Updated: Jan 9
Happy Halloween you little monsters! We've been doing our best to give you, my ghoulish readers, worthwhile content in the absence of live performances, and this month we're taking the time to showcase some of the writers in our community. We've collected a few songs and scenes for your reading (and sometimes listening) pleasure, but before we get started I wanna shout out some sweet things happening in our community. THERE'S JUST SO MUCH GOOD STUFF
No Way Theatre (@nowaytheatre) just produced an amazing Spooky Cabaret last night on their Facebook and Youtube pages! Even better, the streams are still available to watch! Friend and mentor Ryan Scott Oliver just dropped a Gothic horror album conceived from the works of Shirley Jackson titled Future Demons. If you haven't already listened to it I'm scared for you. Listen here! Olivia Griffin just released her single "What Do I Tell the Children?" and the official music video! Look out for her next release "Spill the Tea" on November 2nd. Speaking of Olivia...
Liv and Em (Olivia Griffin and Emily Michelle Griffith)
Female songwriting team Liv & Em showcase an acoustic version of their finale "Creation" from their original musical, Non-Equity: The Musical. Non-Equity: The Musical follows a group of actors as they navigate their first year in New York City after graduating from a Midwestern College with their BFA in Musical Theatre. Check out Liv & Em's social media (@livandemwrite) for updates on Non-Equity: The Musical, and for industry insight from their vlog, "Making Our Way Post B.F.A".
Creation Sometimes it feels like nobody listens, Yet, I’m still here on my mission. Won’t give up when I still want more. Trying for a chance to say that I’ve made it, Looking for a part that’s not been created, Tryin’ to walk through a closed door. In this world, you can feel so small, Feel like you’re not seen at all. In this world, you can feel so down. Always undiscovered and waiting here to be found. But, I don’t have to be anyone other than me. I am my own creation. When I don’t get to pretend, it doesn’t mean my story ends. I make my own formations. The only satisfaction that I need Is the validation that’s me now. Cause I don’t have to be Anyone other than me. Sometimes it feels like I’m always changin’, Losin’ myself in my rearrangin’, Hoping to fit who they want to see. But trying to be somebody new, Won’t let them see you. How can I get love, if I don’t love me? In this world, you can feel so small, Feel like you’re not seen at all. In this world, you can feel so down, Always undiscovered and waiting here to be found. But, I don’t have to be anyone other than me. I am my own creation. When I don’t get to pretend, it doesn’t mean my story ends. I make my own formations. The only satisfaction that I need Is the validation that’s me now. Cause I don’t have to be Anyone other than me.
The first thing industry professionals tell you when pursuing an acting career full-time is to find a part-time (eventually full-time) side hustle to helps you make gains financially. This “survival job” needs to feed your soul. “If not, ‘the people’ behind the audition table would sense the desperation behind your eyes.” I became a manny (a male nanny) many years ago as a means to satisfy these baseline “aspiring actor needs”. Then our last election happened and I discovered how crucial my conversation with the [privileged] children of wealthy New York City would impact their own discovery and eventual worldview. See, there weren’t many LGBTQ, LatinX mannies to base my experience off of, so I decided to listen to the other diverse voices in this childcare environment and write a story about it. Manny is a sitcom exploring what it’s like for a colorful cast of characters like Manny Suarez (yes a manny, named Manny) having a seat at a new modern family’s table.
Manny Teaser MANNY SUAREZ (20s, Gay, Latinx, Carries a constant song in his heart, Untamed Hair, Wears Nail Polish, A "Peacock") sits on a bench, taking in a breath of hopeful, NYC air. Suddenly, PATRICE RAHMING (Nickname: Patty, mid-aged, Joy founded in Faith, Caring, nanny of Color who every child LOVES) sits at an appropriate social distance to MANNY. MANNY observes, but does not deter her from sitting nearby. PATRICE: Love me a New York City sunrise. MANNY: For sure. PATRICE: Come here often? MANNY: Only when I'm lost. PATRICE: giggles. MANNY: What's so funny? PATRICE: You the only one who can find the way. MANNY: True. "N.Y.C" from the Broadway Musical Annie lulls in the background. MANNY bids PATRICE
adieu and stands. PATRICE: Keep, smilin' cutie. Have a good day. MANNY (singing as he walks away): N.Y.C... WHAT IS IT ABOUT YOU? YOU'RE BIG. YOU'RE LOUD. YOU'RE TOUGH... Instrumental continues as MANNY walks onward. EXT. THE FOX FAMILY HOME, BROWNSTONE, W. VILLAGE - AFTER Amazed by The Fox Home's size, MANNY climbs the steps, halting the instrumental, and rings the doorbell. EXT/INT. DOORWAY OF AN AFFLUENT MANHATTAN TOWNHOME - AFTER ANITA FOX (30s, A Good-at-heart Wife, Mom of The Year, Assertive, Secretly seeking adventure and solitude) answers. ANITA: Thank God you're on time. MANNY: I was not expecting a mansion. ANITA gestures for MANNY to follow. CUT TO: INT. THE FOX RESIDENCE - MOMENTS LATER THE FOX KIDS are heard, somewhat-chaotically, playing in the distance. Anita's friendly face fades as she hurries to collect her things. Her objective is outside these castle walls. ANITA:You have my cell. A list of emergency contacts is on the side of the refrigerator. Please do not hesitate to call. (She calls aloud) Kids! The FOX KIDS slyly enter in this order: CHARLIE FOX (11, Short for Charlotte, Sassy, A Future
