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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.

A Grand Design – Cover Art Input Needed

Last week, I announced my intention of publishing my produced plays, to date, on Amazon. Given that the plays are in performance-script stage, and putting them together is largely a matter of technicalities, I started planning my cover design – because that’s really what I need at this point.

I spent a few minutes discussing my ideas with a co-worker (happy to name him/link to his tumblr if he sees this and would like, but also want to respect his privacy) and his perspective as a graphic designer was (as the opinions of graphic designers always are) quite useful.

Basically, he confirmed my feelings: my produced plays should have a unified look, which meant a unified design that can stretch across multiple plays (while also separating them from my other fiction).

So I started looking at the published plays I own. Here. Have a look:

 

(And yes, that is my foot in the corner.)

 

So, these plays. I could talk about these plays a LOT. Like seeing David Tennant for the first time in PUSH UP, and thinking, “Man, he just LEAPS out from every single other person on the stage.” Or how much it meant when Jo Clifford, who was my MFA supervisor in Edinburgh, personally addressed a copy of EVERY ONE to me. Each of the other plays has its own story; if people want to read, I’m happy to blog them in the lean times. Or maybe they deserve their own book.

Anyway. So, having studied the plays, here were my thoughts:

1. Samuel French and the Marlowe both demand that the reader know the playwright before purchasing. The newest of the plays, Ali Smith’s The Seer, was probably a well-performed piece, the play’s blank title and lack of imagery doesn’t really speak to me; I saw it (probably reviewed it) but the blank cover doesn’t give me any kind of aide memoire. I don’t remember much about The Seer, or ever feel inclined to pick it up. No good for a newish playwright, then.

2. The black-and-imagery with the colored spine of the NHB releases speaks most strongly to me as a reader. The images are evocative. They feature live performance stills – and this is where my plan to use these as the template falls down. I don’t have live performance shots of all these productions. I could do video capture stills, but…

3. A number of plays (Clifford’s is just an example) featured imagery rather than literal representation of events portrayed in the script; Yazmin Reza’s DESOLATION is another example of this. (Reza, for those who don’t make the immediate connection, also wrote ART). THE NIGHT SHIFT by Mark Murphy is somewhere between items (2) and (3), with a stylized image that evokes the mood and staging of the play, if not the literal photos one might expect to see.

Where did all this bring me?

The following four versions of an image. Your thoughts would be much appreciated. I’ve settled on the basic elements: the lefthand colorbar and wash over the rest of the image (color will probably change from one play to the next) and the representational photography, but the way those are used, the photograph itself, the fonts that the play names (which, for those who want to know are POST, Playing it Cool, Stuck Up A Tree and Mousewings)…those are all open for discussion.

But I’m trying to make a basic template. And I’d appreciate your input. Here’s what my ideas amounted to on Thursday night:

Please share this on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit…anywhere you think might be useful. Opinions on this one are crowd-sourced. Let me know what you think, and know your thoughts are appreciated.

Meeting Mr. Handypants: A New York Moment

I had a real “New York Moment” earlier tonight. I met with a friend to discuss some possible ways to start reaching out to climate change groups about Hot Mess. Got there early, and snagged a table next to an older man who was, shall we say, not clad in the latest Spring fashions. Whatever. It’s a public space, it was a table, I’m not bothered. Sat for a while, working on a short story idea, until my friend arrived.

At this point, my friend and I start talking about the calendar of releases I’ve got slated for the upcoming year, and ways to get news out about both Hot Mess and the as-yet-untitled-webseries I’m working on with this guy, as well as Millennial Ex, currently set to appear as part of a one-act play program on gay marriage and marriage equality in Scotland later this year. We chat, we laugh, we drink our drinks.

And suddenly I see it. Out of the corner of my eye. My friend has her back to the eccentrically-clad man at the next table; she can’t see what he’s doing. But he’s got his hand down the front of his jeans. Which are, for some reason, unzipped.
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More Choice, Less Sodium!

the lowest-sodium option in the joint. This is something I’ve been presented with a few times over the last month or two, and it speaks to a larger lack of understanding about sodium and how badly it can affect many people.

The dietary recommendation for sodium intake is 2400mg per day, and those who are identified as needing to eat a low-sodium diet (for reasons of pre-hypertension and hypertension, among other reasons) are often advised that a 1500mg per day limit is what they should stick to. Since the beginning of January, I’ve been making a serious effort to eat within those guidelines, which (most days) means eating far, far below 1500mg because I can never predict with certainty that a social situation where I need to eat salty foods won’t arise.

What’s disconcerting is that low fat and no fat foods, along with many supposedly healthy pre-packaged foods, seem to make up for a lack of calories and fats by dumping in additional sodium. People keep offering me foods saying, “They’re really low in fat,” not realizing that unlike calories and fat, where you can usually tell whether you’re about to eat something helpful or seriously unhelpful, YOU REALLY CAN’T PREDICT HOW MUCH SODIUM IS IN SOMETHING UNLESS YOU MAKE IT YOURSELF. So in a diet that I try to keep as basic and healthy as possible, eating out becomes not only an act of faith – are they being honest about not having put any salt on your foods when you’re sure your eggs taste pretty salty? – but also an act of, for want of a better term, finding a needle in the proverbial haystack.

Case in point:

I got caught uptown the other day before a show, and hadn’t eaten anything since lunchtime, so I was in a situation where I had to eat something in order to get through the play (actually, I wouldn’t have minded a few strong drinks to get through the play, Dog And Wolf, which was on at 59E59 Theatre). I popped into a Starbucks, where the sandwiches held an average of 700-1100 mg of sodium each, and realized that the only meal-like thing in the place that I could eat without worrying about its sodium content was a yogurt parfait (130mg sodium). Unfortunately, that didn’t fill me up and I wound up grabbing a cheap slice on my way down to the village, which almost definitely put me over the 1500mg mark for the day. Damn it. Why couldn’t Starbucks have offered some kind of sandwich or Panini alternative that wasn’t chock full of sodium? And should I have just bitten the bullet and grabbed that sandwich when I had the chance?