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Event Details
  • Communications Lab (writers must be accepted before purchasing a spot)
    August 11, 2018
    10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Director-Writer Communications Lab

Saturday, August 11th, 2018
10am to 6pm

Studios 353
353 W. 48th Street, Studio 1, 2nd floor

This is an amazing opportunity for directors and writers to meet, and hone their ability to talk productively with each other! We are honored that feedback will be given by commercial producers Jennifer Manocherian (Meteor Shower, Dead Accounts, Nice Work If You Can Get It, The Mountaintop, War Horse, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, August: Osage County), Ken Waissman (original Grease, Agnes of God, Torch Song Trilogy, Josephine) and Ric Wanetik producer (Tony nominated Twilight Los Angeles: 1992, Broadway’s Marlene, Off-Broadway’s Jolson and Company) and senior advisor for America to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). TRU executive director Bob Ost will facilitate the day.

Writers, use this form to submit: DIRECTOR-WRITERLab-writer-app - deadline for writer submissions is Wednesday August 1st. Email to TRUStaff1@gmail.com with "Writer Lab Submission" in your subject line.

Directors may send an email to TRUnltd@aol.com to inquire about availability, and include your resume. Right now all director slots are filled, but sometimes people drop out. And in any case, we welcome observers to come a watch the workshop interactions. 


One of the most important - and most sensitive - relationships in theater is that between playwright and director. In some ways, the entire success of a show can hinge on the shared understanding,  trust and mutual respect between these two artists. The director and the writer need to see the show with the same eyes, otherwise their collaboration won't work.  This is important to establish in the initial meetings.

TRU has created a new, experimental program that will train theater artists in the crucial skills of communication. It is led by commercial producers, since the producer is generally the real-world mediator in writer-director disagreements, and has the better overview of a production.

In this Lab we will team up to ten directors with up to ten writers prior to the Lab itself. OBSERVERS ARE ALSO WELCOME TO COME WATCH AND LEARN, LIMITED SPACE AVAILABLE. Playwrights will email us a synopsis, pitch and production history, plus 5-10 sample pages of a script; directors will select a project that interests them from those submitted, request and read the script and prepare for a preliminary director-writer discussion about the play. We will watch and guide that discussion in the Lab. You will:

• Discover your personal communication style
• Learn to identify the style of the person you are with, and adjust to it for maximum mutual understanding
• Explore non-threatening ways of discussing text, communicating and listening
• Identify your domain of authority, and determine protocols

Confirmed directors: Justin Baldridge, Elizabeth Bove, Andi Lee Carter, Miriam Eusebio, Neal Kowalsky, Noel MacDuffie, Katherine Ray, Kevin Ray, Jonathan Warman 


TESTIMONIALS:

I found it helpful and illuminating in a number of ways. Coming shortly after my first experience of selecting a director, it made me aware of the necessity of a lengthy and focussed discussion before any commitments are made. It was useful both to talk through the issues raised by my own play with a director like Cate [Cammarata] and to observe other couples going through the process of discovering whether they could work together or not. It was also moving to witness unexpected dramatic moments in the course of the day. And finally the presence of two such knowledgeable and successful Broadway producers as Ken [Waissman] and Margot [Astrachan] commenting freely on the proceedings was a huge bonus. ~ Dennis Porter, playwright

One of the things that I find invaluable about the TRU Director/Writer Communications Lab is the opportunity to see my fellow directors in action. We don't very often talk about "our method," so being able to observe another director meet a particular challenge or negotiate with a writer is special indeed. I walked away with many new ideas I'll use – and even a few things I plan to avoid. ~Brent Buell, director

I got a lot out of it and it was great to meet such wonderfully supportive people. I especially enjoyed meeting and talking to Claude [Brickell, my Lab director], and I thought he made a tremendous effort to support me. ~ Damon Chua, writer

There really is no substitute for being "in the room" with collaborators and the fact that you are able to create this atmosphere with working professionals who are in the trenches and can speak to what's real says a lot about the good and relevant work you're doing with your organization. Kudos. ~ Ben Gonshor, writer

You created a wonderful space for us writers. And, personally, it could have not gone better for me and the relationship I hope to have started with [my Lab director]. He gets my words written on paper and that's fantastic. ~ Jonathan Citron, writer

What a fabulous Lab that was! No drama - everyone seemed to match up so perfectly! I know I did. I'm eager to continue my conversations with [my writer] - we really hit it off and she's fantastic. ~Cate Cammarata, director

The lab is fascinating, and I found not just my time, but watching the other teams very valuable. ~Richard Riskin, director

Panelists
  • JENNIFER MANOCHERIAN

    Credits include Meteor Shower, Nice Work If You Can Get It; Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson; Dead Accounts; The Mountaintop; A Little Night Music; La Cage aux Folles; The Norman Conquests; The 39 Steps; August: Osage County; Spring Awakening;The Little Dog Laughed; Caroline, or Change; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Thoroughly Modern Millie; The Crucible; Jane Eyre; Stomp.

