Meet RCP’s One Act Fest Playwrights

Rosedale Community Players is pleased to be presenting six one act shows written by our very talented members. The 2022 One Act Fest runs May 13-15, and 20-21. Visit our online box office for tickets.

Maureen Paraventi

Maureen Paraventi is an award-winning playwright, actor and musician. Her full-length and one act plays have been produced in Michigan, Florida, New York and Minnesota. (After a long delay due to the pandemic, her full-length play, “The Bucket List of Booze Club,” is being produced by the Freshwater Theatre in Minneapolis in May.) Maureen has worked as a morning radio personality, a personal assistant to a movie star and as an office manager for a talent agency. Her current day job is as the editor of a B2B magazine.

Tony Targan

Tony Targan‘s plays have often been featured at the RCP One Act Fest, including Turbulence (winner of the People’s Choice award at 2019 Michigan AACTFest), Memory Foam (also staged in Chicago), and Thought Bubbles.  In 2022, I’m Not Wearing Any Pants was a finalist at the Snowdance Festival in Racine, Wisconsin and will be part of the Farmington Players One Act Festival in June, in which Tony is also Artistic Director.  Tony’s monologue play Do You Trust Me? was recently a finalist in The ONE Festival in NYC, and in June he will be appearing onstage as Shylock in St. Dunstan’s performance of Something Rotten!   More info at www.tonytargan.com

Sean Paraventi

Sean Paraventi is an actor, playwright and stand-up comedian. He is always thrilled to be working with RCP and next fall, RCP will be producing his full-length play, The Hero and the Hag. You can learn more about Sean by visiting his (in need of an update) website, www.seanparaventi.com. Thank you for coming out and supporting live theatre.

Meg Berger

Meg Berger is a local playwright who focuses on stories about women identifying characters, and the LGBQTIA+ community. Her first ever play was in the RCP One Act festival a few years ago, and she is delighted to be back again. This summer, her play,  “It’s My Party” will be touring the Metro Detroit area as part of Open Book Theatre’s Driveway Theatre. When she isn’t writing, she can be found running very slowly around the neighborhood, playing table top games with her twin boys, or pursuing her budding political career. She could not do any of it without the support of her husband and partner, JB, or her family and friends.

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Danny Dubin

Danny Dubin has written over 15 short and one-act plays, most of which he also performed in.  He wrote a full-length stage play that was submitted for off-Broadway consideration.  His latest one-act play, “Socrates High”, was written for grade school kids and will be performed at Novi’s In The Mitten Productions (The Hawk) in July by children, all using sock puppets.  He is also writing a screenplay, “Dare 2 Speak”, that takes a deep dive into a young boy with a severe stutter who is mercilessly bullied and ultimately learns to believe in himself.

Dave Durham

Dave Durham is so proud to be contributing to his fourth RCP One-Acts Festival this year.  His play, ROYALLY TOUCHED was voted audience favorite in the very first festival.  Proof that RCP nurtures local talent, Dave has gone on to write many more pieces, including the full-length comedy, OF DIVINE INTEREST, which was part of last year’s main season here at RCP.   THE DRIVEWAY SALE came out of a writer’s group challenge to pen a ten-minute play centered around a piece of clothing.   For more information on Dave’s literary works, as well as other projects, you can visit him at www.stagescreenandme.com.

Rosedale Community Players is dedicated to the growth and development of our members. If you have ever thought you would like to try writing a script, we have a playwright’s group where members encourage, support and offer suggestions to each other. Read this post for words of wisdom from many of the playwrights featured in this year’s One Act Fest.

And when you are ready, we invite you to join RCP and get involved with our many opportunities to experience the theatre!

A Few Weekends of Live Theatre

While Rosedale Community Players will be presenting our One Acts Fest, RCP member and 2022-23 director Heather Hudson will be directing a live show on YouTube with Secondhand Rose Players

We open in 4 days. Preview performances tomorrow and Tuesday.

I find myself desperately reaching for ways to fine tune it, to get it another inch or two closer to what my mind’s eye can see just around the corner. A little closer to perfect.

So many things are going right, and a handful of things are going wrong that we can’t quite figure out how to fix. Might not be able to fix. In some ways it’s like seeing the perfect slice of chocolate cake through the bakery window and not being able to find where the door to the shop is, and the voice in your head is telling you that by the time you find it, they will be flipping the sign from open to closed and locking the door in your face.

Yes, I am at the point in directing a show where I’m having that dream.

