Melinda Marks reads “Teacher of the Year”

Our April 11 show, New Horizons, featured some of the best Bay Area talent we’ve been lucky enough to work with over the years–returning friends and new voices. Starting this week, we will be rolling out footage from the live show at San Jose’s Cafe Stritch.

In case you missed it: Watch the inimitable Melinda Marks perform “Teacher of the Year” by Arcadia Conrad:

This dynamite piece kicked off our New Horizons show. Thank you to the many actors, writers, photographers, videographers and friends who helped make this show happen.

Stay tuned to watch other clips from the April show on our blog. Also: Melinda will be performing at 2 pm this Sunday, April 29, at City Lights Theatre’s Lights Up festival. Tickets are available here.

Want to see us at Redwood City’s Dragon Theatre? We’re busy preparing for a special POW event this August. And in the meantime, don’t hesitate to send us your work for consideration in future events at playonwordssj@gmail.com

Melinda Marks reads Cindy Stewart-Rinier

When we were planning the lineup for our January 17 show, we staged our pieces in an intentional chronological order. The idea? To show how different generations of activists have grappled with some of the same big questions, year after year, campaign after campaign, president after president. Melinda Marks was proud to perform Cindy Stewart-Rinier’s “Under Trump, No Good Deed,” a poem particularly suited to today’s world:

Hard as it can be to grapple with the challenges of today’s world, we’re glad to promote artists whose work we feel offers a little respite, a little tiny dagger of truth, a gasp of hope in a changing environment. Cindy’s poem is included in our new chapbook, Activate, which you can order here.

We’re still looking for short stories, poems, and plays under 1500 words for our April 11 show. Got something you’re proud of? Send it along as an attachment to playonwordssj@gmail.com.

Melinda Marks reads “Roque Dalton, Salvador”

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Melinda Marks. Photo credit: Leo Alvarez

 

What happens when you mix revolution with poetry? An ekphrastic story by Lita Kurth, perhaps? Today we are excited to feature Melinda Marks’ January 17 performance of Lita’s “Roque Dalton, Salvador”:

This piece is one of 28 included in Activate, our chapbook produced in conjunction with San Jose’s Flash Fiction Forum, Maria Judnick, and designer Peter Caravalho. Want to learn more about this great project? Join us next Wednesday, February 28, at DeAnza’s Euphrat Museum of Art at 5 pm.

Leading Women: October 9 at the Dragon Theatre

For the first time ever, Play On Words is performing in a theatre! We are kicking off our 2017-2018 season with a special reading at the Dragon Theatre in Redwood City on Monday, October 9. This show features work by Bay Area women writers who challenge–and occasionally mock–gender norms. Unlike our ensemble shows, Monday’s performance will showcase two short stories and one translated monologue. Look forward to work by:

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Leah Griesmann

Leah Griesmann has received grants and residencies for her fiction from the MacDowell Colony, the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Key West Writers’ Workshops, Seoul Art Space Yeonhui, the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai, the DAAD (Berlin), and the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies. Her stories have appeared in Burrow Press Review, J Journal: New Writing on Justice, The Weekly Rumpus, Union Station, The Boiler, The Cortland Review, Boston University’s 236 Magazine, and PEN Center USA’s The Rattling Wall, and have been performed at Litquake San Francisco, The Center for Literary Arts, Sacramento Stories on Stage, the New Short Fiction Series in North Hollywood, and the Shanghai American Center.

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Melinda Marks

Melinda Marks, Play On Words co-founder and casting director, has performed as an actor for more than 25 years. Melinda has an MFA in Shakespeare and Performance with a concentration in directing at Mary Baldwin University and an MA in Theatre Studies from San Jose State University.

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Julia Halprin Jackson

Julia Halprin Jackson, Play On Words co-founder and publicity director, is a writer whose work has appeared in Oracle Fine Arts Review, West Branch Wired, California Northern, Fourteen Hills, as well as selected anthologies. She has an MA in creative writing from UC Davis and currently contributes to Washington Square, San Jose State University’s alumni magazine.

