Thursday, June 29, 2017

Road Playwrights' Festival Scooter Pietsch

The Road Theatre Company Proudly Presents
The Eighth Annual

8 Days! 30+ plays!
Receptions and live music nightly!
This year’s festival will include a 50/50 parity of male and female playwrights and runs Sunday, July 3Oth through Sunday, August 6th at The Road on Lankershim, in the Historic Lankershim Arts Center in North Hollywood at 5108 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood  and at The Road on Magnolia at 10747 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood  at the NoHo Arts Colony!
 We will feature spotlights on all the playwrights of full length plays over the next few weeks. This week the spotlight shines on Scooter Pietsch, author of the full-length play Pursuit*.

What is your familiarity with The Road and the Playwrights Festival? If you have been here before how would you rate your experience? If not, why did you choose to bring your play here? Have you seen work produced here?

This is my 7th year participating in the festival so I’m pretty familiar with it. From the very beginning, the festival has been a fantastic opportunity to try my newest stuff in front of an audience. It’s also a great “deadline” for me. My goal is to always have something new each year for the festival and I’ve only missed one so far. In my defense, I actually did write a new play that year but was unable to fit a reading of it into my schedule!

What is your process for writing and rewriting? Anything you care to share here as advice for other playwrights would be welcome.

I mull over multiple ideas for months. Slowly through that mulling process I set aside certain ideas until I’m left with the one that excites me the most. Then I run that idea through my head till I have the basic story pretty much all the way through. Then I outline - maybe 10-20 pages, write out my characters, decide on my scenes. Then I start in on page one and write the whole thing. I have to write the whole play before I do any rewrites. I have to know if the idea worked. If my setting and characters worked. Then I start rewriting. I do at least 10 passes from page one. The rewrites can be drastic in places and not much in others. I don’t have any guidelines for that. It seems some sections of plays just require copious amounts of sweat and others flow naturally. Next up is I give it to my “team” of readers. I have about 6 people whose opinions I trust and rely on. Once I receive their feedback I start rewriting again. This is probably another 10 passes through the whole play. Then I do what I call my “polish” passes. I work on each character one by one, read only one character’s dialog, get really picky about stage directions, and if it’s a comedy I write alternate funny scenes in case something last minute at rehearsal ain’t that funny. And then we do a reading. And then I make notes and start rewriting the next morning. And it never ends.

What is the value of having your work done here at The Road in California? What are your expectations and hopes for your play for the future?

It’s so great to hear your new work read for the first time. And ALL of my plays have been read first at The Road. So I feel comfortable there. The spaces are terrific and inviting. I would feel weird doing a first reading someplace else! As for the future of this play… if it ends up like the others I will probably do another 5 readings at various theaters across the country. Hopefully a producer will come on board and take it around, pitching it for production at various places. This one already has some interest based on the idea so maybe something will happen??? I don’t really worry too much about that. All I can do is write it. Somebody else has to decide to put it up.

Remember: The Road on Lankershim is located in the Historic Lankershim Arts Center in North Hollywood at 5108 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood  and The Road on Magnolia at 10747 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood  at the NoHo Arts Colony! There is street parking available in both locations, but come early, at least a half hour before curtain.
Because SPF8 is a fundraiser, tickets are by donation only and are only available at the door! Suggested donation for a single performance is $15 –or this year, try a weeklong festival pass for the suggested donation of $50! 

*To be read Saturday, August 5 at 8 pm at Magnolia.

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