FLIGHT PLAN is a dark comedy about mental illness and the mental health system. I've drawn on my own experiences with both in writing a play that I hope will help illuminate, on a compassionate level but using humor, the struggle and challenges to get true help when one's psyche is devastatingly wounded and resources are shockingly limited.
I am seeking funding to:
1) Pay for Airfare and Lodging in Valdez, Alaska for The Last Frontier Theatre Conference where Flight Plan has been selected to be presented.
2) Fill in a bit of gap in my income to cover food and gas during the rewriting and workshop process leading up to production of Flight Plan at the Santa Fe Playhouse in May.
About FLIGHT PLAN: "Celia’s only friend has lost her head. Literally. So what is Celia dragging around in her duffle bag? James can’t eat anything without a certain condiment which, of course, he is not allowed. His only real nourishment comes from his passion for music and Wikipedia. Bernard keeps losing his wife, and his own mind. Arianna simply wants to die. On the “Sunnyland Sanctuary” mental ward, Nurse Hammer and Dr. Fraued (Please pronounce it “Frowd”) have all the skills and resources to make their patients healing & recovery as insane (and unlikely?) as possible."
About me: Until I started writing in my late 20's, I never believed I was - or could be - a writer. I was drawn to the Theatre and acting as a way to express a part of myself that I was unable to anywhere else. It made me feel free and creative and part of a community in a way I'd never experienced. And I fell in love with the craft of the playwright. But it wasn't until the late 1980's and a back injury left me bedridden in my 5th floor walk-up apartment in Hell's Kitchen that I started putting pen to paper. I wrote my first (not very good) play a year later and have continued over the past three decades to develop my craft, often using theatrical writing as a tool to deal with and to understand the harder aspects of surviving in this world.
Writing takes me to my deepest truths, fears, and levels of awareness. But while it awakens and informs me, writing also makes me feel my most vulnerable. It has taken me til my mid-50's to finally be at a place within myself, as well as within a supportive community, where I am finally able to write the Big Stories that I have yearned to tell and put them out into the larger world.
Last October I challenged myself to write a full-length play to submit to the Santa Fe Playhouse for consideration in their 2018 season, as they announced they were committed to producing a new play by a local playwright. I had four weeks to complete a submittable draft and I didn't have any expectations as to the result; I just decided that if I was serious about being a playwright I needed to rise to the occasion and put the work in as an exercise in following through on daunting challenge. On Nov 4th I submitted the first draft of FLIGHT PLAN to Vaughn Irving, Artistic Director of the SF Playhouse, and also submitted it to The Last Frontier Conference in Valdez, Alaska. I knew both opportunities were longshots, but I was pleased and excited with my work enough to know I would continue working on the play regardless the outcome.
I am thrilled the FLIGHT PLAN has been chosen for both!
At the Santa Fe Playhouse we begin workshop rehearsals March 19th with the wonderful, talented cast under the direction of Christine McHugh (President of New Mexico Women in Film) and with Vaughn Irving serving as Dramaturg. We have an outstanding production team in place and this is a dream come true to have my work developed with such passion and care.
In June, FLIGHT PLAN will be presented as a reading as part of THE LAST FRONTIER CONFERENCE.
They received a record number of submissions this year and I am so grateful my play has been chosen.
But I have to get myself there, book a hotel room for approx 10 days and feed myself most evenings.
So why go?! It is a tremendous opportunity for work to be seen and heard and discussed by a broad spectrum of theatre artists, and for a playwright to learn from the range of work and workshops presented. And meet really great people!
"The Last Frontier Theatre Conference is an annual conference on American Theatre held in Valdez, Alaska that focuses on playwriting. Continually held each year since 1993, the conference puts out a call for play submissions, requesting playwrights from around the country to send one-act plays and full-length plays for consideration. Selected plays are read by actors in front of an audience, then each play is critiqued by professionals, academics in theatre, and audience members.
The Conference provides a series of workshops, symposia, theatrical productions, and panels at which participants have the opportunity to study with award-winning playwrights, directors, producers, and actors, as well as scholars and critics. The Call for Plays is the first step toward the conference’s mission to develop new voices and provide students with the opportunity to interact in a workshop setting with some of the greatest luminaries in the American Theatre."
The Last Frontier Conference website
It's taken me a few weeks since getting word Flight Plan has been selected, and after the initial shock and excitement the reality of: "Um...But how can I afford to go? I'm just squeaking by month-to-month as it is?"
When I submitted back in November I trusted that if FLIGHT PLAN were selected, I would find a way to go.
Friends have suggested I do this Go Fund Me page. All my self-doubts and feelings of "unworthiness" raised up to be heard and felt and so I didn't do it right away.
But two things have happened this week that has propelled me to create and post this today:
1) Daily phone conversations with Director and Dramaturg to discuss the new scenes and rewrites, asking intriguing questions and prompting more rewrites which has me alternately energized and exhausted but leaves with with the knowing that this play is so much bigger than me and I must do all I can to do the work to make it the most powerful - and entertaining - it is wanting - and needing -to become.
2) The awareness this week that the energy it takes for me to work on this play while also keeping myself strong and healthy (physically, mentally, emotionally) has left my financial resources drained for the rest of the month and I still need to eat and drive to rehearsals.
IN CLOSING: If you feel you want to contribute to the development of FLIGHT PLAN in some way, but don't want to contribute here, you can:
1) Write to Vaughn Irving, Artistic Director of the Santa Fe Playhouse for information on how to make a Tax Deductible Donation that would go directly to funding their May 2018 workshop production.
2) Come see the production May 10-20 at the Santa Fe Playhouse!
It's never too early to purchase tickets!
Thank you for taking the time to read this request, and I have no expectations from anyone. I know these are challenging times for so many, in a myriad of ways.
If you choose to donate, please do leave your address so I can send you something, at some point in the near future, in return.
- Aaron Leventman
- Tallis Geohegan-Freifeld
- Pat Goehe
- quinn fontaine
- Glenda Patterson
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