Opp for plays for young people

The Multnomah Arts Center (http://www.multnoma hartscenter. org/) is the place I teach for the children’s play production class –
The stage and costuming and lighting and props and budget ($100) is very limited – all on a proscenium stage.
Yes, the playwrights do get paid – same deal as any published play as far as royalties go, but I’ve never handled that end of things. Naturally, anything free is a good thing, but we like to pay if we can. If I write it myself I get about $100 – $150. There are usually two performances, (sometimes three depending on enrollment and income), and it’s almost always strictly friends and family. It’s not publicized except for some posters around the building.
The MAC is a non-profit, run by the City of Portland through their parks and rec division, so we never charge for tickets, and we always provide scholarships for one or two low-income students. We do take donations at the door to fund future projects.

I’m looking for comedies – the more off the wall, the better, but a really compelling drama would be okay – I’m open, just leaning towards comedy this time. Dark humor is fine as long as the language is clean, and we tend to like to play way beyond our years – so the plays are usually tilted towards the older group of kids rather than the younger ones, but it depends. Spoofs of fairy tales are great (like Stinky Cheese Man), and anything from a classic kid’s story is good too (Bridge to Terebithia, Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Chronicles of Narnia, and Alice in Wonderland have been some of our past productions) . It’s all about getting the butts in the door to sign up – in the past, the more recognizable the title is, the better, but I’d really like to explore more original works with a strong point of view – not to mention a title that sounds compelling and cool in a catalogue to middle-schoolers. For instance, if anyone wants to tackle a Star Wars spoof, I’m all over it.

It’s a pretty sophisticated group of kids who have been my students for several seasons – they range in age from 8 to 16 usually, and everybody gets a speaking part. Having a cast that can go from 10 to 17 players is ideal. In the past if enrollment is bigger than the cast, we’ve added parts or divided them up – usually the younger students (or the bad actors) get those, but it’s nice if everyone gets a good moment in the spotlight.
To complicate matters further, we get what amounts to a total of 22 hours of rehearsal spread out over about ten weeks. I’ve been trying to persuade them to allow for a longer rehearsal period with not much success. Therefore, the trend now is to do shorter, less complicated productions – if a play is less than 20 pages, that’s ideal, but my last play for them was 32 pages, which was difficult and too ambitious.
I have no problem sharing my email with anyone who wants to send me stuff electronically. I have excellent spam controls, and I doubt anyone in your esteemed circle would abuse my email address anyway :-).
I’m also eager to read plays with good women characters our age (35-55) as well – always looking for that, so bring it on! It would be easiest for me if those were labeled in the subject as such. 
So that’s it – having a some plays to choose from for change would be great, so thanks very much! 

Brynn Baron. (brynnbaron@yahoo.com)

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