University Of Oregon

CALL FOR SCRIPTS: EMOS (Earth Matters on Stage)™ Ecodrama Playwrights Festival ~ 2012

At the University of Oregon’s Miller Theatre Complex, May 24-June 3, 2012

CALL FOR SCRIPTS

First place Award: $1,000 and workshop production

Second place Award: $500 and workshop production

Honorable mentions: public staged reading

The Guidelines for Playwrights below describe the focus of the Festival. Please read. The Deadline for Submissions is July 1, 2011.

The mission of EMOS’ Ecodrama Playwrights Festival is to call forth and foster new dramatic works that respond to the ecological crisis, and that explore new possibilities of being in relationship with the more-than-human world. The Festival is ten days of readings, workshop performance/s, and discussions of the scripts that are finalists in the Playwrights’ Contest.  Some readings and workshops will be followed by facilitated talkbacks with the playwrights.  In addition, a symposium on the second weekend of the Festival includes speakers, panels and discussions that will advance scholarship in the area of arts and ecology, and help foster development of new works.   The call for proposals for scholars and those wishing to participate in the Symposium can be found at www.uoregon.edu/~ecodrama.

The EMOS award includes a workshop production. The winning plays will be chosen by a panel of distinguished theatre artists from the USA and Canada. Past judges have included:

  • Robert Schenkkan, Playwright, winner of 1990 Pulitzer Prize
  • Martha Lavey, Artistic Director, Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago, IL
  • José Cruz González, Playwright, SCR Hispanic Playwrights Project; faculty Cal State LA
  • Ellen McLaughlin, Playwright, NY
  • Timothy Bond, Artistic Director Syracuse Stage, NY
  • Olga Sanchez, Artistic Director, Teatro Milagro, Portland, OR
  • Diane Glancy, Playwright, Native Voices Award, faculty Macallister College
  • Marie Clements, Playwright, British Columbia

Guidelines for Playwrights

What kind of theatre comes to mind when you hear “ecodrama”? Political plays that advocate for environmentalism, or educational theatre about recycling? While these examples would fit, please let your imagination soar WAY beyond them!

Ecodrama stages the reciprocal connection between humans and the more-than-human world. It encompasses not only works that take environmental issues as their topic, hoping to raise consciousness or press for change, but also work that explores the relation of a “sense of place” to identity and community.

Help us create an inclusive ecodrama that illuminates the complex connection between people and place, an ecodrama that makes us all more aware of our ecological identities as a people and communities; ecodrama that brings focus to an ecological concerns of a particular place, or that takes writer and audience to a deeper exploration of issue that may not be easily resolved.

While many plays might be open to an ecological interpretation, others might be called “ecodrama,” Examples are diverse in form and topic: Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, in which the town’s waters have become polluted and a lone whistle blower clashes with powerful vested interests; Schenkkan’s The Kentucky Cycle, the epic tale of a land and its people – Indigenous, European, African – over seven generations; August Wilson’s Two Trains Running that bears witness to the loss of inner city sustainability; Moraga’s Heroes and Saints, about the embodied impact of industrial agriculture; Marie Clements’ Burning Vision, which documents the impact of Canadian uranium mining on first nations communities and land; Giljour’s Alligator Tales, a one-woman play by a Louisiana Cajun native about her relationship to her neighbors, the weather, the oil rigs off the coast and the alligators on her porch; Norman’s Secret Garden in which nature consoles a child’s grief; Albee’s The Goat, or who is Sylvia, that confounds human species taboos.

  • Winner of the 2004 EMOS Festival ~ Odin’s Horse, by Chicago playwright Rob Koon, in which a writer learns something about integrity from a tree sitter and a lumber company executive, went on to premier in Chicago in 2006.
  • Winner of the 2009 EMOS Festival – Song of Extinction, by Los Angeles playwright EM Lewis, in which a musically talented teen and his father whose mother/wife is dying come to understand the deeper meanings of “extinction” from a Cambodian science teacher.  Song of Extinction premiered in Los Angeles and was recently published by Samuel French.

For us at EMOS, the central questions are” “when we leave the theater are things around us more alive? do we listen better, have a deeper or more complex sense of our own ecological identity?”

We need your voice, so does the theatre, so does our world.  Imagine! Write! Submit!