At the end of the day, I feel like this could be one of the biggest theatrical failures of my career, or it could be one of the most incredible ones. The show will go on either way – and almost certainly fall somewhere between those extremes that the fear center of my brain likes to indulge in.

The good news, as so often happens when making art, is that life does have a habit of imitating it. This story we are telling, is all about being imperfect. It’s all about trying your best and falling short, then finding a way to continue on and bring out the best in ourselves — despite the many failures and foibles along the way.

In a way, all these imperfections may make this show just about perfect.

Pay-what-you-can tickets to the livestream performances are hereRunning May 12-14 and 19-21.

Heather Hudson has been a member of Rosedale Community Players since 2009, and was last seen in “Cliff Dwellers”, one of many short plays featured in RCP’s 2019 One Act Festival.  Over the years she has also served as actor, director, producer, and sound designer at RCP. Heather holds a B.A. in Psychology from Michigan State University and works at a professional services organization in Detroit as a vendor contract negotiator. In her free time, Heather enjoys writing (especially blogging), acting, photography, and watching endless Netflix entertainment with her three teenagers and two cats.

Script Selection: The Squishy, The Stuffy and The Scary

All my life, I’ve been compelled by the magic of a good storyteller, telling a good story, in a good way. It’s no wonder that this is my compass — my mantra, even — when designing a new theatrical showcase (which I find myself doing, from time to time).

Or to put it another way: all I really need to do, as Script Selector, is to uncover a piece — or pieces, if it’s a festival — about interesting people doing interesting things in interesting places, that is interesting.

Perhaps I am oversimplifying it. I am certain that many a true literary critic (armchair and certified alike) are rolling their collective eyes at this sentiment. But I remain convinced, for the time being, that this is pretty much the gig.

And I’m gonna go out on a limb and say – it is one of the most wonderful, horrible, inspiring, and emotionally wrecking creative experiences I’ve ever known.

Every damned time.

And there have been lots of times.

It’s a bit surreal to think back on my first foray into this particular discipline, about a dozen years ago. I was sitting next to a dear friend of mine at our theatre group’s annual awards celebration, and I remember asking him if he ever considered writing. It was as evident to me as the color of his shirt that he had a natural gift for it (you couldn’t hear this man speak three words without sensing the wordsmith within) but he had yet to really throw himself into it. He certainly hadn’t thought about trying to write something that would then be produced, and legitimately performed …

But that’s exactly what we did — not just a one-act play written by this fine gentleman, but short pieces by 4 others in the group with whom I had similar conversations — thanks in large part to a veritable village of people from the group supporting the effort behind the scenes, who were (for whatever reason) inspired, and wanted to join us in elevating and celebrating our hidden playwrights. When I think of humanity at its finest, I think of those amazing people, who dared to take a chance on this weirdo and her crazy ideas.

A year later, we produced our group’s first one act fest (aka, the OAF — because who doesn’t love an ironic acronym), to sold out audiences and rave reviews galore. Which led to those festivals happening every year. As a matter of fact, they’re still going — auditions for this year’s OAF are actually happening today.

But none of that could have happened — nor does it happen now — without the blood, sweat and tears of getting those darned scripts.

So many conversations and texts went into that first one. Suggesting while trying not to push. Encouraging while attempting not to nag.

Until the deadline. Then there was lots and lots of nag.

As the festival evolved over the years, and more people got wind of it and started to write in preparation for it, so did the storm that is script selection rage in all new ways. Now I didn’t have to implore people to just please write something that ties words together in a way that somewhat resembles a plot, because the scripts were now rolling in, and the challenge had changed.

The challenge of making choices.

Ugh, those choices. How do we put it all together to make a cohesive night of theatre? What about that one story that was so intriguing and different and yet if we chose it, it would only leave room for a handful of others? How do we best serve the festival and the writers — when sometimes those two goals seem to conflict?

And after the choices are made, that devastating, heartbreaking day where you make all those phone calls and send the emails to people who worked so hard and stepped out of their comfort zone to put a short play together, whose work didn’t make it in.

Yet somehow, many of them keep writing. Many of them move on, try again. Remain inspired.

And that makes it all worthwhile.

Which makes me wonder, maybe that’s why I got into this creative line in the first place. To do something that makes this world a better place. To do something that inspires.

Maybe, underneath it all, that’s the real magic that has compelled me, all along.

