Teaching Drama

Theatrefolk Q & A: You ask, We answer

Written by Lindsay Price

Episode 65: Theatrefolk Q & A: You ask, We answer

Lindsay and Craig sit down to answer questions and address comments that came up from our recent customer survey.

Topics include: Can students directly contact us? What social issues do we cover? And do we sell plays?

 

Show Notes

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Episode Transcript

Lindsay: Welcome to TFP, the Theatrefolk podcast. I am Lindsay Price, resident playwright for Theatrefolk. Hello, I hope you’re well. Thanks for listening.

So today is an extra-special edition of TFP, but as I say that, I mean I shouldn’t say that since I think every episode is special, but what I really mean is that today I’m not alone, I have my partner in crime sitting beside me, Craig Mason.

Craig: Hello, Lindsay.

Lindsay: Hello. And I guess what I mean is that Craig and I were going to do something a little special today, aren’t we?

Craig: Yeah. We did this little survey where we asked two guys just four questions. What were the four questions, Lindsay?

Lindsay: They are…

Craig: How did you hear about Theatrefolk? Why do you buy our plays, and if you don’t, why not? What do you like about us? And what else would you like us to offer? Now, that was just intended to be like an internal thing for us to get like a measurement of who’s out there and what they want from us, because we’ve just been soaring with people on Facebook.

Lindsay: Yeah, and we’ve never done that before, first of all, because it’s kind of hard for us. We’re sensitive folk, a little bit…

Craig: Yeah.

Lindsay: …and it’s hard for us to ask that question, “If you don’t buy from us, why not?” except that it’s really, really helpful and useful. Like how can we get better if we don’t get feedback?

Craig: And the good news is we’ve got a couple of hundred responses and they were just fantastic. I’m not saying it was all positive, but I thought that the stuff that was negative was stuff that we really could embrace and do things with.

Lindsay: And learn from.

Craig: Yeah. I was so concerned…

Lindsay: [Laughs]

Craig: …and those concerns were completely unfounded.

Lindsay: You know what? We’re always concerned. Craig and I have I would say…well, I can only speak for myself, but I have an imagination which helps me write a lot of plays. People ask me all the time how is it that I write so much and my inner answer is because my brain is whacked out. [Laughs] It goes places. But then the other side of that is that I always think something hugely negative is going to happen every time we put ourselves out there…

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: …but that doesn’t happen, and let’s get down to it. Let’s go, let’s go, let’s really go!

Craig: Okay, so what I did—now, you have not read any of these responses yet, right?

Lindsay: No…

Craig: Okay.

Lindsay: …so that I can give a very honest and…

Craig: Okay, cool. And I only really just look at them…

Lindsay: …fresh answer.

Craig: I look at them quickly at the beginning just to make sure that the form was working, and then I haven’t really touched it since then. But what I did just before we started recording is I went through, I just grabbed—and oh, I should say this too: The survey was just completely anonymous. The only data we have are the four answers that people gave. We don’t have any other…

Lindsay: Where they’re from or who they’re from, so…

Craig: A couple of people left their names, but they’re people that we know. [Laughs]

Lindsay: Oh, that’s nice.

Craig: It was very sweet. One person said, “There’s no need for anonymity here, I love you guys,” or something like that. So, anyway… [Laughs]

Lindsay: Well, we love you too.

Craig: [Laughs] I’ll tell you who it was after we stop.

Lindsay: Okay.

Craig: So what I did was I took each of the four questions and I went through them and just pulled out things that I thought would be…

Lindsay: Good to address.

Craig: …worthy for us to discuss and worthy enough that we could be able to…

Lindsay: That other people might be interested.

Craig: Other people might benefit from the responses to these, yeah. So the first question was, “How did you hear about Theatrefolk?” Now, what would you think would be the number one way people heard about us?

Lindsay: Um, a conference or getting our catalogue in the mail.

Craig: Yeah, that seemed to be about it.

Lindsay: Score!

Craig: Yeah. Also, the Facebook page. Also, referrals from other teachers.

Lindsay: Okay.

Craig: And even…there was one where they were a student who had done one of our shows and is now a teacher, if you want to feel really old.