Thematic Guidelines

We are looking for plays that do one or more of the following:

  • Put an ecological issue or environmental event/crisis at the center of the dramatic action or theme of the play.
  • Expose and illuminate issues of environmental justice.
  • Explore the relationship between sustainability, community and cultural diversity.
  • Interpret “community” to include our ecological community, and/or give voice or “character” to the land, or elements of the land.
  • Theatrically explore the connection between people and place, human and non-human, and/or between culture and nature.
  • Grow out of the playwright’s personal relationship to the land and the ecology of a specific place.
  • Theatrically examine the reciprocal relationship between human, animal and plant communities.
  • Celebrate the joy of the ecological world in which humans participate.
  • Offer an imagined world view that illuminates our ecological condition or reflects on the ecological crisis from a unique cultural or philosophical perspective.
  • Critique or satirizes patterns of exploitation, consumption, or other ingrained values that are ecologically unsustainable.
  • Are written specifically to be performed in an unorthodox venue such as a natural or environmental setting, and for which that setting is a not merely a backdrop, but an integral part of the intention of the play.

Submission Guidelines

We are looking for full-length plays that are written primarily in English (no ten-minute plays please; one-act plays are okay if 30+ minutes in length).  Submitted plays should address the thematic guidelines as listed above.

  1. All submissions should include a cover page with:
    • Play Title
    • Author Name
    • Contact Information
  2. Two blind copies of the FIRST 30 PAGES OF THE SCRIPT ONLYPlease do not put the author’s name on the script, only on the title page.
  3. A synopsis of the play and cast requirements.

Submissions must be received by July 1, 2011 to:

EMOS Festival/Theresa May, Artistic Director
207 Villard Hall, Theatre Arts
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403

Deadline: July 1, 2011

Early submission encouraged. / No electronic submissions please.

Evaluation Process

After reading the first 30 pages of all submitted plays, we will evaluate the submissions to reduce the size of the pool.  We will then request two full paper copies be sent to us by Sept. 15, 2011.   Winners will be selected from this smaller pool.

Questions?  See our Frequently Asked Questions on the EMOS Website at www.uoregon.edu/~ecodrama.  If you still have a question, email: ecodrama@uoregon.edu

The Nature Conservancy

Enter Our 4th Annual Photo Contest

The Nature Conservancy invites you to enter your stunning nature photos to our 4th annual digital photography competition.

We’re looking for beautiful nature photography representing the diversity of life on Earth. Your original digital images of our lands, waters, plants, animals and people in nature are all eligible for the competition.

We are especially interested in images that showcase the wide range of habitats across our planet, including all types of forests, grasslands, lakes and rivers, deserts and arid lands, rainforests, marine habitats and coral reefs in all seasons and around the world.

The winner’s image will be printed in the 2011 Nature Conservancy calendar – reaching nearly 2 million households worldwide.

The Best Nature Photo winner’s image will be featured on The Nature Conservancy’s website, nature.org, which is visited by more than 3 million people annually.

Find out more on the Nature Conservancy Website

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Call for papers: ‘Essays in Performance and Ecology’

Theresa J. May, founder and artistic director of Earth Matters on Stage, and Wendy Arons, director of the Performance and Ecology Public Art Initiative have issued a call for papers for a jointly edited publication, Essays in Performance and Ecology to be published in 2011.

The proposed anthology of essays, interviews, and artist statements will include papers dealing with ecocritical concerns as they relate to theatre and performance. The editors are especially interested in explorations that employ the science of ecology as a critical framework, or employ environmental history to contextualize performance.

The topics welcomed include, but are not limited to:

  • the ecological situatedness of language
  • the dialogic relationship between onstage/offstage ecological discourses
  • intersections and complications of landscape/body
  • performances that participate in/reflect ecological debates
  • ecology, technology and representation
  • the cultural (de)construction of ‘nature’
  • performative intersections of social justice and ecological issues
  • partnership projects in the arts and sciences
  • ecological dramaturgy
  • community/place and ecology
  • the body as a site of ecological intersections
  • the ecologies of theatrical space
  • semiotics of ‘nature’
  • subjectivity/inter-subjectivity and the ecological self
  • animal representation on/off stage
  • eco-activism/community-based performance.
The editors encourage submissions by artists working in the area of eco-performance and who reflect critically on their work and/or process, and encourage proposals that engage a question about how performance (broadly constructed) has or might function as part of ecological communities.
A working or final draft or an abstract of 500 words should be sent as an attachment to both editors by 15 October:
Theresa J. May, Assitant Professor Theatre Arts, University of Oregon
tmay33@uoregon.edu
Wendy Arons, Associate Professor of Dramatic Literature and Dramaturgy, Carnegie Mellon University
warons@andrew.emu.edu