Originally posted on mutteringretreats.com)

Heather Hudson has been a member of Rosedale Community Players since 2009, and was last seen in “Cliff Dwellers”, one of many short plays featured in RCP’s 2019 One Act Festival.  Over the years she has also served as actor, director, producer, and sound designer at RCP. Heather holds a B.A. in Psychology from Michigan State University and works at a professional services organization in Detroit as a vendor contract negotiator. In her free time, Heather enjoys writing (especially blogging), acting, photography, and watching endless Netflix entertainment with her three teenagers and two cats.

Getting Into Getting Out

Originally posted on the blog Muttering Retreats by RCP’s own Heather Hudson. Her words about what it feels like to get out resonates with us as we deal with the ever changing pandemic world we all must adapt to.

I used to suffer from mild panic attacks. This isn’t that. I don’t feel panicked, exactly. But there has been a flutter in my heart. A feeling of having swallowed a bunch of stones. A tickle in the back of my head like you get when you feel someone is staring at you.

Like feathers.

I’m no stranger to ambivalence about things that I love. My best example? Community theatre. I’ve been on the stage since the womb, thanks to my mother’s love for the art which she kindly passed along to me through the umbilical cord, and I have enjoyed every minute of it … and also have been completely horrified by it. Some people jump out of airplanes in order to get that sweet, powerful rush of feeling more alive than alive; all I have to do is pretend to be someone else in front of a crowd.

In order to do this, however, I’ve had to drop a few tricks into my bag of holding. Deep breathing. Running through all my lines at a breakneck pace 30 minutes before curtain. Listening to that perfect song that I’ve been listening to prior to every rehearsal, that puts me into the headspace of my character. Creating that textbook “moment before” and focusing on that singular thought. All of these things move my stage fright needle an inch or two.

But the best trick I’ve ever been taught, to deal with this unwanted brain-guest otherwise known as anxiety, is to focus on the hope. Which isn’t that hard, because excitement (hope) and fear actually come from the same area of emotion, and I am legitimately excited about being on stage. Sure, the reality is that both feelings are happening, but with practice, I’ve gotten better at choosing which one to focus on. By choosing the more positive, “excited” and “hopeful” interpretation, I’ve been able to hone in on a more fun part of my emotional life and give a backseat to the dread.

So I’ve starting going out, because I love it, the way I love being on the boards. And these days it’s more similar than ever to that going-live-in-front-of-an-audience feeling. And all the love-hate that comes with it

But I’ve been doing it. I’ve re-entered society, a little bit, going here and there. To outdoor concerts, half empty restaurants, and the biggest undertaking (but perhaps most rewarding) of them all: sat in a chair in the salon for 3 hours for a full court press color and cut. I even attended a small wedding.

And when I feel the flutter of fear, I push my mask a little tighter against my cheeks, and think of Emily and her little bird.

Now that we’re struggling with vicious variants and mixed messages and the daily drama of the pathetically political, I still find myself reaching for those feathers, like a modern day Dumbo.

Because that darned little creature refuses to stop singing

True to Emily’s word, it never stops, at all.

Heather Hudson has been a member of Rosedale Community Players since 2009, and was last seen in “Cliff Dwellers”, one of many short plays featured in RCP’s 2019 One Act Festival.  Over the years she has also served as actor, director, producer, and sound designer at RCP. Heather holds a B.A. in Psychology from Michigan State University and works at a professional services organization in Detroit as a vendor contract negotiator. In her free time, Heather enjoys writing (especially blogging), acting, photography, and watching endless Netflix entertainment with her three teenagers and two cats.

Let’s Try Some Improv!

Hello everyone! First I want to apologize for a lack of any posts in the last few weeks. We have been busy trying to plan new and exciting opportunities for our members and patrons since the world is slowly starting to open back up to live theatre!

And it is indeed slowly coming back! Just in the last week, RCP hosted a Virtual One Acts Fest, and we are excited to see some of our fellow community theatres starting to schedule outdoor performances. In fact we are really looking forward to Ridgedale Players outdoor production of Freaky Friday, which features a face familiar from the RCP stage, John Tonkovich. It also features RCP’s own newsletter Editor, Lily Godau.

We are really hopeful for many more in-person shows being available within the year! So are you ready to start auditioning again?

Well, you are in luck! We are hosting an Improv Workshop with local performer David Moan that will help you gain new skills and it has the potential to really help improve your auditions and performances. It is a one evening workshop, so it is the perfect way to start getting warmed up for the upcoming theatre season!

Now, who is David Moan? I first met him a decade ago as the musical director while performing at another area theatre, I could not sing. At all. But under his direction I learned that I was ranged incorrectly, and  I have much more control.  Finally I can sing without making all of the neighborhood dogs howl! So he has always been one of my favorite instructors.

