From Sexism to SAFE: a ten-minute connection story

By Donna Hoke, playwright:

Anyone who follows my blog or reads my posts on the Official Playwrights of Facebook knows that I’m a huge advocate of ten-minute plays as a means to building career and making connections. I’ve had several full-length productions-including my very first–result from ten-minute play relationships, and an exciting one opens September 16 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

In January 2015, I submitted “Jack Pork,” a short play about sexism in the workplace to Ladyfest, co-produced by Fancy Pants Theater and Queer Theatre Kalamazoo. The play was chosen and assigned to QTK Artistic Director Laura Henderson. Over the course of rehearsal, we had a few email conversations and, at some point, I asked if she was interested in reading a full-length play. She said yes, read SAFE, and wrote soon after saying she was considering it for her season opener in September 2015. Because the play was already scheduled for a November 2015 production at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan and another in March 2016 at Road Less Traveled Productions in Buffalo, she agreed to hold off until the play had benefited from my post-production revisions. Bonus: as long as it was in the same calendar year, she could still call it part of a rolling world premiere.

What made this even better is that Laura and Kevin Dodd, who is directing this week’s show, came to both the Saginaw and Buffalo shows, so they, too, were able to see what worked and what didn’t, and start thinking early about their own production. It also helped deepen our relationship, so there was trust going forward, important since I wouldn’t be attending their SAFE rehearsals. Even better? The opening prompted an invitation to be the Gwen Frostic playwright at Western Michigan University, which not only carries a stipend, but enables me to present a reading of a brand new play, ELEVATOR GIRL, to the WMU students and faculty.

Wait, there’s more! Because the original venue for the QTK production became unavailable at the last minute, Kevin was able to secure space for the additional performances at colleges in Battle Creek and Bloomfield Hills, so that SAFE is able to reach even more audience across three cities. And all of this from a ten-minute play. It really happens.

Learn more about SAFE on Indie Theater Now.

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