Monday, November 08, 2004

Tempus Fugit

Things I have to do for my not-for-profit before January 1:

1) Recruit a board of directors.
2) File the corporate documents.
3) File for tax-exempt status.
4) Create a website.
5) Come up with the rules of the playwriting competition.
6) Contact as many GLBT youth organizations as possible to promote the competition.
7) Ask several gay and lesbian playwrights to write an essay on why gay theater matters for my website.
8) Open a corporate bank account.
9) Open a post office box.
10) Get someone with money to help me out even though we're not a 501(c)3 yet and hence the donation won't be tax-deductible.
11) Not go completely crazy.

Then I just need to figure out how to do all that, finish the play I'm working on, deal with some potentially horrible family drama that's going on, wrap up the stuff I've been doing for the rugby club so someone else can take it over, try to convince my boss to let me work 4 10-hour days instead of 5 8-hour ones, go to physical therapy, visit my mom, buy Christmas presents, deal with the stuff for the other not-for-profit I work with, and do all the other crap I have to deal with on a daily basis.

Breathe in, breathe out. Things will work out.


David said...

I'm so proud of you. What you're doing has the potential to be life-changing for everyone involved, and it's the perfect antidote to the nonsense going on in the world today.

palochi said...

A couple of points:

1. You *will* be able to do this. It will happen.
2. It's a brilliant concept that will contribute in a wonderful way to assist creative minds in their work.
3. Why are you tackling this all yourself? Ask for help. For example, like there aren't about a half dozen bloggers out there who wouldn't help out with creating a domain/web presence for you?
--> 4. And, I've asked this before but... *grumble*... how does one make a donation, tax-exempt or otherwise? <--
5. I'll FedEx you a couple of Xanax, if you like. :-)

Crash said...

Mmmm . . . Xanax.

orbicon perpendaplex said...

Wow. You are very cool. It's nice to see in this time of selfishness that there are still some of us (ok, you)willing to help others. I wish you so much luck.

Anonymous said...

Deep breaths, gurl! It's cool that you're doing that nonprofit thing though.

And don't let The Man ruin your Xmas...don't shop if it stresses you out!

Anonymous said...

Question: You want to create an organization to honor young GLBT playwrights who write plays with GLBT themes and/or characters?

GREAT idea!

Playwrights who are queer often write non-queer plays just as non-queer playwrights pen queer plays, but there is a lot to be said for “queer by queer.”

Terrance McNally, in his November 1998 “American Theatre” article “What I Know About Being a Playwright” wrote:

“We are all in this together – young and old, men and women – and the more we help and support each other, the stronger we all are, and so is the theatre.”

Your supporting young playwrights with your organization will help foster a sense of pride and professionalism. It will also help the theatre. And, I truly believe, it will help society. Ignorance is often the basis of hate. Your competition will help convey our story – the good and the bad, the comic and the tragic – to others so society can become more tolerant and accepting.

What you’re doing is fabulous!

Best Wishes!!!

Anonymous said...

In reference to #7 ….

What a great idea!

Richard Canning created two books filled with interviews he did with fiction writers: ”Gay Fiction Speaks” and ”Hear Us Out”. It would be fantastic if someone created a similar book with gay playwrights.

I looked around to see if I could find playwrights who addressed your question about why gay theatre matters. It wasn’t as easy as finding the fiction writers’ viewpoints though.

You may want to consider asking a theatre magazine like “American Theatre” to write a “gay by gay” article. They have the connections and resources to contact and interview prominent playwrights. They’ve done several excellent central-themed, multiple viewpoint articles in the past.

If you have difficulty getting what you want, you may want to consider quoting what playwrights have already said and/or written.

For example …

Tony Kushner"Gay theater artists … are shaping the next chapter in the American gay theater, which has at times been inseparable from the history of American theater in its entirety and which is now becoming increasingly distinct."

“One of the gifts of liberation, of even an incomplete liberation, such as we now enjoy, twenty-six years after Stonewall, is an expanding, more detailed, more coherent collective memory. The past is liberated as well as the present. We are not fabulous in part because we are fabulists, fabled, organized and powerful enough to have the luxury to begin to examine the past and begin to interpret it, and to pass it along to our descendents openly. For homosexuals to work to create a history is for us to say that there will be those who come after, to say to the straight world: Some of your children will be queer.”

   from the introduction to John M. Clum’s “Staging Gay Lives: An Anthology of Contemporary Gay Theatre”Terrance McNally“Theatre is the oldest way we have of trying to tell the truth about who we are.”

“Write even when you think no one else in the entire world cares what you have to say. Because there is someone – always.”

