from Playbill Magazine
They Promised Her the Moon [written by Laurel Ollstein], a play about real-life female flyer Jerrie Cobb, and her dream of becoming an astronaut in the 1960s, will get two public readings in New York this month.
The Miranda Theatre Company will present the readings of the drama by Laurel Ollstein, October 17 at 6:30 PM and October 18 at 3 PM at Nola Studios, 250 West 54th Street in Manhattan.
They Promised Her the Moon tells the story of Jerrie Cobb, the “almost-first” female astronaut. Jerrie Cobb was one of the famed “Mercury 13” group of women who were privately given some of the same screening tests and training as the male astronauts in the NASA space program that eventually put human beings in space and on the Moon.
According to production notes, Cobb “devoted her life to the sky, only to realize that family, colleagues, and contemporaries were too earthbound to see beyond the gender gap and let her soar. In 1959, after undergoing rigorous physical and psychological testing, Cobb surpassed scores of many of the famous Mercury 7 astronauts. Yet it was John Glenn, who was chosen to travel into space first. Laurel Ollstein tells the story of a great American woman who reached for the moon but hit the glass ceiling instead.”
Directed by Valentina Fratti (Catch the Butcher, Snow Orchid, Apartment 3A), the reading features Peter McRobbie (Broadway: Invention of Love), Zoe Perry (last appeared on Broadway with her mother, Laurie Metcalf, in MTC’s The Other Place), John Hillner (Broadway: La Cage aux Folles; The Graduate; Mamma Mia), Jeff Kready (Broadway: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder; Billy Elliot), Barbara Kingsley and Carol Todd.
The readings of They Promised Her the Moon are open to the public, but seating is limited and reservations are required. RSVP:firstname.lastname@example.org
They Promised Her The Moon
by Laurel Ollstein
with John Hillner, Barbara Kingsley, Jeff Kready,
Peter McRobbie, Zoe Perry, and Carol Todd
directed by Valentina Fratti
Monday, October 17th at 6:30 pm
Tuesday, October 18th at 3:00 pm
NOLA Studios, 250 West 54th Street, Studio 1
Space on Shuttle is Limited / RSVP: email@example.com
Actors appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association
firstname.lastname@example.org | mirandatheatrecompany.com
Today, September 27, 2016, we start the interviews at Culver City Senior Center. This is my favorite program/class that I do. College students interview Elders and create presentations about their lives.
I have enlisted the help of three FABULOUSLY TALENTED women:
ALICE TUAN BETH RUSCIO BERNADETTE SULLIVAN
These women along with myself are the mentors who work with these students to shape these incredible life stories into short plays to be performed DEC 4th at the Culver City Senior center.
more to come!!!!
BY THE BOG OF CATS reading at the Odyssey Theatre on Sept 11 was a HUGE success!
A stellar cast!!!!
Zoe Perry Laurie Metcalf Jeff Perry Alfred Enoch Emily Kuroda Noah Galvin Coco Kennedy Danielle Kennedy Amanda Jerry Michael Shepperd Bernadette Sullivan
MORE TO COME………
THEY PROMISED HER THE MOON by Laurel Ollstein is scheduled for a workshop reading in NYC on Oct 17th. Directed by Valentina Fratti – Zoe Perry playing the lead…. more to come
a special reading of
BY THE BOG OF CATS by Ireland’s famous playwright Marina Carr
at the Odyssey Theatre Directed by Laurel Ollstein
With this FANTASTIC cast:
By the Bog of Cats by Maina Carr
Hester Swane is a force unto herself. An outsider in the community, she is haunted by her past and tormented by a lifetime of abandonment. When her world is torn in two, how far will she go to protect what she believes is rightfully hers?By the Bog of Cats is a powerful play from Marina Carr, one of Ireland’s leading playwrights. A thrilling re-imagining of the Greek tragedy Medea
Stay tuned for more info on BY THE BOG OF CATS!
