The Plot Thickens

The Playwright Cabal is proud to announce that three new instigators have joined our ranks:

Vinecia Coleman, Kayla Hambek, and Nissa Nordland Morgan

Vinecia Coleman is a Twin Cities based playwright and actor. Her plays have been developed at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Black Swan Lab, id Theater’s Seven Devils Playwrights’ Conference, Live Girls! Theater, and several others. Her awards include KCACTF National Partners of American Theatre nomination (The Red Pen), KCACTF invited production and John Cauble Short Play award national semifinalist (Home: The Place Where My Stuff Resides), and John Cauble regional semifinalist (But What Am I?). As an actor, she has worked at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Pillsbury House Theatre, The Playwrights’ Center, Frank Theatre and more. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from Iowa State University and a Master of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Dramatic Writing and Directing from the University of Idaho.
Kayla Hambek is a Minneapolis-based playwright and actor whose work has been produced across the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area, as well as in Portland, OR, Buckingham, PA, and Washington D.C.  Her work explores familial and other important, non-romantic relationships through a feminist, asexual lens; plays include butterfly(n.), The Dragonflies, Persuasion, Emma Abridged, Splinter, and Sprinkles.  Kayla is the co-founder and Managing Director of Aethem Theatre, and has an MFA in Playwriting from Augsburg University.
Nissa Nordland Morgan is a playwright, actor and musician in Minneapolis, MN. Her plays The Fae and Incarnate were performed as part of the Twin Cities Horror Festival; The Fae was nominated for Best Original/New Work through TC Broadway World. Her Minnesota Fringe play Xena and Gabrielle Smash the Patriarchy was awarded the TC Arts Reader Critic’s Choice Award and won the Theatre in the Round Venue Pick. She’s been a mainstage cast member and writer at the Brave New Workshop. Her ten minute play Catnipped won second place at the MN Shorts Festival and her play What They Don’t Know was produced by Art’s Nest at the Phoenix Theatre. She has collaborated in devising new works with Umbrella Collective, The Winding Sheet Outfit, nimbus theatre and Four Humors. Nissa earned a BA in Theatre Arts from Southwest Minnesota State University.

We are thrilled to welcome Vinecia, Kayla, and Nissa into our cabal! We know that a more equitable theater community is necessary and possible, and we’re excited to have these writers join us in future missions and schemes towards that end.

Join the Playwright Cabal – Applications Due 4/5/20

The Twin Cities Playwright Cabal is seeking new members to join our professional support group and be an active participant in future projects. The Cabal is specifically interested in expanding our perspectives and deepening our reach into the community.

Cabal members should be:

  • Ambitious, professional playwrights – people writing or seeking to write professionally with a demonstrated interest in improving their craft and working toward larger opportunities
  • Women and/or gender nonconforming people – we’re excited and invigorated to uplift these voices that are traditionally underserved by the theatre community
  • Willing to share producing duties for our reading series and actively engage in supporting the work of other cabal members
  • Based in the Twin Cities

Please fill out our online application here. Applications are due at midnight on Sunday April 5, 2020.

Imaginary Cats and Triscuit Boxes

Rachel’s report on the Fresh Pages 2018 reading series

I had a new play reading scheduled for February 28th with the Playwright Cabal, and as of February 1st, I had about 25% of a play.

I had started writing this piece years ago for a contest that called for plays with polyamorous characters. And, as is my process, I didn’t write the piece on time, sat on it for a few years, and picked it back up for something else. Specifically, I lost a notebook in which I had written a song for the skeletal sock puppet heads to sing, and I didn’t want to rewrite it. I had submitted the fragments for a few development opportunities, but hadn’t bit the bullet and really written it. Then, when the Cabal presented the opportunity to read a new play, I decided to recommit to my little polyamorous Orpheus riff, and put the show description on the website.

I’ll have tons of time when I go home for Christmas, Rachel thought. I’ll definitely get it finished then.

Fast forward to February 1st, and low and behold, there was still the same fragments I’d submitted years ago. But now, I had a whole Cabal and talented director Daisuke Kawachi breathing down my neck.

rehearsal photo
The littlest dramaturg takes helpful notes

So, I wrote a draft in a week, read it in my house with a bunch of super smart actors, and got very helpful feedback. I even got an assist from my toddler, who jumped right up and took her own scribbly notes (in my notebook). I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had a play, or at least, the start of a play. And, luckily, I had a few more weeks to make it better.
I am consistently delighted by the wealth of talent we have here in the Twin Cities. Daisuke has a great rolodex of actors with new work experience, and we were able to get Stephanie Bertumen, Victoria Pyan, Pedro Juan Fonseca, Megan Burns, Hope Nordquist, and Gabriel Murphy to sit down with us and try to make a play come to life. If you can get these good-looking smart people to act at you, please do.

Cast photo
The “Figment” cast in front of the director’s accent wall with LaCroix

The play follows a throuple – David, Meredith, and Robin – who travel into the underworld when
one of the partners is lured down by an imaginary cat. It deals with mental health issues, the difficulty of being in a relationship with someone who’s struggling, and my antipathy toward Bruce Springsteen. It grew by leaps and bounds between rehearsals and I know there’s lots more room to grow, too.

Finally, it was time for the reading. The Cabal has been working with the White Page Gallery to host our Fresh Pages reading series. For Heather Meyer’s reading last month, there was a large and elaborate abstract sculpture installation in place, which made the reading feel extra art-y. My reading fell between exhibits, so we had a blank space in which to make our underworld.

Triscuit box photo

For the previous reading, a golden Feedback Feedbox was carefully crafted, so that audience members could submit written feedback and we could avoid awkward talkbacks. That carefully crafted Feedbox was, of course, completely forgotten this month, so we used this Triscuit box instead.

All in all, it was moving and exciting and it made me want to keep this piece alive. Not too bad for a play that didn’t exist four weeks ago.