Tom Minter's Off The Stoop Blog

a playwright's journey, creating, connecting, and conversing.

Archive for August 2010

prepping projects..

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..the dog days of summer itch of heat, humidity, and hard work for making the coming autumn professionally viable and prosperous..

There is a project in the works; a table reading of Reconstruction, a play of mine that investigates black history, family memory and social adaptability, in a unique weave of narrative.

In the breadth of this story, a celebrated, black, television executive, Ioni, unexpectedly finds herself grappling with the discovery of a forgotten episode in her family’s history, dating from the 1800’s, when an ancestor, who was an artist, fled the racism of America.

The story moves between the past and present; between a Jim Crow codified America of 1871, and modern day France, where Ioni finds that her ancestor settled, passing for white, and flourished, in full knowledge that his choices irreparably distanced him from America, his race, origins family. In following the threads of her ancestor’s journey, Ioni pierces the veil of the years of ‘unspoken’ that enveloped her family history, and the struggle and choices that lead to its fracture.

The method of ‘storytelling’ in this piece, allows me to present my ethic and belief in what can be done in a ‘black box’ these days. The play incorporates a variety of visual and media mediums [portraits –video –compositions of photography], allowing a weave of cutting edge technology application, into the narrative, creating a dreamlike and suggestive atmosphere, leading an audience to inhabit the world Ioni navigates, as she knits together the nightmares of the past, and the dissonance realities of the present.

The project of the reading is being done by the Berkshire Playwrights Lab, in collaboration with an emerging Arts group in Pittsfield, MA, called Lift E’vry Voice.

At present, we’re looking to do the reading in mid September, at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

..this past May, the Berkshire Playwrights Lab had its Gala, and I was asked to write a piece for inclusion in its evening. The piece I wrote is called Groundwork. Though there are not meant to be Press there doing reviews, it seems someone was taking notes in the dark, and has filed something of a report. The ‘review‘ of the evening begins half-way down the page, and is under the title ‘Hurray For One-Acts’ .

..the new school year approaches; DC is again dealing with the Chancellor’s push at establishing a new level of teacher competence and commitment. The dismissal of over 200 teachers has happened in the summer, rather than, like last year, in the first months of class. In addition, over 700 teachers are on notice for performance this year.

Though I firmly believe something radical was needed to recharge the education base in DC, I hope this school year is less wrenching to the students who are meant to benefit.