Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Intro from Clubbed Thumb

The round two recipients of the A-ha! program continue to move steadily forward with their projects. Today we have an introduction and update from Clubbed Thumb

Clubbed Thumb commissions, develops, and produces funny, strange, and provocative new plays by living American writers. Since its founding in 1996, the company has earned four Obies and presented plays in every form of development, including over 75 full productions. Clubbed Thumb is a groundbreaker, with an unparalleled track record for finding emerging artists and producing innovative new plays; a matchmaker, cultivating relationships between theater artists through our development and production programs; and an incubator, nurturing artists and their work, from first read-through to fully mounted production.

Clubbed Thumb plays range in form and content, but are always intermission-less, 90 minutes or under, with no history of production in NYC. They feature equally challenging and substantial roles for both sexes, are questioning, formally inventive, theatrical, and contain a sense of humor somewhere in the text.
For years, Clubbed Thumb has been contemplating how to get our plays, playwrights, and productions into more theaters across the country. In particular, I hoped there were ways to extend the lives of the productions of our summer festival -- the shows are rehearsed for four weeks, and fully produced, but only run for one week.

For the A-ha! Grant, I proposed first looking for a partner, ideally a larger theater, and with them, mutually choosing a play, its artistic staff and its cast. The play would be developed (as needed/desired), rehearsed and presented in a one-week run in our June festival and then in a longer run at the larger theater, some time in the following nine months. There is equal money for both productions, and money to ensure that both parties will be able to be present for the key decisions and processes. There is a good amount of flexibility in this project’s parameters, and the kind folks at TCG have told me that it’s okay if it fails—that is, we can take the risks necessary to truly explore the project, without worrying about disappointing the funders (how great is that?) The only thing that is non-negotiable is that both partners must commit to producing the play. The truly difficult thing will be finding a play that compels both parties and that fits in the partner theater’s season.

Clubbed Thumb has been hard at work over the last few months, scarfing down plays and talking to theaters, from a few blocks away to outside of the lower 48, from modest budgeted theaters to major institutions, about 30 in all. The conversations have been enriching, worth it in and of themselves. I feel like we are building relationships with a number of these theaters that will carry into the future, sharing plays, development resources and practices, and hopefully, future co- production possibilities will organically arise. In a post-holiday spurt of frenetic effectiveness we will be attempting to touch base in the coming days… with every one of them.

--Maria Striar, Producing Artistic Director, Clubbed Thumb

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