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THE ART OF DISAPPEARING – NOW IN CHICAGO

THE ART OF DISAPPEARING opened on Thursday night with the press premiere and I want everyone in the entire world to come see it. I’m so proud of this production. Our team is amazing and I can’t say enough wonderful things about everyone involved.

I had the incredible privilege to talk to the audience each night after the performances while I was in Chicago. This play is reaching people on a level that I had hoped. It’s not an easy one, but Chicago audiences are taking it in and allowing it to jostle and move them. They came out and filled the house on Saturday for both performances during a snowstorm which turned into a blizzard. Chicago doesn’t scare easily.

Thank you, Chicago, for being so sublimely real. Thank you for being drawn to this work. Thank you for taking a chance on a new playwright and a new play.

It’s playing at 16th Street Theater in Berwyn. If you don’t know this theater, you should. You can get to know it from afar by reading this piece from AMERICAN THEATRE MAGAZINE, or you can get to know it in person by coming to see my play.

If I may, I recommend a pre-show dinner at Capri or Autre Monde. Both on Roosevelt. Lovely food and atmosphere.

And if you are the type to read reviews before a show, here is one from Hedy Weiss of the Chicago Sun-Times:

“The Art of Disappearing” Captured In Painfully Honest Drama – Chicago Sun-Times

The theater is an intimate 49 seats, so get your tickets before they are gone. HERE.

THE ART OF DISAPPEARING INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN

I am currently running my first crowd funding campaign through Indiegogo to raise funds for the World Premiere of my play THE ART OF DISAPPEARING at 16th Street Theatre!

IT HAPPENS.

A playwright falls in love with her cast in an early reading and simply can’t imagine the play without them. It happened to me three years ago in a basement rehearsal room under fluorescent lights at Chicago Dramatists. Ann Filmer was directing the Saturday Series reading of my play, The Art of Disappearing. In a classic Filmer stroke of brilliance, she cast Tom McElroy and Joan Kohn to play the mother and father. I fell for both of them. Hard.

Here we are three years later preparing to launch the world premiere of my play and I admit it. I can’t let either of them go. They have been with me now for three years and the world premiere would not be the same without them both. Together. The chemistry they create together on stage in this play is magical. It’s everything I envision. And I want you to see it.

SO WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

Well, they’re both Equity actors and we are only budgeted for one Equity contract. We can’t afford two. That means we have a gap to fill to be able to make this particular brew of stage magic.

We’re committed to premiering this play with both of them. And we need your help to make it happen.

Will you help fulfill this playwright’s dream?

FOR A VIDEO, MORE INFORMATION AND TO DONATE TO OUR CAMPAIGN, VISIT THE CAMPAIGN ON INDIEGOGO.

Thank you for considering lending your support to our campaign.

If you can’t donate, would you be willing to share to help spread the word far and wide?

Thank you!

-Steph

WHEN YOUR PLAY FINDS LIFE

Over ten years ago I began writing a full-length play called THE ART OF DISAPPEARING.

I wrote a fast draft in a graduate class taught by David Scott Milton.

I painstakingly revised it in a Saturday workshop led by Lee Wochner and filled with wonderfully smart playwrights including EM Lewis, Terence Anthony, Ross Tedford Kendall and Michael David (among others.)

I had readings at Moving Arts, The Black Box Theatre (with ALAP,) The Blank Theatre and Chicago Dramatists.

I sent it out to countless theaters and received countless rejections.

It was a finalist for the Princess Grace Award and a semi-finalist for the O’Neill.

It’s been rewritten and reworked and finally after all of this, it found a champion.

That champion is Ann Filmer who directed the Chicago Dramatists’ reading.

She saw something in my work and committed to giving it a world premiere at her 16th Street Theater in Berwyn, IL.

And it’s finally happening.

We have a production team.

We have a cast.

We have an opening date– January 29, 2015.

It’s starting to feel real.

My life looks unbelievably different than when I wrote the first draft of this play. I’m a mom to two young boys now. I write in the brief moments when both boys are asleep and I’m awake. Sometimes I write standing up in the kitchen in between cooking breakfast and packing lunch.

Mostly, I write in my head in those quiet moments when I’m nursing my ten-month-old. Or when I’m driving home from school pick-up and my four-year-old is too tired to ask me the million questions he has about why we’re in a drought or why that person on the billboard has no teeth. Or whether or not I can smell his fart.

I never expected it to take this long to give a full life to my play.

They say it takes a long time. If ever.

And I am just so grateful that it’s really happening.

I’m grateful for every step along the way.

I’m grateful to all the people involved in the development of this play and mostly my husband for believing in me. Bob, you never once said it wouldn’t happen. Thank you.