Lindsay: Oh my…

Craig: [Laughs]

Lindsay: [Laughs]

Craig: So here are some of the responses, and you can just pipe in if you want to.

Lindsay: I pick up my tea, I take a sip, and I will listen to your responses.

Craig: “I was judging IEs at International Thespian Festival and two boys did a piece from Wait Wait Bo Bait. I was hooked.”

Lindsay: Oh, see, I know who that is.

Craig: Yeah, I know.

Lindsay: [Laughs]

Craig: Actually, that’s the person who left their name. “I came across Theatrefolk through their resources page and from there requested a catalogue.” I’m guessing by that they mean the free resources page…

Lindsay: Yes.

Craig: …which is Theatrefolk.com/free, and there’s a ton of great stuff there that you can download and use in your classroom.

Lindsay: All of which is conveniently free.

Craig: Yeah, that’s why it’s /free.

Lindsay: Yeah.

Craig: There you go.

Lindsay: You’re supposed to slash.

Craig: Slash pay.

Lindsay: Hundred million dollars.

Craig: Yeah.

Lindsay: [Laughs]

Craig: “I got your catalogue in my school mailbox.” We do send out a lot of catalogues.

Lindsay: We send out about, is it 20,000 a year or 20,000 twice a year?

Craig: It’s a little over that, yeah.

Lindsay: Twenty-thousand a year. And it’s very interesting because there was a time where…I think we are headed towards a paperless society.

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: But we decided that we were heading there quicker than we actually are.

Craig: That’s right. We stopped doing the catalogue.

Lindsay: About five years ago we stopped doing the catalogue, which was not a good decision.

Craig: No. It impacted us negatively.

Lindsay: It impacted us negatively and took up about five years to sort of…well, not that long, but it’s interesting how, you know, you have to make these choices and decisions about what you’re going to do and where you’re going to go, and it’s hard because sometimes those decisions are wrong.

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: But you can’t be afraid of a wrong decision.

Craig: No, but I think the catalogue will still be around for a few more years.

Lindsay: I think so too.

Craig: Mm-hmm. Um, we’ll be much shier about pulling that. Ah, Facebook – another teacher liked the page. “I’m always looking for new ideas, so I like the page too. I found a lot of great information and resources on the Facebook page along with the emails. I used the scriptwriting ideas in my class this year.”

Lindsay: Awesome. Student, playwriting rocks! I think that’s what we’re here for.

Craig: Here’s one – they learned about us through NCTAE, which is the North Carolina Theatre Arts Educator. That’s the first conference we go to in every school year and they’re awesome people.

Lindsay: They are. North Carolina has a very strong and small but mighty, vibrant theatre teacher community.

Craig: Here’s someone who learned…yeah, like I said, they learned about it from Facebook friends who are drama teachers. “I then liked your page and subscribed to your newsletter.” They’re looking plays. They found sample pages.

Lindsay: Awesome. So it’s nice to hear…it’s nice to know how people find you and actually it’s nice to know that people find you in the way that you expect.

Craig: Mm-hmm. Alright, so let’s move on to the next question, yeah?

Lindsay: Yup.

Craig: “Why do you buy our plays? If you don’t, why not?” There’s some good stuff in here.

Lindsay: Excellent. That’s what we’re here for.

Craig: Okay. Ah, one, “Because you write for teenagers. You write for them in a way that is respectful, mature, and that they get.”

Lindsay: Well, I like that a lot because it’s very important that they like it and that they get. And I always say that, like I have a couple of plays that are quite old—like they’re verging on 20-plus years old—that still get done. And that to me says that they…regardless of there are some technology mentions in a couple of them, which lead me now to never write about technology because it dates so quickly, but what’s going on in the play, the meat of the play, the characters of the play, they still hit…

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: …and that’s a great source of pride for me. Okay.

Craig: “I was intrigued by the selection and variety of plays. Many of your plays tie into the ELA curriculum that my students are learning about.”

Lindsay: Oh.

Craig: I don’t know what ELA…

Lindsay: I don’t know an ELA. [Laughs]

Craig: English Language Arts?

