Catch My Plays in Nigeria!!!

One of the coolest things about being a playwright is learning your work resonated with people you've never met in a place you've never been.  It speaks to our shared humanity. So if you happen to be in Lagos, Nigeria this December you can see my plays at the wonderful Theatre Republic, which is a frequent haunt of Nobel Prize Winner Wole Soyinka. My plays, Things Unsaid and In a Hole, will be directed by founder Wole Oguntokun. If you go to the plays please reach out to me on social media and share pictures!!!!!

Resistance Reading List 2

#Resistance reading list! My ongoing pursuit to read more work by women, POC, immigrants, refugees, and LGBTQIA:

"Bird by bird" - Anne Lamott (funny how to on writing)

"Crumbs from the Table of Joy" - Lynn Nottage "poof!" -Lynn Nottage "Por'knockers" - Lynn Nottage "Mud, river, stone" - Lynn Nottage "Las Meninas" - Lynn Nottage (Amazing Must Read Play)

"God's Ear" - Jenny Schwartz (few things as cool as opening a play and seeing your friend thanked in the forward - looking at you Raymond McAnally)

"Born a Crime" - Trevor Noah (if you are interested in learning more about apartheid this is a good source)

"My Own Words" - Ruth Bader Ginsburg (heavy read but the RBG is blow your mind impressive)

And because I'm a dorky Sherlockian:

"Mycroft Holmes" - Kareem Abdul Jabbar & Anna Waterhouse (sigh. I had a few issues with this -the Holmes boys do not fall in love! But all in all it works. Yes, like the basketball player. He's clearly a dork as well.)

For those that gave me suggestions last time I will be reading those next! I already had these stacked beside my bed.

 

Resistance Reading List 1

 

My reading list since the election:

Ta-Nehisi Coates - Between The World and Me (MacArthur Genius Grant Winner) Lauren Gunderson - Silent Sky (play, made me cry) Lauren Gunderson - Emilie: La Marquise du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight (genius, play) Jessica Dickey - The Amish Project (play, made me cry) Jessica Dickey - Charles Ives Take Me Home (play) Lynn Nottage - Ruined (play, wow) Maria Semple - Today Will Be Different (funny) Suzan-Lori Parks - Topdog/Underdog (KY-woman, play) Joan Didion - The Year of Magical Thinking (play) Jen Kirkman - I Can Barely Take Care of Myself (funny)

This is why:

2016 has been an overachiever of a sh*%^& year (there aren't enough 4 letter words). Repeatedly, whether talking about personal stuff or politics I said it couldn't get worse, and then 2016 would go above and beyond and find new/creative/unpredictable ways to be an absolute cluster.

That being said... I am not letting this happen again in 2017. And I'm going to work hard to make sure next year is a better year for other people as well.

I'm paying more attention to the voices of women, minorities, LGBTQ, refugees, etc. With that in mind for the last month and a half of this bullsh*& I've been reading like my life depended on it. Maybe it does.

I would recommend any of the works above.

Please suggest more books.

A Final Word on 2016

A final word on 2016.

This is probably my favorite photograph of all time. It's definitely my favorite photograph of London. I keep it on my desk and carry it around with me in a book when I travel.

But why? Why are you all dark and goth with a picture of destruction? Not so. That is not what this picture is...

This picture was taken on the night of December 29th, 1940 during one of the worse nights of the Blitz on London. Thirty minutes into the German attack 54 fires were burning. 120 tonnes of explosives and 22,000 incendiary devices had been dropped on the financial center of the city. 160 people lost their lives that night including 16 firemen. 500 people were injured.

So where is the joy in that? Stay with me. That night, as on every night of the Blitz, a group of volunteers were running along the roof of St. Paul's - putting out fires as they started. They risked their lives as bombs fell towards the church - the largest target in central London. They couldn't stop the destruction of the city, but "God Damn It!" they were not going to let the fascist take out the heart of London.

The night of the 29th, and morning of 30th of December this small group of volunteers saved St. Paul. The rest of the neighborhood was flattened and burned to a crisp.

