LIZARD CLAW is a band of scaly playwrights who issue absurdly difficult playwriting challenges to each other on a regular basis, then submit and evaluate their entries anonymously. The plays that emerge are theatrical, inventive, and provocative. These tough-skinned playwrights, many of whom met at the Kennedy Center in 2007, are hatching plays in cities all across the country, including Minneapolis, Boston, NY, Baltimore, Portland, Los Angeles, New Haven, and Washington, DC.





The following videos were all directed and edited by Claw member Kate Tarker, and were written for her Video Challenge...

by Kate Tarker

by Stephanie Alison Walker

by Callie Kimball

by Hortense Gerardo

And one more is on its way, written by Kathleen Akerley!




Edward Cullen Ruined My Mother's Love Life was workshopped at Chicago Dramatists (Oct. 2010).

An Average Man was produced at the 10-Minute Play Festival at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell, MT (May 2010).

Melt was produced three times: 10 by 10 in the Triangle at The Arts Center in Carrboro, NC (Jul. 2009); Ten-Minute Workshop at Chicago Dramatists, (Jul. 2009); and it was the Second Runner-Up in the 2009 Eileen Heckart Drama Competition.

Feet was produced at the 2009 Source Theater Festival.


Kate Tarker is a 2011 MacDowell Fellow,
and is headed to Yale Drama for an MFA in Playwriting this fall.

Renee Calarco's full-length play, The Religion Thing,
will be produced by Theater J in January 2012.

Callie Kimball is in the first class of playwrights
in Tina Howe and Mark Bly's new MFA program at Hunter College, 
where she won the Rita & Burton Goldberg Prize.

Kathleen Akerley's full-length play, Theories of the Sun, had its Midwest premiere at Sideshow Theatre in Chicago in September 2010.

Stephanie Walker's play American Home won Chicago's American Blues Theater's first annual Blue Ink playwriting competition.



challenge 12|  the site-specific challenge
Bar 82 in the East Village
Readings of plays written for
this public space!

challenge 11|  the video challenge
3/26/11 @ 8pm
Part of the Gecko in Winter series, curated by Hortense Gerardo

Cambridge Center for Adult Education
Plays by Kathleen Akerley, Hortense Gerardo, Callie Kimball, 
Kate Tarker, and Stephanie Walker were filmed by Kate Tarker.

challenge 5|  the noir challenge
8/14/08 @ 8pm
Fleeting Theatre Company, directed by Kate Tarker
X-Miami, 7635 SE 42nd St, Portland OR
Plays by Kathleen Akerley, Hortense Gerardo, Callie Kimball, and Kate Tarker.

challenge 3|  the climate challenge
2/23/08 @ 8pm
Part of the Gecko in Winter series, curated by Hortense Gerardo
Cambridge Center for Adult Education
Sponsors: Hi-Rise Bread Factory, Peet's Coffee and Tea, & Cambridge, 1.

2/27/08 @ 7:30pm
Part of the Echo of the Gecko series, curated by Hortense Gerardo

Boston Center for the Arts
Sponsor: Peet's Coffee and Tea




the challenges|  play along at home!

Challenge 1: THE LYING CHALLENGE  by Callie Kimball
Write a 3- to 4-page play set in at least two locales, that has a lie in each of the scenes, at least one awkward silence, and either a piece of fruit OR a reference to a childhood game. Optional: use a make-believe language. 

Challenge 2: THE PRIORITY CHALLENGE  by Kathleen Akerley
Write no more than eight but no fewer than four pages in which:  A character has to explain his/her/its priorities in some form or other in order to be allowed to continue; a fact that has been the basis of assumptions and/or behaviors turns out to be utterly wrong; one character physically sees something that another(s) do(es) not. 

Challenge 3: THE CLIMATE CHALLENGE   by Hortense Gerardo
Write a 10-minute play on the subject of human-induced climate change. Each play should have no more than four characters, max: 2M, 2F. The tone can be serious or comic, or both. 

Challenge 4: THE GREEN CHALLENGE by Renee Calarco
Write a play that: Is inspired by a non-literary piece of art that you love; is not about that piece of art. However, that piece of art can appear in the play in some form, if you like; contains 2 words or phrases in a language other than English; is no longer than 5 pages. And because St. Patrick's Day is coming: the play must contain either a magical moment or something green. 

Challenge 5: THE NOIR CHALLENGE  by Kate Tarker
Write a short play that engages with film noir conventions. This might include a suspense plot, some detective work, a femme fatale, a home fatale, a moody black-and-white sensibility, criminal violence, smoggy morality, obsession, or whatever else tickles your fancy about this pulp genre and makes you want to write a first class play. You can go classic noir, cowboy noir, comic noir, neo-noir like the Coen Brothers, psycho noir, sci fi noir, or any other kind of noir you'd like. Must be between five to ten pages in length and have no more than two to four characters, max. 2 M and 2 F. 

Challenge 6: THE HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE  by Stephanie Walker
Marsha Norman said that she wrote "Night Mother" in an attempt to write something that scared her. She challenged us to write something that we've been afraid to write. Whatever that looks like for you. It could be comedic in tone or not. Ghoulish or more metaphorical in subject. Whatever you fear. Your greatest nightmare. Write that. In no less than 15 no more than 20. 

Challenge 7: THE HERO CHALLENGE  by Stephanie Walker
Write a play that contains one heroic act. Or is somehow about a hero... in any way... fallen, false, the real deal, unexpected... or heroism and whatever that sparks. Under 10 pages. 

Challenge 8: THE PRESSURE CHALLENGE  by Rich Espey
Write an eight to ten page play in which at least one character is under enormous pressure and, in the course of the play, comes to a life-changing realization or epiphany which changes his or her outlook. 

Challenge 9: THE TABOO CHALLENGE  by Hortense Gerardo
Write a play about a personal or cultural taboo. It must contain one miracle and one offering of a gift. Push it to the extreme. Interpret this any way you wish. No page limit, just let the story come out. 

Challenge 10: THE YOUNG AT HEART CHALLENGE  by Kate Tarker
Write a play that shares what it is like to feel young. None of your characters have to actually be young, they just have to act or feel young. To that end, please include one or all of the following: a huge embarrassment; a crush; some awkwardness; the spirit of rock and roll, or pop, or emo, or any music subculture; some sarcasm or whatever; a moment of really poor judgement. 4 char max, 10 pg max. 

Challenge 11: THE VIDEO CHALLENGE   by Kate Tarker
Write a 3 page movie script with 2 characters.