Since then, he has become a friend and one of my favorite local performers. His performance as Ash in Evil Dead the Musical has turned our family into dedicated Deadites. 

So when I was looking for an improv teacher for my son, I was thrilled when he volunteered. And during the pandemic, when all classes were online, my kids were totally over it. However, Online Improv with David has remained Charlie’s favorite activity. He now asks me to text David every time he makes a joke. I don’t (you’re welcome, David), but I love that Charlie has developed a love for this skill that will help him no matter what he does in life.

Improv is known to build confidence, because you learn to listen and think on your feet. And with a good improv team, you learn to work together. All skills that will apply on stage, or doing a presentation for your clients or boss.

“You get all the benefits of theatre,” says David about Improv. “Good public speaking skills, self confidence, physical awareness… and an idea of how we work together as a team.”

“But what improv also gives us is life skills that you can apply outside of the theatre,” he continues. “Listening is a key tenet in improv. So is empathy. Putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes. Thinking like somebody else.”

David says improv gets us to think outside of the box to problem solve as a team. 

So many benefits that can help you inside the theatre and out!

In the improv world David is one half of the musical improv group Torch Song with Jeremy St. Martin and as a cast member of the revival cast of Rock-o-Matic at Go Comedy. He also coaches the Improv Club at Dexter High School.

When relying on other people’s words and music, David can be seen on some of the most renowned stages in the area. Notable performances include John Wilkes Booth in Assassins (Wilde Award Winning) and Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd (Wilde Award Nominated) at the Encore Musical Theater Company, Martin in Candide with the Michigan Opera Theater, and Ash in Evil Dead The Musical (Wilde Award Nominated) with The Ringwald Theatre. 

And I would be remiss to write about David without telling you he is a huge Batman fan. 

So please join us Tuesday, May 25th 7pm for what promises to be a lot of fun, while stretching our skillset. Cost is $27 for the 90 minute workshop. Click here to sign up.

Devene Godau has been a member of RCP since the 2018 One Acts Festival and is currently the Promotions Chair on the Board of Directors. Devene holds a B.A. in Journalism from Michigan State University. She works as a freelance writer as well as a professional dog trainer when not helping out at the theatre. She lives in Metro Detroit with her husband, three kids, three dogs, two cats and a tortoise.

Try Something New: Audition!

Advice From RCP Veterans For Your Audition!

Next week, Rosedale Community Players will be holding our first auditions in over a year! And we want YOU (yes, you) to consider auditioning.

After over a year of having your activities limited, aren’t you ready to stretch your acting muscle, or try something new? Whether you are an experienced actor, or you have always wanted to try your hand at acting, we will be rooting for you.

When you audition for our upcoming One Act Fest, you will be given scenes from the One Act scripts to read and perform for our show’s directors via Zoom.

I will admit that for me, personally, auditioning rattles my nerves more than performances in front of an audience. But it doesn’t get easier until you just start jump in and try it.

“Take a deep breath and audition,” says RCP VP Barb Mathers. “Veterans are only veterans because we took that first step, gathered our courage, found our passion and hit the boards running.”

It is easy to feel like you are being judged when auditioning. But remember that directors aren’t looking for perfection. Characters and stories tend to evolve once they start putting the puzzle pieces of their production together, which includes finding the cast that helps bring their vision to life.

“Don’t try to be perfect,” says Eric Goldstein, who both acts and directs at RCP. “We’re looking for willingness. We’re looking for potential. And if we give you some direction, we’re looking to see if you can take direction.”

And in fact, when you read for a part, don’t try to jump to conclusions about a character and their energy.

“Change it up if you get to read more than once,” suggests RCP actor and director Larry Rink. “Directors like to see versatility.”

And don’t get stuck on the character you want to play.

“Read for any part that is a possibility, no matter how slight,” shares RCP member Janet Turner.

I will tell you honestly, my favorite character that I have ever played is a character I don’t think I would have ever purposely auditioned for. It stretched me beyond what I thought I was capable of. When I said I couldn’t, my director, RCP member Claudia Scott (who will also be one of our One Act directors), encouraged me to go above and beyond. It was scary. But it was so very rewarding.

And while at its surface, acting seems to be about pretending, the most successful performers are able to bring an authenticity to their roles.

“Find the character’s motivation and make the character your own,” says RCP member Carole Shirley-Browne. “Be ‘real’ and have fun.”

Laurie Smalis, one of our One Act directors, agrees. “Be honest and true to the character. Relax . Be natural,” she says.

