Ecodrama Playwriting Contest

This information was posted to the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs (LMDA) listerv:

EMOS (Earth Matters on Stage)
Ecodrama Playwrights Festival ~ 2012

At the University of Oregon’s Miller Theatre Complex,
May 24-June 3, 2012

CALL FOR SCRIPTS
First place Award: $1,000 and workshop production
Second place Award: $500 and workshop production
Honorable mentions: public staged reading
Deadline for Submissions is July 1, 2011.

The mission of EMOS: Ecodrama Playwrights Festival is to call forth and foster new dramatic works that respond to the ecological crisis, and that explore new possibilities of being in relationship with the more-than-human world. The Festival is ten days of readings, workshop performance/s, and
discussions of the scripts that are finalists in the Playwrights’ Contest.

Some readings and workshops will be followed by facilitated talkbacks with the playwrights.  In addition, a symposium on the second weekend of the Festival includes speakers, panels and discussions that will advance scholarship in the area of arts and ecology, and help foster development of
new works.

The call for proposals for scholars and those wishing to participate in the Symposium will be posted in Fall 2011 at  http://pages.uoregon.edu/ecodrama/.

The EMOS award includes a workshop production. The winning plays will be chosen by a panel of distinguished theatre artists from the USA and Canada. Past judges have included:

  • Robert Schenkkan, Playwright, winner of 1990 Pulitzer Prize
  • Martha Lavey, Artistic Director, Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago, IL
  • Jose Cruz Gonzalez, Playwright, SCR Hispanic Playwrights Project; faculty Cal State LA
  • Ellen McLaughlin, Playwright, NY
  • Timothy Bond, Artistic Director Syracuse Stage, NY
  • Olga Sanchez, Artistic Director, Teatro Milagro, Portland, OR
  • Diane Glancy, Playwright, Native Voices Award, faculty Macallister College
  • Marie Clements, Playwright, British Columbia

Guidelines for Playwrights
What kind of theatre comes to mind when you hear “ecodrama”? Political plays that advocate for environmentalism, or educational theatre about recycling? While these examples would fit, please let your imagination soar WAY beyond them!

Ecodrama stages the reciprocal connection between humans and the more-than-human world.  It encompasses not only works that take environmental issues as their topic, hoping to raise consciousness or press for change, but also work that explores the relation of a “sense of place” to identity and community.

Help us create an inclusive ecodrama that illuminates the complex connection between people and place, an ecodrama that makes us all more aware of our ecological identities as a people and communities; ecodrama that brings focus to an ecological concerns of a particular place, or that takes writer and audience to a deeper exploration of issue that may not be easily resolved.

While many plays might be open to an ecological interpretation, others might be called “ecodrama,” Examples are diverse in form and topic: Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, in which the town’s waters have become polluted and a lone whistle blower clashes with powerful vested interests; Robert Schenkkan’s The Kentucky Cycle, the epic tale of a land and its people — Indigenous, European, African — over seven generations; August Wilson’s s Two Trains Running that bears witness to the loss of inner city sustainability; Cherrie Moraga’s Heroes and Saints, about the embodied impact of industrial agriculture; Marie Clements’ Burning Vision, which documents the impact of Canadian uranium mining on first nations communities and land; Giljour’s Alligator Tales, a one-woman play by a Louisiana Cajun native about her relationship to her neighbors, the weather, the oil rigs off the coast and the alligators on her porch; Marsha Norman’s Secret Garden in which nature consoles a child’s grief; Edward Albee’s The Goat, or who is Sylvia?, that confounds human species taboos.

The winner of the 2004 EMOS Festival was Odin’s Horse, by Chicago playwright Rob Koon, in which a writer learns something about integrity from a tree sitter and a lumber company executive, went on to premier in Chicago in 2006.

The winner of the 2009 EMOS Festival was Song of Extinction, by Los Angeles playwright EM Lewis, in which a musically talented teen and his father whose mother/wife is dying come to understand the deeper meanings of extinction from a Cambodian science teacher.  The play went to to an LA premiere and was recently published by Samuel French.

For us at EMOS, the central questions are:when we leave the theater are things around us more alive? do we listen better, have a deeper or more complex sense of our own ecological identity??

We need your voice, so does the theatre, so does our world.  Imagine! Write! Submit!

Thematic Guidelines

  • We are looking for plays that do one or more of the following:
  • Put an ecological issue or environmental event/crisis at the center of the dramatic action or theme of the play.
  • Expose and illuminate issues of environmental justice.
  • Explore the relationship between sustainability, community and cultural diversity.
  • Interpret “community” to include our ecological community, and/or give voice or “character” to the land, or elements of the land.
  • Theatrically explore the connection between people and place, human and non-human, and/or between culture and nature.
  • Grow out of the playwright’s personal relationship to the land and the ecology of a specific place.
  • Theatrically examine the reciprocal relationship between human, animal and plant communities.
  • Offer an imagined world view that illuminates our ecological condition or reflects on the ecological crisis from a unique cultural or philosophical perspective.
  • Critique or satirizes patterns of exploitation, consumption, or other ingrained values that are ecologically unsustainable.
  • Are written specifically to be performed in an unorthodox venue such as a natural or environmental setting, and for which that setting is a not merely a backdrop, but an integral part of the intention of the play.

Submission Guidelines
We are looking for full-length plays that are written primarily in English (no ten-minute plays please; one-act plays are okay if 30+ minutes in length).  Submitted plays should address the thematic guidelines as listed above.

1. All submissions should include a cover page with: Play Title/Author Name/Contact Information

2. Two blind copies of the FIRST 30 PAGES OF THE SCRIPT ONLY.  Please do not put the author?s name on the script, only on the title page.

3. A synopsis of the play and cast requirements.

Submissions must be received by July 1, 2011 to:
EMOS Festival/Theresa May, Artistic Director
207 Villard Hall, Theatre Arts
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403

Deadline: July 1, 2011
Early submission encouraged. / No electronic submissions please.

Evaluation Process
After reading the first 30 pages of all submitted plays, we will evaluate the submissions to reduce the size of the pool.  We will then request two full paper copies be sent to us by Sept. 15, 2011.   Winners will be selected from this smaller pool.

Questions?
See our Frequently Asked Questions on the EMOS Website at pages.uoregon.edu/ecodrama.  If you still have a question, email: ecodrama@uoregon.edu

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