On the afternoon of Saturday, February 11, at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Everyman Theatre will read my play SOFONISBA.
The reading is part of a series of play readings that will be done by Everyman in residence at the Farnsworth, and my play will coincide with an exhibit about women artists.
Late this year, I joined Patreon, a site modeled on the old ways of arts patronage for individual artists.
For all of my progress in playwriting this year (and it's been a great year--check out the update) like every other artist I know, I'm still searching for a way to make being a playwright sustainable. In the meantime, I've been cranking on my plays to help push my career to the next level. And getting an agent over the summer was a big step toward my goals.
So much happened this year that I wasn't always on top of updating this blog. The Patreon end-of-year post is a nice way to look back and see the highlights.
Thanks to all who support my plays in all manner of ways. May 2017 bring us brighter days.
December 1559. Night. The sound of waves against a ship. The play begins with SOFONISBA, 27, on a ship that is taking her from Cremona, Italy, to Barcelona, Spain.
SOFONISBA: O Mamma the fish the fish they shine in the sea like stars that blind the moon, and they are so big, and if I tried to paint them for you I would surely lose them and if you were here Mamma, if you were here I…
Thank you to everyone who made this workshop production possible, and to all the wonderful audience members who have seen it. We were sold out last night with a waiting list, so tonight is your last chance to see it at 7:30pm.
I'm filled with gratitude toward everyone at Dramatic Repertory Company, and all of the designers, crew, and actors: Heidi Kendrick, Michaela Wirth, Meg Anderson, Mnemosyne Heileman, Abigail Killeen, Marjolaine Whittlesey, Sean Ramey, and especially Keith Powell Beyland, Vanessa WInfield Beyland, and Sally Wood.
It's been such a gift to finally see this play that I've worked on for 8 years on its feet. (I'm learning that 4 to 8 years is my norm on a play, with a lot of that time being seasoning.) I've learned so much about how the play operates from this workshop, and I've discovered new questions to explore in the script, which is always exciting. There's a sly feminism that I'm still curious about, that comes from how Sofonisba both covered and revealed herself and her portrait subjects, and our modern assumptions we bring to the play. I'm determined to grow this play into its fullest expression and then send it wholeheartedly out into the world, where I hope it finds a wide audience. We've had so many art and history scholars in the audiences, and I've loved all of the post-show conversations and emails full of energy and heart for this story.
The woman who inspired this play, Sofonisba Anguissola, was born nearly 500 years ago. When I first encountered her portraits in college, they stirred me in that unnameable way when art resonates with you in a deep thrill. Her story is one of strength, talent, steadiness, and success. She had a long, illustrious career unmarked by scandal. For all my years of research and curiosity, she remains elusive.
I wonder what she would think about people hundreds of years later responding to her story with standing ovations.
Proud to have my essay "When Your Play Is Set in a Yarn-Bombed Hardware Store," about the world premiere of my play ALLIGATOR ROAD at Mad Horse Theatre Company included in this collection edited by the wonderful Caridad Svich for Theatre Communications Group.
Audience (R)Evolution is now available for pre-order. I believe they'll be sold at the TCG conference in DC this June, but the official publication date is September.
While I was in Chicago last month for the world premiere of DREAMS OF THE PENNY GODS at Halcyon Theatre, I sat down with Artistic Director Tony Adams to record the first episode in his new longform podcast, Moment to Moment.
I managed to include shout-outs to Jenn Adams, Kelley O'Donnell, Chris Weikel, Johnna Adams, Holly Hepp-Galvan, Sean Daniels and the great audience engagement work he's doing at Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Reginald Edmund, Bridget O'Leary, the Source Theater Festival, Tina Howe, and oblique references to texts and IMs with Brian Polak and Kari Bentley-Quinn that only they will recognize.
Also, I say um a lot because Tony's questions were GOOOOOD and I had to think.
Pleased as punch to share the news that my play SOFONISBA is a Finalist for the O'Neill Playwrights' Conference.
While it ultimately wasn't chosen for the Conference, it's such a thrill to have this play reach Finalist status. (The play was also a Semi-Finalist for the Shakespeare's Sister Award a year-and-a-half ago, not really an "official" public status, but nonetheless I'm proud of it, and it was on The Kilroys' nominee list last year.)
I'm looking forward to workshopping it next month at Portland Stage as part of the Little Festival of the Unexpected, where it won the Clauder Gold Prize.
I started the play 8 years ago with a grant from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, and many people and theatres have supported its development along the way, including Washington Shakespeare Company, Project Y, Electric Pear Productions, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and The Lark.
The play is listed on NPX. The O'Neill will make public their list shortly!
Oh heck yeah! First review for Dreams of the Penny Gods...
"This is the kind of off-Loop theater that put Chicago on the map: low-budget, superbly acted, performed on a tiny but well-designed set (here by Michael Chancellor) in an awkward, cramped space (in this case the third floor of an Albany Park church). The play, by Callie Kimball, about a 13-year old girl trying to break free from an abusive grandmother, her legal guardian, is full of wit and fire, and this Halcyon Theatre ensemble, directed by Jennifer Adams, finds the heart in Kimball’s words. In particular, there's a creepy chemistry between the protagonist (played to the hilt by Caity-Shea Violette) and her sleazy ex-con father (Ted James). The result is an evening of intense, satisfying live drama." —Jack Helbig
After a week of previews, we are officially open! The show runs through May 1 in Chicago at Halcyon Theatre, directed by Jennifer Adams. I couldn't be prouder of this show.