Lindsay: Oh, maybe.

Craig: So they could be talking about some of the Shakespeare adaptations, Canterbury Tales…

Lindsay: Sure.

Craig: Yeah.

Lindsay: Sounds good.

Craig: It would be great to have even more, I think…

Lindsay: I think so too. Well, adaptation is my absolute favorite form of writing. I like taking something in one form and turning it into another.

Craig: Here’s a good one, “I don’t purchase. Your costs are too high for a small elementary middle school with not much of a budget.”

Lindsay: Too high? [Laughs]

Craig: Well, listen, some people don’t have any budget at all.

Lindsay: It’s true, but things are not free, and we offer a lot of free stuff.

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: You know what? That’s another thing. If we’re going to be totally honest and upfront, that’s a kind of answer that really hurts because we want everyone to be able to do our stuff.

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: And I would love to give away everything I have for free but the problem is that, you know, when you go to the dentist it’s not free, when you go to a bookstore it’s not free…

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: …and it irks me that I’m expected to be free, that the arts are expected to be free.

Craig: And I don’t even think that it’s the teacher themself that’s…

Lindsay: No, of course not.

Craig: …to blame, as it were, in that question. It’s if they don’t have a budget, they don’t have a budget. And so if their school district doesn’t value the arts enough to actually give them money to perform a play, then it’s a really difficult situation.

Lindsay: But then on the other hand, I know we’re going to feature a podcast where a teacher does not have a theatre in her…or even a gymnasium that she can use and she works like crazy and finds a place to perform. I know a teacher who…she wanted me to come into her classroom and teach and I said this is what the price is, and she went out and she went to other teachers in other areas where I could maybe do some cross-curricular stuff. So, you know, it’s such a hard question.

Craig: I know.

Lindsay: I want everything to be free and I…but then on the other hand I find too that I undervalue my stuff all the time.

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: Like for the time that it costs to write something or to prepare a lesson for a workshop or to give feedback to somebody, all of that, it doesn’t take like hours of time – it takes years of time.

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: It’s years that you and I have been doing this.

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: And it still doesn’t matter. People have budgets or they don’t.

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: And it still sucks when someone says, “You’re too expensive.”

Craig: I know. I mean, because if you look at…well, you just look at the comparables, you look at other publishers, what they’re charging – we’re right down the middle. There are a couple of people who are cheaper than us but there’s a whole lot of them that are more expensive. And actually, you know what? Also reflected in the feedback was that we were affordable. People could afford our stuff.

Lindsay: Yeah.

Craig: So you’ve got to go somewhere in the middle. You can’t please everyone. Ah, “You offer a wonderful range of plays for true high school level. Many others simply offer middle school plays and say they are high-school-appropriate.” That’s a great compliment.

Lindsay: That’s interesting because…so that says that they think that we’re not too kiddie. Is that what that says?

Craig: I think they’re saying that, if I’m reading that correctly, they are saying that our high school plays are appropriate for high schools…

Lindsay: Are for high schools.

Craig: …not just middle school plays that a high school student could also perform.

Lindsay: Awesome.

Craig: I take that as a compliment.

Lindsay: I take that as a great compliment.

Craig: “I’m not in a position to buy plays since I don’t run a theatre department for a school or other organization. I’m a playwright who teaches playwriting creative process, so I’m usually hired by people who would be in a position to buy your plays.”

Lindsay: Well, that’s an interesting person who hangs out on our Facebook or hangs out where we are who is a different sort of customer.

Craig: Mm-hmm. Well, you do a lot of playwriting exercises…

Lindsay: Mm-hmm.

Craig: …so I could see where playwrights would…

Lindsay: Be interested in that.

Craig: …would be interested in that. And that would be great. Hey, and if you’re in those schools, then, hey, let them know about what we have and how great we are.

Lindsay: That’s’ right.

Craig: There you go.

Lindsay: [Laughs]

Craig: [Laughs]

Lindsay: That’s another thing we’re not good at. We’re not good at saying…you know, because we…we’re pretty good. See? I couldn’t even say it. I was about to say we’re pretty great and I had to downgrade to “We’re pretty good. We’re okay.”

