The Bake-Off is a Pressure Cooker!

Ever wonder what 8 hours to write a piece for stage might look like. How will this year’s playwrights include the ingredients of ballroom dancing, dress up and teaching in their 10-minute scripts? Here are just some of this year’s Bake-Off artists’ experience!

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TERRIE TODD

Terrie in car (3)Terrie home (3)Terrie left the meeting and was chauffeured by her husband back to Portage La Prairie so she could write on her laptop in the car. Here’s an overview in her own words:

The first photo was taken at 10:57 a.m. on the way out of the city in the rain. Second photo, 12:10 p.m. at home at my desk. Now to really get to work.

2:07 p.m. Paused for a bowl of beet borscht, hummus on rice crackers, and a pear. And tea with honey.

Now back to it. Thinking of hanging a sign on my door: “Playwright at Work. Anyone who interrupts will be subjected to a grisly and unnatural stage death and then reincarnated as a stage manager.”

5:00 p.m. I have a script. I don’t much like it. I’m going for a nap. Hopefully I’ll dream something brilliant to fix it with when I get up.

6:06. I’m up. I didn’t get any brilliant ideas for the script, but I did finally recall the last name of the young lady I saw on my way out of the theatre this morning who went to high school with my son.

Tick Tock.

You can also check out Terrie’s blog with an entry about being accepted in to the Bake-Off – http://www.terrietodd.blogspot.ca/

CAROLYN HOOPLE CREED

Carolyn Creed

Looking pretty relaxed a couple of hours in to the writing binge!

FRANCES KONCAN

Today I participated in Sarasvàti’s FemFest Bake-Off. We were given 8 hours of time, and three specific elements to incorporate in to a short play. The elements were: dress-up, teaching, and ballroom dancing. We started at 10AM and finished at 7PM, and here’s a series of instagrammed pics that fairly accurately summarize my day if you add about 50 cups of coffee and numerous breaks to check up on important news on Twitter.

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1. On the theme of dress-up, this is how I look when people see me: cute romper, horizontal stripes that say “I’m not ashamed of my body”, and bold lipstick. I went to school in New York and learned a lot about developing your own identity and aesthetic as an artist, and I think I have a little bit of style. Notice how the ribbon on my hat expertly matches my shirt. I’ve been watching a lot of French film, lately, so that’s probably why I am looking precariously close to a mime.

2. Also on the theme of dress-up, this is how I look in private: hoodies galore, no makeup, and sweatpants, sweatpants, sweatpants. This is the me that nobody ever sees except my imaginary boyfriend, Albert, a lawyer and football enthusiast who doesn’t mind watching romantic comedies on Netflix on Friday nights.

3. I always like to scribble ideas in a notebook before I do anything on my computer. I use a black moleskin notebook like all my favourite writers. It just feels more important, somehow, like you’re a member of an ancient line of terribly important people. Whenever I get stuck on some dialogue or am struggling for ideas, I grab a pencil or fun pen (the more cute and less functional the better) or sometimes even eyeliner and just start writing, or at least playing MASH until I get bored. Today I found out I’m going to live in a mansion and have 18 children.

4. Once I’m full of inspiration and ready to “do this thing”, I like to use my laptop, because I’m a super speedy typer. I once clocked 200 WPM on Type to Learn. I have a desktop computer too, but there’s nothing I love more than writing while laying on my stomach in bed while a candle dangerously and photogenically burns next to my pillow. I don’t know who let’s me be an adult and make my own choices.

5. Despite technically being a writer by profession, and director by accident, I love design more than anything, thanks to Livi Vaughn, Felix Barrett, and the whole artistic team of Punchdrunk, who taught me not only how to sew and effectively illuminate things with LED candles but how to love, and find it helpful to get all my senses working when I write. I always try to pick something that appeals to each sense. My touch object was a beaded orange and black headband. The colours made me think of Halloween, and also of cultural appropriation of Native Americans at Coachella.

6. My scent objects were an array of scents from Demeter Fragrances, especially Lavender and Vanilla Ice Cream. Lavender smells like old people, whom I always have trouble writing dialogue for because I have no idea how real human beings over the age of 30 speak, and Vanilla Ice Cream, because it smells like cake, which is something I plan to eat later in glorious sugary celebration.

7. My aural object was a lot of Bruce Springsteen, because, as Dr. Danny Castellano on The Mindy Project, which was my source of dialogue inspiration, once said, “he got us through [Hurricane] Sandy.” I also listened to a lot of The Cars, and a variety songs from the late 70’s and early 80’s. I find this kind of music helps me write for men better, for some reason. It makes me feel like a bro from Jersey.

8. My taste object was cranberry juice and vodka, and I swear that wasn’t just an excuse to drink on the job. Although the positive side to being a freelance writer is that I can choose to drink on the job and frequently do. “Hemingway did and so can I!” was my entire graduate school motto. Once I had set my play, the cranberry juice and vodka seemed like the obvious choice. You’ll see why when you come and see it.

9. My primary visual inspiration was this super hot picture of Chris Messina with a puppy in his coat that I stole from Mindy Kaling’s instagram. I need either one or both of these immensely talented people to contact me immediately so we can discuss collaborating. This wasn’t so much a conscious decision as an unconscious obsession of the past few weeks. I figured, why fight it

10. After 8 hours of writing and numerous Hours of Energy (25 to be exact, and each bottle was more delicious than the last), this is the finished product. Do you like awkward high school dances? Do you like weird, vaguely inappropriate student-teacher relationships? Do you like dancing? Do you like seeing hot adult men get moderately naked? Do you like teachable moments? Then this play might be ‘Just What [You] Needed’.

I’m so sorry for that last joke. It was unnecessary and I’m trying too hard. I’ve been awake for a really long time. Anyway, I dedicate this play to Chris Messina, Vodka, and my professor Mac Wellman, who always encouraged me to be myself, even if that meant not knowing how to spell, having a tenuous grasp of grammar, and using emojii’s in real life conversations. Come check out all the plays of me and the four other amazing playwrights on Monday, September 15th!

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2 Comments

  1. […] of The Dance-off of Conscious Uncoupling at this year’s FemFest. You can read some of the past blog entries from participants here and get a sense of the fun mixed with a smidge of stress that comes from […]

  2. […] more insights on what it was really like? Check out last year’s blog by the Bake-Off writers. You can check out this year’s Bake-Off on September 14th at 7pm and […]


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