This is followed by a moving personal story of his giving what he thinks will be a pointless lecture at his hometown public library in Corpus Christi. Afterwards, a woman whose brother died of AIDS talks with him and an 85-year-old woman gives him a La Scala program autographed by Maria Callas --- proving that people did care what he said and wrote.

   from “What I Know About Being a Playwright” in the November 1998 “American Theatre”Tim Miller“For me, Broadway shows were a crucial finishing school for my nascent gay identity. From these shows, I learned everything I needed to know about love, politics, and America. ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ made me want to a Jewish communist boyfriend like Perchik when I grew up … ‘Fiddler’ prepared me for exile, whether from cosacks, storm troopers or George W.”

   from the November 2003 interview in “American Theatre”Richard GreenbergAn interviewer asked if his “Take Me Out” was a “gay play”?

“I don’t want to make any of those disingenuous remarks like “What is a gay play?” Aren’t all my plays “gay plays,” in a way? … A publicist recently complained to me that it marginalized the play to call it a “gay play” because then the baseball fans don’t show up.”

   from an October 2002 interview in “American Theatre”Craig Lucas“In 1984, I had (and still have to some degree) a negative feeling about populating my plays with literal versions of myself. I didn’t even imagine that such a theatre, one comprised of the author’s factual existence, was possible, much less desirable. I believed my job was to imagine, to try to inhabit the psyches of people who were not like me.”

And …

“I imagine I was also wary of presenting myself as a “gay writer” (and very possibly being ghettoized out of the mainstream as a result of that) before I had had a shot at having access to a wide array of audiences. I wanted my plays to be on Broadway. I was grandiose enough to think that’s where they belonged, and I certainly didn’t want to start by being performed in a purely gay context like (the gay-oriented Manhattan company) the Glines. The few “gay” plays I had seen up to that point seemed soft, self-pitying and dour, like “Fortune and Man’s Eyes,” or artless, like “Last Summer at Bluefish Cove,” or silly like “The Ritz.” I didn’t want to work in any of those shadows, and I wasn’t brave enough to think I could make my own kind of theatre. It was the AIDS epidemic rather than my theatrical ambitions that politicized me towards gay liberation. I wanted to be famous and successful and push the envelope, but not too much!”

   from a January 2001 interview in “American Theatre”In “Staging Gay Lives,” these playwrights prefaced their scripts with some comments about gay theatre …

Dan Pruitt and Patrick HutchisonThe creators of “The Harvey Milk Show” wrote:

“We first started writing together in the early 1980s. Ronald Reagan was in office and some new “gay disease” was a whispered threat on the horizon of the gay community. We wrote songs to keep our spirits up. We wrote to write about our lives, to remind ourselves where we gay people have been, to remind ourselves of the kind of courage it has always taken for us to merely survive. We wrote to remind ourselves that we shall endure.”

Patrick WildeThe creator of “What’s Wrong with Angry?” wrote:

“The British are not very good with sex. Sex of any kind. They view it as dirty, funny, embarrassing, a necessary evil – anything but loving or romantic.

“Little wonder, then, that homosexuality is still the ultimate taboo. Britain stands alone in the so-called civilized world in having a discriminatory age of consent for gay men. Only a few years ago a new law made it illegal to promote a positive image of homosexuality; that is, to educate people not to hate, attack, despise, or ostracize gay people.

“… As an out gay man for some fifteen years, I was tired of well-meaning friends, even gay friends, telling me it was easier to be gay “nowadays.” True, a large and hedonistic gay scene operates in the capital city, and other major cities boast smaller but just as self-perpetuating ghettos. I remained convinced, however, largely because of my relationship with several young men over the years … that for a young person coping with homosexuality is still a process that must be undertaken in secret, in dangerous situations, and with no support, least of all from the much-vaunted great British family.

“As an actor and director, I had never seriously considered writing my own play, but I really felt a need to express my anger at this heartbreaking system, which condemns thousands of young people to years, perhaps lifetimes, of misery. I was sick of people describing older gay men as getting bitter. We’re not bitter; we’re angry!

Godfrey HamiltonThe creator of “Kissing Marianne,” wrote:

“My work is invariably inspired by my honey, Mark Pinkosh …. This need I have to write – it’s about family and tribe. Lesbians and gay men have been creating plays since the first anthropoids gathered at the first fireside. We were there, and ever will be, and it’s time to for all of us to remove from our guts that toxic little insect called “shame.” Being gay is about falling in love. We know who we really are when we fall in love. How could I not be OUT? I love Mark so much – to hide in a closet would be a lie about the most beautiful man in the world and how I feel about him.”

Chay YewThe creator of “Porcelain,” wrote:

“ ‘Porcelain,’ the first play of my trilogy dealing with issues of gay Asians, is based largely on my teenage experiences of loneliness, identity, anger, and sexuality as a member of a racial minority in a Caucasian society. The gay Asian journey continues with ‘A Language of Their Own,’ which centers on emotional relationships between men, and ‘Half Lives,’ about the impact of family on the gay individual.”