No one knows his characters better than playwright Tony Targan. His script “Home for the Challah Days” will be performed in the Virtual One Acts Festival. But he likes to see the different interpretation of these characters.

“Don’t try to become a ‘character’,” he recommends. “Draw upon an authentic, slightly dramatized version of yourself.”

And if you are thinking that it is too late to start acting now, I want to challenge that. I did not step on stage until I was nearly 40. If I can do it, I can guarantee you that you can too, as long as it is something you have a drive to do.

“Most community theaters I know make room for people exactly in your shoes,” says RCP member and playwright Dave Durham, whose script “Moments” is part of the festival. “If they see a spark of ambition and even a glimmer of talent, there is a good chance you will get a call to join the cast. Obviously a MUCH better chance than if you don’t audition. Come to auditions. You are welcome there.”

Most of all, we want everyone that comes to auditions to have fun. RCP president Chuck Goddeeris stresses this with his words of wisdom.

“Relax, have fun, make big choices, have fun, be confident in your decisions,” he says. “Have fun, don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself.”

So take a deep breathe and jump in. And no matter what the outcome, be proud of yourself because it is hard to break out of your comfort zone. But trying new things is the spice of life.

“Take a deep breath and let it out right before you start reading/monologuing,” says Meg Berger, who is spearheading our Virtual One Act Fest. “Have fun. Go big. It’s always easier to bring an actor’s energy down rather than bringing an actor’s energy up. Directors will notice that. Reward yourself after your audition whether you get the part or not. Auditioning is hard work and you’re awesome for attempting it!”

For up-to-date information on our Virtual One Acts Fest see our event page on Facebook.

If you are ready to claim your audition spot sign up here.

Devene Godau has been a member of RCP since the 2018 One Acts Festival and is currently the Promotions Chair on the Board of Directors. Devene holds a B.A. in Journalism from Michigan State University. She works as a freelance writer as well as a professional dog trainer when not helping out at the theatre. She lives in Metro Detroit with her husband, three kids, three dogs, two cats and a tortoise.

RCP’s First Virtual One Act Festival

Rosedale Community Theatre is excited to be presenting our first ever virtual One Act Festival!

Our annual live One Act Fest was derailed in 2020 (I am sure we don’t have to tell you why!!). I missed this popular kick off to our season, which was a great way to showcase local writers and actors. The One Acts was my first RCP event, and I have come to relish seeing both veterans and newbies on stage together for these 10-15 minute plays.

And I love opportunities for local playwrights to submit new scripts. I am always in awe of all of the talent we have locally.

So I was super excited when member Meg Berger proposed to spearhead a Virtual One Act Festival with the tagline “From Script to Screen in One Month”.

Last week we put out out a call for scripts and within seven days and we had 13 submissions.

Five scripts were selected:

A Call for Directors

Have you ever wanted to direct? Think fast! Because we need names of all people interested by tomorrow April 16th. If this piques your interest email megmberger@gmail.com ASAP!

If you have thought about directing, but this is all too sudden, stick around and get involved with RCP. As we are able to offer more performances, there will be opportunities to get some experience behind the scenes. Follow this blog, as we hope to have some upcoming artilces on directing too.

Upcoming Auditions

Auditions will be formally announced after director selections, but we are aiming for them to be on or around April 21. The best way to stay up to date with upcoming opportunities is to follow us on our Facebook page.

Auditions and rehearsals will take place via Zoom. We encourage all skill levels to give auditioning a shot. If you have always wanted to give acting a try, this is the perfect opportunity!

And with our virtual One Acts being presented online, all of your family members can safely watch your performance from the comfort of their own home. From your cousin Ted in Alaska to your Grandparents in Florida!

We Love an Audience

If you aren’t able to come be part of our One Acts team as a director or performer, we still hope you will consider letting us entertain you. We have all be itching to get back to performing art and now, after flying high from the success of our online radio show, The Maltese Falcon, we are excited to bring even more artists’ work to your screen.

We hope to premiere our performance around May 22nd. Stay tuned to this site for more news about our show!

Devene Godau has been a member of RCP since the 2018 One Acts Festival and is currently the Promotions Chair on the Board of Directors. Devene holds a B.A. in Journalism from Michigan State University. She works as a freelance writer as well as a professional dog trainer when not helping out at the theatre. She lives in Metro Detroit with her husband, three kids, three dogs, two cats and a tortoise.

Tell Your Story!

Have you ever entertained the thought of writing a story? 

Or even more, dreamed about having your story come to life on stage? With actors taking the words you crafted, and bringing the characters you dreamed up into existence.