Earth Matters On Stage: Wrap-Up

photo_052909_003

It’s been more than a week since the final days of this year’s Earth Matters On Stage EcoDrama Symposium. I returned from Oregon to be immediately eaten alive by my other life: just coming up for air now and able to digest some of the great happenings and events. Hence this giant post.

The picture above is from day nine : that’s Ian Garrett and Naseem Mazloom of the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts chillin’  on the lawn of the University of Oregon. After nine very full days of lectures, workshops, panels and a staged reading of Theresa May’s intense play Salmon is Everything, we  needed a break.

The very full final weekend  started off with an early-morning video conference with a UK contingent hosted by the  Ashden Directory. The overseas contributors overcame the fuzzy video and iffy sound quality of our current technology by preparing  a short film.

In it, several leading environmental artists, administrators and thinkers passed the philosophical baton by asking questions like: “How far is art worth the damage?” and “How can we reunite culture and agriculture through performance?” The room was brimming with ideas after that, and it was all we could do to get a few notions exchanged across the Atlantic before time ran out. Watch the video: do it now.

The stimulating conversation continued the next day with a panel called Theater’s Double Helix: Green Building and Sustainable Community Engagement.  Tim DuRoche and Creon Thorne of Portland Center Stage discussed their mecca of a green theatre: the folks from CSPA discussed their future mecca of sustainable practice.

Easily one of the most fascinating panels of the week, however, was the Northwest Theater Town Hall Meeting on Place/Community/Theatre. In it, Artistic Directors and administrators from a wide swath of Pacific Northwest Theaters (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Teatro Milagro, and the Lord Leebrick Theatre, to name a few), discussed how they strive to best serve their communities.

Issues of race surfaced, and not timidly (quote from Valerie Curtis-Newton of the Lorraine Hansberry Project: “Why does the marketing sound like an anthropological expedition? White people! Stop trying to sell me to other white people!”). The idea of non-local community also came under discussion (45% of OSF’s audience is from the SF Bay Area: the internet creates seas of non-geographic communities: PCS had Scrooge “twittering” during A Christmas Carol). All in all, great perspective from a group of seasoned professionals.

Somewhere within these ten days I led a panel and a workshop: there were also many, many other worthwhile performances and presentations (including a short play starring a Cedar Tree). Over the next few months I’ll do retrospectives of works I’ve missed: stay posted.

Garrett and I had to miss the last day to get back into California for work. We left exhausted, but excited about the future. The Earth Matters On Stage EcoDrama symposium was a kind of turning-of-the-soil, great groundwork for things to come. Thanks to the University of Oregon, Damond Morris, and Theresa May for making it happen.

Some greenmuseum.org ecology and performance links:

~enterchange

~Platform London

~Hester Reeve

~Simon Whitehead

Go to the Green Museum

‘Connecting the Frontal Cortext to the Solar Plexus’: The Ashden Directory’s Contribution to EMOS

The folks over at The Ashden Directory participated in this year’s Earth Matters on Stage at the University of Oregon from afar — an act borne of the desire to contribute to the conference/symposium without flying across the globe to do so.

Here is a DVD they produced in order to introduce their session. It’s a stand-alone piece of work, with fantastic insight. I think my favorite moment is when Mojisola Adebayo says that many theater artists believe that theater is “inherently good for you, therefore theater makers inherently do good.” She goes on: “I don’t think any of us think our work could be harmful in anyway.” When will we, as theater artists, admit that our work can be, and often is, harmful?

Go to EcoTheater

Earth Matters on Stage: Ashden Directory Session


Friday morning at Earth Matters on Stage a small group of us piled into the video conferencing room in the Knight Library at University of Oregon to have a conversation with our interested counterparts in the UK. Our second, but certainly more ambitious, video conference of the day, it harkens back to the discussion surrounding travel, the arts and conferences that has been come up at the RSA here (also to be seen in our archives as part of our feed syndication).