From Dramatist’s Play Service
Loosely based on Euripides’ tragedy Medea, this is the prophetic tale of Hester Swane, an Irish Traveller, who attempts to come to terms with a lifetime of abandonment in a world where all whom she has loved have discarded her. Set on the bleak, ghostly landscape of the Bog of Cats, this provocative drama discloses one woman’s courageous attempts to lay claim to that which is hers, as her world is torn in two. At the age of seven, Hester was abandoned on the side of the bog by her wild and fiercely independent mother, Big Josie Swane. Hester has spent a lifetime waiting for Big Josie to return. To compound her sense of abandonment, Hester’s long-term lover, Carthage Kilbride, with whom she has a seven-year-old daughter, is selling her “down the river” for the promise of land and wealth through a marriage with the local big farmer’s daughter. Alone and dejected, Hester has no one to whom she can turn except the local misfits, Monica Murray and the Catwoman. As ever in Carr’s dramas, the small community is populated by richly woven characters—from the outrageous, stultifying mother of the groom, Mrs. Kilbride, to the brutal and mercenary farmer, Xavier Cassidy. In the final moments of the action, we witness a woman provoked beyond the limits of human endurance. BY THE BOG OF CATS is a furious, uncompromising tale of greed and betrayal, of murder and profound self-sacrifice.“…this contemporary Irish variation on Medea [offers] a compelling look into a mind warped by human unkindness…it would be folly to miss this memorable illumination of a descent into darkness.” —Bay Area Reporter. “Pure poetry. No one has this kind of powerful voice. You have to go back to the classics.” —Holly Hunter.
Please come join novelist Francesca Lia Block and playwright Laurel Ollstein for an afternoon of readings and refreshments at a charming Culver City location.
Hear about everything from lost brothers
to 1970’s Paris fashion models
to women who consummate their love with effigies of dead boyfriends as Francesca and Laurel’s students read selections from their work.
Attendees will receive 10% off a class with either instructor.
Saturday, May 21st
RSVP 310 558 8119
Francesca Lia Block is the award-winning and best-selling author of over 25 books. She teaches at UCLA Extension, Antioch University and privately.
Laurel Ollstein is an award winning playwright, director and teacher. She teaches writing at UCLA Extension, University of Redlands, OTIS College of Art and Design and privately.
Bree Barton has published fiction in The Iowa Review, Mid-American Review, NANO Fiction, and PANK, and essays in USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, and McSweeney’s. Her short stories have been finalists for the Calvino Prize and the American Short Fiction Award, and her debut novel, Black Rose, comes out from HarperCollins in 2017. Bree lives in a sunny bungalow with Christopher, a brilliant writer, and Finley Fergus, a brilliant dog.
Robyn Peterson escaped Miami Beach in the 1970s for a modeling career in New York, Paris, London, and Milan. For the next ten years, she worked with Master photographers including Richard Avedon, Guy Bourdin, Jean Jacque Bugat, Patrick Demarchelier, Helmut Newton and Alice Springs, appearing in magazines that defined fashion and walking the runways for haute couture houses such as Chloe, Dior, Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent and Valentino. A nominated actress, she continues to work in theater, TV and film and marked her debut as a playwright at Los Angeles’s Mark Taper Forum/New Works Festivals with her original one-woman show Catwalk Confidential that went on to garner five out of five stars at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival followed by a critically acclaimed premiere and very successful run at The Art’s Theatre on London’s West End. The show enjoyed a sold-out East Coast debut at the Adrienne Arsht Center for The Performing ARTS in Miami. Readings of Catwalk Confidential were featured in the International Women’s Forum honoring Wallis Annenberg. She is currently working on adapting her show into a novel.
Tiffany Promise received an MFA from CalArts. She lives and writes in Los Angeles with her five cats—though her imagination is stuck in a gutter somewhere in the Deep South. Her fiction has appeared in Black Clock, Gingerbread House, and the Salt River Review. A lifetime member of the Sad Girls Club, Tiffany is interested in the feminization of madness, and is perpetually shining lights into the dark&scary liminal spaces that other people are afraid of getting too close to. Tiffany’s sensibilities are greatly influenced by feminism, punk rock, trips to Disneyland, and the phases of the moon. Her cauldron is sometimes bubbling at www.tiffanypromise.com.