Craig: That’s Canadian.

Lindsay: Oh, I know.

Craig: Sorry.

Lindsay: Sorry!

Craig: “Thus far I’ve not purchased one of your plays but it’s only because I had a different need this fall. I found several that I really like and I love all your resources.” Awesome.

Here was a curious one, I thought: “For our evening of one-acts, main stage, we were going to do Shuddersome: Tales of Poe, but the costuming of it was too expensive. The one-act that we’re taking to the one-act festival killed our budget due to set and costume, but I’m not giving up.” Now, that I find curious because when we saw Shuddersome: Tales of Poe, the original production, they were wearing black…

Lindsay: Black tops and black pants.

Craig: …black shirts and pants, so I don’t know what the costuming…

Lindsay: And some capes?

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: And I would say…I think the only really costuming bit was they did the Mask of Red Death, and they did these wonderful eye masks that they wore on one side when they were doing the party that when Death sort of swept the cape over them and they were able to flip them to show the Red Death on the other side, which I thought was a really great way of theatricalizing…

Craig: That effect, yeah.

Lindsay: That effect.

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: Also, very quickly, without makeup. You know what I say? I say theatre works in jeans and T-shirts.

Craig: I think that’s always the joke of that we say about our shows…

Lindsay: Yeah.

Craig: …is that you could do most of our plays with…

Lindsay: Two cubes.

Craig: …two cubes, and if you really had two you could cut one of the cubes.

Lindsay: And I like…we’ve been going to the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska off and on for 10 years, and then we did a number of teaching years before that in the nineties. And I’ll always remember I saw a play from, um, I don’t remember where it is but it’s as far south in Texas as you could go. This was before they had a second theatre, so this was four kids with four chairs on the lip of the Lead Center. So this is a theatre that can hold 3000 patrons, and one of the shows we saw had a life-sized ship on it from Pirates of Penzance with cannons firing, eight follow spots, and a Jesus Christ Superstar, and this play was four kids in blue jeans and T-shirts and four chairs, and it’s one of the most memorable moments I have.

Craig: It’s still my most favorite thing I’ve ever seen on that massive Lead stage.

Lindsay: So all I can say is bring the world of theatre to life with the words.

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: And with your action. And you know what? If—and here’s an actually very interesting story. I know another theatre teacher who was in a new theatre and they decided—not her, but whoever was building the theatre—decided at some point that they had run out of money and they weren’t going to finish her theatre. So she had a space but she had no lights and she had no sound, and so she did Our Town and she did it in the space, and I think they used flashlights and they just used anything handheld that they could use to light the play. And the paper got involved and it’s like, “Why is this theatre, this school, which is doing such great work…where are their lights?” you know? So…

Craig: That works for that play though because it’s so earthy.

Lindsay: It would work for Shuddersome too.

Craig: Sure. Yes, absolutely.

Lindsay: You know?

Craig: Okay. Here’s one that hurts, you ready?

Lindsay: Okay, I’m ready.

Craig: Have a sip of tea and get ready for this one.

Lindsay: Have a sip of tea.

Craig: “Some are good,” this is the question about the play, “Some are good, but so many of them have stupid titles and plots. Just because we like to work with young people doesn’t mean we have to dumb everything down to zombie level.” That one hurts, and I’ll tell you why.

Lindsay: I’m sorry, I have to stop for a moment to pull the arrow out of my heart.

Craig: [Laughs] So first of all, okay, let’s talk about zombie. We have 200 and some plays, two of them of have zombies in them.

Lindsay: And I will say that both of them are very applicable. It’s not just…

Craig: Well, the thing is I think we have a very good mix. We have stuff that’s really like serious, dramatic, issue-based, and we have like the zany kind of comedies, the stuff that’s like Shakespearean parodies…

Lindsay: Yup.

Craig: I mean, Hamlet, Zombie Killer of Denmark I think is a fantastic script…

Lindsay: It’s a good play.

Craig: Yeah.

Lindsay: Oh my goodness.

Craig: Now, the thing is, those parody-type scripts actually tend to be the most popular.

Lindsay: They’re popular.