Supreme Court Justice/President), JO FOX (9, A nervous know-it-all, NonConforming),
COOPER FOX (7, Cute as a button, brains of an evil genius, a natural influencer). ANITA: Kiddos, this is Manny! MANNY: Are you up for an adventure? The kids' faces turn sinister. ANITA: Love the sound of adventure! ANITA kisses the heads of the three children. CHARLIE's sinister smile grows larger while
JO and COOPER escort ANITA out of the house. ANITA exits. CHARLIE: On your knees, Mr. Manny. MANNY: Oh no, hun, not in these jeans... JO: You're gunna regret you defied her... A whistle blows. COOPER water gun squirts MANNY with a mysterious substance that will
definitely stain his shirt. JO handcuffs him. MANNY: I did not see that coming. COOPER (like a drill sergeant): Defund police brutality! COOPER squirts again. CHARLIE and JO high-five. CHARLIE: Don't worry, Mr. Manny. This will only hurt a little... The FOX KIDS huddle around him for mayhem. MANNY gay screams.
Brittany served as our amazing Music Director for one of our earliest productions: Songs From a Coffee Shop. I reached out to her last minute based on a post of hers (@thebrittanysaurus) I saw talking about how she longed to be in a writers room again. She pulled this little ditty out of the plethora of projects she's been working on.
Is It Selfish Is it selfish to cry over the echoes of what was supposed to be When the here and the now is so much worse for so many Is it selfish to cry for a life that was ripped out from under you For the fear that your dreams are null and void and you’ll have to start over new Counting on stability to launch yourself from Then the ground crumbles away beneath your feet as you jump Cause you've never been good enough to be given the key So you spend your years working relentlessly And just when you can finally touch it It shatters to pieces in your hand And is it selfish if that's why you cry When there are people losing their lives I'd made a list of things that fill my heart so full that were coming to an end Things to hold on and soak in while I still had the chance Now that chance is gone without a goodbye kiss And I still have a list but now it’s things I miss Cuddle piles and ice cream runs and crying on the floor Standing on the ottoman and challenging the world Sweet things I've done for the last time And I didn’t know it was my last And is it selfish if that’s why I cry When there are people losing their lives Cause I was counting on goodbye and having hold of the key And I was ready to face a world of uncertainty But I don't know how to jump from a mudslide To a world that isn’t even there I'm left clinging to one last shred of goodbye and I don't want to say it And let it all be over before I was ready And is it selfish if that's why you cry When there are people losing their lives
This song was inspired by the works of Filipino-American writer, Carlos Bulosan. His semi-autobiographical novel, America is in the Heart, details his journey from the Philippines to the United States, where he fought for the rights of immigrant laborers. Over half a century later, his writings and activism remain important in the narrative of Asian-American history. “Read, Brother” depicts a young Carlos living in Binalonan, a rural area of the Philippines. With his family living in poverty, his brother, Luciano, stresses the importance of learning to read and write. Here's a link to a demo version. (Special thanks to Sydney Crutcher, Peyton Johnson, Dina Perez, and Cece Sanchez for singing backing vocals!)
Read, Brother I've walked the streets of Manila, I’ve seen marvels you would've approved, People dressed in polished shoes, The rooms where the money is moved But the road back home was long, My bare feet blister and ache. The dream ends in Binalonan And I am seeing, wide awake The fields, they are drying, Carlos. The rivers are rising, Carlos. The people are dying, Carlos, So you must read. Read, brother, read. Read of the battles for purposes greater than rice in our field. You must read. Read, brother, read. Read of the heroes, dead in the past who'll never yield. Father believes in his fellow man, He’s optimistic, as he drowns in debt. His teeth grow black and he’s short of breath While the sun has started to set. Your worry’s infected your thinking, But now, you have to be smart Or your attachment will eat you alive And leave a bleeding heart. Our father is dying, Carlos.. Our mother is crying, Carlos. Our family is trying, Carlos, But you must read. Read, brother, read. Look for the words that strike like a match and burn in the night. And after you read, after you read, Pick up a pen, shore up your mind, and learn to write. The landlords can never steal your words, The politicians can never gun them down, Because words cut like a knife. Binalonian blood will spill, Use it as ink for your pen And write us back to life. But first you must read. Read, brother, read. When father has gone and I’m dead in the ground, you’ll carry the flame. You will read. Read, brother read. Out in the world, make a name for yourself, make a name. If ever your will grows weak, Lonely and afraid, May God grant you the tallest tree To sit beneath its shade.