 

 

We are delighted and grateful to showcase performances by Melinda, as well as:

ivettedeltoroIvette Deltoro is the casting assistant and patron experience manager at City Lights Theater in San Jose and artistic manager of the Mini Lights Emerging Artist Program at City Lights. She is also a local actress whose credits include City Lights Theater Company’s I and You and Silicon Valley Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

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April Culver

April Culver earned her BFA in Acting at Drake University. Some recent roles include Mrs. Givings (In the Next Room, Pear Theatre), Cordelia / The Fool (B8 Theatre), Catherine (A View From the Bridge, Pear Theatre), Gillian (Permanent Collection, Piedmont Players ), Constance (Three Musketeers, Silicon Valley Shakespeare), Calpurnia (Julius Caesar, Silicon Valley Shakespeare), Sonya (Uncle Vanya,  Pear Theatre), and Olivia (Shakespeare in Hollywood, Silicon Valley Shakespeare).

RSVP for our show here. There is a $5 suggested donation for Monday’s show. Hope to see you there!

Betsy Miller’s “Collectibles”

Do you have enough Betsy Miller fiction in your life? We thought not. That’s why we were delighted to share more of her work at New Year Nouveau in January at Cafe Stritch. Watch Melinda Marks read Betsy’s “Collectibles”:

Betsy also writes under the name Bethany Gray. This same piece was previously published by Evil Girlfriend Media. She is one of the co-founders of Thinking Ink Press, a small independent press. She is currently working on a children’s picture book, Brooklynn Bunny’s Super Boots, and on a young adult novel called Dance, Interrupted.

Introducing the World of Bethany Gray

Melinda Marks reads "Collectibles" by Betsy Miller at New Year Nouveau. Photo: Andrew Christian.

Last week we were delighted to perform another piece by Silicon Valley writer Betsy Miller, who also writes under the pen name Bethany Gray. Melinda Marks kicked off New Year Nouveau by reading her story “Collectibles.” We’ll be posting video from that performance over the next few weeks, though in the meantime you can watch the show in its entirety at South Bay Pulse’s YouTube page (see Part I and Part II).

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Melinda Marks reads “Collectibles” by Betsy Miller at New Year Nouveau. Photo: Andrew Christian.

Bethany Gray writes stories about things just below the surface of your life that you can almost see out of the corner of your eye. Gray lives in Silicon Valley, where she also writes about passive-aggressive wireless equipment that wants you to think it’s your fault. But it’s totally not.

Publications, Honors or Awards:

Betsy Miller is the author of The Parents’ Guide to Perthes, The Parents’ Guide to Clubfoot, and The Parents’ Guide to Hip Dysplasia. Her short stories have been published in anthologies and in various magazines and publications.

Upcoming projects:

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Betsy Miller, also known as Bethany Gray

I’ve recently started using the pen name Bethany Gray for my speculative fiction set it apart from my children’s health books. My story “Collectibles,” which was performed at Play On Words, is a Bethany Gray story that was edited a bit for length. You can read the full-length version online at Evil Girlfriend Media, where it was published as an EMG short. You can also read “The Language of the Dead” at Youth Imagination magazine. That’s a spooky story for teens that was published for Halloween. As 2016 unfolds, stay tuned for more Bethany Gray stories, and possibly a Betsy Miller book.

 What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?

I love seeing the actors bring stories and plays to life. The shows are a lot of fun.

Adam Magill’s “Winston”

How does a dog comprehend loss? This summer we were taken by Adam Magill’s “Winston,” a beautifully written piece that hedges on a sharp turn. Here’s Melinda Marks reading Adam’s work on July 14 at our Words and Music show in San Jose’s St. James Park:

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Adam Magill

Adam Magill is a graduate of the Foothill Theater Conservatory and has received additional training at Seydways Studios in San Francisco. Recent credits include Stupid Fucking Bird at SF Playhouse and The Whale at Marin Theater Company. He is a regular contributor and company performer for the Play On Words literary performance series.

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”: