Brian Van Winkle on the Creative Process

Brian Van Winkle’s ten minute play (which he also starred in), “The Way I Picture it In My Head Is,” was a big hit at our February show. Brian is a recent graduate of Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon where he received a Bachelor of Science in Theatre Arts with a minor in Shakespeare Studies. He is also a graduate of the Foothill Theatre Conservatory and a member of the Pacifica Table Readers.

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Brian Van Winkle

In addition to his play, Brian has performed at POW in Melinda Marks’ “Menage A Un” and Adam Magill’s one-act play “Malleus Maleficarum.” He agreed to share some thoughts with us on his writing and performance experience.

POW: What did it feel like to have your words performed aloud? Was this the first time you saw someone interpret your work? What did you learn about your own writing? 

BVW:  It has been such a privilege to have my work performed by Play on Words. Though this is not my first time having my work performed for an audience, the experience is always beneficial. There is no better way to improve one’s writing than to see how it is interpreted by other people. Seeing other people create something out what you have made allows you to take it in as a separate entity from yourself. You can see what in your piece works and what doesn’t based on how the audience reacts to it. There is little I can think of more thrilling and encouraging than when a desired reaction lands with a crowd just as you want it to–and if a certain idea is not coming through clear enough, it will become obvious by the way that it is portrayed. I am very grateful that there are outlets such as this so that new works can continually be developed and improved for aspiring artists.

POW: What was it like to perform a piece knowing that the writer was in the room? How did you prepare? How did this experience make you feel about your own writing/creating process? 

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Brian (center) played an important role in “Menage a Un”

BVW:  It’s a pleasure to be able to give new writers a voice for their work. In an environment such as this, where we are able to interact directly with the authors, we are able to better prepare a piece in the way that it is intended to be performed. Being directly involved with the artists is a great way to help develop their work as well as gain skills to help hone one’s own abilities.

 

 

Introducing Gary Singh

Our February show highlighted the work of noted journalist and Silicon Valley arts regular Gary Singh. Singh is an award-winning journalist with a music degree who publishes poetry, paints, and exhibits photographs. As a scribe, he has published hundreds of works as either a staff writer or freelancer, including travel essays, art and music criticism, profiles, business journalism, lifestyle articles, short fiction and poetry. For 450 straight weeks he’s also penned a creative newspaper column for Metro, San Jose’s alt-weekly newspaper, an offbeat glimpse into the frontiers of the human condition in Silicon Valley. He is a sucker for anything that fogs the opposites of native and exotic, luxury and the gutter, academe and the street.

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Gary Singh

This week we asked Singh what it felt like to hear his poem, “Here,” read aloud by Ryan Alpers at the Blackbird Tavern on February 13.

“Hearing and seeing my poem performed by someone else brought a new dimension to my creativity,” he said. “The actor brought inflections and emotions into the poem that I didn’t even know existed. The experience gave me some confidence that I didn’t know existed either. I would highly recommend anyone to submit their work for this series.”

In case you missed it, here’s Ryan’s performance of Singh’s poem:

Feeling inspired? There’s still time to submit for our May 22 show! We accept works of poetry, fiction, nonfiction and theater under 2000 words. Submissions can be sent to playonwordssj@gmail.com.

 

Introducing This Week’s Lineup

In the mood for a good story? A funny ten minute play? How about both?

Join us as we return to San Jose’s Blackbird Tavern this Thursday, February 13, at 7:30 pm. We are thrilled to showcase original work from six Silicon Valley writers, performed by local actors. Here’s our lineup:

First up is “Menage a Un,” a short play by Melinda Marks, performed by Brian Van Winkle, Jeremy Ryan, and Melinda. This piece plays with the awkwardness that accompanies unexpected romantic reunions.

Next we’re proud to feature “Platonic Affairs,” an excerpt of former Steinbeck fellow Kirstin Chen’s forthcoming novel, Soy Sauce for Beginners, which has been named a January pick by O, The Oprah Magazine and Glamour, and Chen has been named one of USA Today’s “New Voices”. Melinda Marks will be performing the piece.

Our first poem, “Vibration,” is by Darrell Dela Cruz, a recent graduate of San Jose State University’s MFA program. This wonderful piece captures the charged spirit of romance and will be performed by Adam Magill.

The next poem, “Here,” is written by Metro journalist Gary Singh and explores one writer’s journey to pin a story down. For 450 straight weeks he’s also penned a creative newspaper column for Metro, San Jose’s alt-weekly newspaper, an offbeat glimpse into the frontiers of the human condition in Silicon Valley. His poem will be read by Ryan Alpers.

Adam Magill will read Eli Hansen’s bombastic satire, “The State of Generation Y.” Hansen is an MFA student at SJSU, specializing in poetry. He graduated from San Francisco State University in 2011, where he served as the poetry editor of Transfer.

Our final piece is a comic play, “The Way I Picture it Is,” by Brian Van Winkle. Brian is a recent graduate of Southern Oregon University, where he received a B.S. in Theatre Arts with a minor in Shakespeare Studies. He is also a graduate of the Foothill Theatre Conservatory and a member of the Pacifica Table Readers. His piece will be performed by Adam Magill, Jeremy Ryan, Melinda Marks, Ryan Alpers, Julia Halprin Jackson.

We hope to see you there! Don’t forget to RSVP on Facebook!

Play On Words Premiere is a Success!

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Play On Words’ premiere event at San Jose’s Blackbird Tavern was a huge success! We were thrilled to welcome 75 friends and family to the Blackbird’s gorgeous new show space on October 24 to kick off our new literary series. We’re grateful to our writers and performers for their excellent work, and to the gracious Blackbird staff for setting us up with a great stage, cozy tables and stocked bar.

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The evening started with a moody contemporary short story by Ryan Alpers entitled “Predecessors.” It was performed by Melinda Marks and Adam Magill.

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Our second piece was “Medea,” an original monologue written and performed by Melinda Marks.

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Ryan Alpers interpreted an excerpt of Eric Sneathen’s engaging poetry series entitled “Glister.”

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Our fourth piece was “Malleus Maleficarum,” a hilarious short play by Adam Magill, performed by Adam, Melinda, Doug York, Brian Van Winkle, and Jimmy Allan.

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Jimmy Allan closed out the night with his reading of Leah Griesmann’s short story, “Slave.”

We are so excited by the work we saw performed, as well as our wonderful audience, that we are opening up submissions for our second show, to be scheduled (most likely) in February 2014. If you are a Bay Area writer or performer, and are interested in collaborating with us, please email us at playonwordssj@gmail.com to learn moreWe accept original short fiction, poetry, monologues, 10-minute plays and creative nonfiction that is under 10 pages double spaced. The deadline for our next show is December 15, 2013.

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Melinda Marks, Nicole Hughes, and Julia Halprin Jackson at the Blackbird Tavern.