Wednesday, July 6, 2011

An Un-Scripted Machine of Death Event

I've been a busy little bee this last month working as the Literary Manager for the Un-Scripted Theater Company's imminently opening show Act One, Scene Two. Why did my improv company need a "literary manager"? Because we needed scripts!

The show will start with a short scripted piece read by the actors. When the script ends, they'll just keep going, improvising the rest of the play. Each night's playwright will also be in attendance (live, via Skype, or in pre-recorded form) to answer questions about the piece and their personal style. The goal is to improvise the piece as they might have written it had they written the whole thing instead of just the first 5 pages.

Each night is a different playwright. That's 21 different playwrights and 21 different plays (23, if you count the two dress rehearsals.) So you can imagine I've been busy reading the submissions, choosing the plays, coordinating with the playwrights, and casting each piece.

I cast them because I'm the only one directly involved with the show who's read each piece. Mandy, the director, has not read any of them nor have the performers. They won't get to read them until they're in front of the audience the night of the show.

I can't wait for this show to open. As an improvisor, playwright, and director, I'm fascinated by this melding of different realms and the exploration of the nebulous collaborative elements of theater. More than any other show we've done, it will be completely different every night.

I also can't wait for opening night because the show is a special Machine of Death event. The show will feature the piece "Murder and Suicide Respectively" from the #1 Amazon bestselling book Machine of Death. David Malki ! of Wondermark will be in attendance and the piece's author Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics will be calling in via Skype (technology permitting). A few other MOD authors will be on hand for a book signing. Read all about it on the Machine of Death site, where you can also listen to the podcast version of the piece as read by MC Frontalot.

Here's the complete schedule of playwrights:
Week 1:
Thursday, July 7: Dan Wilson
Friday, July 8: Annette Roman
Saturday, July 9: Ryan North / David Malki !

Week 2:
Thursday, July 14: Larry Williams
Friday, July 15: Paul Braverman
Saturday, July 16: Steven Westdahl

Week 3:
Thursday, July 21: Lauren Yee
Friday, July 22: Diana DiCostanzo
Saturday, July 23: Eliza Gale

Week 4:
Thursday, July 28: Marissa Skudlarek
Friday, July 29: Emily Esner
Saturday, July 30: Garret Groenveld
Week 5:
Thursday, August 4: Jonathan Luskin
Friday, August 5: Mercedes Segesvary
Saturday, August 6: Andrew Hungerford

Week 6:
Thursday, August 11: Daniel Heath
Friday, August 12: Bennett Fisher
Saturday, August 13: Tim Bauer

Week 7:
Thursday, August 18: Amy Roeder
Friday, August 19: Nicole Brodsky & Dana Teen Lomax
Saturday, August 20: Jill Weinberger

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In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.