Craig: So when you’re flipping our catalogue, when you’re looking at our stuff on Facebook, you’re going to see us posting a lot more about those shows because they are just…they’re done more often. So there are more people sending us stuff about them. And what I take from a comment like this is that we really need to also highlight that we do have earthy dramatic stuff that’s really, really quality, dramatic material. Dramas just aren’t chosen as much.

Lindsay: Dramas don’t get done. Dramas don’t get done, and you know what? What I love about our catalogue is that it is varied. We have plays like Magic Fairy in the Microwave and Camel Dung and Cloves written by the wonderful Dara Murphy…

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: …that are just get-out weird. They are weird, weird, weird. They are black, people die. They are not normal comedies, and I love that with have stuff for weird. And then we have, you know, if you’re looking for stuff that isn’t zombified, we have a whole ton of issue-based stuff.

Craig: Like Sweep Under Rug that looks at poverty.

Lindsay: Poverty. Like…

Craig: Chicken. Road, that looks at teen suicide.

Lindsay: Flaky Lips, that looks at…

Craig: Racial separation.

Lindsay: …racial separation. Funhouse, that looks at bullying.

Craig: Hoodie, that looks at self-image. On and on. There’s lots of stuff there. And actually, I think a lot of that is on us to promote that stuff.

Lindsay: To promote that stuff.

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: You know what? You know, you’re quite right. It’s so easy to talk about the light and the fun…

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: …because it’s fun to talk about the light and the fun. But you know what? Having said all that, I think our most…if you want something that’s challenging, I challenge you to pick up a copy of Tuna Fish Eulogy. Tuna Fish Eulogy takes place in sort of a limbo where there is a character who has died—he died when he was 12 and it’s 12 years later—and he sort of brings back the people who may or may not have been involved in his death. And it is sort of a trial, it is sort of a revelation, and it is a story where when the answer is found out it helps no one.

The play is written in ladder format. That means that when you look at it the character’s lines are written from top to bottom. They’re not written from left to right. So when you first look at it, it kind of looks like a mess of words. And so I hold that play up as a real example of the challenge that exists in our catalogue for the student actor.

Craig: Alright, I’m going to do two more in this little section.

Lindsay: Okay.

Craig: One’s a little uplifting, so it’s good.

Lindsay: Yay.

Craig: This will make you feel good. “The scripts are relevant for my students as well as affordable in royalties and fees.” So there you…like that is the maddening part of doing a survey like this because you get that whole yin and yang: “It’s too expensive, it’s very affordable.”

Lindsay: Well, you know what? But that means it’s good. I think that you need both sides of the…

Craig: You’re absolutely right. It means we’re doing something right if you have people on both sides.

Lindsay: It means we’re doing…yeah. It means we’re doing something right. And sometimes what I tell young playwrights in terms of when they get feedback and response, you never want to be in the middle. You want the people who love and the people who don’t, because if you’ve got that that means you’ve hit a nerve.

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: And nothing is worse than mediocre theatre. So if we’ve got people on both sides saying, “I will not buy your stuff because you’ve got zombies,” and other people saying, “You are so appropriate,” I’m good with both.

Craig: Mm-hmm. This comment goes on.

Lindsay: Okay.

Craig: It says, “They also keep in mind the technical limitations of low-budget programs. My students actually laugh at your jokes. That is priceless.”

Lindsay: Ha.

Craig: “Somehow the scripts are so accessible that they make my students feel that they can write. That is a gift.”

Lindsay: Oh, that’s nice! Oh, I never thought about it that way.

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: Oh, doesn’t that make me a happy camper.

Craig: See? I took you down and I brought you back up.

Lindsay: You took me down, you brought me back up. I think it’s really funny that people laugh, if they laugh at… Well, maybe they’re talking about other playwrights because…

Craig: [Laughs]

Lindsay: …I am not funny. [Laughs]

Craig: This is the last comment I’m going to put it in this section, “Didn’t know you sold plays.”

Lindsay: Oh no!

Craig: [Laughs]

Lindsay: Oh no!

Craig: I know.

Lindsay: Oh my gosh, that’s the worst.