Wesley Du hails from Richmond, Virginia and his second short film, “Dumpling” was screened at multiple festivals such as Hollyshorts Film Festival, Asian Pacific Film Festival, Los Angeles Independent Film Festival (Best Dramatic Short), Boston Asian Film Festival, and Asians on Film Festival (Best Director/Best Dramatic Short). He has also had plays read at Second Generations Theater Company, Theater Mu, and East West Players. While not writing, Wesley is a mental health therapist working with homeless people in the Los Angeles area.
What do Beau Willimon (House of Cards), Aaron Sorkin (Steve Jobs, The Social Network), and Sheila Callaghan (Shameless) have in common? They are among countless television and film writers who got their start in the theatre and who continue to work in both mediums. While newer writers tend to dismiss playwriting as an old art form, established writers know how it built the groundwork and foundation for many great storytellers.
If you want to know how playwriting can juice up your writing or why playwrights are treated like gods, read what instructor Laurel Ollstein has to say about her new class Take the Stage: A Workshop for Film and TV Writers Looking for an Edge.
Writers’ Program: What’s the main difference between playwriting and writing for television/film?
Laurel Ollstein: I think initially when you’re first creating a play, you’re freer to find a form that fits the story you’re trying to tell, rather than with television and film, where the form is often where it starts. Also I’d say that play writing tends to focus more on language and deepening character, although this is changing. I think television, particularly, is expanding the idea of what a television series can be.
WP: Whether you’re writing for the screen or the stage, finding your voice as a writer and performer is especially important. What is one way that students can learn to identify their voice and trust that their truth will resonate with others?
LO: When I wrote my first play, it came from a tragic and unexpected loss in my life. I was in my early twenties and at the time, working as an actress and waitress. I wrote a play called Insomniac, about not sleeping, and the crazy thoughts and ghosts visiting me in my head every night to try and understand my father’s suicide. It was far from a realistic depiction of my situation. I was working at a theatre in San Francisco that had readings of new plays. My play was given a slot, a director and a cast. We had a few rehearsals and put up a staged reading. Most of the people in the audience had no idea I was writing about my life. At the discussion after the performance, the first comment was from an older British gentlemen, who I did not know. When he stood up to speak I noticed he’d been crying. He said, (imagine this is in a nice British accent), “That was the most universal play about loss I have ever seen.” Now I couldn’t have tried harder to NOT be universal. I wrote that play from my heart so specifically. And yet, this man, who could not have been more different than me, related to what I was saying so much so that he was crying. It was an epiphany. The best writing lesson I ever learned. The way to write universally is to write as specifically as possible.
WP: What words of wisdom or advice do you have for students who are still on the fence about enrolling in your class?
LO: Agents will read a play as a writing sample. It’s a good thing to have in your arsenal. It really shows your voice as a writer. To write for the theatre is the best training for any writer. You find your own voice and tell the story the way you want to tell it. And then you can see and hear it happen even by getting actors together in your living room as a simple set.
Also, I must say, the class has a great time. We do a ton of fabulously freeing writing exercises. Writing for the theatre is a joy. Sometimes, when working in TV and film, one can forget the joy part. For the final class, I bring in some wonderful actors to do readings of your work. What could be better? And, there’s food.
WP: What is a common misconception about theatre that film and TV writers need to understand?
LO: It’s not that different. A good story is a good story. It’s not pretentious. It’s whatever you want it to be.
WP: You’re also currently teaching a class “Writing Yourself onto the Stage: The One-Person Show.” How are these two classes different from other screenwriting courses and why is playwriting essential for any TV/film writer?
LO: In the theatre, the playwright is God. Yes, it’s true. No one changes your words, people want you in rehearsals, and you’re honored. Your every word means something. Theatre is a writers’ medium. It all starts with the text. In television and film it’s much more of a directors’ medium. Writers’ words can be changed by directors and actors and the story can change completely in post-production. In theatre there is no post, only present. And you might have many different productions of one play, with different casts and directors. That’s why theatre is a wonderful place to start and come back to as a writer. It all starts with the theatre.
Phoebe Lim is the Program Assistant for Creative Writing (Online) and Events at the UCLA Writers’ Program. Contact her at 310-825-0107 or email@example.com.