What is stopping you? As someone who has done a little script writing here and there, I often say the biggest hurdle is time. But if I’m being honest, it is scary! 

However, opportunities to get our scripts read are all around us here in the Metro Detroit theatre community. With so many theatres hosting One Act Festivals that embrace local playwrights, it is a great opportunity to try your hand at writing.

So a few weeks ago I reached out to a few Rosedale Community Players members that write, and have had their shows performed, for advice and inspiration to get those of us teetering on the edge of writing and procrastinating to just sit down and put pen to paper.

Meg Berger’s first script, “Sisters Before Misters” is special to me personally, because it was the first time I auditioned and performed at RCP. 

Meg was motivated to write this script when RCP put out a call for one act scripts for their annual One Act Festival and fundraiser in 2018. While she had written novels before, this was her first script, so she wrote what she knew. Her script was inspired by her own life.

Script writing has provided a good outlet for her to achieve her goal of seeing more women’s stories created.

“Too often women get cast as the romantic interest or the mother and that’s their point in the show, they are there to move the plot forward for the male lead.,” says Meg. “And women aren’t just love interests or mothers. We’re so much more than that. I really make a point of focusing on that when I write.”

A One Act Festival was also the motivation for playwright Maureen Paraventi to write her first script. She made it her goal to write something to submit. It was accepted and even won an award for being an audience favorite.

For Maureen, script writing allows her to see how people respond to her work.

“It’s a format that allows you to actually see the audience’s reaction to your work,” says Maureen. “I write fiction and nonfiction as well. When someone reads a book you’ve written, you rarely find out what they thought about it.”

Those reactions took time to appreciate. In the beginning it was tough to watch and see what people thought

“I felt so self-conscious the first time I sat in an audience and watched a play I wrote be performed. It was excruciating!” says Maureen.  “But when I realized that the audience was responding to the characters and conflicts, I started to relax. Now I’m pretty Zen about it.”

Dave Durham also got his start in script writing with RCP’s One Act Fest. An avid writer that writes poetry, song lyrics and even creates and writes board games, he considers writing his way of painting.

So it was natural that when RCP member Heather Hudson was spearheading our very first One Act Fest, that she asked Dave to consider submitting something.

“I procrastinated and fretted right up to the deadline, then handed in barely enough to be considered,” reflects Dave. “ That play, Royally Touched, was such a great experience, I haven’t stopped. “

In 2020 Dave’s full length play Of Divine Interest won First place in the Community Theatre Association of Michigan’s Annual Playwriting Contest. And RCP is excited that we will be producing this show in our next live season.

New playwrights tend to have a lot of excuses not to start. For instance, how do you find the time to write?  

Dave suggests scheduling time, just as you would s doctor’s appointment. Make that time a priority and stick to it.

Maureen also points out that you do not need huge blocks of time to write. She suggests squeezing in time whenever you find it. 

And Meg says it is important to know what will work best for you.

“If you’re a morning person, get up early and write. If you’re a night person, try to sneak in a few pages of writing at night,” she suggests.  I have even written during my lunch.”

Like many newbies, I always claimed I didn’t have the time. But then the pandemic hit, and I had a lot more time. So I had to come up with a new excuse. I couldn’t get my creative juices flowing.

And the pandemic seemed to stunt Meg’s creativity too. She ended up turning to writing prompts to get her started again and has made it her goal to write at least once a week.

For Maureen, inspiration happens everywhere. She observes, listens and imagines all of the time. The biggest issue for her is finding the time to develop the ideas she comes up with. 

Dave is inspired by stories he hears on NPR, or even through friends.

And when writer’s block hits, he advises that you step away and work on something else.

“I often have three or four artistic projects going at once.  My best script ideas hit me while driving or doing household chores,” says Dave. “ I immediately hit the record button on the phone’s voice app and blurt it out in one steady stream.   When I  sit down again to write, I listen to all the ideas and pick out the best.”

Meg once told me, before I started a script, that to get started writing, I have to just start writing. She said I shouldn’t expect my first script to be good, but I will never get better until I get through that experience. 

With my lowered expectations, I was able to finish a script. And it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be!

After you finish your first script what do you do with it? 

Personally, I sent mine in to a One Acts Fest. It did not get selected but I did get useful feedback to create a better second draft. 

But that is part of the process for a writer just starting out. Maureen said that if she could go back in time to give herself advice in the beginning she would tell herself to “learn how to take constructive criticism earlier. I’m fine with it now, but as a beginning writer, I was sensitive. Everyone is going to have an opinion. Take everything in, but take it all with a grain of salt. Not every bit of feedback is useful, or fits your intentions for your play.”

