Latina playwright Olivia Custodio on creating “Drivers License, Please” for …OF COLOR

Latina playwright Olivia Custodio is a member of Plan-B’s Theatre Artists of Color Writing Workshop. She makes her playwriting debut this season with a dark comedy about bagels, rental cars and rednecks: “Drivers License, Please” is one of four short plays that comprise …OF COLOR, premiering in March of 2019. Writing a play is weird. Seriously weird. As an actor, I usually feel pretty confident when I walk out onto a stage and give a performance. But watching my play onstage?! Welcome to Insecurityville, population: me! It is a very strange thing to write words from your heart and know that people are going to hear them. It’s as though someone else gets to read your diary to a crowd and you have zero power to control how it goes. Personally, I think writing a play is far scarier than being an actor. I still can’t even use the word ‘playwright’ to describe myself. Writing “Drivers License, Please” has taught me a lot about myself, which isn’t something that I necessarily thought would happen during the process of creating a one-act play. It has taught me that yes, I do actually know what I’m doing and I have to trust it. I have to be okay with the fact that it will never be perfect and sometimes, as Julie Jensen says, you need to “just write the damn thing!” That other opinions matter, but ultimately I get to tell my story the way I want to. Sure, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but neither was the awkward and crunchy afro that I sported freshman year of college, and hey, I survived...

Playwright Elaine Jarvik on AN EVENING WITH TWO AWFUL MEN

Playwright Elaine Jarvik has previously premiered MARRY CHRISTMAS, BASED ON A TRUE STORY and RIVER.SWAMP.CAVE.MOUNTAIN. at Plan-B. Her latest, AN EVENING WITH TWO AWFUL MEN, premieres as part of our 2018/19 season. “How would you like to write a play about our first gay president?” Plan-B Theatre’s Jerry Rapier asked me in the summer of 2016. And so I began researching the life of a man I knew little about, one of those presidents who fall somewhere in the vague middle, one of those indistinguishable men with a high collar and a grim mouth. And what I discovered, of course, is that there is always more to the story. James Buchanan was the only president to live out his White House tenure as a bachelor. So there were rumors then and there are assumptions today. But the facts are slim: his best friend was Sen. William King of Alabama, who was also a bachelor, and they lived in the same rooming house in Washington; some said then that King was Buchanan’s “better half;” they were referred to as “Miss Nancy” and “Miss Fancy.” And, finally, Buchanan once wrote a letter to a friend in which he bemoaned the fact that Sen. King had been appointed minister to France: “I am now ‘solitary and alone,’ having no companion in the house with me,” he wrote. “I have gone a-wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them.” And that’s pretty much it: some innuendoes and a few letters, which we filter through our 21st century understanding of the way men act and speak. As I read more about...

African American playwright Darryl Stamp on creating “Roar” for …OF COLOR

African American playwright Darryl Stamp has created roles in Plan-B’s JUMP and (IN)DIVISIBLE. A member of Plan-B’s Theatre Artists of Color Writing Workshop, he makes his playwriting debut this season with a dramedy about stand-up comedy: “Roar” is one of four short plays that comprise …OF COLOR, premiering in March of 2019. “Roar”  comes from my personal experience as an amateur and professional stand-up comedian. As a two-time winner of Showtime’s Funniest Person in Kansas in the 1980’s, I competed against Ellen DeGeneres, who was named Funniest Person in America. I’ve experienced what it’s like to perform at various open mic nights, to fundraisers with hundreds of people in the audience, to opening for and working with other professional stand-up comedians. I’ve performed at the Santa Monica Improv, Charm City in Baltimore, the Comedy Cellar in New York City and various comedy clubs in Kansas, Missouri, and Louisiana. The stand-up comedy writing process, the stress associated with entertaining audiences despite what’s going on in your personal life, and the exhilarating feeling you get when you hear audiences laugh is the inspiration for “Roar.” Most comedic material is the expression of moments that run the gamut of experiences and emotions. Like Richard Pryor ‘s routine about catching himself on fire while freebasing cocaine (“… Save the balls! …”) to Robin Williams “Childbirth” (“… It’s like Winston Churchill and Gandhi had a baby …”), they’re all scripted, worked, amended, rehearsed, performed, and reworked in their earliest stages. I’ve always believed in writing things down as soon as possible if I’ve experienced something funny or had an epiphany. It’s not unusual for me to get out of...

#LoveUTGiveUT + #GivingTuesday = Love Utah Give Tuesday

#LoveUTGiveUT + #GivingTuesday = Love Utah Give Tuesday Please join us online Tuesday, November 27 for a 24-hour day of giving to support the only professional theatre company in the entire country producing full seasons of new plays by local playwrights (hey – that’s us)! Our goal is to raise $10,000 between now and December 31. Gifts given through our website are much appreciated at any time! ...if you are planning to give on November 27, we encourage you to give through our Facebook page to help us qualify for matching funds from Facebook and PayPal. The matching begins at 6am MST. We know it’s crazy, but if you are able to make your gift through our Facebook page as close to 6am as possible, the greater the chance your gift will be matched! And Facebook is waiving all credit card fees on donations made to non-profits! We are also extremely grateful to have an anonymous $2,000 matching gift in play as soon as the Facebook/PayPal matching funds are depleted on November 27. Hang out with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates from 6am-midnight on November 27. And be sure to watch for the announcement of the fifth winner of the Plan-B Theatre grant from The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging...

From the Artistic Director

I’m exhausted. I’m sure you are too. It’s impossible to keep up with the 24-hour news cycle, social media, hyper-partisan politics and the ever-diminishing line between church and state. On Saturday alone, the federal SCOTUS appointment dovetailed with local opposition to same-sex marriage, trans* rights and even science. It’s maddening to witness people talk about women rather than listen to women. It’s maddening to witness the normalization of racism. It’s maddening to witness the normalization of homophobia. It’s almost impossible to feel powerless as the abhorent becomes the norm. We feel a responsibilty as a company to reflect the community in which we live. And yet I’ve been asking myself: with all that is happening, does attending the theatre even matter? I say yes. Maybe more than ever. Because we are your people. And being with your people is sometimes the only way to catch your breath, slow your heart rate and clear your head. The connection between the audience and what unfolds onstage in a darkened theatre is indescribable. But you know what I mean. You’ve felt it. And if you’re like me, you chase it. Time spent with us should be the beginning of an experience, not the end of one. When the houselights come up, our hope is that you feel seen and heard. Let’s sit in the darkened theatre together and maybe, just maybe, we’ll figure out a way to move forward, together. Jerry Rapier Artistic Director Plan-B Theatre The playwrights of the 2018/19 Subscription Season, Free Elementary School Tour, Script-In-Hand Series and Radio Hourshare their thoughts below on how their work connects to the reality of living in America in 2018. SUBSCRIPTION SEASON GOOD STANDING, October 18-28 Playwright Matthew Greene: We’re living in...

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