Now it’s about the work. And the collaboration. I love my collaborators and am so excited to be working on the actual production. Rehearsals begin in December. I get to start my new year in a rehearsal room in Berwyn, IL with some of the most talented artists I’ve ever known.

I’ll be posting more details here as we get closer to the production.

If you’re in Chicago, I hope you’ll come see my play.

TICKETS ARE ON SALE FOR AMERICAN HOME

I am so happy to announce that tickets are officially on sale for the workshop production of my play AMERICAN HOME!

Florence Rainwater is a ninety-year-old widow in Ann Arbor, Michigan who just wants to be in her home with her memories until her last day. 

Mike and Dana Washington are a thirty-something couple who thought they would be in their dream home in the hills of Los Angeles forever, or at least until they could trade-up. 

Prosperity Preacher Paula never imagined in her wildest dreams that her Florida mega-church would ever be threatened by foreclosure. And Robbie West, Michigan cop, just wants to help people and does not enjoy kicking them out of their homes. 

American Home is about Americans forced to renegotiate the American Dream, the extremes people go to when faced with losing everything and the resilience of the American spirit. 

Details:
AMERICAN HOME
by Stephanie Alison Walker
Directed by Meghan Beals McCarthy
Produced by Concordia University
Oct. 3-5, 10-12 @ 7:30
Oct. 6 & 13 @ 2 PM
MADISON STREET THEATRE
Oak Park, IL
click here for tickets

AMERICAN HOME AT CHICAGO DRAMATISTS ON AUGUST 26

My award-winning play about the housing crisis will be staged in a reading directed by Meghan Beals McCarthy at Chicago Dramatists in preparation for the workshop production at Concordia University this October.

I’ve been working on another draft of the play and am excited to hear it in front of an audience before diving into rehearsals. The reading is open to the public, so come on by!

When: Monday, August 26 at 8PM
Where: Chicago Dramatists
1105 W. Chicago Avenue

HEADING TO THE SOURCE FESTIVAL IN D.C.

My ten-minute play Edward Cullen Ruined My Mother’s Love Life will be premiering at The Source Festival in Washington D.C. starting this Sunday, June 9th.

EDWARD CULLEN RUINED MY MOTHER’S LOVE LIFE
By Stephanie Walker
Directed by Megan Behm
The only thing scarier to 16 year old Lily than her mother’s obsession with a fictional teenage vampire is getting her drivers license.

For tickets and info: click here
My play is part of the “Afterward” grouping of plays and appears alongside five other fantastic ten-minute plays.
Here is the complete “Afterward” line-up:

AFTERWARD
Directing Mentor: Eleanor Holdridge
A FRONTIER, AS TOLD BY THE FRONTIER, the full-length play that inspired this grouping, follows a group of children living in an abandoned amusement park, after their world has been dismantled. Each of these 10-Minute Plays looks back on what came before.

EDWARD CULLEN RUINED MY MOTHER’S LOVE LIFE
By Stephanie Walker
Directed by Megan Behm
The only thing scarier to 16 year old Lily than her mother’s obsession with a fictional teenage vampire is getting her drivers license.

THE MAN IN THE POWDER-BLUE SUIT
By Stephen Spotswood*
Directed by Renana Fox
A young woman remembers the moment her fractured family ran headlong into a man hoping to save them from the end of the world.

50 GUNS
by Alex Broun
Directed by Ali Miller
50 lives. 50 stories. And one red gun.

MINUS YOU
By Jennifer Barclay
Directed by Megan Behm
Lennox can’t find his wife Gracie in the neighboring burial plot, so he tries to reach her through the crossed wires of the afterlife.

LOST IN THOUGHT
By Christopher Lockheardt
Directed by Ali Miller
A man imagines the past, present and future of a former lover.

RIOT GRRRL REUNION
By Darin J. Dunston
Directed by Renana Fox
When a team of unruly roller derby girls arrive for the First Annual Riot Grrrl Rally, they discover a boys basketball game in progress;and an unexpected opponent.

WRITE: A DOE BAY WRITER’S WORKSHOP

Writer Logo

In 2009, following the loss of our house, we landed (thanks to the kindness of two amazing strangers) on a small and beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest– San Juan Island. We lived there as caretakers. Our son was conceived and born there. We recharged our souls there. Our lives today would not be the same without our short, but incredible time in the San Juan Islands.
We have been longing for a trip back up there to visit friends and show our son where he was born.
This is why I am so incredibly excited to be a part of a new writer’s workshop taking place in the San Juan Islands…
The weekend will be facilitated by my friend and the fabulous writer, Jennifer Beck Furber (Baby by the Sea) who will also be leading a poetry workshop.
I’m so honored to be a part of this and cannot wait for an entire weekend of writing, storytelling and soaking in Doe Bay’s natural hot springs.
It’s going to be an intimate group (limited at 25.) Tickets go on sale here on January 25.
More information:
write: a doe bay writer’s workshop
matthew logelin
daniel blue
jesse michener
doe bay resort

AN AVERAGE MAN IN LOUISVILLE

The Tens

My ten-minute play An Average Man is a finalist for the Heideman (happy dance) and will be performed at Actors Theatre of Louisville as part of their Apprentice/Interns production THE TENS – January 15 – 18, 2013.