Craig: You know what that means though?

Lindsay: Oh no!

Craig: See, we have this like great Facebook page, we have this great email newsletter, we just pump out tons of great stuff for people…

Lindsay: Oh boy.

Craig: …but it also tells… I’m always afraid when I actually want to post something that I say, “Hey, here’s something you might be interested in buying…”

Lindsay: Buy this, buy this. We’re not doing it enough.

Craig: No, clearly not. [Laughs]

Lindsay: Oh, Craig.

Craig: I know.

Lindsay: That’s worse than the other comment. “Didn’t know you sold plays.”

Craig: [Laughs] Okay, last question.

Lindsay: Okay.

Craig: Alright. “What do you like about us?” Ah, so there’ll be some positive stuff in here, hopefully.

Lindsay: Yay. Pump us up a little.

Craig: “Great scripts for large casts, PDF scripts.” All of our plays are available as downloadable PDFs. “We can contact you, no problem. You support and encourage young people. Reasonable prices. You want to provide a quality product for a very specific group and your plays work.” That was all one comment, so it’s lovely.

Lindsay: Go young people!

Craig: “The free exercises, ideas and monologues are wonderful. I also find the plays to be smart, witty, very much in tune with young actors.”

Lindsay: See? There you go.

Craig: Bonus. “I like your willingness to answer questions. I like the humor in the plays. I appreciate silly plays that have young actors in mind without writing down to them, ‘We’re being silly.’ I love buying scripts online instantly.” Here’s one about you.You’re totally accessible. Lindsay initiated an open line of communication last week as we did Tick Talk. I and my students have emailed her several times.”

Lindsay: Okay, so that’s something everybody needs to know – if you’re doing a play, I try to send out an email to everyone, just sort of say, “Hey, you got questions? Let me know. You got comments? Let me know. You got pictures? Let me know. And I’m also always available to do a Skype conversation just so that you and I and the students can sort of meet face-to-face and they can ask me questions face-to-face.”

Craig: “When I call a real person, assuming Craig is real, actually answers the phone.”

Lindsay: [Laughs] Well, we think he’s real.

Craig: [Laughs] I’ll never tell.

Lindsay: [Laughs]

Craig: [Laughs] “I like that my students can use cuttings from your plays at festival without having to pay royalties.”

Lindsay: So if you’re doing a competition, particularly with a scene—has to be under five minutes, five minutes or under…

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: …although I think the group one is eight minutes in IEs, whatever—if you’re doing an excerpt specifically for competition, so what that means is that there’s a judge and there’s no…it’s not really an audience for…

Craig: It’s not a show.

Lindsay: It’s not a show. It’s competition. Then you can do a cutting. We do lots of…our stuff ends up in lots of monologue competitions. Actually, I just learned that there are two kids, two students who are going to be performing one of our IEs, one of our scenes for the opening ceremonies at the Florida State Thespian Festival, and then I think there are three students who have qualified to go to the International Thespian Festival in Nebraska already this year.

Craig: So, yes, we’re talking about thespian individual events and there are a few other similar contests. If you want to get the specifics on that free royalty thing, it’s Theatrefolk.com/royalty_exemptions, and that’ll give you the list. We’ll put that in the show notes, too.

Lindsay: On show notes. Awesome.

Craig: “What else would you like us to offer?” “More full-length plays.” We’re working on it.

Lindsay: We’re working on it. We sort of see ourselves as a one-act competition focused-company, but absolutely we’re working on full-lengths.

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: And have you seen our latest full-length, which is called The Gift? Which is…

Craig: We offer plays?

Lindsay: Do you guys sell plays? I didn’t know. It is inspired by The Gift of the Magi and it is a modern play, takes place in the past, takes place in the present. It looks at the whole notion of how recently the economy has tumbled and what that does to a family and how a girl goes from being completely materialistic, selfish, completely unlikeable person to becoming a kind of and generous and giving and selfless person, and what is that like to her friendships and what is that like to the people around her. And, the three magi show up through the play.

Craig: Ah, here’s a tough one, actually. “More challenging, serious one-acts that are approximately one hour for middle school performers.”

