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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Heartland Theater Company Fowl Plays

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What do Anton Chekhov, Sesame Street, Hans Christian Andersen, Natalie Portman, the Beatles and “The Twelve Days of Christmas” have in common? Think The Seagull, Big Bird, “The Nightingale,” Black Swan, a “blackbird singing in the dead of night,” and four calling birds, three French hens, two turtledoves and a partridge in a pear tree.

That’s right – they’re all for the birds! And they illustrate the inspirational power of our avian friends. After all, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush…

This year, in honor of our long-time sponsor, Deanna Frautschi, who is a fantastic bird and wildlife photographer, we will be looking for FOWL PLAYS, 10-minute dramatic works inspired by birds.

Please keep in mind that we are not looking for real birds on stage. You are also warned that we expect to get a whole lot of Ibsen, Chekhov, Hitchcock and Black Swan parodies, so if you want the best chance for your play to stand out, you are advised to think of something more creative. And if we get too many Angry Birds, we might issue a warning on those, too.

Instead, we hope you’ll find inspiration in any of a thousand “bird” idioms and aphorisms – the caged bird never sings, the cat that ate the canary, the early bird catches the worm, birds of a feather, watching you like a hawk – or a song like “Bye Bye Blackbird,” “Rockin’ Robin,” “Freebird” or “Meadowlark,” or maybe you’d rather look to a fairytale or fable like Chicken Little or Andersen’s Ugly Duckling or the goose that laid the golden egg. Or perhaps you prefer to craft a 10-minute play around someone who is crazy as a loon, singing a swan song, an albatross around your neck, mad as a wet hen, a lame duck, a night owl or is sitting in the catbird seat. Or maybe The Birdman of Alcatraz, “Swedish Nightingale” Jenny Lind, Charlie “Yardbird” Parker, Larry Bird or the Saint Louis Cardinals are more your style. What do you start with? It’s a chicken or egg question.

Wherever you find your inspiration, we are looking for plays that celebrate our avian friends. Fly high! Rule the roost! Write us a great little FOWL PLAY.

Remember: No real birds on stage!

This year, we are also requiring a sentence at the beginning of your script to tell us what the bird connection is. Unless you’re a bird brain, you’ll spell it out.

All of the Rules & Guidelines are available here, with a style sheet here. You are well-advised to read and follow both to give your play the best chance.

You have:
…No more than 4 characters…
…No more than 10 minutes…
…And unlimited possibilities to write a winning play!



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