From the Ashden Directory Blog:

Our DVD contribution to Earth Matters On Stage is now online. The interviewees address the question: ‘What Can Be Asked? What Can Be Shown? British Theatre in the Time of Climate Instability.’ (The interviews can also be watched individually.)

Quoting Rilke, Dan Gretton considers the value of quickening the pace of artistic response and cautions against the narcissism of frenzy.

On her allotment, Clare Patey explains how a year-long project changed the quality of the conversation amongst its participants.

In Brazil, João André da Rocha draws attention to the movement and shapes of rural life, especially popular dance, as a way of getting closer to Brazilian culture. (Transcript here.) 

From his office in the East End, Paul Heritage raises the question ofthose who are talked about rather than those who are talking.

With the Lake District as her backdrop, Wallace Heim asks how climate change differs from other political situations and how this might alter the ways in which theatre can be made.

Finally, Mojisola Adebayo performs the first moments of her play Moj of the Antarctic and wonders if some people in theatre think they’re above climate change.

You also can watch each person’s contribution as a separate sequence:
 

dan gretton
Dan Gretton

Dan Gretton, co-founder of PLATFORM 
responds to Mojisola Adebayo’s question, 
‘How far is art worth the damage?’ 
watch here
 

clare patey
Clare Patey

Clare Patey, artist and curator 
responds to Dan Gretton’s question, 
‘Can you talk about the role that slowing down and reflectivity plays, both in your creative process and your interaction with your audiences?’ 
watch here 

João André da Rocha
João André da Rocha

João André da Rocha, performer, producer, People’s Palace Projects and Nós do Morro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
responds to Clare Patey’s question, 
‘How can we reunite culture and agriculture through performance?’ 
A transcript is here 
watch here 

paul heritage
Paul Heritage

Paul Heritage, producer, director People’s Palace Projects and Queen Mary’s University 
responds to João André da Rocha’s question, 
‘What steps are you taking to descrease the impact of your life in the world?’
watch here 

wallace heim
Wallace Heim

Wallace Heim, co-editor Ashden Directory, academic 
responds to Paul Heritage’s question, 
‘How can we listen to, see, feel and learn from those who are talked about rather than those who are talking in the great climate change debate?’
watch here 
 

mojisola
Mojisola Adebayo

Mojisola Adebayo, artist, theatre-maker 
responds to Wallace Heim’s question, 
‘What would you keep from theatre and performance practice and what needs to change in response to climate instability?’ 
watch here 

The film is edited by Adam Clarke and directed by Wallace Heim.

‘What can be asked? What can be shown? British theatre and performance in the age of climate instabilit

Earth Matters on Stage: Sustainable Practice

Many of the lectures here at EMOS are held at the very-new Hope Theater at the University of Oregon’s Miller Theatre Complex. Boom: there’s a big square fact to start the post off for you. But I’m going somewhere with it.

Right now, where the Hope would be a big black box is all full up with Set. The floor is painted in a curling desert-river pattern. Upstage is a forest of recycled wooden planks and juttings, a kind of grandpa’s-attic bamboo. In one corner is a platform with puzzle-piece innards: old bedposts, chairs and plywood fold over each other in a hefty collage.

It’s all for the stagings of the Festival’s top two prize-winning playsSong of Extinction and Atomic Farmgirl. But what was intended to represent a Bolivian forest and an American farm has come to represent the EMOS festival itself, both literally and figuratively: the set was  constructed with recycled materials.

Today’s sessions were sponsored by the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts. Led by Ian Garrett, they included presentations by Steve Mital, University of Oregon’s Director of Sustainability, PhD candidate (and EMOS Production Manager) Damond Morris, several eco-conscious designers, and several pioneers of a Sustainable Dramaturgy program at CalArts.

At this point: it’s day seven. Everyone in the room knows each other, at least by sight. We’re calling each other out in the audience: could you talk about your experience with . . . what’s your perspective on . . . and what begins as a formal presentation becomes a group conversation quickly and easily.

Inspired by Mike Lawler, here are a few questions asked in the course of the day (some got answered, some did not):

What is a “sustainable university”?

What is the impact of a theatrical lighting system?

Where in this stream can we reduce our waste?

What are the next steps in expanding/refining sustainable pedagogy?

