Marilyn’s “Snake” in “Paris”

We are huge fans of Marilyn Horn-Fahey’s short fiction–which is why we opened each act of our Words & Music show with one of her short stories. Here’s footage of Melinda Marks performing “April in Paris” on July 14 in San Jose’s St. James Park:

Thanks to Rick Alpers for filming our first act. Here’s Brian Van Winkle reading Marilyn’s second piece, entitled “Snake”:

Brian Van Winkle’s “Audition”

As we read submissions and gear up for our July 14 show in St. James Park, we’re “auditioning” new material to see how it will sound when performed aloud. It only makes sense to conclude our Take Flight series with this final short play by Brian Van Winkle, aptly titled “Audition”:

Thanks to Michael Weiland, Melinda Marks, Julia Halprin Jackson, and guest “singers” Ryan Alpers, Adam Magill and Brian himself.

We hope to announce our lineup for the July show in the next week, so stay tuned!

Rick Alpers’ “Van Tribe” Takes Flight

Last week we took the stage at San Jose’s Cafe Stritch with a fun cast of characters–thanks in part to the generosity of The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, in partnership with the San Jose Downtown Association. In case you missed it, we’ll be rolling out footage from our June 3 performance over the next few weeks, starting today with excerpts of Rick Alpers’ “Van Tribe” saga.

“Van Tribe” is a novel-in-progress that follows a group of people living along San Jose’s Guadalupe River, whose lives are affected by suburban growth. Michael Weiland kicked off the evening with “Van Tribe: The River” and “Dudley and Lisa”:

Tiffany Edwards read the next installment, entitled “Pumpkin”:

Finally, Brian Van Winkle read “Miracle Ticket”:

Like what you see? We’ll be posting more videos over the next few weeks. Thanks again to everyone who made this show possible!

Drumroll Please…Tomorrow’s Lineup!

It’s nearly time to take flight. We had our rehearsal on Saturday night and we are pumped to perform tomorrow at Cafe Stritch. Our playbills will be printed tomorrow–and in one last effort to spread the word, we’re sharing the full lineup for Play On Words: Take Flight here:

ACT ONE

  1. “Pink Suitcase,” by Tania Martin, read by Gray Performs
  2. “Van Tribe: The River” and “Dudley and Lisa,” by Rick Alpers, read by Michael Weiland
  3. “Bees,” by Betsy Miller, read by Adam Magill
  4. “Van Tribe: Pumpkin,” by Rick Alpers, read by Tiffany Edwards
  5. “Bride,” by Lita Kurth, read by Melinda Marks
  6. “Van Tribe: Miracle Ticket,” by Rick Alpers, read by Michael Weiland
  7. “Sirs Parchment” and “I Ride on the Bus Out to the Suburbs in the Searing Heat,” by Gary Singh, read by Ryan Alpers
  8. “Stage Kiss,” by Mara Sherman, read by Laurel Brittan, Gray Performs, and Ryan Alpers

    ACT TWO

  9. “Suburban Fantasy,” by Renée Schell, read by Adam Magill
  10. “Hot Turkish Man For You,” by Valerie Fioravanti, read by Melinda Marks
  11. “Red,” by Melinda Marks, read by Arcadia Conrad
  12. “Swimming Lessons,” by Pratibha Kelapure, read by Laurel Brittan
  13. “Scars,” by Andrew Christian, read by Ryan Alpers
  14. “Cardio Tai Chi,” by Sarah Lyn Rogers, read by Tiffany Edwards
  15. “Audition,” by Brian Van Winkle, read by Michael Weiland, Melinda Marks, Brian Van Winkle, Adam Magill, and Julia Halprin Jackson

As we gear up for the big show, we’d also like to extend our gratitude, once again, to The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the San Jose Downtown Association, as well as Steve and Max Borkenhagen of Cafe Stritch, whose support and guidance helped make this show possible.

San Jose Downtown Association
San Jose Downtown Association

Danes in an Alley

Are you ready for a fresh take on Hamlet? Our closing piece at the 2014 Lit Crawl in San Francisco’s Clarion Alley was Melinda Marks’ award-winning short play, “Danes in Purgatory,” originally created and performed at San Jose State University’s 48-Hour Play Festival in September. In case you weren’t there to witness it, here are Melinda Marks, Ryan Alpers, Jeremy Ryan and Brian Van Winkle performing her piece:

Feeling inspired? We’re currently seeking submissions for our upcoming shows and would love to read your work! Send submissions <2000 words to playonwordssj@gmail.com.

Lit Crawl Success!

We did it: we filled San Francisco’s Clarion Alley last Saturday night for our Lit Crawl debut. What a terrific night. We couldn’t have done it without the support of the amazing Lit Crawl crew–Renee Senogles, Andres Bella, Lisa Church and Travis Peterson–as well as Lyra Halprin, our day-of photographer, and Rick Alpers, our trusty videographer. A million thanks to all of you who came out to revel in good words.

And, for those of you who missed it, here’s our first installment from Saturday night’s show, featuring Andres’ introduction and our re-production of Brian Van Winkle’s brilliant play, “The Way I Picture it In My Head,” as performed by Brian Van Winkle, Melinda Marks, Jeremy Ryan, Ryan Alpers, and Michael Weiland. Enjoy.

