INAUGURAL COHORT
FEBRUARY 21-APRIL 4, 2022

A new workshop facilitating the creation of well-crafted, short (possibly very short!) plays - while also facilitating social engagement - in seven two-hour sessions led by Elaine Jarvik, Julie Jensen, Kay Shean, and Debora Threedy.

Applicants were asked to share, in 150 words or less, what was appealing about this workshop and/or what they hoped to get out of it. We received 19 applications for 6-8 slots. All identifying information was removed from the applications before they were shared with the facilitators, who then read and ranked them from 1 to 19. Those ranking 1-8 were selected.

MEET THE COHORT

Jean Tokuda Irwin

I'm a theatre junkie. In addition to going to see plays, I love watching the process through readings, final productions and hearing playwrights talk about their developing work.

I've had ideas in my head for a long time and really want to give creating an itsy bitsy work of my own that explores my immigration to this strange country and perhaps the odd circumstances of my birth. Ever since I saw a play with Jayne Luke and Ron Frederickson where they discussed obits over coffee, I've wanted to try my hand at writing a play.

I've also seen the work of Jensen, Jarvik and Threedy...I'm intrigued and would also feel safe to give this a go.

Susi Feltch-Malohifo'ou

I have always wanted to learn how to write plays as there are many Pacific Island stories that I would love to see produced by our community, about our community.

I have always envisioned a Polynesian version of THE KING & I, or the many folklores from the many island countries, or the mystical, cultural belief of how the South Pacific islands were created. I also have a friend that has the idea of a story of a Polynesian LGBTQ immigrant moving to the U.S. and the cultural clashes to adapt to living in the U.S.: a comedy.

To share our cultural from our perspectives.

I would like to introduce my community to the possibility that we could do this: write, act, sing if musical, create the set, create the costumes. Our community can do each of these things. The question is who is going to gather them together to create a Polynesian theatre, quality production?

MaryBeth Jarvis Clark

This excites me! Because theatre! And writing! And I can't believe I am 57!

It's a downhill slope, and I've never skied. What will end my run?

Climate catastrophe? White supremacist patriarchal gerrymandered bullshit? The spread of dirty soda shops?

I hope to imagine different routes and detours on the way to my inevitable demise. Creative aging is all I think about. Hell yes to hanging with a crew of bad-ass, older, women playwrights.

Erin Empey-Baxter

As I walked out of my high school creative writing class, Mrs. Von Schmidt called me back to her desk for some of her wisdom.

"Please don't waste your talent for writing."
"I promise," I said confidently.

I feel the need to submit my name as a candidate for the Old Folx Writing Jam.

Shit!
I made a promise to my Teacher!
And.
My soul is craving this.

Peace.

Sue Bergin

I love the idea of my creativity being honored and nurtured by other women of a similar age. In my bones, I feel that the safety of such a space would set free my ideas and expressions.

I've worked hard to shed cultural expectations of youth, marital status, and conformity, but I still often feel those squashing influences. My voice is still caged to a degree that I'm not happy with.

I hope this workshop will take me a few more leaps beyond the iron bars.

Megan McCormick

I get to fully retire from being a psychologist (my Muggle life) this year (in 2 weeks) and I have a lot of stories rattling around in my head from all those years.

As a theatre person since I was 11, (my Wizard life) I've done lighting for for 42 years, I've directed, I've taught theatre, I've acted (a long time ago!), I've done scene design, and lots of tech work. I'd now like to try my hand at playwriting and do something with all these stories in my head and telling them though a play seems like the best thing to do with them.

I would love to learn from you all and work with you in a different way than I've learned and worked with you in the past. So I humbly throw my hat in the ring.

Teri Cowan

Having had the privilege to workshop many plays over my 40+ years as an actor, I have the greatest appreciation for the brains of writers.

The process is both intriguing and terrifying to me.

I took a playwriting class as part of my theatre degree approximately 150 years ago but was primarily focused on the performance aspect of theatre.

I'm so ready to dig deeper.

Wayne McConkie

In June, I closed the 32-year run of a one-man play that I performed 180 days a year to an easily-distracted conscripted audience of high school students.

Rather than leaving my retirement message to building and district administrators as they presented me with a plaque and a restaurant gift certificate, I wanted to control the narrative of my departure by creating a video to share with my teaching colleagues.

The act of creating my screenplay was engaging in a way that few writing tasks have been, and I found the reception my amateur video received (the standing ovation my classes never gave me) absolutely the most gratifying way to leave a profession.

MEET THE FACILITATORS

Playwright Elaine Jarvik

reinvented herself as a playwright 20 years ago, at age 55, after (and during) a career as a newspaper reporter. Her plays have appeared at Plan-B Theatre, the Salt Lake Acting Company, Pygmalion Productions, and the Humana Festival of New American Plays.

Playwright Julie Jensen

has been involved in theatre for 71 of her 79 years and has been part of the professional theatre in this country and abroad for 40 of those years. She has written more than 30 plays, all of them professionally produced, a dozen of them published. Julie has taught playwriting at five colleges and universities, directed a graduate playwriting program, and created playwriting curriculum for Plan-B for students and adults.

Actor/Director Kay Shean

has been involved in theatre for 75 of her 80 years. She worked professionally on both coasts as a director and actor in theatre, film, and television. Kay ran a theatre in Los Angeles for fifteen years, where she developed an award-winning touring educational theatre program for K-12 schools.

Playwright Debora Threedy

is a 70-year-old retired law professor who has had a side hustle as an actor, director, and playwright for 54 years. In October, she had two different plays running at the same time, a personal best!