Here is some information about the plays and playwrights:

An Average Man
by Stephanie Alison Walker
directed by Michael Whatley
On a Starbucks run for his co-workers, an average man is presented with the opportunity to be a hero. Will he leave the task to someone else as always, or confront his fear and save the day? It all happens in a moment—and this moment is his.
Stephanie Alison Walker is a published playwright and author. Her latest full-length play, American Home, was the winner of the 2011 American Blues Theater’s Blue Ink competition. Her memoir, Love in the Time of Foreclosure, based on her blog of the same name, is published as an eBook by Outpost19 and is available at major online booksellers.

Boy Talk
by Erik Gernand
directed by Michael Legg
The day before heading off to college, two best friends spend a day at the beach. One wants to joke around, but the other has serious questions about his future.
Erik Gernand’s short films have been screened at more than 100 film festivals around the world, including SXSW, Cinequest and Outfest, and have been broadcast on IFC, PBS and MTV Networks. His full-length play The Beautiful Darkhas been developed at theatres including The Barrow Group (New York) and Chicago Dramatists. Gernand’s is a lecturer in Film Production at Northwestern University.

Estate Planning
by Emily Feldman
directed by Kate Eminger
A young couple find themselves stalled at the intersection of love and realty. Their broker warns them—and their new neighbor helps to confirm—that the pursuit of happiness might lead them down a winding road.
Emily Feldman is a playwright living in New York. She has been a Core Apprentice at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, an associate artist at The Atlantic Center for the Arts and a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers Conference. Her plays have been developed and produced at Actors Theatre of Louisville, in the Playwrights Horizons Resident Workshop and by PTP/NYC. Feldman is a graduate of Middlebury College.

Exburb
by Jason Gray Platt
directed by Abigail Bailey Maupin
In The-Middle-Of-Nowhere that used to be Somewhere, Ben is throwing a house party. But when he discovers an uninvited guest in the kitchen, the night quickly becomes less about the party and more about the house.
Jason Gray Platt’s work has been produced and developed around the country by American Repertory Theater, Round House Theater, The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, P73, Red Bull Theater, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Clubbed Thumb and the Source Festival, among others. He was the runner-up for the 2007 Princess Grace Award in playwriting and a finalist for the 2011 O’Neill Conference. He holds a B.A. from Vassar and an M.F.A. from Columbia.

Halfway
by Emily Schwend
directed by Rachel Karp
When her sister visits her at a halfway house in East Texas, Kat is desperate to impress and win Melissa’s forgiveness and love. Eager to reclaim her place in the family, Kat soon discovers that redemption might be more difficult and complicated than she thought.
Emily Schwend was born in Texas and raised all over the world. Plays include South of Settling (Steppenwolf’s 2012 Next Up Rep), Carthage (2009 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference), Splinters (2011 ATCA/Steinberg prize finalist) and Route One Off. Her plays are frequently produced in Christine Jones’ Theatre for One booth. She is an alumna of the playwriting programs at Juilliard and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Lucid
by Naomi Shafer
directed by Jeffrey S. Rodgers
Tessa and Ben check into a motel room with filled with too many appliances. The relentless electrical hum nearly drowns out their attempts to take care of each other, as they wait for difficult news.
Naomi Shafer is a dramaturgy/literary management intern at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Her plays have been developed at as part of the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival and by PTP/NYC. Shafer is a recent graduate of Middlebury College.

One in Two
by Carmen M. Herlihy
directed by Michael Legg
Cancer sucks. But a fundraising party to fight cancer shouldn’t.
Carmen M. Herlihy is primarily an actor living in New York, and One in Two is her second ten-minute play. The first,Coffee Break, was a finalist for the Heideman Award, and was produced by the City Theatre Summer Shorts Festival (Miami, Fla.). She hopes to start a full-length play one day.

Unpleasantries
by Sarah Grace Welbourn and Annabeth Bondor-Stone
directed by Amy Attaway
Unpleasantries is a play about small talk’s soul-numbing effect on the human spirit. It takes place in an elevator. As you might imagine.
Annabeth Bondor-Stone and Sarah Grace Welbourn met at Northwestern University. Between them, they have written and performed at Chicago Dramatists, Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, The Magnet, The PIT and other venues in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Every play Bondor-Stone and Welbourn have written together has received a professional production. Unpleasantries is their only play.
For more information about the production (including cast and production team) click here.