And Dave says that while it is important to get other eyes on your script, but be selective at first.

“Don’t be so quick to spread around your work to everyone you know as soon as you have a first draft.   Find reader’s groups, or get a group together to read it out loud, then work on what didn’t quite sound right,” says Dave. “There are so many wonderful groups in the area, and they are hungry for new scripts to peek at.  Many of them have actual actors among them so you get an interpretation, instead of just a critique at the end.“

Rosedale Community Players has a script writing group that will resume meeting when things get closer to normal that does just that. The group is composed of both readers and actors (many of us are both) and we provide encouragement and guidance for script writers both new and seasoned.

So to be a writer, all you really have to do is to start writing. What are you waiting for?

To stay up-to-date on our next One Act Fest, follow us on Facebook.

Devene Godau has been a member of RCP since the 2018 One Acts Festival and is currently the Promotions Chair on the Board of Directors. Devene holds a B.A. in Journalism from Michigan State University. She works as a freelance writer as well as a professional dog trainer when not helping out at the theatre. She lives in Metro Detroit with her husband, three kids, three dogs, two cats and a tortoise.

Community Theatre: There is a Place For You Here!

My family has been involved with community theatre for a decade now. When I tell people about it, I have had quite a few people say, “Really? I wish I could do something like that.”

But the thing is, you totally can. Everyone can!

When I tell people that they usually say something like they can’t act, or sing, etc. 

I couldn’t either.

I had always wanted to try theatre growing up but thought I couldn’t. Then I sort of fell into it as an adult. 

My first step into the theatre world was as a stage mom. My daughter had speech issues when she was young, so I thought getting involved in theatre classes would help.  And she took a shine to it. So we kept finding classes to get involved with.

Then we heard about a theatre near us, Warren Civic Theatre, that did open casting for some of their shows. 

I will never forget her very first audition there. I thought, “Well, this will never be her thing.” But since they had open casting, she automatically landed a role in the ensemble and it sounded like a pretty fun way for her to stay active during the summer break.

She loved it. As she got used to being on stage, her inner star became more bold and confident. So she ended up doing shows there almost continuously for a few years. After two years, the artistic director said to me in passing at a rehearsal, “You know, you’re here at every rehearsal, you might as well get on stage yourself.”

That thought simmered with me for a while. For a whole year. I tossed it over.  I shared it with my best friend who said, “Why not? I’ll audition for a show too.”

I had a lot of fun with my kids, with my friend, and with my castmates that became new friends. I didn’t want it to end!

I had more courage than I ever thought I had. 

I have learned that open casting can be controversial. Some people tell me that it is not “competitive” enough. But I will tell you with 100% confidence that if there had not been a theatre with open casting, no one in my family would be involved in the theatre. 

That thought makes me sad.

During youth productions, the costuming department at WCT taught me how to sew. This is something I have always wanted to learn, but never seemed to have the time. Now it was a way to help the kids. 

Getting to know other actors got us out and about to see shows at other community theatres too. Our theatre world kept expanding.

And I even tried my hand at singing. With great musical directors that had the patience of saints, I actually improved. I went from clearing a room with my singing, to merely scaring small children!

As luck would have it, one of the friends that I had made doing theatre reached out to me about Rosedale Community Players. They were doing their annual One Acts Festival, and one of her scripts was being produced. She encouraged me to audition because it would be a very small time commitment.

I was intrigued because RCP performs all plays, so there would be more parts that were a better fit for my singing talents (which are slightly more than none). That was the first time I stepped into RCP.

And I made it in!

Cast members from our 2019 One Act Festival rehearse together

The special thing about RCP, is that no one ever makes you feel like a stranger there. You become part of the family immediately. 

From that experience stemmed other wonderful opportunities within the next year. I stage managed for the very first time. When I was asked, I remember saying, “I don’t know how to do that!” The producer of the show said it was easy, and they could teach me. 

It wasn’t exactly easy, but it was something I really needed to do. It made me realize that I like being part of a production team as much as I like being on stage. You get to make the magic from behind the scenes, and it is pretty gratifying.

Next I was asked if I wanted to be on the Board of Directors. Something else I never considered, but find very rewarding.

I met playwrights and actually started writing scripts. Knowing I can sit down and create my own world is pretty cool. And we have a whole group of people that are willing to read over your scripts and make suggestions to make it better. They are so very encouraging and willing to share their vast experiences

So you don’t have to have any special skills to be a part of the theatre community, just a passion to want to contribute. And you have to love working as a team.