St. Paul's stood. The Allies declared victory in WW II. Today St. Paul's sits in the middle of one of the largest and most powerful financial centers in the world, in one of the biggest and most prosperous cities on Earth.

And yes like the US, they've had a horrible 2016. The destructive Brexit vote tanked their currency overnight and led to an outbreak in hate crime. But this is what we should remember in 2017:

There will be dark days ahead. Fascists and authoritarians are rising back to power, in part because we didn't learn our history well enough. But to this day St. Paul's is still there. And all it took to save it, and inspire the world was a handful of volunteers that said, "Not on my watch."

Here's to the new battle, in the new year, against an old enemy. I'm ready. Who's with me?

 

Play "Appropriate" Picked 4 'We're Not Playing' Festival

My newest short play "Appropriate" being done as part of the #WereNotPlaying Initiative by Little Black Dress INK!

I couldn't be more proud than to be included in the event.

For those of you actively looking for something to do on January 20th, here's your chance to join civil rights hero John Lewis and #Boycott the #Inauguration while promoting art.

My play "Appropriate" will be performed in Galesburg, IL (friends in Chicago you have alternative programing if you want it).

Plays will be read free of charge. Donations will go to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and the NRDC to promote their vital work as they protect our rights. I told you they would defund Planned Parenthood over my dead body and this is part of the plan.

Los Angeles, CA: https://www.facebook.com/events/896844497118081/ Galesburg, IL: https://www.facebook.com/events/1173589386091488/ Prescott, AZ: http://mickishelton.com/…/…/01/were-not-playing-brochure.pdf Sedona, AZ: https://www.facebook.com/events/144417726057578/

They are adding venues daily so I will update as I get information.

Read More Here: http://www.littleblackdressink.org/were-not-playing-a-new-play-by-raegan-payne/

 

Volunteer Journal #103 - Sponsor A Girls Education

One of the coolest things I've done this year is sponsor a student through Razia's Ray of Hope.

RRH set up a girl's primary through high school in rural Afghanistan and now a college, which trains midwives. This is incredibly important since there were virtually no health professionals in the area before the school opened.

This week I got a little hand written note from the girl I'm sponsoring. Notice the penmanship and excellent drawings!

To sponsor a girl just go here:

https://raziasrayofhope.org/sponsor-a-girl.html

It will possibly be the most fun you will have this year. #educategirls #spreadtheword

Live More Own Less

Just writing I have set myself a new challenge this year - Live More, Own Less.

Simply, by the end of this year I want, at least, 1/3 fewer physical possessions than I have right now.

Why?

I want more freedom and mobility.  I want to be able to pick up and move at a moments notice.   I want to focus more on accomplishments and less on possessions.

Sometimes, (particularly if I’m looking through tabloids in the grocery checkout line) I think I may be one of the only people in the world who thinks walk-in closets, McMansions, and multi-car garages are grossly excessive. Bigger does not mean better.

Benefit of cleaning out stuff - finding a pic like this.

In the name of environmental activism and rational thought, I have declared a war on stuff. I am kicking materialism squarely in the nutz. I would rather be out in the world, experiencing it than trying to own it.

To meet my stripped down life goal I am giving away, or recycling one box of former belongings every week.  So far I’ve given away an estimated ¼ of my possessions - well ahead of target!  Goodwill has received most of the items because they also recycle textiles if they can't use them.

And here’s the really cool side effect– it feels great!

The more I’ve given away.  The better I’ve felt.  More liberated.  It’s become almost addictive. My tiny apartment looks better too.

That beautiful dress has a new home

I’m also consuming less because a) I loath shopping b) I’m thinking about every single item I bring into my apartment. I only buy what I absolutely need and concentrate on quality. If it won’t last forever, then I don’t want it.

If you’d like to try the same experience I recommend starting with formal attire.  Purge your life of formality. All of mine is gone! I don’t care how sentimental  it seemed – I have pictures.