  • KEN WAISSMAN

    is one of only two producers in the history of Broadway to have a musical run over 3000 performances and a play run over 1000. (The other producer he shares this distinction with is the legendary David Merrick.) Waissman developed and produced the original Broadway production of Grease as well as two of Broadway’s longest running plays, Agnes of God by John Pielmeier and Torch Song Trilogy by Harvey Fierstein.Waissman's first Broadway credit was the 1971 Paul Zindel play And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little with Estelle Parsons and Julie Harris, and his prolific Broadway efforts have resulted in four motion picture features, a PBS TV special, 25 Tony Award® nominations, and 5 Tony Awards® including a Tony Award® as ‘Best Play Producer.’ His new musical, Josephine, inspired by Josephine Baker, had its World Premiere in April at the Asolo Theatre in Sarasota, Florida. Deborah Cox played the title role and Joey McKneely directed and choreographed.

  • RIC WANETIK

    President of Ricochet Group LLC, a strategic planning and communications advisory.  Known for his onboarding of leadership at major theaters here and in England, Ric is a frequent advisor to several regional theaters and is an active producer, investor and production supervisor.   He is the Senior Advisor for America to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), currently represented on Broadway with Matilda the Musical.  He is also the President of RSC America, a US entity supporting the work of the Royal Shakespeare Company here and around the world.  An investor in over 35 Broadway and Off- Broadway productions, Ric was the lead producer and Tony nominated for Anna Deveare Smith’s Twilight Los Angeles: 1992. In 1999, he was the lead producer for Broadway’s Marlene, and was the sole producer of Off-Broadway’s Jolson and Company.  For eight years Ric was the supervising producer for the Victoria Secret’s Fashion Show on CBS-TV and has produced several TV Specials for cable, PBS and universities.  He is a frequent speaker and lecturer on theatre management and marketing. 

Directors
  • ELIZABETH BOVE

    is an actor, director and playwright who has performed in the US, the UK and Europe. Directing credits include A Man for All Seasons, Uncle Vanya, Still Life and over 30 one-acts. Most recently she directed for the Gallery Players Black Box Series. Elizabeth wrote and directed Cracks (2016) and wrote and produced a short film, Keeping Romeo (2001) that screened in over 20 festivals worldwide. Elizabeth's acting credits include: The Guthrie, Manhattan Theater Club, Rattlestick Theater, Roundabout Theater, Cortland Repertory, Cape May Theater, as well as film and television (see imdb.com).   www.elizabethbove.com

  • MIRIAM EUSEBIO

    is a director and sometime actor in NY.  Miriam’s directing work includes the acclaimed Truth Values: One Girl’s Romp Through MIT’s Male Math Maze written and performed by Gioia De Cari, touring since 2009, and Happy Days by Samuel Beckett at WOW Café Theatre.  Work in classic theater includes Pericles, Taming of The Shrew, and Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles.  With young people; The Twelve Huntsmen by Briandaniel Ogelsby, Escape From Happiness by George Walker, several works by Thornton Wilder and Handsel and Gretel the opera by Engelbert Humperdink.  As staged readings she had directed include Illegal Helpers by Maxi Obexer with Voyage Theater, and The Mysteries of Monet Berzoff by Sharon Jane Smith at Wow Cafe Theater. Her directing work has been seen at Dixon Place, New Jersey Repertory Company, Wow Cafe Theater and she is collaborating with Jennifer Joy on her one woman play The Chaos Theory of Now. Acting credits include Suzanna in Murder of Crows by Mac Wellman, Banana in Asshole Differential by Moira Cutler and Dromio of Syracuse in Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, and she sang in the band for The Kandake Dance Theatre for Social Change’s 1001 Nights: Love Stories from Death Row.  Miriam also sings with The Glass Menagerie chorus which will be part of the Mile Long Opera by David Lang this coming October 2018. She in a member of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, Wow Cafe Theater and an associate member of SD
  • NEAL KOWALSKY

    is a director and photographer based in New York originally from New Jersey. Directing Credits include: Spamalot (Mac-Haydn Theatre, Berkshire On Stage Critics Pick, BroadwayWorld Nominated), South Pacific (Mac-Haydn Theatre, BroadwayWorld Nominated), Thieves (The Public Theater), My People (Dallas, TX and New York), The God-Shaped Hole (OC-Centric New Play Festival, CA), Songs for a New World (Porchlight Productions) Avenue Q (Stevens Institute), and You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown (St. Johns University). Neal is currently a member of Identity Theater (Identitytheater.com), a New York based company dedicated to giving differently-abled performers a home. Neal is the former Artistic Director at Papermill Theatre’s Theatre for Young Audiences Program, the Associate Production Director for Shuffles NYC Broadway Tap and Musical Theatre School (shufflesnyc.com) and Artistic Associate and Marketing Director for The Mac-Haydn Theatre. Neal’s assistant work includes: Drury Lane Theatre, The Signature Theatre, NYMF (2014 Best of Fest winner, NY Times Critics Pick), Second Stage, Pioneer Theatre Company, The Mac-Haydn Theatre, Planet Connections and others. James Madison University Alum, SDC Associate Member. www.nealkowalsky.com. #NEALEDit