Lindsay: Ooh. You know what? I’m not sure that is in our range.

Craig: Well…

Lindsay: That’s tough.

Craig: We like to respond with what we’re asked for, and that is something that that might be a first that we’ve ever been asked specifically for that. So if actually—that’s a good point.

Lindsay: Here’s a good point.

Craig: If you actually are looking for serious one-act plays for middle school performers that are about an hour long, then please, please, please email us because we don’t know what you want unless you tell us what you want. So if we start getting a ton of emails about that you need this, then that wakes us up and starts us looking for stuff like that for you.

Lindsay: Like, for example, one that came in recently that’s going to be put into a movement in the next year was we have 10-minute plays that are for two actors or three actors or four actors, but we don’t have anything for large groups, so like something that you could do in a class. So like a 20-character, 10-minute play.

Craig: That would be tough.

Lindsay: You know? So it’s something…right now it’s in the “Lindsay is thinking about it” mode and that, as I said, my brain is a little hornet’s nest of wackiness. We’ll get there.

Craig: Okay, here’s a good one, “Resources for elementary students.”

Lindsay: We tried.

Craig: We tried a couple of times and we haven’t cracked that nut.

Lindsay: And I think that what we really have to just say is we’re a middle school and high school company, grade five and up. We have some Christmas plays, which are in our catalogue because usually they’re performed by middle schools and high schools for elementary schools, so a lot of that material is going to be relevant. You know what? I’ll send you to…if you go to dramanotebook.com she is someone who has been featured on our website, and I think that last week she was featured in our podcast, and she focuses on elementary. So go to dramanotebook.com.

Craig: Yeah, she has great stuff. Ah, “Directors’ binders of scripts.” Now, that’s actually…if you’re doing the photocopy license…

Lindsay: You can do that.

Craig: …you can do that. I mean, all the scripts will come in a…you have two different options when you do a PDF download. You can print it one-up so it’s basically one page centered in the middle of an eight-and-a-half/eleven piece of paper, which is just perfect setup for directors and for stage managers. Or you can also do them two-up, which are basically two pages on one page the same as if you were to take a script and photocopy it – you know, you have two pages on one page. You can download both of those options with the photocopy license, and yeah, a lot of people use that for directors’ or stage management or other tech binders.

“I’d like to see more scripts that cover social issues.” We looked at that before. We have a lot of social-issue stuff, so that’s clearly something we’re not telling people enough…

Lindsay: We’re doing enough of.

Craig: Yeah.

Lindsay: Okay. Well, let’s do…well, we just did, actually. A lot of the things that we talked about, if you look up issue-based plays on our website, that is a category that you can search on.

Craig: “You’re so good at interacting with us. Maybe a direct way for kids to connect with you? Just a thought.”

Lindsay: Email. I am always accessible by email, [email protected], and Skype. I would be happy, if you’re doing one of my plays, if you’re working on playwriting, all you have to do is reach out and let us set up a date.

Craig: And if it’s not a Lindsay Price play, most of our playwrights are really, really open to…

Lindsay: And accessible.

Craig: Yeah, to discussing plays and to talking with you, so just get in touch with us and we’ll connect you up, and hopefully we can make something like that work for you.

And in there a few people also asked for more tech resources.

Lindsay: That’s a good one.

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: You know what? I think that’s an excellent one. I agree. It’s kind of hard because Craig and I do…you know, we’re the ones who provide the resources, and my expertise is playwriting and Craig’s expertise is…

Craig: Acting.

Lindsay: …acting, so we are leery of providing expertise in an area which we don’t have a lot of background in. But we hear you and we agree, I agree that…

Craig: It would be great to have more tech stuff.

Lindsay: It would be great to have more tech stuff. So we hear you.

Craig: If you’re a tech person, get in touch with us and we could probably work something out with you putting together some…

Lindsay: Resources.

Craig: …resources for us.

Lindsay: One thing that we have are the Practical Technical Theatre DVD series, which covers the gambit. And I know they’re not in everybody’s budget, but if you’re looking for a really comprehensive program on lighting, on set design, on stage management, on sound design, on the basics of lighting, on costuming, there is a DVD on every one of those subjects that comes with lesson plans, that comes with tests, that comes with assignments. It’s really a textbook for your entire classroom.