RCP members pitching in to create a set

As the world slowly crawls back to normal, I would invite you to think about joining us at RCP (or a community theatre near you). The imaginary lives we create on stage change everyone involved for the better.

So along with my new hobby came so many new friends and experiences that have just made my life richer. I hope you get to experience that too.

If you would like to become a member of Rosedale Community Player for the 2021-222 season visit this link.

Devene Godau has been a member of RCP since the 2018 One Acts Festival and is currently the Promotions Chair on the Board of Directors. Devene holds a B.A. in Journalism from Michigan State University. She works as a freelance writer as well as a professional dog trainer when not helping out at the theatre. She lives in Metro Detroit with her husband, three kids, three dogs, two cats and a tortoise.

Meet RCP’s Maltese Falcon Director: Laurie Smalis

The Maltese Falcon radio show was the first show Rosedale Community Players has produced using this format. And it has exceeded our expectations! Viewers have shared with us how much they have enjoyed this unique performance!

Lost On Stage contributor, Heather Hudson, recently interviewed the show’s director, Laurie Smalis, about RCP and the Maltese Falcon!

Heather Hudson: Hello Laurie! First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. You’ve been one of our go-to directors for so long, and we’d be remiss not to share your story with our community (and the blogosphere). Shall we start with how you became a part of RCP?

LAURIE: Back in the 90’s some friends took me to see some RCP shows. I was very impressed with the talent and thought that I wanted to get involved. Well, life got in the way and I wasn’t able to join until the 2000’s. I had directed many plays over the years in college and other theatre groups. Directing is my passion. My first show directing for RCP was Flemming.

Laurie Smalis directed Fleming (An American Thriller) by Sam Bobrick at Rosedale Community Players

HH:  That passion absolutely shows, in everything you do!  I can only imagine how challenging this “pandemic pause” has been, being away from the physical stage.  How have you been keeping art in your life, outside of your recent RCP production of The Maltese Falcon?  

LAURIE: I had actually not been doing anything artistically other than watching old movies. I was getting so antsy to do something and remembered my parents talking about radio shows “back in the day”. I thought, well, why not? These are the perfect circumstances to bring it back.

HH:  I agree, a million percent. How did The Maltese Falcon get on your radar, exactly?  Was it your first virtual directing gig, or one of many?  

LAURIE: I have always been a Humphrey Bogart fan. When I found that the original radio script was in public domain, I knew that was the show I had to do. This was my first virtual gig. 

HH:  As Hannibal would say, “I love it when a plan comes together”.  I suspect it had its share of joys and struggles. What was your greatest challenge to overcome in putting the show together?  In other words, what words of wisdom do you have for other people thinking about directing online theatre?

LAURIE: The biggest challenge was trying to figure out how we were going to put this together and to make it look like more than just an average zoom meeting. 

HH: Well said.  How about one of your favorite moments — a “happy accident” or “magic of theatre” moment that reminded you why we do this thing called art?

LAURIE: Well, there were more than just one moment: The professionalism of the actors that I chose and their ability to adapt to this venue (we did not have auditions because I wasn’t sure if this would work). Our foley artist, Calvin Carson, stepping up and really taking on the role of an old fashioned sound effects man, and our sound and music editor. And I guess just how good it turned out!

HH: You certainly have a lot to be proud of with this production, and we could probably chat about it for hours … but I think Devene is going to drop the curtain on me in a second. Let’s close this out with a preview of projects on your list to tackle when we’re all back together again, doing live shows at RCP – do you have anything on your radar?

LAURIE: Yes, I was selected to direct “Of Divine Interest”, written by our own Dave Durham, for the winter of 2020. Well, we all know how that turned out. So now, if all goes well, I will be directing it for the upcoming RCP season. Fingers crossed because it’s a very funny show, and everyone needs a good laugh these days. 

HH: I cannot wait to see it.  Laurie, you’ve been amazing, thanks again for taking the time. And to all the readers out there, stay safe, stay well, and keep making good art.


Heather Hudson has been a member of Rosedale Community Players since 2009, and was last seen in “Cliff Dwellers”, one of many short plays featured in RCP’s 2019 One Act Festival.  Over the years she has also served as actor, director, producer, and sound designer at RCP. Heather holds a B.A. in Psychology from Michigan State University and works at a professional services organization in Detroit as a vendor contract negotiator. In her free time, Heather enjoys writing (especially blogging), acting, photography, and watching endless Netflix entertainment with her three teenagers and two cats.