Coming soon, to Clarion Alley…

Play On Words is thrilled to represent South Bay at the 2014 LitCrawl in San Francisco on October 18! This show celebrates our one-year-anniversary as a collaborative reading series–and as such, we’ve curated an exciting show that showcases some of our most frequent contributors:

Leah GriesmannLeah Griesmann‘s stories have recently appeared in Union Station, The Cortland Review, J Journal: New Writing on Justice, The Weekly Rumpus, and PEN Center USA’s The Rattling Wall. A 2010-2011 Steinbeck Fellow in Fiction, she is the recipient of a 2013 DAAD grant in fiction and a 2014 MacDowell Colony Fellowship. She is currently at work on a collection of stories.

Jimmy Allan read Leah’s story “Slave” at our October 2013 premiere. We will be performing an excerpt of her story “The Unigirl” in San Francisco.

Kirstin Chen is the author of Soy SaKirstin Chenuce for Beginners. A former Steinbeck Fellow in Creative Writing, she holds an MFA from Emerson College and a BA from Stanford University. She has received awards from the Sewanee and Napa Valley writers’ conferences. Her short stories have appeared in Zyzzyva, Hobart, Pank and others, and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best New American Voices. Born and raised in Singapore, she currently lives in San Francisco, where she’s at work on her second novel, set on a tiny island off the coast of southern China in 1958.

Melinda Marks performed an excerpt of Soy Sauce for Beginners at our February 2014 show. (You can watch it here!) We will be performing her short story “Boys on the Roof” in October.

Brian Van WinkleBrian Van Winkle graduated from Southern Oregon University with a B.S. in Theatre Arts. He is a member of the Pacifica Table Readers. We performed Brian’s play “The Way I Picture it in My Head Is…” in February, and it was such a big hit that we are bringing it with us to San Francisco. He is a regular POW performer.

Nicole Hughes

Nicole Hughes completed an MFA in fiction writing from San Jose State University. Her story “Impasto Portrait” was published in Liebamour. As an MFA student, she was awarded the 2011 Ann Lillis Creative Writing Scholarship and the 2009 and 2011 James Phelan Literary Award. Nicole is one of POW’s three co-founders and the current events manager at Kepler’s Books. We’re thrilled to see her perform “Illimitable Space” in October.

Melinda MarksMelinda Marks has performed in the Bay Area for over 20 years, and has more recently begun trying her hand as a writer of short plays and as a director. She holds a BA from UCSC in Theater with an emphasis in dramaturgy, and an MA from San Jose State in Theater Studies. She will be performing her own translation of Dante’s short poems in October. As POW’s casting director, she has performed in every show. Check out our YouTube page to see a sampling of Melinda’s performances.

Julia Halprin JacksonJulia Halprin Jackson has an MA in fiction from UC Davis. She has received scholarships to the Tomales Bay Writer’s Workshops and Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference. Her work has appeared in West Branch Wired, California Northern, Fourteen Hills, Flatmancrooked, Sacramento News & Review, Fictionade, Fiction365, Catalyst and Spectrum. She will be reading a selection of 100-word-stories at our LitCrawl event–and as a POW co-founder, she is thrilled to bring South Bay writers to San Francisco.

Ryan Alpers

Ryan Alpers teaches English and journalism in San Jose. He has a B.A. in literature from the College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a teaching credential from San Jose State University. While studying at the College of Creative Studies, he was published in the CCS Literary Magazine “Spectrum” and awarded the CCS Brancart-Richardson Award for fiction. A regular POW performer and contributor, he will be reading a few pieces for the October show.

Jeremy RyanJeremy Ryan is a POW actor who has performed as Chester “Cosmo” Collier in It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play! at Broadway By The Bay. Other favorite roles include Biff Loman in Death Of A Salesman (Broadway West,) Dennis Shepard/Aaron McKinney in The Laramie Project (Foothill Theatre,) and Chevalier Danceny in Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dragon Theatre.) Jeremy is a graduate of the Foothill Theatre Conservatory. You can watch his performance of Adam Magill’s “Only Customary” here. He will be performing at our October show.

So…what are you waiting for? Swing by the Mission District’s Clarion Alley on Saturday, October 18 at 6pm to check out our one-year-anniversary show!

Up Close and Personal with Adam Magill’s “Only Customary”

We at Play On Words have developed a taste for the fast, funny and ridiculous sketch. Cue playwright Adam Magill. Last May we produced his piece, “Only Customary,” at the Blackbird. Jeremy Ryan and Brian Van Winkle stole the show; Nicole Hughes and Julia Halprin Jackson made a quick appearance as well. There’s no better way to start your Friday than a little pants-ing action. You’ll see what we mean:

Big thanks to Adam, Jeremy and Brian for their hilarious and well-timed work. We hope you adopt some new, eh, customs, this Friday.

 

David Wirth’s “Part I” and “Part II”

Last month we were pleased and excited to feature two short-shorts by SJSU alum David Wirth, both performed by  the inimitable Brian Van Winkle. Here’s “Part I”:

And “Part II”:

In his own words, David Wirth has spent the last two years accidentally developing a belly, which only recently got round in a way that can be seen through a t-shirt. Since this development, watching superhero movies has, in terms of his psyche/self-regard, become a challenging experience. Further, David Wirth lives in Salinas, where he is nearly always surrounded by beautiful things, especially in the early morning and late evening, when the light is really nice. He likes words.

Thanks to David and Brian for sharing and performing such interesting work.