The Metro Playwrights Program and Co Production Program “help and develop theatre arts in Vancouver”. As Metro came into being, in August 1961, this was a important core challenge.
That challenge has been and is addressed with experienced guidance through production and financial realities. Just as new plays benefit from experienced actors and production staff so to do new and devloping plays. Actors between jobs and who want to keep their hand in the game, return to share the grease paint and thrill of that next nugget of gold, a standing ovation brings. Metro’s culture and years of production realities bring experience to new adaptations and post production rewrites. Their staging facilities augment performance story lines with both practicality and depth. The challenge continues.
Over the years, artistic idiosyncrasies, commercial competitiveness and the weight of all the differences faced, have forced some down different paths for varying amounts of time. Metro has none the less remained an environment with quality production and a kindred spirit of live theatre performance. Working side by side, all of us in live theatre, learn by doing, planning, trying options and revamping. Many have evolved into roles beyond Metro and many have returned to help Metro grow the next generations. Through it all Metro continues to strive to use its resources in bringing together story, actors and audience, in the best ways possible.
Metro encourages all playwrights to submit their work for consideration.
Depending on the next season(s), your play may be the glue that brings together audience desires, available actors and production staff for stunning results.
What plays DOES Metro look FOR?
Your one act wonder could be the perfect fit for a night of variety. As Noel Coward would say, short plays sustain the mood without technical creaking or over padding. Metro first presented Red Peppers, Fumed Oak and Down in the Valley performances, together every night, in its 68th Show during November and December of 1968. It is a different audience experience that is quick, typically without digression or subplot, by authors who excel in using precise and economical wording to deliver impact. Usually a single story of under 30 minutes, often using monologue for impact. The classic example of how one act plays evolve and our mutual expectation is Tennessee Williams play “Portrait of Madonna” becoming “A Street Car Named Desire”.
Your two or three act play may fit an audience’s more traditional expectations for being entertained, more than educated. A couple of hours of humour, schadenfreude or perspective shift, to escape the daily grind. The longer and more complicated story arc presentation allows options to create the pure magic of the right story combined with skilled actors, production staff and an engaged audience, all together in a crescendo of harmony.
What is the process?
It starts with your submission.
Every 2nd month the available submissions are considered for the up coming season(s) goals. The ongoing selection process firms up each spring for the fall start of next season.
During the year some submissions are used at readings where actors provide feed back and producers identify opportunity points. Significant feedback for that playwright.
Problems Plays & Playwrights Overcome
The length of time of the play or scene needs to respect conventional limits.
The complexity of the set, costumes or schedule drivng production costs and resource availability.
A play with too many roles. Finding the 36 actors a play has been written for, also implies the time and complexity needed to set their involvement.
Unrealistic staging expectations within the flow of the performance. Coordinating set and scene changes have implications.
Tips for Playwrights
– Plays with optional or varying character roles that adjust for varying actor skill levels support a more effective production.
– Expect to be part of the perform, rewrite cycle with an eye to audience impact.
– Step out into the activity and make friends, listen and find ways to work with others. Learn from the audience, actors and production services. Stick with them as they stick with you.
– Professionalism is a state of mind that includes attention to detail and the sense of community that adapts when things do not go according to plan.