Craig: Yeah, they’re not cheap but they’re comparable to buying a set of textbooks and they’ll last forever.

Lindsay: Ever. Yeah.

Craig: Theatrefolk.com/ptt, and also through that page you can click a link and we’ll send you a free demo DVD that…

Lindsay: Just so you know what you’re getting into.

Craig: Yeah. Lastly, “Do you have printed play catalogues? Doing things online is a hassle with public schools and paperwork. I have to keep a paper trail of everything I do.” Yes, we do have printed play catalogues.

Lindsay: Where can they find those catalogues?

Craig: Theatrefolk.com/catalogue. I think it’s catalogue, U-E. Catalogue, U-E.

Lindsay: Because we’re Canadian.

Craig: It’s the Canadian spelling.

Lindsay: We’re Canadian, eh? Well, I think that was really awesome. I guess what we’re learning is we need more tech, we need to let people know that yes, we have issue-based plays, yes we have…not everything comes with a side of zombies, and that yes, you can reach out to us directly and that, particularly, I can tell you for…I can speak for myself – if you’re doing one of my plays, I would love to talk with you, talk to your students. Does that sound good?

Craig: That sounds good to me.

Lindsay: Yay!

Craig: Can I set up a Skype session with you?

Lindsay: Well, you could, except we’re in the same room, so.

Craig: Oh, okay.

Lindsay: So before we go, let’s do some Theatrefolk News.

And really, as we’re talking here about communication, feedback, what can we learn, what I really want to talk about is our Facebook and what’s been going on there. Something that Craig and I believe in, and I think I can speak for you, Craig…

Craig: Please do.

Lindsay: …is that theatre’s really about community, right? A production is a little community. And particularly at the school level, if we can play a part in building communities, we’d be very happy. Is that good? Is that good for you?

Craig: Yup, I’m…

Lindsay: You’re on board?

Craig: I’m following, yeah.

Lindsay: Sweet. So to that end, that’s really the goal with what we’re doing on Facebook. And we love it when you respond to stuff that we’re doing, but when you guys talk to each other and you guys help each other, it’s just so fantastic. And this week we posed the question, “What are you struggling with?” And that prompted a conversation about classroom management. And another question that came up, someone was looking for games and exercises for building energy and team spirit, and there was a ton of response.

So I guess this is news because I want you to know, if you have a question, if you feel you’re alone in your classroom, reach out to our Facebook fans. They are incredibly knowledgeable, they share their knowledge, I think they’re the best.

Craig: Yeah. Oh, it’s just awesome over there. Now, when you post, anybody can post on our Facebook wall, but it’s highly unlikely that too many people will see it. So what I usually do is I just grab them and I repost them as us, and that way it goes out to everyone.

Lindsay: Yes. Yeah, so if there’s something you want to know and we’ve…because there’s lots going on there, if we miss it let us know, so that we can make that happen.

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: Okay, so if you want to come to our Facebook page, it’s very simple. It’s Facebook.com/Theatrefolk.

Craig: R-E, like Shakespeare spelled theatre.

Lindsay: R-E, like Shakespeare, because we’re Canadian, eh?

So, lastly, where can you find this podcast? We post new episodes every Wednesday at Theatrefolk.com and we’re over on that Facebook page and on Twitter. You can find us on YouTube.com/theatrefolk. You can find us on the Stitcher app, and you can subscribe to TFP on iTunes – all you have to do is search on the word Theatrefolk. And give us some feedback over there – I think we have to get into this mode, Craig. We need to love the feedback, get the feedback, act on the feedback even though little daggers go into our hearts, but it’s good for us.

Craig: [Laughs] It’s very important and we thank everyone who answered the survey.

Lindsay: Oh my gosh, it was so wonderful and it was just…it made us feel that we were on the right track and we have more to do.

Craig: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay: There’s always more to do. And that’s where we’re going to end, so take care my friends, take care.

 

Music credit: “Ave” by Alex (feat. Morusque) is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

About the author

Lindsay Price