bridge into the community. I can become somewhat isolated with work and home and work and home, but this is a tangible opportunity for me to do what I love in a community setting. I meet new people, network, learn, interact, and, generally, just have a good time!
  • Lastly it’s about watching the varied performances. Some great. Some, frankly, not so great. But that is what’s engaging about this show. It’s 10, 10-minute plays. If one’s not good, it won’t be long until the next one comes. It’s also a great way to judge performances and to see what is and is not an effective way to act in or direct a piece.

The festival kicks off this week with the dance portion.

Next week starts the theatre portion. My script “A Pinch of Fate, a Shot of Destiny” will be one of the scripts being produced. I’m also directing another one called “The Surgeon’s Creed.” Two other scripts being produced were submitted by my students, so I’m proud of my drama group making some great in-roads into the local theatre scene. If you are in Penang next week, stop by PenangPAC and check it out – September 3-6.

Short and Sweet Penang 2014