"Silo: A Futuristic Tragedy" is a play set in a dystopian community in the rural Midwest. The play revolves around Adrian, an exiled man, who returns home to his family for his mother's funeral and is not only forced to confront his past but also the family he left behind.
Excerpt from Silo Location: The Trailer Home. Place: A dystopian community in the rural Midwest. Time: Long after the collapse of humanity.. Space: Cheap, worn, and grimy. Walls are covered with an ugly Midwestern wallpaper pattern. Cigarette burns, dents, coffee, and food stains line the wall. A tacky brown leather couch sits in the middle of the room adjacent to a card table with four lawn chairs. Empty beer bottles, cigarette butts, and food wrappers are scattered on the trailer’s floor. It’s a sad mess of a home. Elijah, a faded memory of the past, sits at the card table completely still. Complete utter stillness. Adrian, Elijah’s brother, enters and stops in the doorway. This is a recurring event for Adrian. ADRIAN: Elijah? Elijah stares. ADRIAN: How are you? Elijah stares. ADRIAN: I’m alright,thanks for asking. Elijah stares. ADRIAN: Do you want something? Elijah nods. ADRIAN: Tea? Elijah, erupts. Violently shaking his head. ADRIAN: Elijah, calm down. Elijah simmers. ADRIAN: Coffee? Elijah nods. ADRIAN: Alright, coffee it is then. Cream or Sugar? Elijah nods. ADRIAN: Do you want both? Elijah stares. ADRIAN: Elijah? Both cream and sugar? Elijah nods. ADRIAN: Want any food with that, Elijah? Elijah, erupts, violently shaking his head. Adrian grabs Elijah’s hands.
Elijah simmers. ADRIAN: Coffee it is. Just coffee. Adrian exits towards the kitchen. Elijah, sits, in complete utter stillness. (Beat.) Adrian returns, sets coffee on table. ADRIAN: Here you go! Elijah stares. ADRIAN: Elijah? Elijah stares. ADRIAN: Elijah?? Elijah stares. ADRIAN: It’s okay, Elijah. Stuff tastes like shit anyway... Elijah stares. Adrian, quite loudly, sips coffee. Elijah stares. Silence. ADRIAN: We miss you; you know. Elijah stares. ADRIAN: I miss you. Elijah stares. ADRIAN: Aren’t you going to say anything? (Beat. )
Elijah cries. ADRIAN: Why’d you do it? Elijah cries. ADRIAN: Why’d you do it?! Elijah cries. ADRIAN: WHY? Elijah cries. ADRIAN: WHY? WHY?? WHY??? WHY???? WHY????? WHY?????? WHY??????????? Elijah, erupts, violently shaking and screaming inaudibly. ADRIAN: Answer me, Elijah! Elijah, continues shaking and screaming inaudibly. ADRIAN: ANSWER ME! Elijah, continues shaking and screaming inaudibly. ADRIAN: Elijah. Elijah, continues shaking and screaming inaudibly. ADRIAN: Everything’s fine. Shhhhhh. It’s okay. Adrian grabs Elijah’s hands. Elijah simmers. ADRIAN: It’s okay. They both stare into each other. Elijah cries. Adrian cries. Silence. ADRIAN: It’s all my fault. Adrian sobs. ELIJAH: Sssssssooo.... Ssssorrr.... Adrian’s quite stunned, this is the first time he’s heard Elijah’s voice in a long time. ADRIAN: Elijah? ELIJAH: Ssssssorry. (Beat.) ADRIAN: I’m sorry too. They smile and grab each other's hands. Lights fade.
Ebrin R. Stanley
Ebrin is a recording artist and friend of the company based in Chicago, IL. He just released a new single "Can We Go Back" on all streaming platforms and can be found @ebrinrstanley. Here it is on Spotify!
Can We Go Back I hope you hear my heart on this I hope you shed a tear to this Because as I reminisce I go back to our first kiss When you said that you loved me I told you I loved you more When you said that you missed me Just know I miss you more Remember the spring that you came along Remember how far we’ve gone I don’t ask for too much, just a little trust I just want to rewind again Can we go back to the time before Back when you walked right through the door Can we go back, can we go back Let’s go back where there was no war Just you and me layin down on the floor Can we go back, Can we go back I miss the way that you love me I miss the way that you touch me Can we go back Can we go back Can we go, can we go Can we go, can we go Can we go back to the time before Back when you walked right through the door Can we go back, can we go back Let’s go back where there was no war Just you and me layin down on the floor Can we go back, Can we go back I miss the way that you love me I miss the way that you touch me Can we go back Can we go back Can we go, can we go Can we go, can we go
Well that's it for us, but have no fear, I'll be back in your inbox this time next month!
I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween. Until next time, All the best, TFTC