  • NOEL MACDUFFIE

    enjoys exploring stories about who we are and what makes us human.  Those stories can take many different forms, from intimate productions to big idea productions. Everything is allowable as long as the actors are telling the human story. Noel often utilizes his past work as a contemporary choreographer to support the concepts of the text. Recent pieces he has directed and choreographed include the original work, The Woman Who Shed Her Skin, and an expanded version of Euripides’ Medea. Other recent work Noel has directed include: The Final Word, The Baltimore Waltz, Doubt, The Real Inspector Hound, Scarecrow, The Foreigner, and Matt and Ben. He has had the pleasure to assist directors Terry Berliner and Kristen Marting. He has also choreographed and directed three evening length narrative dance works and over 30 contemporary dance pieces. Noel received his MFA in Directing from Brooklyn College.

  • KATHERINE RAY

    is a visual artist equally at home in broadcast, film genres as well as theatre. 15 years experience as a director of photography and camera operator, as well as technical line producer and production manager.  She brings her knowledge of video and tech to her directing, creating visual compelling stories.  She is trained in Frantic Assembly methods and improv, challenged by working in drama, comedy, musicals and political theatre. In the end it’s all about telling the story, and collaborating with actors to bring text to life. Recent regional credits include An Act Of God (CT premier), Spring Awakening, Fences (CT critics best of the year award winner), Peter and the Starcatcher, Bingo the Final Bloodsport, Avenue Q, Assassins, The 39 Steps, Glengarry Glen Ross, American Idiot, The Green Car (workshop), It Takes a New Aged Village (Manhattan Rep Theater). Co- producing artistic director for Planet Connections Theatre Festival 2011-2014. She is a member of The League Of Professional Theatre Women and the SDC. 
  • KEVIN RAY

    is a theater director based in Brooklyn, NY with experience directing contemporary plays, musical theater and opera. Most recently, Kevin directed Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom by Jennifer Haley at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Scenes from Family Life by Mark Ravenhill at Brooklyn College. He has directed productions of Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Monty Python’s Spamalot, and The Chrysalids (David Harrower’s adaptation of John Wyndham’s novel). He also worked with the award-winning CAT Youth Theater program at The Creative Arts Team/CUNY, supporting young people in devising original theater inspired by themes and issues important to them. In his work as a teaching artist, Kevin facilitates arts enrichment programs that deepen young people’s experiences of performances at Lincoln Center Theater and The New Victory Theater. Kevin has received grants for his work from Brooklyn Arts Council and received the Tow International Research Fellowship which supported his experience attending La Mama International Directors’ Symposium in Umbria, Italy. Kevin holds an MA in Applied Theater from CUNY School of Professional Studies and an MFA in Theater Directing from Brooklyn College.

  • JONATHAN WARMAN

    (Director / Choreographer) New York Theatre: New York premiere of Tennessee Williams's Now the Cats with Jewelled Claws (La MaMa ETC, featuring Mink Stole and Everett Quinton), Me & Caesar Lee (new musical, TBG Theatre, featuring two-time Tony nominee Ernestine Jackson), Goyescas (Bare Opera), That's MISS FITS, to YOU! (new musical, also choreographer, Soho Playhouse), Andru’s Head (new musical, NeoNeo Theatre), Quit the Road, Jack (Theatrelab), Struck / Break (Emerging Artists Theatre),American Fabulous (also choreographer, NeoNeo Theatre), Kitchenette (also choreographer, Theatre Row Studio Theatre), Groupies (also choreographer, Cherry Lane Studio), In Loco Parentis (4th Street Theatre), Love in the Time of Chlamydia (Hard Sparks), The Women of the Mahabharata (eyeBLINK). International: Dreams Reoccurring (also choreographer, Clubul CFR, Iasi, Romania; Nu Festival, Timisoara, Romania), Break (Dublin Gay Theatre Festival). Regional: Heads (Omaha Magic Theatre), The Strangest Kind of Romance (immersive, site-specific production, Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival; Omnova Theater, Columbus, Mississippi; Theatre Sewanee, Tennessee), Struck/Break (New Orleans Fringe Festival), Rogan Gosh (Star of the East, Omaha), Mad Forest, Hamletmachine (both also choreographer, University of Nebraska at Omaha). Proud member of SDC. He has served as Artistic Director of NeoNeo Theatre Company. For more information, see jonathanwarman.com.

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