John M. ClumThe editor of the book wrote in the preface:

(What) “defines .. gay theater? I would say a certain kind of adventurousness, a playing with the possibilities of theater. When discussing gay theater, I am always reminded of Blanche DuBois’s proclamation: “I don’t want realism. I want magic!” It is that sense of theater as a magical space mirroring lie but larger than life and the sense that theater best mirrors the performance of gender and the awareness of performativity that have historically been part of the gay experience. These plays all take their audiences and their readers to surprising places. There is no way in which we could not refer to these plays as ‘straight’ plays. Gay playwrights, even at their most serious moments, remind their audiences of the many meanings of the word play. What does gay theater mean if not joyous, camp, liberating, magical? It is not somber, literal, or naturalistic.”

Anonymous said...

Until you started writing about your project, I hadn’t thought much about “gay by gay” plays. I focused more on plays with gay themes and characters irrespective of authorship. You inspired me to do some research (mainly to discover playwrights’ sexual orientations). You know much more about queer theatre than I do, especially lesbian theatre. Just for fun, here’s a list of “gay by gay”:

Edward AlbeeThe Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?
The Zoo Story

John BaronVisiting Mr. Green

Neil BartlettA Vision of Love, Revealed in Sleep

Eric Bentley Lord Alfred’s Lover
Round 2

Adam BockFive Fights

John M. ClumRandy’s House

Lucas CraigPrelude to a Kiss
The Dying Gaul

Michael CristoferThe Shadow Box

Matt CrowleyThe Boys in the Band
The Men from the Boys

Michael CunninghamFlesh and Blood (novel adapted into a play by Peter Gaitens)

Christopher DurangBeyond Therapy
Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You

Kevin ElyotMy Night with Reg

Harvey FiersteinLa Cage Aux Folles – Tony Award Best Musical 1985
On Tidy Endings
Safe Sex
Torch Song Trilogy

William FinnThe Marvin Stories
In Trousers
March of the Falsettos

Roger GellertQuaint Honor

Jean GenetDeathwatch

Peter GillCertain Young Men
Mean Tears

Richard GreenbergTake Me Out – Tony Award Best Play 2004

Noel Grieg and Dave GriffithsAs Time Goes By

Geoffrey HamiltonKissing Marianne

Jonathon HarveyBeautiful Thing
Hushabye Mountain,
The Rupert Street Lonely Hearts Club

John HerbertFortune and Men’s Eyes

William HoffmanAs Is
Cornbury: The Queen’s Governor

William Inge The Boy in the Basement
The Disposal
Where’s Daddy?

Moises KaufmanGross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde
The Laramie Project

Michael KearnsWho’s Afraid of Edward Albee

Gerald KillingworthDays of Cavafy

Larry KramerThe Normal Heart
The Destiny of Me

Tony KushnerAngels in America Part I: Millennium Approaches
Angels in American Part II: Perestroka

Jonathon LarsenRent

Meyer LevinCompulsion: A Play

Craig LucasPrelude to a Kiss
The Dying Gaul

Charles LudlamThe Mystery of Irma Vep

Timothy MasonBearclaw

Terrance McNally Andre’s Mother
Corpus Christi
Lips Together, Teeth Apart
Love! Valour! Compassion!
The Kiss of the Spider Woman
The Lisbon Traviata
The Ritz
The Stendahl Syndrome

Julian MitchellAnother Country

Joe OrtonEntertaining Mr. Sloan
What the Butler Saw

Joe PintauroWild Blue

Dan Pruitt and Patrick HutchisonThe Harvey Milk Show

Guillermo ReyesMen on the Verge of a His-panic Breakdown

Paul RudnickJeffrey
The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told
The Naked Eye

Martin ShermanA Madhouse in Goa
The Boy from Oz

Colin SpencerSpitting Image

Jonathon TollinsThe Last Sunday in June

Patrick WildeWhat’s Wrong with Angry?

Tennessee WilliamsA Streetcar Named Desire
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Suddenly Last Summer

Marc Wolf Another American: Asking and Telling

Chay YewPorcelain, A Language of Their Own, Half Lives

Some plays with gay themes and characters by non-gay playwrights:
Horton Foote -- The Young Man from Atlanta
John Guare -- Six Degrees of Separation
David Hare -- The Judas Kiss
David Henry Hwang -- M. Butterfly
Tom Stoppard -- The Invention of Love

The list of non-gay plays by gay playwrights is too long to list.

BEST WISHES with your endeavor!!!

Crash said...

Um . . . wow!

Okay, that was pretty damn amazing.

Anonymous said...

Someone you may want to consider for some level of involvement with your project -- from getting a quote to your board of directors -- is Samantha Gellar. You can probably contact her via the ACLU or they can tell you where she is.

Anonymous said...