How do we reframe our relationship to resources?

How can we implement what we believe in the art we create?

If your curiosity is piqued, I’d encourage you to visit the CSPA’s wiki for tools and nuggets of information. As to the rest, I leave you with Morris’ Five D’s of Design for Environment:

Design for Dissasembly. Design for Recyclability. Design for Disposability. Design for Reusability. Design for Remanufacture.

See you on the other side of  a recycled-wooden forest.

Go to the Green Museum

Earth Matters On Stage: Process

It’s easy to get all cranial on the whole planet/culture relationship. It is, in fact, kind of scary not to.  Start learning with your body and not your brain, and well, that’s a one-way ticket to . . . this conference. Hem. Earth Matters On Stage. On the stage, bucko, not just in your brain. You better get moving.

For the first weekend here I was a part of the Art Culture Nature Working Group. Ten fellows were selected to lead half-hour workshops exploring the relationship between our craft and our planet. We were essentially encouraged to use the group as a brain trust– but more often than not, we relied on our bodies.

As a group, we moved. We formed sculptures about place, we followed impulses and rolled around on the grass. We took pictures of our surroundings, we worked with soil. All of this wildness took place under the guidance of the workshop leader (and the extreme limitations of time). We looked very silly sometimes, but learned a lot about process and structure.

Later in the week came a workshop about labyrinths, led by Paul Bindel and Justin Simms. I learned that labyrinths are used most commonly not in pursuit of bullheaded monsters, or for escaping Jack Nicholson, but as meditative tools.

There are labyrinths everywhere: 60 listed in Massachusetts alone. Their curling series of lines gives visitors a form in which to get lost, to walk through while their minds drift.  It’s a way to pay penance, to build serenity. It’s a task for your body that lets your brain go. Just follow the lines.

As a group we went out to a grove nearby the University of Oregon and built a labyrinth with wood gathered nearby. When it was done– spiraling sticky-sticks winding paths through the tiny trees– we each walked it. You could hear branches cracking and flutes playing and folks chatting as you wove your way around and around and around.  A great task for the body, a great chance to digest all the conference info and just go, go, go.

Go to the Green Museum

Theater Matters – notes from EMOS 2009 Part III

Today has been a bit slow at EMOS for me. I did attend the 2pm matinee of the University of Oregon’s student production of Metamorphoses in the Robinson Theatre, however, and even though I happened to see the Tony-award winning Broadway production in 2002, I was mightily impressed with the production here. It helps, of course, when the show is lined with a cast of beautiful teens and twenty-somethings. (makes even a late thirties [nameless]theater artist and blogger feel old!)

I sat with Moe Beitiks of the Green Museum Blog for the performance, and you may or may not be happy to hear that prior to the show she convinced me why she thought ecoTheater remained valuable to the ongoing “green art” discourse. Thanks, Moe: after some thought, I’ve realized that I needed to hear that — especially in the way you put it.

Speaking of which…

It’s been nothing short of a pleasure to have met and spent time with both Ian Garrett of the CSPA and Moe. I’ve corresponded and followed their work closely over the last two or three years, and though their reputations preceed them, they have been entirely pleasant, and wonderful, articulate, honest sounding boards. Artists in America — indeed, across the globe — are lucky to have them working so tirelessly.

I’m sure I’ll have yet more to say tomorrow about my entire, albeit abbreviated, EMOS experience as I travel back to the Midwest. Until then… 

Go to EcoTheater

May 21-31: Earth Matters on Stage, Eugene, OR

The mission of Earth Matters on Stage is to nurture connection and collaboration among artists and scholars who share an ecological sensibility.
 
The purpose of the Ecodrama Festival is to nurture and inspire new and innovative dramatic work that explores our ecological condition; then to showcase the best work through collaborative workshops and production.

The concurrent Symposium asks us to think more deeply about how theatre and performance might participate in a sustainable society.

Join us May 21 ~ 31, 2009 for ten days of performances, workshops, readings, and round-table discussions dedicated to nurturing theatrical work that rises out of our connection to the environments we share and love.

Wondering “what IS ecodrama anyway?”  Click here for our musings: What Is Ecodrama?

Presented by the Department of Theatre Arts  of the University of Oregon.

The .pdf of the Festival brochure

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Go to the Green Theater Initiative