Back in 2020 (you know, when that pandemic thing started…), the Dramatists Guild created an annual playwriting challenge called End of Play, to encourage its members and all playwrights to carry on with creating new works despite the global lockdown that prevented theatrical performances.
The premise is simple: On April 1, you declare what new play you’re going to write that month (or a complete rewrite of an existing piece). And then on April 30, it’s “pens down!” and you report whether you met your goal. I didn’t participate that first year, but I did in 2021. To my astonishment and delight, I found I’d written a full draft of a new solo play by April 16th! I went on to finish a second draft by April 30th and am eager to put that new solo piece on its feet. It’s a bold and surprising new take on a beloved classic.
I signed up for End of Play 2022 with a crazy idea in mind: I wanted to “queer the canon” and create my own version of a famous Shakespeare comedy–in blank verse! I spent April 1-2 creating my outline, and started writing on April 3rd. By April 17 I finished my first draft of this new full-length play. And now as we approach April 30th, I’ve completed a second draft. It’s 12 characters (including two not in the original Shakespeare play), entirely in blank verse, and delivers a very different ending for our various couples! I’m still astonished I was able to write a full-length play in blank verse (which I’ve never tried before) in less than a month. But you know what? I’m thrilled with the results. Next up: I need to pull together some of my incredibly talented friends and do a reading so I can hear it aloud!
Get ready, world–I’m really proud of both of these projects, and I plan to get them produced. And they might not have happened if not for the magic of external deadlines, courtesy of the Dramatists Guild’s wonderful End of Play program!