Bug is just your average 13-year-old girl who happens to have been born into a criminal family that's hiding out in a storage facility. So naturally, she's transformed herself into a high priestess who's trying to raise the dead. On this particular summer day, her incantations seem to work, setting off an acceleration of events ending in a rough Armageddon that launches her into the world.
This play was featured in Playwrights' Week at The Lark in 2013, and twice was on The Kilroys' nominee list. It also won the Rita & Burton Goldberg Award. Here is the play listed on the NPX.
Click here for more info on the Chicago production.
I sat down and answered some questions about my play DREAMS OF THE PENNY GODS, which is in previews at Halcyon Theatre in Chicago.
Here's an excerpt:
Q: Tell us about some things that helped inspire this piece.
This play was inspired partly by the monsters in Beowulf. I find it fascinating that Grendel even has a mother, and doubly fascinating that she's also a monster. I asked myself who would count as monsters in today's world, and it has to be someone who has killed a child. Then I was reading some of the testimony from the Casey Anthony trial, and it astounded me how that family had set up a whole infrastructure of lies and tacit agreements that, when viewed from the outside, were completely unsupportable and ridiculous, but that worked for them. So in this play I'm exploring how a criminal family behaves, and how they provoke emotional collusions and physical collisions of a higher order. Can someone from such a family ever escape? And if they escape, where do they run to?
On this big day, where my play DREAMS OF THE PENNY GODS premieres tonight in Chicago at Halcyon Theatre, I woke to the news that my play RUSH was nominated for Best Original Play by the Seacoast Spotlight on the Arts Awards for its production at The Players' Ring, directed by Jasmin Hunter.
Two more nominations for the play: Whitney Smith and Liz Locke were both nominated for their fantastic work playing Alice and Rosie!
I am thrilled and honored to be nominated alongside Pontine Theatre and Greg Gaskell in the category. This is very special to me, and I'm grateful to have been embraced by this community.
And it's thanks to this inaugural production that it went on to have a NY premiere last fall, directed by Christopher Diercksen at Team Awesome Robot.
So much love for this play. Thank you.
Thrilled to announce that my play SOFONISBA won the Clauder Gold Prize at Portland Stage Company. The play will be workshopped and have two public readings the week of May 9 at PSC's Little Festival of the Unexpected.
START YOUR ENGINES!
A One-Day Playwriting Workshop
Taught by Callie Kimball, writer of ALLIGATOR ROAD, premiering at Mad Horse Theatre in March 2015.
WHEN: Saturday, September 13, 2014, 10am-3pm*
WHERE: Mad Horse Theatre, 24 Mosher Street, South Portland, ME 04106
COST: $60 ($50 for Mad Horse season subscribers) via PayPal buttons below
A play can entertain, puzzle, frustrate, provoke, or confirm or challenge a worldview. This workshop will supplement the basic elements of playwriting such as character, setting, and plot with discussions and exercises around image and spectacle, form and structure, space, language, rhythm, and the importance of questions. This workshop will give you tools to build the engine of your play while nurturing the igniting spark.
Suitable for beginners and experienced playwrights alike, the workshop will be a mix of lecture, discussion, in-class writing exercises, and hearing your work read aloud.
*We will break for lunch so please bring a bag lunch.
Limited to 15 participants.
Callie Kimball's plays have been produced or developed at Washington Shakespeare Company, Lark Play Development Center, Mad Horse Theatre, Halcyon Theater, Project Y Theatre, the Kennedy Center, The Brick Theater, and elsewhere. She earned her MFA in Playwriting from Hunter College, studying under Tina Howe and Mark Bly, and has received a MacDowell Fellowship, a Ludwig Vogelstein grant, a Playwrights’ Center Core Apprenticeship, and won the Rita & Burton Goldberg Playwriting Award two years in a row. She was a finalist for the Clubbed Thumb Biennial Award, a finalist for Kitchen Dog Theater’s New Works Festival, and a nominee for The Kilroys’ 2014 List. She has written for NPR, Wired.com, Theatre Communications Group, & the Dramatists Guild. She will have three world premieres in the 2014-15 season: JENNY1538 at the Portland Fringe Festival, ALLIGATOR ROAD at Mad Horse Theatre, and RUSH at The Players’ Ring in Portsmouth, NH. She telecommutes as a Production Manager for NBCUniversal in New York, and teaches playwriting at the Maine College of Art in Portland.
Playwright Brent Askari is curating a new reading series in Portland, Maine at Mad Horse Theatre. It's called "By Local" and I'm proud to have my new play ALLIGATOR ROAD be a part of it.
Thursday and Saturday, 12/12 and 12/14, at 7:30pm, pay-what-you-can (suggested donation $10).
The readings hit the calendar listings in all the local papers up in Portland, so hopefully we'll have a good crowd. Should be a fun event--I'll be at both readings and there will be a talkback each night.
Here's a blurb for the play:
Kathy has yarn-bombed knit cozies over all the hammers, saws, and paint cans at Alligator Road Hardware in central Florida. It's her whimsical farewell to the store she's always hated before she hands the keys over to Chantay, a complete stranger. But Kathy's daughter has other ideas. A play that unravels ideas about entitlement, reparations, and family responsibility.
The play is about 65 minutes.
I'm thrilled to be part of this year's Playwrights Week at the Lark Play Development Center! My play, "Dreams of the Penny Gods" will be workshopped and have a public reading the evening of Wednesday, September 25, at 7pm. The reading is free, but reservations are strongly recommended and will be able to be made after September 3. Here's a news article about the event on Broadway World.