THE ART OF DISAPPEARING – A READING OF A NEW PLAY IN CHICAGO

I’m one happy playwright. Tomorrow is the Chicago Dramatists reading of my full-length play, THE ART OF DISAPPEARING.

I began writing this play just over 9 years ago. 9 years! And tomorrow it is getting a wonderful reading by an extraordinary cast of actors at the place where I took my first playwriting class taught by Lisa Dillman.

This play has had readings and was a finalist for the 2008 Princess Grace Award for Playwriting. But I have never felt as confident about it as I do today. I’ve put so much into it and had so many supportive voices along the way.

From my playwriting class with David Scott Milton in grad school at USC (where I began writing it) to Lee Wochner’s Workshop in Silver Lake where I began to rewrite it, and the wonderful organizations (Moving Arts, The Blank, Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights) actors and directors who have given their time to it along the way.

Tomorrow’s reading is being directed by Ann Filmer. I’m loving working with her on the play. We are having such fun… which is saying something considering the heavy subject matter.

This cast is so good that in rehearsal the other night, one of the actors exclaimed, “When do we mount this?!”

I responded, “That’s what I want to know.”

I truly believe that this play is ready for a production. And I’d be one happy and lucky playwright if it were with this director and this cast.

I’m so grateful to Chicago Dramatists – specifically David Barr and Russ Tutterow – for inviting me into this process. It’s restored my faith in this work. And I needed that. Because let’s face it, after nine years of writing and rewriting and sending it out and getting rejected… well, that faith can be shaken.

But today, I’m 100% behind this play. For better or worse. And I’m visualizing its opening night. Hopefully here in Chicago. Because this is where the play is set.

Tomorrow is the reading. Where I get to hear what works, what doesn’t, where it drags, where it soars, where it confuses, where it intrigues, where it alienates and where it lands.

It’s always a nerve wrecking experience. But this time I have NINE years of work behind me. I’m ready. And I’m supported by a brilliant director and cast.

Me = Happy playwright

If you’re interested in attending the reading… here is the info:

“The Art of Disappearing”

by Stephanie Alison Walker

directed by Ann Filmer.

Cast includes:
Joan Kohn
Meghan Reardon
Thomas Edson McElroy
Zach Kenney
Weston Blakesley

Synopsis:

When Melissa receives a mysterious invitation to brunch from her mother after a two-year estrangement, she returns to a home where nothing is as it seems. The devastating truth she discovers in her parents’ house threatens to tear all of them apart for good.

Come on out, have a listen, stay for the talk back and talk back.

$5 donation.

Saturday, March 24

2PM

Chicago Dramatists (at Chicago and Ogden)

A CAR PLAYS PLAYUH

Michael Shutt (left) and Sara Wagner in Trey Nichols' PCH, directed by Kim Glann (The Car Plays at Segerstrom Center for the Arts). Credit: Doug Gifford.

Moving Arts’ production of The Car Plays: San Diego at the La Jolla Playhouse closed on Sunday after a sold-out run and extension. This production may be over, but the promise of a future Car Plays production lives on. Right? At least in my mind it does. Anywho…

Because I love this production and just can’t stop spreading the word about it, I have yet another story to share with you. This piece is a particularly exciting and insightful article written by Actor/Director/Writer/Producer Michael Shutt for Bitter Lemons about the experience from an actor’s perspective and everything that he has learned in having to repeat a performance over and over and over again. The man has performed 375 times as part of this unique production. 375times! He kind of knows what he’s talking about.

If you want the real inside view of The Car Plays, then you should read this article. Go on. Read it. Now! Here it is:

DRIVER’S EDUCATION by Michael Shutt – via Bitter Lemons

Did you read it? Now you want to see The Car Plays, don’t you? I don’t blame you.

Well, you may not be able to see it right now. But, you can read more about it. And then send Moving Arts lots of money so that they can bring it to your favorite parking lot. Why not?

A round-up of reviews from The Car Plays: San Diego

The Cars Have Left the Lot – San Diego Reader

La Jolla Playhouse Parks the Plays in San Diego – Broadway World

The Car’s the Thing in “The Car Plays” – KPBS.ORG

‘Car Plays’ A Voyeuristic Thrill Ride at Playhouse – North County Times

Theater at the Speed of ‘Wheee!’ – UT San Diego *

“The Car Plays: San Diego” is Theater Up Close and Personal – San Diego Gay and Lesbian News

An Intimate Stage – San Diego Reader

*Winner of my favorite review headline

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