Tag Archives: fringe

Sunday and Monday: Kindle Select Promo Days!

Cover art for PLAYING IT COOL

This Sunday and Monday (September 16th and 17th, 2012) you can download my first Edinburgh Fringe play, Playing it Cool for free on Amazon. (Apologies to those who’ve been patient since Friday night – a glitch in scheduling meant the promo didn’t go live as planned on Saturday).

Playing it Cool (a snappy romantic comedy) was written in 2003, and was my first produced play since 1999’s POST (a surreal tale about gun violence).

If you don’t own a Kindle and want to check out the play,  you can download apps for almost any platform on Amazon’s home page.

And as I said last time:

Playing it Cool is a one-act play about two friends, subtext and communication. It’s a two-hander that takes place in an apartment and a cafe, so might be of interest for those looking for audition scenes to read with a partner.

No big monologues here, I’m afraid, although both my later Fringe plays, Stuck Up A Tree and Mousewings (particularly Mousewings) will deliver on that front.

I’m listing Playing it Cool with Kindle Select for at least 90 days, so if you’re a member of Amazon Prime, make sure to put it on your list for a free read.”

Reviews of Playing It Cool:

Playing it Cool may not be the most ambitious play, addressing only a single issue. However, it contains much humour and is very well written. It will be very interesting to see a longer and more intricate play from the very promising Rachel Lynn Brody, at some time soon.”

– Philip Fisher, The British Theatre Guide, regarding the play’s premiere.

If you want to find out about awesome stuff like this ahead of time, subscribe to my Mailchimp mailing list. I won’t send stuff often, and won’t sell your email info, but I can promise at least a few promos ahead of the curve. And who knows what else.

But first, download Playing It Cool.

Plays of Place: Edinburgh Fringe Plays

While living in Edinburgh, Scotland, my favorite month of the year was August. Why? Because of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (currently running in Scotland’s capitol city).

At my first Fringe, I saw at least a hundred plays. Then I lost count.

Three of the plays I saw over the years – Playing it Cool, Stuck Up A Tree and Mousewings – remain especially important to me, because they were mine. They were markers of what I accomplished each year I was in Edinburgh, and now when I look at them there are so many memories crushed up between their lines it’s like opening a photo album.

Playing it Cool, a romantic dramedy that takes place in my home town of Buffalo, New York, had its world premiere at the Pend Theatre at the now-defunct Gateway Campus of Queen Margaret University. It’s the earliest of the three plays, and I was astonished to see, while watching videos of the production, how much stronger it played on film than in the tiny pend theater. It taught me the necessity of using space well in theater, and of making physicality a necessary part of your script. This would come in handy on my next Fringe play – which you’ll hear more about in the future – Stuck Up A Tree.

But back to PiC. Through the Buffalo theater community, including playwriting professors, local directors and adjunct faculty, and the support of the head of the University at Buffalo’s theater department, we received funding for two actors and the local director to travel to Scotland and perform Playing It Cool  for a week’s run.

Other than a few attempts at getting the shows picked up, I haven’t done much with these play scripts, and it occurred to me the other day that this is one of the problems with playwrights: our work may be staged, but what happens once the curtains fall down?

Over the next few months, I plan to release the scripts for my three Edinburgh Fringe plays on Amazon; likely through KDP. This will require formatting and artwork, as well as some thought about how I want to package each piece. So it’s going to take me some time. Ultimately, it’s likely a hard copy version containing all three plays may be available. I’m trying not to think about the details too much just yet, and come up with a good over-arcing strategy – advice welcomed.

The three plays are very different – romance, a children’s show, and a post-apocalyptic tale of class conflict & survival – and form an interesting snapshot of my early playwriting career. I’m excited (and a little terrified!) to be sharing them with you – part of why I’m writing this blog, because it makes this more of a promise. Now you can bug me about this, if I drag my feet.

Gulp.

NY Fringe Review: ALL DAY SUCKERS

The double-entendre title of this NY Fringe production refers to both the candies kept on hand by social worker Becca (Margaret Daly) and, more obliquely, to the powerless pawns who must navigate the tsunami of bureaucracy that results from the illness of a loved one. The fable traces the primary character, Bryce (Sarah Grace Wilson) as she wanders through the maze of the American health care (or should we say, health insurance?) system during her father’s grave and ultimately fatal illness.

Never fear for spoilers – really, this isn’t a play about Bryce’s individual journey, but rather what her journey represents. Along her health care Commedia, Bryce learns (sans a kindly Virgil to show her the way through the maze) how even though her father tried to make provisions along the course of his life for his care in the event of a catastrophic event, the Sweet Insurance Company (personified with grandiose flair by Zachary Fine) has other ideas. With deep pockets and commitment to making them deeper, Sweet pecks and needles at each of the characters in turn, the self-christened “spirit of the insurance company.”

But wait. This is theater, and Bryce can fight back. Thanks to a stroke of fate, she’s able to afford both a lawyer and the best neurosurgeon in the world. She’s not rich, we’re told, but she’s “well off.” She’s also a bit of a brat, although by virtue of watching her struggle along at her father’s side, refusing to give up because other than him, she’s all alone in the world, we can sympathize with the exhaustion and tension she must be feeling.

Where writer Susan Dworkin makes this play a subtler critique of the system than one usually expects is in showing both the positives and negatives – though mostly the negatives – of the current ways health care reaches various strata of society. Sure, Bryce has to pay full cost for her father’s doctor, but a family of illegal immigrants receive the procedure for their dad pro bono. In the end, it’s the super-rich who can pay for the care they want outside the health insurance industry system, and if the super-rich make their money off morally questionable activities, well…so do the insurance companies. In Dworkin’s vision, it’s the middle class that gets screwed.

Although the play feels long at just under an hour and a half, the musical numbers and extremely dark humor help bring a further touch of absurdity to the production. An education inherent in the walk through the pitfalls of trying to find affordable health care for your elders will no doubt be of benefit to a number of theater-goers (that is, if it doesn’t send them running to their psychiatrists in despair).

In a final confrontation, Dworkin’s characters suggest that the only way to triumph over the system is to either challenge it from within or to make enough money to remove oneself from it. Interestingly, the idea of government-run health care never enters the debate, which makes the script seem a bit out of sync with modern times, and one wonders how it will age, but in the immediate future this is a play where the ideas will engage you more than the production itself.

Previous NY Theater reviews can be read here and here.