I found a group called Working Wardrobes, which provides clothing for people seeking jobs, but also helps girls in need find dresses for formal occasions like prom and homecoming.  Working Wardrobes got all my dresses. Including the one and only pageant dress I ever owned. Some of the dresses were great, some I would rather forget (pageant dress), but now all will find new homes.

What have I done with my extra freedom?

IMG_0655

I have some incredible plans before the end of the year, but for right now I’ve: written a full length play, gone to museums to see the Endeavor Spacecraft and an exhibit of original photography from Queen Victoria’s reign, found Monarch butterflies and snakes in my neighborhood, seen the desert bloom after the rain, played with new baby niece while teaching other niece archery, etc.. All fun.

Can you name the museum?

Next Live More Own Less Project:

I have to find a new home for my old mountain bike, perhaps with a kids non-profit, but it needs to be refurbished.

 

My Interview with The Penmen Review on Playwriting

Thoughtful headshot The Penmen Profile: SNHU Chats with Award-winning Playwright Raegan Payne

(Originally published November 7th on The Penmen Review)

by Pamme Boutselis

An award-winning, published playwright, Raegan Payne’s work is regularly in production. She is also an actress and strident volunteer. Her efforts in volunteerism are chronicled in her nationally recognized blog, The Good Muse.

Have you always written? There’s a picture of me trying to type when I was one. I always kept a journal.  When I was in elementary school I would write plays for my brothers and cousins to perform, but I was a horrible producer so the productions weren’t very good.

What’s your process in developing your storyline and characters? I believe a well-rounded character is the cornerstone to good writing.  You can watch a wonderful character do any boring activity for hours and it’s fascinating.  I do detailed character sketches and try to get to know each character inside and out before I get started.  I definitely stress more about a character having an arc than fitting them awkwardly into a certain act structure.

What challenges do you face in your writing, and how do you overcome them? I can’t spell, so thank god for spellcheck.

I’m also a slow typist.

I get self-conscious like anyone.  I force myself to write a page a day.  I also always work on several projects at once, so I don’t get locked with one and stop altogether.

What has the road to publication been like for you? I had one of those Hollywood stories, literally.  I couldn’t afford to produce a full production of my plays so I started entering them in contests. I started “winning” to quote Charlie Sheen.

The Hollywood Fringe festival was approaching, and some people knew I was winning awards, so we all scraped a few hundred dollars together to put the plays up.  The plays attracted some big actors, and they sold out.

One night after the show someone walked up to me and asked, “Are these published?”  I said, “No not yet.” And they responded, “I think my publisher would be interested.”

Cliché ending—And the rest is history.

How do you market your work? My blog, The Good Muse, has helped a lot even though it is a work unto itself and not related to the plays.  I think TGM was important because it’s an open portfolio of work.

As far as plays—I enter playwriting contests.  And I win some. That helps.

I also have tons of people read my work to give me notes—this not only makes the work better, but it spreads the word about my new projects.

What do you know now that you wish you knew back then? You’ll never, ever, ever be perfect.  Don’t even try.  Just put stuff into the world and see if it flops.  You’ll learn more from mistakes than successes.

Who are the writers that have inspired you most, and how have they inspired you? I love Christopher Moore’s funny sci-fi-ish novels and Chris Durang’s plays because of their madcap and yet real characters.  Tina Fey for being a groundbreaking female comedian who proves that women are funny. Jane Austen for her wit and candid observation. Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde for setting the bar so high.

If you keep just three books in your library, which would you choose and why? This is the hardest question. Right this minute I’d say:

  • “Pride and Prejudice” because I would need a good love story and it’s funny.
  • The complete works of Shakespeare because I could spend the rest of the days studying his sonnets and plays and learn something new everyday.
  • “Sacre Bleu” by Christopher Moore, because it’s ridiculous, hilarious and everyone needs a good muse or a book about a muse.

- See more at: http://penmenreview.com/spotlight/the-penmen-profile-snhu-chats-with-award-winning-playwright-raegan-payne/#sthash.ymAH2jSq.dpuf